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The Pregnancy Diaries

Honey, it’s time!

  
Oh my gosh, the time is finally here!  We get to meet our baby girl!!!   I will likely post her arrival details sometime next week.   

If you don’t want to miss her arrival stats, please SUBSCRIBE to my blog!  All you do is type your email in the box where it says “Subscribe” at the top of the right column on the Home Page.  Then, whenever there is a new post, you will be notified!

In the meantime, I will still have new posts each day, including some fabulous guest blogs and fun summer ideas, so please keep checking in with Tiny Oranges! Thanks so much for reading my blog and for your support!   

XOXO
Jen

P.S. Have a VERY happy and safe 4th of July weekend!!!

The Pregnancy Diaries – 36 weeks and counting

First off, I have to wish my daughter a very happy birthday! She joined us in this world on June 11th, 2006 at 8:58am.  From that moment on, our lives were forever changed.   Do you get a little sentimental on your child’s birthday each year?    It is always an emotional day for me as I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.   It really was the best day of my entire life.  We have been through so much in the last 3 years. So many extreme ups and downs!   I have learned so much about life and about myself through this crazy job of motherhood.  The overwhelming love I feel for her and the joy she brings me is beyond words.  She has grown into this beautiful little girl right before my eyes.   From day one, she came into this world very much her own person with her own spirit.  It has been really intriguing to watch that little spirit grow and develop.  I can only imagine what the next 3 years are going to bring. Thanks for indulging me in my sentimental rambling for a moment, I just love June 11th.  :-)   

I am 36 weeks now, and Little Sister is going to be here before we know it!   Although I am still feeling great physically, I am really getting anxious to meet her (when the time is right!)   Having gestational diabetes (GD) has been hard, and honestly, I am really ready for that part to be over.    In the hospital I want my husband to go and get me a big bowl of fruit salad!  I swear I crave fruit more than an ice cream sundae!

I started on my GD medication a couple weeks ago and it is helping my glucose numbers, which is good, but finding the right dosage was really hard.  I didn’t feel great initially, but am much better now.    I am really lucky I got referred to the greatest high risk doctor that has been so supportive.  I have to email him my numbers and questions periodically, and he always emails me back the same day.  Even on the weekend!   He has made the process so much easier.   It is really refreshing to meet a medical professional like him who really cares!
 
The fetal monitoring has been interesting, time consuming and a tad stressful.  I go twice a week to the hospital and they hook me up to belts that monitor the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions.   There was one time when she wasn’t active enough (turns out she was just sleeping), and I got a little worried.   They had to put this thing on my belly and blast a sound in there to wake her up.  Isn’t that kind of sad?!  Hopefully she won’t remember and will forgive me from waking her from her peaceful little sleep!  It is hard sometimes, the nurses come in and out and look at the print outs often with a furrowed brow and you don’t fully understand what exactly they are looking for.   I know they are looking for fluctuations in the heartbeat, but it is hard to tell the exact fluctuations they need to give you the OK.  Thus far though, everything has been fine.  They also do weekly ultrasounds to check on my amniotic fluid, which has also been good.  

I got a full ultrasound to check her size last week.   She is measuring about a week big, and everything is looking healthy.  All along I was thinking of attempting a VBAC delivery (vaginal birth after cesarean), but just this past weekend, I changed my mind and  have decided to schedule a repeat c-section.   The last part of this pregnancy has been really stressful, and at this point, I don’t want to worry about her size and a safe vaginal delivery.   It was hard for me, but given the diabetes and my previous c-section, I feel like it was the right one for me.   I am lucky my regular OB/GYN was supportive either way. 

I am really hoping the c-section recovery will be easier this time.   My husband’s parents will come and stay at our house when we are in the hospital, which will be a huge help with Emma.  And, my parents are close and able to help, so I consider myself extremely lucky on that front.  From my first surgery, I had this freakish allergic reaction to the surgical tape they used on me, which caused my skin to blister and burn.    I had never had surgery before, so I had no idea I had this allergy!  Isn’t that crazy?  If they can find a solution to the whole surgical tape issue, I know I will be much better off this time!  

In any case, she will likely be here within the next month!  I will keep you posted on her arrival!  Bear with me as I will likely not have a new post for the time I am in the hospital.  However, I have lots of great posts lined up for when I get home, including many awesome guest bloggers that have been so nice to help me out during my recovery!   

If you want to make sure you get the news when she arrives, please subscribe to my blog to get the email!  You just enter your email address in the box at the top of the right column where it says “subscribe.”    

Thanks for everyone’s positive thoughts!  Wish me luck in this home stretch!  xo Jen  

{Graphic from Tiny Prints}

The Pregnancy Diaries – Home Stretch!

I am 34 weeks today.   I had my daughter at 37 weeks 3 days, so holy moly, I am seriously in the HOME STRETCH!    I am super excited, nervous, thrilled and anxious all in one.    On one hand, I am so ready to meet her!  I also feel ready to stop all the “when the baby comes” talk and want to just DO IT!   Then on the other hand, I am sooooooo not ready just yet, as I still have so much to do!  I also think back to those first sleep-deprived, nursing-filled months and wonder how I am going to manage two kids.    Granted, I am not the first person in the world to embark on this “more than one child” thing, but still, I wonder how moms with more than one do it sometimes!  There will be just one of me, and TWO of them, I will be outnumbered when it comes to requests!  I guess my (almost) 3-year-old will have to learn the valuable lesson of patience. 

The gestational diabetes (GD) thing has been a blessing and a curse all in one.   For those who missed my previous post, here are all the details.    I am not going to lie, it was not easy for me in the beginning and I had some really bad, dark days and moments.   I am not really proud of how I handled everything in the beginning.   The stress of it all combined with pregnancy hormones and the demands of a young child and business were not a good combo there for awhile.  I am happy to say I am doing much better now!

The part I had the hardest time with was the fact that I was doing everything humanly possible diet and exercise-wise (to the point of it becoming an obsession), and about 30% of the time, my blood sugar would still be higher than it should be.   It left me feeling very depressed and out of control.  Every time I tested my blood it felt like it was a report card.  No matter how much I studied and prepared, sometimes I would fail.   It was infuriating!  I’ve had to slowly let it go.          

So, long story short, regardless of all my efforts, my fasting numbers in the AM have been elevated the past few weeks as are some of my after meal numbers, so I was referred to see a specialist yesterday.  At first I was upset that I couldn’t control it on my own, but I had to accept that I really have done everything I can.  The specialist was absolutely wonderful.  Isn’t it great when you find a doctor that seems to really care?  I started today on twice a day medication to help with my glucose levels and will now go to fetal monitoring twice a week until the end of my pregnancy.  He was very reassuring that all is OK and going to be OK.  I just need the medication to help regulate my insulin and the fetal monitoring is just a precautionary measure to make sure everything is OK with the baby.

I have to say that this has not been a totally negative experience, there have also been a lot of positives.   I would have cursed at myself for saying this a month ago, but I am almost grateful that it happened.   At this point in my pregnancy with Emma I was pretty miserable and uncomfortable.  By keeping my blood sugar stable, eating a high protein, balanced diet rid of all (excuse me) crap, and exercising daily, I have surprisingly few aches and pains or general pregnancy discomfort.  It’s been pretty amazing and it feels great to feel this good.  

The other really cool thing about going through this whole ordeal is how much I have learned about the mind/body/diet/exercise connection.   If I walk or do some sort of exercise after a meal, it will drop my blood sugar considerably.  Therefore, most nights after dinner and after many lunches we will take a walk.   It has been great to put Emma in the jogger and take a walk with my husband away from phones, TV and the computer.   So, the exercise has been good in more ways than one! Also, this has surprised me, but my skin has never been this clear in my entire life.  I have to think it also has to do with the diet.   On the flip side, if I have a stressful day, my numbers will be higher, so it is crazy to really witness how your mental state affects your body.   These are all lessons I am going to carry with me for a long time after this pregnancy is over.

Moving on, there is one GD hurdle to still tackle.   I had to have a c-section with my daughter because she was footling breech. In fact, I blame her foot for kicking me and breaking my water at 37 1/2 weeks!   I have done a ton of research and took an awesome class offered by Saddleback Hospital on VBAC, and this time I am really hoping to have a vaginal birth. The class is open to anyone, even if you are not delivering at Saddleback.   Given my situation (previous breech being the reason for the c-section), I am a good candidate to attempt a VBAC if baby is in the right position and I go into labor on my own.   Thankfully I have found a great supportive doctor.  The only wrench that GD throws into the whole *plan* is if the baby looks to be larger than normal, which is the concern with GD babies.   I go for an ultrasound on Monday to check her approximate size and will see my doctor next week to discuss.   So far my belly is measuring normal for my point in my pregnancy, and thanks to the diet, my weight gain has been less than my previous pregnancy, so I am really hoping that the baby is looking to be a normal size and it all works out for me. 

I would so appreciate everyone’s good thoughts and prayers in this area.  I feel like I can use all the positive energy I can get!    I will keep you posted next week after the ultrasound.   

Thanks for listening to my story and for all your support!!  xoxox Jen

{Graphic from Tiny Prints}

I have gestational diabetes – WHAT?!?

Just when things were plugging along pretty smoothly with the pregnancy, I got the shocking news last week that I have gestational diabetes.  WHAT?!?    You could have knocked me over with a feather.   It has been a roller coaster of a week, but I am finally coming to grips with the situation. I want to share my experience here in case someone else gets the same result.  Sometimes it just helps to feel like you are not alone.  One of my readers emailed me last week after I disclosed I failed the first glucose test.  She has gestational diabetes and shared with me her experiences and I can’t tell you how much it helped me just knowing someone else was going through the same thing.   I emailed her after I got my results and it was just really comforting to hear someone say, “It’s all going to be OK!”

So, I went back for the 3 hour glucose tolerance test on Wednesday.  That test involves 4 blood samples.  You go first thing in the morning (after fasting all night), they draw your blood to get your fasting level, then you drink that glucose drink and they test your blood 1, 2 and 3 hours after drinking it, so you are stuck there in the lab for the entire 3 hours.   Looking on the bright side, I can’t remember the last time I had 3 hours to myself to sit and read and listen to music.   For me, the 1st hour after drinking the glucose drink both tests (during the 1 hour and 3 hour) were horrible.  I felt very anxious, jittery and faint.   It started to subside then in the 2nd and 3rd hours.   It was after the second test that I had a feeling something wasn’t right, as my body seemed to be having a definite adverse reaction in that first hour after the drink.

The next morning I had another “aha!” moment.   In the mornings, the past month I had woken up starving and had my regular breakfast of a bowl of Raisin Bran (to help the, ahem, bowels) and 1/2 a grapefruit.   I had been experiencing the same feelings of anxiety and jittery uneasiness in the mornings after breakfast.  I chalked it up to stress and being a bit short of breath, but then it sort of hit me that something was *off* with my body.  When the nurse called me that AM with the 3 hour results to tell me my glucose levels were abnormal, it all sort of made sense.  Now after learning more about being diabetic, the 4 things I am not allowed for breakfast (because the pregnancy hormones that interfere with insulin are highest in the AM) are milk, fruit, juice or yogurt because of their carbohydrate content.  I was having 3 of the 4 offenders, including a cereal with a very high carb count on top of it.  No wonder!  I had no idea!

Then she tells me I have to call this diabetes program to meet with a dietician and get counseling.  When she said the word, “diabetes” it all sort of hit me. WAIT.  I thought my blood sugar was just a little out of whack, but the fact that I might have diabetes didn’t really occur to me.   I had to ask her,  “Does this mean I have gestational diabetes?”  The answer was “yes.”

OH.  MY.  GOD.  My head was spinning and I immediately blamed myself.   I shouldn’t have had those Girl Scout cookies, I should have been better about my sugar intake, oh my God, I brought this on myself.   However, logically I knew I hadn’t been guzzling milkshakes and finishing off boxes of Girl Scout cookies every day.   Generally, I think of myself to be pretty healthy.  I am active, I have watched my weight, but the blame still flooded over me.   I went online and started reading about it, which can be a blessing and a curse, almost too much info.  How did this happen to me???

Then I thought of my baby.  What had I done to her?  Was I sending her into a carb sugar shock as well?    That was the worse part, the guilt over what I had potentially put my baby through.  That afternoon I just broke down into tears.   I felt so bad, my daughter came over and hugged me and said, “mommy are you sad??”  It broke my heart into a million pieces, but I couldn’t stop the tears.

Then I got scared.  What if I couldn’t eat anything from now on and had to follow a strict diet?  What was I supposed to eat?   It was just ONE more thing to have to add to the list of things to worry about when I already felt I had so much going on.    Luckily I called the diabetes center and was able to get into the first class the very next morning.  It was a God send, because everything I put in my mouth that day I worried about what I was doing to my body.   Could I not eat fruit?  Should I check every label for sugar grams?  Carb grams?  What can I eat now?  How much?

The first class was 2 hours.  It started with a video about gestational diabetes, and I kept tearing up the whole time thinking this can’t be happening.   Then we got kits to test our blood, and I found out I have to test my blood 4 times a day by pricking myself and I started tearing up again.  Then I felt guilty because worse things can happen, but I couldn’t help feeling very sorry for myself.     We got a whole binder on the diet we are supposed to follow and food lists and a huge set of measuring cups.  I left and cried again in the car on the way home.   I was so overwhelmed.  It seemed so regimented and time consuming and strict.

I am so grateful for my husband.  He is the yin to my yang; very practical and calm.  He listens to me, lets me vent and emote, and then says, “Ok, let’s look at your food lists and figure this out together.”  I felt like I wasn’t doing this alone.    It is making me cry as I type this, because I am so grateful to be married to a person like him.  From even before we were married, I have always felt like we were a team. Anything life throws our way, I always know we are in it together.  God, I love him.  So that afternoon, we made a shopping list and the 3 of us went to Ralph’s together and stocked up with my new foods.   I was starting to feel more in control.

As I dug into the diet, and started on my new “feeding” plan (I call it a “feeding” plan because I feel like a newborn, having to eat every 2-3 hours!)   I realized THIS ISN’T THAT BAD and things started to turn around.

I can eat, and in fact, you are instructed to eat quite a bit, but the foods I am putting in my body are very healthy and incredibly balanced.   Every meal and snack has a specific ratio and combination of starch, protein, milk, veggies, fruits and fats.     I have never eaten in such a healthy way before in my life, and I have to say, it feels good!   I am also making it a priority to exercise 30 minutes a day, no excuses, because that is one way to naturally lower your blood sugar.    No more “I don’t have time!” or “I’m sooo tired!”  or “I already showered this AM, I don’t want to get a little sweaty.”   There is no choice now for me.

I started the diet on Friday (and I am being STRICT about following it…no excuses…there is a BABY involved here!), I test my blood 4x a day, and my glucose levels were good the last three days.  Then today, even after eating what I was supposed to, I had two high results.   I feel like I am on a roller coaster.   After the high results, I took two walks after lunch and dinner, and it brought my levels down.  I am a little discouraged, but I am going to just keeping doing what I am supposed to and hope for the best.   Ideally, I want to do anything I can to try and control it with diet and exercise.    I go for another follow up class tomorrow.   I am glad because I have a lot of questions.

After the baby is born, there is a 92% chance my diabetes will go away and my blood glucose will return to normal.     Although it is always something I am going to have to keep my eye on.

I think this is going to be life changing for me.  I never really, truly thought about how the foods I put in my body affected me.  I wasn’t a terrible eater, but I wasn’t a consistently balanced eater.  Now when faced with the facts of how foods affect my glucose and my body, I will never eat the same the rest of my life.   In the long run, for the health of both me and my family, I have a feeling this might end up being something I said was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Thank you for reading everyone…and if anyone is going through the same situation, I am here to tell you, “It’s going to be OK!”  Feel free to email me (jennifer@tinyoranges.com) or leave a comment.

{Graphic design from Tiny Prints}

The Pregnancy Diaries – It’s Flying By!

Before I get started on my pregnancy update, the darling moms over at Just Spotted (a must-read blog for OC families) posted a little interview I did for them on their blog yesterday.  Thank you ladies!  Click here to read more about me, Tiny Oranges and how it all got started!  Also, make sure to check out their amazing April Calendar to see all the great family events happening this month! 

I realized I hadn’t written a post for The Pregnancy Diaries in awhile and this pregnancy is going crazy fast!  I blink and another week has past.  I have to admit, the calendar turned to April and I had a little moment of temporary panic as I feel like I still have lots to do to prepare.   Deep breaths, deep breaths.  

I will be 27 weeks tomorrow, and have enjoyed the past 10 weeks feeling FABULOUS.  However, just this past week, things have now started to take a bit of a turn into the slightly uncomfortable.   Not bad, just not as great as I had been feeling.   For some reason, I carry my babies HIGH, which I think is inhibiting the space for my lungs, so sometimes I feel like I can’t get a really good breath and it makes me feel anxious.   I had the same thing with Emma, so at least I know what to expect!    I have been trying to walk and continue to do prenatal yoga, which has helped.  But, even walking now is a tad painful.  I get a lot of ligament pain at the bottom of my belly, so I have to slow down and am trying to just listen to my body.  I have started to waddle and have been known to grunt (either internally or out loud) when bending over to pick something up.  Very attractive.   However, even with the uncomfortable moments, I have to say I am really appreciating my growing belly this time around.  It really is such a special time in life, and it goes so fast.  It is a constant reminder to me of how miraculous this whole process is.  Sometimes I look at my husband and say, “do you realize there is a whole little person growing inside of me!?!”  It still amazes me.   

Unfortunately I took the 1 hour glucose screening test last week and I failed!  Do you even know how bummed I am??  I have to go back for the 3 hour test now and I am completely dreading it.  I passed with Emma, so I didn’t even give it a second thought when I went in this time.    I can’t imagine sitting there for 3 full hours on an empty stomach filled with that glucose drink.   I was counting down the minutes for the 1 hour test.   YUCK!    I have read all these contradictory things online as to how to prepare.  Some say to not alter your regular diet at all, some say to cut down on sugar and carbs, others say to make sure to get a healthy mix of carbs.   I guess if I didn’t eat my regular diet, it wouldn’t be a very accurate test.  I think I will just eat normally, however, obviously I will skip the ice cream and Girl Scout cookies the days before!  The Girl Scout cookies killed me this year.  It is impossible for me to consume just 1 or 2 Thin Mints.  I am thinking they might be partly to  blame for last week’s result.  I had to send them all to my husband’s work after I got the results, I can’t even have them in the house!   If anyone has advice for me on this 3 hour screening, please leave a comment below or send me an email (jennifer@tinyoranges.com)!  I appreciate it!

Other than that, everything is going along smoothly.   My favorite part of pregnancy is feeling all the kicks and movement, and I have been feeling a lot!   During the day, I will get so busy, I sometimes forget I am pregnant.  Then I will be sitting at my desk and feel a little kick and nudge, and be reminded, and go “oh, hello there!”  Then again at night when I finally get to lay down and watch my DVR shows (I am sooo happy it’s American Idol season! Isn’t it GREAT this year??), I feel her moving around lot, and I love that time of connecting with her.    It really has a way of bringing you back into the present moment.

There are times when I have been getting a bit stressed about how it will work with a newborn AND a 3-year-old. Will I find my groove?  Will I remember what it is like to have a newborn?  Those early months were such a blur of sleep deprived delirium!  It’s just some days my daughter is a lot to handle on her own, so I try to envision a newborn into the daily mix, and it is hard to picture how it will work!  That’s when I really wish I could have a glass of chardonnay!  Oh well, all in due time.    I am just hoping that this time around I will be able to appreciate it more, and be more relaxed.   I think I will, and it is good to know first hand, that some day I will sleep again!

That’s about it for now, thanks for listening to my update.  As always, thank you so much for reading my blog!  If anyone else is pregnant and wants to share where you are in the pregnancy, post a comment here!!!  I love to hear from you!   XO Jen  

{Graphic design taken from Tiny Prints}