Tag: gestational diabetes

30 weeks pregnant.

The 30th week of my pregnancy was actually pretty awesome. I was so over the moon that it was the Little Mister’s last week of school for the year! Yippee! The school runs were really taking it out of me. I was spending all of my energy getting him there and back – the time in between was a struggle! The idea of getting to sleep in a whole 45 minutes longer each week day morning, and saving my energy for stuff I actually wanted to do seemed like the best idea ever!

I was so happy that it was the last week of school that even when my car was rear ended at traffic lights on the morning run of the second last day of term, I wasn’t even that phased. OK, so I swore a bit in front of my kid when I felt the bang, but shit happens and I had insurance. I was OK, the baby was OK, the Little Mister had a bit of a shock but was OK too. That’s all that mattered. Not to mention, you should have seen the other guy’s car. I actually felt a little sorry for him! Thank goodness our tow ball took most of the impact!

There’s nothing that reminds you that you’re pregnant like people fussing over you after a minor car accident! It was kind of nice, but trying to convince everyone I was OK was a challenge haha.

I will admit my nerves were a bit shot afterwards. Especially after I had a little fall two days later – slipping on a certain 6 year old’s broken snow globe (long story). I was starting to think I was cursed and wondered if it might be best to just wrap myself up in cotton wool for another couple of months!

On the last day of school, I surprised myself with how emotional I felt! I might have had a mutual cry with the teacher when I went to thank her for all that she had done for my Little Mister. She’d been so supportive and inspired him every day. I just hope he can be that lucky with the teaching staff next year too. I never thought I’d be the ‘cry on the last day of school’ kind of mum – I’m wondering if I can blame hormones? But I think it may have been a combination of things: relief it was all over, gratitude that while it has been a crazy year for me, the school side of things was made so much easier by these wonderful people, the fact that the next time I head to the school, our family will have grown and I’ll have a baby in my arms! Holy crap!

This week I also made the revolutionary decision to start using a larger handbag. While I’d once been so excited to buy a smaller bag when I realised the Little Mister was old enough to travel without us having to pack the whole house, it soon became clear that I would need to return to the giant handbag phase of life. So here I am. I got a cute enough hot pink number that has like 3 zip sections (and was on sale -yay). It can carry all of my gestational diabetes paraphernalia (and relevant snacks), a bottle of water, my steroid cream for my rash, a book (for all those moments where I’m sitting in a waiting room) etc etc. I hate to admit it but it’s made life easier. When the baby arrives, it will no doubt be full of random baby related stuff. Here’s to the next several years of carrying way too much crap haha.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there’s no major PUPPP rash update this week! Everything remained fairly calm! I know that at some point it’s going to attack me with a vengeance (there’s bound to be more flare ups as my hormones become stronger and I get closer to the end – not to mention the weather can be a big factor), but it’s been such a relief to not be straight up suffering. I still have to be careful and I am fighting some small areas, but it’s really made my life better. It’s probably a bit of a tall order, but man it would be good if it stays this way past Christmas so I can enjoy that time!

I slept marginally better and I know this is TMI but I was able to finally start wearing underwear to bed again. I am not a naked sleeper by nature. It wasn’t that comfortable for me. Putting my trusty Bonds back on probably helped my quality of sleep too!

This week, I did not have much success with controlling my gestational diabetes. My diet was still spot on and controlled everything except my overnight fasting readings – the one they worry about the most. I had to increase my night time insulin injection dose from 3 units to 5. It was a bit frustrating but I have started to come to a place of acceptance about it all. It is what it is. I just have to ride it out.

It was a big psychological boost to be in the 30s finally. Count down to the end is on!

29 weeks pregnant.

My 29th week of pregnancy was BUSY! I was really relieved that my PUPPP rash was so much calmer than it had been in weeks, which allowed me to keep up with everything I needed to do. I think the slightly cooler weather was an absolute godsend too. I had pretty itchy feet, wrists and a couple of patches on the backs of my shoulders but everything else seemed to be on the mend. I started to see clear gaps of skin on my legs (between my older scars that I am afraid will take years to fade) and I was getting some more sleep at night too. I don’t know if it was the weather, the steroid cream finally kicking in, or even my newly enforced low sugar diet, but it was nice to be able to get on with life a little easier.

In saying that, this just left me some room in my brain to deal with my gestational diabetes diagnosis. This pregnancy thing is relentless, I tell ya! I saw the dietitian for a second time and it was pretty much concluded that I must talk to my diabetes educator and I’d likely be commencing with nightly injections of insulin. I just could not control my fasting blood sugar readings (the test you take each morning after waking). None of it was my fault – just bad luck. My diet was spot on and my readings were great throughout the day. I just needed some extra help overnight. I was bummed, but by the time I was handed the prescription, I was just ready to get on with it and relieved to have some kind of management plan in place. I was also really comforted after talking to my bloggy friend Leah who had been through a very similar experience when pregnant with her gorgeous daughter, S. If she could survive this, then I can too!

Of course there was a lot of running about between pharmacies due to supply issues with the kind of insulin I have to take, which wasn’t ideal, but I got there in the end. I had to start on a small dose (3 units) and report back to my educator the next week. All of this injection stuff started to give me IVF flashbacks and I was relieved that the needles used to inject myself this time around were much smaller. Phew! I asked Mr Unprepared to give me my injections as I was still a bit traumatised and didn’t want to be hesitating for ages before injecting the insulin into my belly. I was pleasantly surprised that he wasn’t worried about doing this (maybe he likes stabbing me hahaha) and that it didn’t really hurt at all. No more than those stupid finger pricks I have to give myself each day.

Sadly, the insulin did not seem to be making any difference at that dose, but knowing that soon it would be adjusted to help me more, made me feel OK about it. We’ll get there!

This week I also had a good doctor’s appointment and I even got to have a consult with a favourite midwife (who happens to be the mum of two lovely people I’ve had the pleasure to be friends with). We had a big hug and she was really helpful and kind (as all of the midwives at my clinic are).

I talked with the doctor about when I could deliver the baby and what my options will be. He talked to me about the insulin/diabetes thing some more. It was great to have some face to face time after he’d had to rush off to emergencies the last couple of times I was supposed to see him. I found it reassuring. I have so much going on with this pregnancy, that it feels important to be able to touch base quite regularly.

I got to hear my baby’s heartbeat again, as well as to find out my belly is still measuring right on track.

This week I also survived a dear friend’s engagement party! I was so relieved because I really wanted to be there for her to celebrate such a special time. We will be unable to attend the wedding (it is interstate and not long before the baby is due), so we wanted to be able to show our love and support. I wore a pretty dress that my mum and dad gifted to me earlier this spring (it hides most of the rash and the fabric is so comfy) and I was so relieved to not be so itchy that I couldn’t be ‘in the moment’. It was a beautiful afternoon/evening. I even managed to keep my blood sugar at the right level the whole time! I made the best choices I could, eating nothing but salads (picking the things with the least dressing on and enough carbs/protein/greens in the right proportions on my plate) and it paid off. I was so relieved. Maybe I can do this socialising thing. Let’s not talk about when everyone had the most amazing desserts and I couldn’t haha.

I wish I’d got a picture of myself all dolled up, but we were in a rush to get ready and I just didn’t think of it!

I got a lot of Christmas shopping done, attended the Little Mister’s school Christmas concert and ticked off a lot of admin, errands etc. I was so grateful to have a productive week after a few slow ones where I felt about as useful as a dude’s nipples.

28 weeks pregnant.

Oh, you guys. Let me just start by saying it was so great to realise that I was finally in the 3rd trimester! I don’t know why but it feels like I can legitimately whinge about being uncomfortable now haha. All the best pregnancy memes are for the 3rd trimester, don’t you know, and I felt like for the whole second trimester, I’d been carrying on like I was much further along – thanks to the PUPPP rash, mostly. The lack of sleep, the discomfort, the “I’M SO OVER IT” feeling. I mean, not that I haven’t done enough complaining (sorry not sorry – dedicated to keeping it real over here), but now it feels like I’m actually allowed to feel how I feel.

I really wanted to celebrate this great milestone, but unfortunately life got in the way. Our family had a sudden fur baby loss (it wasn’t our dog but my parents’ who we loved dearly and who was the litter brother of our own dog – we’d bonded with him as if he was our own and it was tough on everyone). This was also the first day I was supposed to measure my blood sugar levels because of my recent gestational diabetes diagnosis. Of course I measured off the charts, thanks to the stress of the day and then I got more stressed seeing those elevated readings. I felt like I was just spiralling. Also, my rash was being particularly aggressive and resistant to my treatments, so I was really struggling that weekend. I had to cancel all of my social plans that I had really been looking forward to and I sadly had a couple of anxiety attacks that left me feeling woozy and faint. I knew that I couldn’t go on like that for the sake of my own health and the baby’s. I had to send Mr Unprepared to everything with the Little Mister on my behalf and park myself on the couch, under the air conditioning (or in the bath).

I felt frustrated that my GD (gestational diabetes) diagnosis had actually assisted in making me feel more unwell than before. Psychologically it was stressing me out, and it seemed to be showing in my blood sugar readings. If I hadn’t had the diagnosis and had been ignorant, I would have stayed much more stable. While I know it’s important to monitor it in the bigger picture, I still felt resentful. It just seemed so unfair.

I was unable to control my fasting readings (the reading you take right after waking) and I probably face the real possibility of having to go on insulin. Which means that then I am deemed as having a high risk pregnancy and might have to deliver an hour away from home in a better equipped hospital for that kind of thing. Like I needed another thing on my plate! I don’t want to jump before I’m pushed – I haven’t seen my doctor about it yet (that’s probably a story for next week), but I fear that it isn’t looking good, despite the fact that I am entirely able to control the condition with my diet alone during the day.

All of my selfish whining aside, I felt for the first time that I might have to worry about the health of my baby. See, PUPPP rash does not affect the baby – just the poor itchy mother. And GD can mostly affect the mum but can often be controlled, without having a really big impact on the baby. But now I faced the fear that maybe my baby would be at risk at some point. And that scared the shit out of me. I was really upset about it. I might struggle, but I would choose myself to take all the hits over and over if I could be guaranteed that my baby would be OK. I’m a grown woman who is learning to become a fucking warrior, but a baby is just a tiny little thing who needs all the good health they can get.

I could not care less about not being able to have hot chips or chocolate or whatever (OK so I care a little bit – I’m only human). It’s just overwhelming when you add it to the stress of my rash. My pregnancy is quite the full time (or is that over time) job. I’m surprised I get out of the house with all the hours I spend researching and preparing the perfect meals, testing myself at the exact perfect times after those perfect meals, writing in a food diary and applying cream to most of my body – that’s an ever expanding amount of surface area – before having to put on the perfect outfit to hide some of my rash and not irritate it! 🙄

Anyway, I know I’ve lost some followers because I’m not having a wonderful, glowy time (and have been outspoken about it). Maybe people feel I’m ungrateful, but the truth is that I am so grateful. You can feel two very conflicting feelings at once. I learned that during my infertility struggles. You can feel so overjoyed for someone who is pregnant, while being so sad because you are not. Right now I feel overjoyed to be pregnant, because my family is finally going to be complete and while I hate my pregnancy, I love my baby so much. The moments when she’s kicking me are what keep me going, because I know she’s there and she’s OK. I cannot wait to meet her. We’ve been on quite the journey together.

This week I learned to go easier on myself. I adjusted some of my expectations of myself. If my baby has a plain, but comfortable and fairly inviting nursery when she’s born, then I will be OK with that. The Pinterest Utopia of All Best Nursery Ideas dreams I’ve had might be a little delayed, but that’s OK. I will enjoy Christmas and the school holidays with my little family of three and everything will turn out OK when we become four. The Little Miss won’t notice for a while (also she won’t be sleeping in there for a while at first). Anything extra I manage to do before her birth will be a great bonus (I still hold out a tiny bit of hope for a sudden nesting mania moment towards the end haha).

Also, this week I started to bathe in bi carb soda instead of Pine Tar bath oil, so that’s big news. Bet you’re glad to have tuned in for that! It makes a big difference – I was SO sick of feeling greasy in this warmer weather.

My bump popped out all of a sudden (more than it already had) some time this week too. The Little Miss is certainly using up as much space as she can (and there’s still quite the way to go)! She must be using some pretty rad IKEA furniture systems in there to save on storage space haha.

I laugh when I can feel her body parts really sticking out at the front of my belly. I actually can’t picture what I’m going to look like by the time she’s cooked well enough to be evicted safely, despite having done this once before!

27 weeks pregnant.

Sometimes I feel like I’m just one big bummer, posting these updates to depress everyone with. I have made no secret of the fact that I kind of totally suck at pregnancy. I fully acknowledge that things could be much much worse and I am so grateful that the baby is OK at this point, but it hasn’t been easy. I just hope that by recording how it really is in my own personal experience, that maybe I will make someone else feel less alone about it all if they are having an experience that is in any way similar to mine. I also don’t want to give the wrong impression. I want to keep it real. I want to look back on this time and realise that I was a super-motherfuckin’-hero. Getting through each of my pregnancies (and even the hard work it took to achieve this one) makes me realise I can get through just about anything. Well, in a privileged, able bodied person kind of way, anyhow.

My 27th week of pregnancy was pretty intense again. The weather was warm and I was suffering. It turns out that I have no ability to survive any level of humidity whatsoever. I was freaked out after a visit to my parents’ house, when I stood for literally 5 minutes in the sun while we said goodbye and got into the (probably a bit hot too) car. Because that was all it took for me to become unbearably, panic-stricken itchy. We got home and I had to literally sprint for a cold shower just to calm down. Holy shit!

The next morning I was meeting my bestie, Alice, for brunch. I was really nervous. Like sick to my stomach nervous. I was scared I’d freak out in public if the weather got to me again. Luckily for me, there was a stiff breeze in town (the day before had been so still that you could cut the humidity with a knife) and we had a lovely time. This really helped me to regain my confidence. Maybe I could still have a life? Kind of?

This week I felt really glad when my mum started to talk about supporting me with some of the Little Mister’s school runs. I have found them really challenging. It’s hard to get out of the house on time when you have so little sleep, plus a demanding rash treatment regimen. Not to mention a kid who takes ages to eat his cereal (although honestly he is just so good generally). I imagine in an ideal world, I would get up earlier and be all ready for the day, but sadly if I did that, I would probably pass out by 10am and that’s not really an option. Then in the afternoons, I have to get in my car in the heat of the day and wait at the school in the queue. I’ve tried to time it so I don’t have to wait long (and even then I have my car’s air con blasting), but it is the end of the day when I struggle to not itch in general. Having my mum offer to help with some drop offs and pick ups here and there made me feel so relieved. We are so close to the end of term and I am so excited about the holidays starting!

This week I had an appointment with my doctor…who had to run out of the building for an emergency at my exact appointment time. Like I literally watched him go. Oops. I saw a midwife, though, and she measured my belly (everything right on track even though I look huge), I heard the baby’s heartbeat and she arranged for me to get a prescription for a steroid cream instead of the ointment I was using, which was leaving me feeling greasy (everyone loves feeling greasy when it’s humid right?). I was really relieved to try something that might help me get ready quicker each day. Having to wait for ointment to soak in (which it never really does) was so difficult when I was always on the run in the mornings, or wanting to collapse into bed at night. This alone gave me hope that I might be able to improve my situation in a small way. It was really exciting to see that my doctor had prescribed me a generous amount – less chasing up at the pharmacy constantly. YES.

My PUPPP rash was really eating my arms and legs this week. It was trying to fill in every single gap that hadn’t already been ravaged since my 19th week of pregnancy. It was quite intense and hellish, to be really honest.

After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes in week 26, I went to a group meeting with the diabetes educator on Friday. We were given our glucometers (to measure our blood sugar levels), some general information and an appointment for week 28 with the nutritionist/dietician. I was really bummed to be going down this road again. While living healthier is always a good thing, diabetes or not, being so limited and worrying that you might not be able to control it on your own (without insulin and the requirement of having to have your baby in a different hospital away from home), sucks. We were instructed to fill out a food diary for four days and then report back our results. I walked out of there feeling a bit confident and cocky if I’m totally honest. I’d been through this before (in 2011) and aced everything. I’d controlled my condition entirely by diet choices and my baby had been a very normal size. I probably shouldn’t have been so sure about it this time around, but that’s a story for my next blog post!

 

26 weeks pregnant.

Let’s get the obligatory rash update out of the way, shall we? At the beginning of my 26th week of pregnancy, I felt pretty good. The rash was still there of course, but it was getting to a point where I could use less ointment & that was nice. Not being as greasy/itchy was a wonderful feeling! Of course, that was not to last! I then ended the week with some of the worst rash days/nights I’d had. Itchy all over, little welts everywhere. I don’t know if it was the hot/humid weather or what, but it was intense. I was learning that mid week is my worst time, generally. That’s when my therapeutic baths have become impossible, due to my routine with school runs and having the Little Mister etc. It’s the furthest point from any weekend where I can take it a little easier in the mornings or get a little more help from Mr Unprepared to rest/bathe etc. I recognise that I probably need a strategy for dealing with this time. I have no idea what to do yet, but I’ll figure it out before this baby arrives, I hope haha.

Some good stuff happened this week. After a bit of a dry spell, socially, I was able to get out and see some girlfriends. I was off to an evening screening of Bad Moms 2. It was awesome. It took a fair while to get ready – I had to bathe in Pinetarsol (pine tar bath oil), then apply steroid cream, then get dressed when it was dry. But it was worth it. I felt like a human. I even felt pretty in my stock standard Target maternity dress, with a nice kimono. You have no idea how long it had been since I had felt pretty. It was so great to wear clothing that was NORMAL. Not weird muu muu situations I’d had to survive in during the heat of the day. I think that evening outings could be a very nice bit of relief for me in coming weeks, provided I have the energy. Of course, it was wonderful to see my friends and feel like a part of society. The movie was funny as predicted, also! I was even home before my usual bed time. Big wins all around.

This week my mum came back to WA after being away for a few weeks. It was so great. We’d spent a lot of time on the phone, but having her home was just the biggest relief. My mum even brought a gift, from her and Dad, back with her. A stunning dress for an upcoming party that she’d searched high and low for. Something that covers the marks my rash has given me. I tried it on and it was perfect. It was the icing on the cake. It means a lot to me. Having that extra little bit of physical support has been immensely helpful too. I am so grateful.

This week I had to have my glucose tolerance test (GTT) to determine whether I have gestational diabetes or not. I had prepared myself mentally and physically in the weeks leading up, by improving my eating habits. I wasn’t perfect (why should I be – I hadn’t been diagnosed with anything yet) but I was much more in line with the good habits a gestational diabetic person should be undertaking. I wanted any adjustments to my diet to not be a horrible shock like they were the first time I was pregnant (with the Little Mister)if I was diagnosed. I wanted to also help myself towards having a successful test (i.e. a negative result). Of course, the night before I had 2-3 hours sleep and I had been stressed too. Not a great start. Also, I felt like having to drink the whole bottle of glucose solution seemed unfair as I am possibly much smaller than a lot of people who have to undertake the test. So of course, I was a bit upset when I received the call that I have gestational diabetes for a second time. AGAIN, on the borderline. That fucking borderline, I tell you!!! It just feels unlucky! I cried on the phone for a minute – the midwife who had to break the bad news to me was so lovely. But then I just had to suck it up. I would have to wait until I spoke to the diabetes educator lady the next week. She told me that until I had that meeting and commenced testing my blood sugar daily, that I should just live my life as usual.

In all honesty, the diagnosis felt like nothing compared to the rash I’ve had. Changing my diet has nothing on feeling uncomfortable and unbearably itchy. I’m going to hate being bossed around (even if it’s done nicely) and I’m going to resent the strict testing (not to mention having to prick my fingers like 4 times a day), but still – if I had a choice, I’d take diabetes OVER the rash any day. If only I had the choice!!! It is pretty mind-blowing that this pregnancy is so much like my first.

This week, the Little Mister turned 6. It was really important to me that we celebrated it as a little family. It was the last time we would do that as a family of three. I was so proud of my little guy for growing up so much. Mr Unprepared and I were parent helpers in his classroom for the morning and in the afternoon it was gifts, tacos and cake. He was so grateful for everything and I knew when I tucked him into bed that he had thoroughly enjoyed his day. Not too long ago, the thought of my son turning 6 before he had a sibling devastated me, but today it makes me so happy. He’s going to be an amazing big brother and I can see the advantages of having a slightly larger age gap than anticipated. This was how it was meant to happen. That doesn’t mean the struggles haven’t been worse than anything I’ve gone through, but I am grateful that I can see the positives and that our dreams will be realised, even if we had to adjust them a lot.

I am a better, stronger, more resilient person for it.

Am I not SAD anymore?

Pic

This past week or two, the wintery weather has suddenly fallen upon my little corner of the planet. The night time feels cooler, the clouds cover the sky more often than not and the rain has begun to fall a bit more regularly. The rain cover for the pram is finally being used, I’m wearing my good old trackie pants and the air conditioner is getting a rest!

I’ve never been a fan of winter. In fact, each year (other than a bit of Autumn wistfulness as new clothing hits the racks at my favourite stores) I dread it. The clouds, the wetness and the addiction to winter comfort eating have always got me down. All the songs on the radio turn into dreary commercial rock (Nickelback anyone? Shoot me) to match the weather and you have to layer up your clothing so anything cute you might have started to wear is eternally hidden under rainproof wear and those coats that strippers wear (I cannot for the life of me remember what they’re called right now – it’s been a long summer – wait they’re called trenchcoats – meh). At times I would feel just downright negatively introspective and just on the border of depression after a long bout of wind and rain. I guess I’m prone to that SAD thing (Seasonally Affected Depression/Disorder or whatever it stands for – I’m no doctor). I suppose winter also reminded me of cramming in depressing winter classes at university and feeling so damn stressed about everything life throws at you in the winter.

Last winter was so different. Last winter I was pregnant and itchy with PUPPP rash. I was also quite…warm all the time because of all the extra ‘insulation’ (I look back and think of the Little Mister’s foetus as my inbuilt hot water bottle). I had the air conditioner on constantly, as the muggy, wet weather would aggravate my rash and I suppose my husband did a good job of not arguing with me when he was probably freezing his you-know-whats off! I had to say goodbye to my leggings because the cheap fabric rubbed on my legs too much, causing me to itch. I had to wear custom altered maxi dresses from sale racks with giant scarves (to hide the rash on my neck and chest) and I had to find jackets that could hang around my giant bump without looking too strange. I felt unattractive, lonely and puffed out! I spent a lot of time on the couch, napping in my bed (when my pelvic pain would let me get in without taking half an hour just to lie down) and wandering aimlessly between the computer and the kitchen. I just couldn’t do much else – especially when soaked in the greasiest ointment you can imagine!

While it was obviously no picnic (bloody oath!), I was grateful the whole time for the fact that I had conveniently fallen pregnant in Autumn and would give birth in Spring – mostly dodging the warmest, sweatiest weather of the year. I came to look forward to seeing weather forecasts full of cold fronts and bad weather (it meant that I could stay in without feeling guilty or left out of things). I liked the days where everyone else would whine about the cold, because it meant that I would be the most comfortable.

For all the bad moments, last winter I experienced some amazing life changing moments. Feeling my Little Mister kicking inside me, playing with his little feet, elbows and knees as he pushed them against the skin of my bump. He kept me company when I felt cumbersome and… stuck. He made the discomfort worth it. The few things I got to do was attend a good number of AFL (Australian Football League – Aussie Rules) games to cheer on my team, the West Coast Eagles. These days cheered me up immensely when I wasn’t well. They were special times – especially as our team was doing so well (proving a lot of naysayers wrong)! There was the game in Melbourne (our last real holiday before the baby came) and there were a couple of games at home – one being right after I found out that I had gestational diabetes on top of the rest of my damn problems! For a few hours I felt cute (wearing my maternity jeans – finally – it was cold enough for my rash to not be as much of an issue), normal and I could forget about my blood sugar (kind of – everyone was eating meat pies and drinking soft drink) while the team won and the Little Mister kicked whenever something exciting happened.

So this year, I realise that I don’t think I’ll hate winter anymore. I’m sure I’ll get sick of it over time (I feel like that about every season at least for a little while towards the end of it) and there will be days when the weather feels like it’s stopping me in my tracks, but I think it’s growing on me. I feel grateful that this winter I can wear jeans (first skinny jeans in a loooong time – got a little bit of tummy to hide but I’m cool with that). This winter I can wear leggings in fifty million different combinations of colours and designs with nice, big, comfy tops (when I can actually afford to go clothes shopping – the possibility is still nice though!). This winter I can snuggle up real close with my Little Mister and dress him up in the cutest outfits (he was always near naked in Summer because he’s sensitive to heat – I have a theory it’s to do with my pregnancy)! I can enjoy those winter comfort foods I love (within reason). I will save on my electricity bills – not so much air con running all the time. I can look after my skin, so it’s ready for a nice reveal next Summer.

I never thought this would happen. I actually think that Winter and I might become friends 🙂

What’s your favourite season?

Getting reflective before giving out some unsolicited advice.

As I reach the pointy (stretchy, bumpy, achey) end of my first pregnancy, I am feeling a little bit reflective. It has been one big journey both physically and mentally. When talking to friends who are in the earlier stages of gestation, I realise that I have come a long way. It feels like only yesterday I too was overwhelmed and felt entirely clueless about the whole situation and now I am doling out advice (hopefully the useful and welcome kind) and trying to reassure others about the process – not that I’m some big ol’ expert know it all or anything. I guess I’ve just learnt a lot along the way.

Now, during and after childbirth? That’s a whole other matter!! Stay tuned!!!

Here are some reflections on some of the feelings and symptoms I’ve experienced so far.

Pre-conception

I was trying to play it cool. My pill prescription was due for a refill and I was going to head to the pharmacy for it when my husband said, “Are you sure you need to do that? That’s a whole four months more of the pill. Maybe we could start trying for a baby. It might take a while for your body to adjust so why not just leave it?”

Eek! I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation! I mean, we had always talked about it in an abstract kind of way and we knew we both dreamed of a family of our own, but this was REAL! Holy crap! I looked at him with wide eyes, he looked back at me and I felt a dangerous thrill.

I bought a couple of books online (OK so about four) for us to read. A couple for dads-to-be and a couple about pregnancy itself. I started having an excited browse of them, but soon realised I didn’t want to read far ahead because it was too overwhelming and I needed to stay cool. Conception might take a while and I didn’t want to pressure myself or become crazy about baby making. I wanted to be relaxed and peaceful about the process, not impatient or anxious.

I had occasions where I would have a “moment” and would need reassurance from my husband. I knew people (including my own parents) who had struggled with different fertility and pregnancy issues and while I tried to tell myself that it’s more common than people realise and that I was just being realistic, I realised just how important the dream of falling pregnant really was to me. Being adopted made me feel like I needed someone who comes from me. From my biological family tree. That is hard to admit because so much of my life is about knowing that love is thicker than water, not blood or genetics.

I stopped reading the books completely and the hubby and I booked a Contiki tour of Europe (something to look forward to if things weren’t happening on the baby front), which took the pressure off. Turns out we never went on that tour! 😉

Pic Oh crap! What now?!

First Trimester

I was nervous from the moment we found out we were expecting. The first trimester is when you’re at the highest risk of miscarriage and I was scared that I would have one. Reading statistics about 1 in 5 pregnancies failing doesn’t help! I almost expected that my first pregnancy would fail just because it was my first pregnancy (don’t ask me how that logic works). I just hoped that a second attempt would be successful (luckily this was not to be an issue).

I felt tired and overwhelmed. Suddenly I had a tiny being (or bean) on board. I’d heard the heartbeat early on (about 7 weeks in) and seen a scan of something that looked like a jelly bean attached to another jelly bean (the embryo and its little sac), but it still didn’t feel entirely real. I was excited but I didn’t want to let myself get carried away. I had a few weeks before I would feel safe to tell the world.

I was googling everything I felt. I was reading about all the foods I suddenly had to avoid (if you followed every tiny bit of written advice there is out there you wouldn’t be able to eat anything). I lost my appetite and I was losing a bit of (admittedly excess) weight. I felt so…dumb!

I started reading Up the Duff and What to Expect When You’re Expecting but nothing really sank in. I wasn’t quite ready for it all. Later these books would become my bibles (I highly recommend you keep them for when you’re ready to take their advice).

We told immediate family almost straight away. We figured we’d have support from them if things went wrong but everyone was sworn to secrecy. Their lives would not be worth living if they told even a soul!!!

We had a scare at 12 weeks (right before our ultrasound was due), with a bleed in the middle of the night. I had been stressed and that moment was confusing and scary. It was a long night for us as we waited to have an appointment with our doctor the next morning (it seemed a better option than sitting in ED with the drunk casualties at the hospital on a weekend night). We got our scan booking moved a few days early as we were quite anxious. We were so relieved when there was our little foetus looking more baby shaped, the technician telling us there was no bad reason for my bleeding (perhaps it was the placenta implanting nice and strong in my uterine wall) and that everything was looking great. There appeared to be no abnormalities and there was no likeliness of Down Syndrome too. We were in shock, but this time it was the happy kind. It was a wake up call for me to avoid lots of stress and for my husband to help out with that rather than hyping me up when I felt a bit overwhelmed. It was a big adjustment for the both of us.

I told a couple of very close friends earlier in the piece but it was hard. I never knew how to announce it! It felt embarrassing and weird! Eventually my mum told me it was getting a bit crazy (I started showing at 10 weeks) and that I really just needed to be brave and share the news. I realised she was right. Bottling it up and keeping things secret has never been my style and I just wanted to feel real and honest with those I care about.

It felt like such a relief and I felt ready to embrace the experience.

Second Trimester

This was a wonderful time. I could finally show off my bump and I was starting to gain confidence in what I could eat. My appetite and energy levels came back with a vengeance and although I stupidly started comparing myself to other pregnant people (bad idea) I was feeling excited and happy. I started running around like a madwoman – my version of nesting. I was making the most of my energy boost and I was really enjoying everything I felt in my body. Even the not always awesome symptoms – they meant I was pregnant and that was enough for me!

I was baking up a storm almost daily in the kitchen. I was organising things for people and getting my creative juices flowing. I had started this blog you’re reading right now and I was finally able to read my pregnancy books without freaking out. I made a rule that I would just take it all a week at a time. I would only read about the week of pregnancy I was in and would not dare to flick forwards to those scary parts about labour or breastfeeding! This strategy has been a fantastic one.

Our 20 week ultrasound was very exciting. We paid an extra $15 for a DVD and we delighted in showing our families. We were on top of the world. We now knew we were having a boy! Everyone expected a girl (including me) but it was yet another boy to add to ALL the males on both sides of our families. I was admittedly a teeny tiny bit disappointed but knowing the baby was healthy and he was all ours overshadowed that feeling. I guess the rebel in me had wanted to even up the scoreboard with a bit more oestrogen. Never mind! Maybe next time!

Right after the scan I developed a PUPPP rash. They believe about 1% of women will get this hormonal pregnancy rash. It was unbearable and it started in all the uncomfortable, undignified places you can think of. It itched and it made me crazy. It took 2 weeks to get a diagnosis and I felt so helpless and depressed (I don’t use that term lightly). Until I got a great treatment for it from a dermatologist, I had nothing that worked besides lukewarm baths. Let me tell you, living in the bath sounds like a great idea, but it really gets bad when you can’t cope without it. It would soothe my skin for maybe a couple of hours before I was scratching, crying and having the darkest, most saddest thoughts about my pregnancy (and then feeling more awful that my mind could go there). I wouldn’t wish that time on anyone.

My skin started to scar badly and I felt unattractive, no longer the glowing pregnant lady. I had no clothes to wear (it was winter and leggings or cheap fabrics were out of the question) and I was a shut in for weeks as I was constantly soaked in greasy steroid ointment or had no clothes to wear. Luckily my mum saved the day with a whole bunch of beautiful maxi dresses. Phew. I could leave the house again! Albeit wearing scarves and god knows what else in an attempt to hide my scars.

The itching died down with the ointment and I only needed to use it occasionally. I started living my life again and I felt quite good, although the fear of a flare up was always in the back of my mind.

This is a time where I’d like to point out that I realised there is no perfect pregnancy. I couldn’t control everything and I had to accept that this was my experience. It was OK to have some bad thoughts or experiences. It didn’t make me a bad person or a failure of a pregnant woman. I did feel misunderstood because not many people knew what the condition was, but eventually I was able to re-embrace my pregnancy and focus on the positives with a lot of love and support from family and my husband (who was AMAZING during this time). By being open about my condition, I felt liberated and I hope I educated people on what the condition is about. Even the fact that pregnancies are not always perfect and that’s just the way life is. I became determined to not feel ashamed. The rash was/is not my fault.

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Third Trimester

Sh*t gets real in this trimester. It’s like my focus went from “being pregnant” to “going to have an actual real live baby”. I finally felt ready to buy baby things and think about the end result of my pregnancy! It had been too overwhelming before but now I started to realise what all of this truly means (well I knew a baby is going to be born but there’s a difference between knowing it and feeling it).

I wasn’t just thinking or reading about pregnancy symptoms. I was finally ready to hear advice about actual babies and labour and all the rest of it!

The nursery slowly filled up with furniture and clothing and goodness knows what other supplies! A pram was purchased (something that had scared the bejeezus out of me a trimester or two earlier – who the hell knows what a baby needs?!) and a cot was assembled! I finally had a handle on what all these baby products are, what features I wanted and what the teeny tiny clothing sizes mean!

I had my glucose tolerance test at 28 weeks. What a downer that was! I had a gut feeling all along that I would test positive for gestational diabetes, despite everyone being optimistic.
“What are the odds? You’ve already been through hell with the rash. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

They meant well, but I just KNEW.

I got a bit grumpy having to see a dietician and test my blood four times a day. I felt horrible knowing that the condition was genetic (although relieved it wasn’t caused by my behaviour) because now I’ll be one of those people who have to watch out for Type 2 Diabetes for the rest of my damn life. That’s a lot to take in!!! Before this pregnancy I have always been healthy and taken for granted my smooth, tanned skin. Damn, reality can bite!

I felt hard done by. My diet would now be even more limited. I was having a pity party. 1% get the rash. 3-5% get Gestational Diabetes. I lost hope in all statistics. I no longer believe that if there is an extremely low risk of something happening that it means I’ll be right, mate. My body has proved that I can quite easily be in that minority.

I adjusted my diet over a week or so and finally feel confident in what I can eat or not eat. The hardest thing has been people in my life not understanding the limitations on my diet. Eating out can be difficult and people think that as long as I don’t eat cookies, cake or lollies then I’m fine. There is much more to it than that. I have to watch my carbs, the hidden sugars in almost everything we buy off supermarket shelves, even the natural sugars in fruit. All the condiments, sauces, salt content, proportioning of a meal, the timing of when I eat etc can have an effect on my blood sugar and at times I felt like I was repeating myself over and over and over. I don’t expect people to cater for me (I eat at home first or just watch them eat cake) but it did get frustrating trying to explain. I know everyone means well and I truly don’t blame them for not having the information (after all it’s not their problem). I think I just reached a level of annoyance about having the condition in the first place. Everything was getting to me. I withdrew socially for a few weeks so I could regroup and toughen up a bit. Perhaps, had I not had the rash, I might have handled it better psychologically.

This trimester we went to ante-natal class. I felt so much more relaxed afterwards. I now know more about the process at the hospital and about birth itself. How it all works, what the midwives are likely to do and different birthing positions and stories about natural births and C-sections. Taking some of the unknown out of the whole labour experience proved oddly reassuring, even though I’m sure to be in a whole world of pain and unexpected events when the time comes! The class made me realise I’m so ready for this baby.

One thing that really cheered me up socially was my baby shower! It was the first time I would see my friends in maybe a month. I was nervous about entertaining so many people at my house (I was getting to the really tired phase of pregnancy) but it was fantastic. There was SO much love in my house that day and I was on a high for days afterwards. The gifts were all gorgeous and useful. People were raving about the dessert buffet by Finn + Evie (which was planned before I found out I had diabetes) for days and I felt so spoilt. I felt overwhelmed by love and all warm and fuzzy that our baby is going to know this love soon!

Now I’m in the 36th week of pregnancy and my rash is trying to come back with a vengeance. It really loves my legs and my newly acquired stretch marks (please don’t give me advice on my skin unless you’ve had the condition – I know you mean really well and I love you for it but I can’t just whack on some bio oil or paw paw ointment yet – it’s going to be a long process and my skin is very sensitive at the moment – it’s not always that straight forward). This is difficult as I am already finding it hard to sleep. I thank my lucky stars I have my ointment this time. The weather isn’t helping at 94% humidity!!

I still have to pack my hospital bag (and one for the baby and one for the husband) but I feel ready. Once I know our little one is fully cooked, I can’t wait to get him out of me and into my arms! I want to meet him and love him and nurture him and show him off, but admittedly I am also SO over being pregnant! I want to eat what I like, wear high heels (or even nice wedges will do) and stop itching!

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My Two Cents Worth

I’ve had a big reality check with my first pregnancy. Life isn’t always smooth sailing and pregnancy is no different! I don’t want to scare any newly pregnant people with my tales of woe! It really is a lovely experience despite everything else. I just don’t believe in sugar coating it or making others feel inadequate by not being honest about my feelings and experiences. One thing that hasn’t changed through this whole process is my love for our baby. Love really can conquer all. I would tell anyone who is newly expecting that if you go with the flow and know it’s OK to not be in control, you’ll be able to get through anything. You might have dark thoughts, scary moments or feel particularly frumpy or spotty or clueless, but I promise you that you’re not alone. It’s a scary time as much as it is exciting. You just never know what will get thrown at you along the way! Just don’t beat yourself up if it’s not perfect or your thoughts aren’t all unicorns and rainbows. Everyone’s experiences are different. That woman you feel daunted by because she’s one of those seemingly perfect pregnant ladies might be hiding a multitude of conditions. She may have suffered miscarriages previously, she may be dressing so nicely to hide scars from a rash, she may not be able to eat what she likes (that might be why she seems so perfectly slim everywhere but the bump). She might just be paralysed by anxiety when she goes home at night. She might be able to keep up her paid day job forever while you feel like you can’t cope, but she may be throwing herself into work to avoid the inevitable list of baby related preparations that are seriously freaking her out.

You just don’t know, so don’t compare yourself. You’re good enough and you’ll be amazing even if there are some (big or small) bumps in the road.

I truly believe that if we’re all honest and we don’t buy into the bullsh*t that pregnancy is all glowy and blissful 100% of the time for everyone, if we take the time to listen to someone who is feeling confused or scared (or itchy!), then perhaps it won’t be so difficult and some of us might not feel so alone. Unconditional love and support has been what has got me through darker days/nights. We need to let people know they don’t have to be perfect just because it makes us feel better.

And, hey. If you have a terrifically blissful 9 months – good for you! I cannot express enough how much I am happy for you! You’re so lucky and so is your baby 🙂

Wish me luck for the next few weeks, lovely readers – we’re approaching crunch time!!

I have become what I always feared.

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In my 33rd week of pregnancy, I am certainly not the same person I was before I got knocked up (sorry Mum – I know you hate that expression – I use it entirely in jest)! I am sure I will return to being that pre-pregnant Kez (but hopefully with a little more experience and wisdom) at some point…maybe in 18 years…but for now I’ve had to accept that some things just aren’t as simple as they were before! Honestly, sometimes I feel a bit like a Douche-Bag these days!

I am late to everything ALL THE TIME. This (yes – this person right here who you’re reading about) is usually the most punctual person you’ve ever met. I used to rock up at events half an hour before they even started and have to wait awkwardly in the car or make weird small talk with the people who were setting up (if I knew the host well enough to just wander on in a bit early) while I offered to assist them with anything only to have them refuse my offer…wait that sounds like I was annoying…Well, you know what I mean. I always had it drummed into me that turning up late is not indeed fashionable or polite! That being early is better than being tardy! I feel really bad about it. I know plenty of pregnant women are able to get their arses in gear and turn up somewhere at the right moment, but I’ve just become one of those hopeless zombies I swore I would never be! I even struggle to get out of the shower…which brings me to another point:

I am not environmentally friendly. I use a hell of a lot of water. Sure, I was never super keen on getting out of the shower in a very small amount of time, but I did have my limits. Now I just stand in the shower staring gormlessly into… nothing. I don’t see the shower curtain or the soapdish. I see…nothing. My brain becomes blank and the water feels soothing. At the very least, before I was pregnant I was at least solving the problems of the world in there.

At least I’m using “organic” shampoo and cleaning products for the house? And when I say I’m using those cleaning products, I just mean I have them stored in the cupboard and one day I’ll get back to that whole nesting thing…you know, probably on the day I go into labour or something…

I have lost my ability to plan ahead. I get as far as around-about-ish my due date (a little bit before it and a little bit after it) and then I get stuck. People send out invitations and I’m like, “Um I don’t know. I might have an extra little person in my life or I may not by then. I may have a C-section to recover from or I may not. I might feel ready to attend major social events but I may not. This might disrupt the baby’s routine or he may be super cruisy and almost anything will go. Can I get back to you later and be a total turd and ignore your RSVP requirements?”

“Um, sure Kez. You douche-bag.”

Seriously, most people (if not all) are really accommodating to my situation but it makes me feel horrible. I am an RSVP ogre at the best of times and here I am disregarding everything I’ve ever believed about being an excellent RSVPer. Who am I?!

I’m an annoying diva at restaurants/social events too. Ever since my diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes, I’ve had to watch every single thing I eat. When I’ve had to dine out, I’ve had to become really picky. I can look at entire restaurant menus and not see a single meal I am allowed to eat without asking the waitstaff/kitchenstaff to change something for me. This is really hard for a person like me because I will always say, “Oh yeah. This is really delicious!” when a waiter/waitress comes around to check we’re satisfied with our meals, even if what I’m chewing on tastes like someone’s dirty old socks dipped in garlic.

Having to ask someone, “Can I have the sauce/dressing on the side and can I replace the fries with seasonable vegetables and can I have the steak well done and can my bread please be multigrain or wholemeal and can I basically change your entire menu to suit my needs?” is very challenging for me! I always explain that I’m not just a diva or an allergy faker. I always smile a lot and say I appreciate everything they’re doing for little old me and if I have a few extra coins, I’ll hope I can tip the staff…but I still feel bad!!

I just can’t risk high blood sugar readings or I’ll be forced to take insulin and deliver at a hospital an hour and a half’s drive away from my house! SCARY! Not to mention the baby could become unfathomably big – that’s gotta come out of somewhere, people!!!

Worst of all, I am one big Flakey McFlakerson. I can never predict which days I will feel well and which days I will feel under the weather. I can have a day where I have amazing bursts of energy and I can travel far, have the productivity levels of Superwoman, but then suddenly I can spend a day feeling like I’m fighting off a coma while aching and suffering like a sad little invalid (you know – as opposed to all the tough invalids out there who have things worse than me – the shame).

This means that I can RSVP to an event (formal or casual) and then on the day have to change plans completely…yep. Douche-Bag. I was able to soldier on earlier in my pregnancy but now I just know my physical limitations. It kills me when I have to send a stupid apology text or make an apology phone call. Especially if it has to be at the last minute, despite the fact that I’ve actually showered myself in record time and I’m wearing “OK for public viewing” clothing. That takes effort and you know I’m serious about pushing on through like a little trooper if I’m wearing earrings and lipstick!! It’s just that sometimes it’s not enough to want to be somewhere. I’ve got to be confident that I won’t feel like passing out or throwing up. Not that I have actually gotten to the throwing up stage, but my body has threatened me many a time and it is kind of…distracting when you’re trying to have a conversation.

I feel like I am not doing this pregnancy thing as gracefully (or efficiently or as competently) as some of the other yummy mummies I know, but things haven’t been as easy for me as I had once naively dreamed. I could have it much worse (just knowing my baby is OK says I’m lucky), but I think I’ve had to sacrifice exercise earlier on in the piece due to my rash and now I’m feeling the effects of being not-as-fit-as-I-could-be combined with the shortness of breath and the lack of stamina any woman feels when they’re carrying a baby the size of a large jicama (which I had to google because I had no idea what it was – it’s some kind of massive fake potato if you really want to know). I’ve also had to change my lifestyle (ie restrict it more) with the diabetes and sometimes with all the finger pricking, recording of food, and preparation of special meals, I wonder how I’ll fit anything else in a damn day!

It’s funny because by the time I get a handle on it all, I’ll probably have the baby!! Ah, pregnancy. What are you doing to me?

So please bear with me, real life buddies. I’m working on all of this! I haven’t been abducted by some kind of alien that steals your usual personality…or maybe I have…it’s the probing I’m worried about…

Either way, it’s a bit disconcerting having to accept that you no longer have control over your life and that your decision making habits sometimes get disrupted. And parenthood hasn’t even “officially” started yet!!!

I’m adjusting as best I can. Promise!

PS. I know I’m being a big wuss bag, but I’m trying to be as honest about my personal experience as I can. Maybe I’m not the only one out there? x

Gestational Diabetes. I has it.

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Pregnancy is a little freaky (well, it is). Especially the first one, I’m guessing. It’s all the unknown. It’s not like you’ve ever done it before. You have no idea what to expect. Well, other than the basic stuff – maybe getting morning sickness, eventually forgetting what your feet look like and having a baby at some point. Oh and the waddle. It will get ya.

You can read lots of books and you can do all that is within your control to prepare for every possible symptom or outcome, but at the end of the day you can’t help but feel awesomely unprepared for it all. Each person is different and each pregnancy is different!

I am adopted and this makes life more interesting. I am learning stuff about me (and evidently those before me) for the first time during this experience! Now I finally know my blood type. And soon I will know what my biological relatives will look like (oh please let them be pretty)! Oh, and there’s the small matter of discovering the hard way that my genes carry a history of gestational diabetes.

Yes, gestational diabetes. I has it.

Despite the (usually misinformed) stigma attached to all forms of diabetes, there is nothing I did wrong or nothing I did to cause it (the dietician said this about five million times so I believe her). I just have to manage it as best I can and hope it goes away when the baby is born. I am not obese and although my rash (yeah that other thing I’ve had to deal with) got in the way of more regular exercise for a while, I am not living an entirely sedentary life! Have I fallen victim to a sweet tooth during this pregnancy? You betcha. But apparently that’s not the cause. It just exacerbates an already existing condition.

I now have to prick my finger four times a day (to test my blood sugar levels), keep an entirely honest food diary (EEK!) and attend class/meeting thingys on healthy eating and gestational diabetes weekly…for the rest of my pregnancy (and maybe even beyond because now *sarcastic hip hip hooray* I’m more prone to developing Type 2 diabetes later in life!

Not to mention the fact that I have to give up any cake, biscuits, icecream, chocolate and all the little treats that can sometimes make pregnancy seem so much sweeter (literally)! I’m a bit bummed that my family history is no longer a clean slate. I can no longer pretend I am 100% healthily awesome – the pioneer of a new superhuman legacy. Turns out, some bugger of an ancestor started this and I can’t even tell them off because I do not know who the hell they are. DAMN YOU, ANCESTOR!!!

At the end of the day, knowledge is power and I will do everything I can to make sure the baby and I stay safe and sound. I will shake off the fear of  judgement surrounding pregnant people and their habits (it’s amazing how much people watch you like a hawk if you let them) and stick to what the professionals tell me. I will make the most of being healthier (can’t be a bad thing right?) and I will just have to put on my big girl pants and get on with it.

So, here’s to a new challenge along the pregnancy journey. I am awesomely unprepared (understatement of the decade) but I am gonna face this and I’m gonna make it my bitch.

That’s the spirit, ‘eh?

What genetic quirks/conditions run in your family? Or are you adopted like me?

 

For more information on gestational diabetes, you can click here.