Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Final Score - Dr. Y: 2, Jackson: 2

It's Saturday, and I apologize for being silent to all those who have been sitting at home, clicking "refresh", waiting to find out if Jackson is here yet or not. I've been a little preoccupied with things like trying to recuperate after having a baby and stuff.

After spending all morning having strong, frequent contractions and the most hellacious back labor known to mankind (while contractions are bearable, that back labor is crap! Ohmydog so much pain I can't even tell you. Think of the worst pain you've ever felt. Now multiply that by a million, and put it in a place that you can't reach to try to soothe. Backrubs, counter pressure, heat packs...they all sound like a great idea. And yet I didn't find them as helpful as people sell them as), Dr. Y came back to my room around 2:00 on Thursday to check my cervix. I had only dilated 1 cm (you need to be 10 cm to push a baby out! I was a long way from there!) and hardly effaced at all. (The cervix was still thick, it needs to thin out to open up). So after all that work and all that pain I had made no progress towards being able to get Jack out on my own.

Dr. Y looked at me with empathic eyes and said "You know what this means". I nodded and said, "Prep the OR". I do have to say one thing here though - Dr. Y did everything in her power to honor my wishes regarding the birth I wanted. She truly
and honestly did. I know I never would have gotten that kind of respect and patience out of Dr. Boob Check. I am so very grateful for Dr. Y's multiple attempts to allow me to have the birth I wanted. Her job was to have a healthy mom and a healthy baby at the end of the day. She did her job, and she did her job well. She really did try to give me what I wanted, I know she did her best. But nothing she did worked.

My heart was broken. Seriously, it hurt so bad having to admit that I was going to have a c-section that I could barely breathe, I was just racked with such immense feelings of failure and loss that my entire being shook. I'm crying right now as I revisit that moment in my head. The nurse got me ready for surgery, they called down an
anesthesia guy, and I walked the longest hallway ever from Labor and Delivery to the C-Section Operating Room. I told Tim it felt like a "walk of shame". All the things I did not want so much were happening to me. I had to have an c-section, I had to have an epidural, I had to be tied to the operating table. As they were taping my arms to the wings of the table, I said "I feel like I'm being crucified". Dr. Y laughed hysterically and said that I was the funniest patient she's ever had. But I really did feel like I was making the Ultimate Sacrifice for someone else's well being. I've heard so many Epidural Horror Stories that I wanted to avoid that at all costs. But I couldn't avoid it anymore. I had no choice. I had to do this for Jack. They don't let the Daddy into the room until the procedure is ready to begin, so while they prepped me and epiduraled me, I was all alone. And I truly do mean all alone. I've never felt "alone" as a feeling more acutely in my life. They really should let the Daddies into the OR right away. Sometimes the Mommy needs him there. I certainly did. I kept hearing me telling myself over & over again in my head...'I've failed, I've failed, I've failed...". I really could have used some moral support.

I felt the epidural stuff only on my right side, so they tipped the table to the left. Without warning me. I freaked out. I screamed, "HELP ME I'M FALLING OFF THE TABLE!" because I really thought I was falling off the table, and there was no way in hell I could have fought gravity to hang on to the table. I felt like jelly. I think they
gave me too much of the medicine because I was supposed to be numb from the waist down. Instead, my arms were numb, my hands tingled and I felt like I couldn't breathe.

Dr. Y cut me open and I heard her say something about a big blood vessel. I guess that's why I lost so much blood that now my labwork comes back showing me as anemic. Oopsie. Yet another thing my body can't do correctly. In a moment of pure insanity (or clarity, I guess it depends on how you see it), I asked Dr. Y to make the incision so I could try a VBAC next time. NEXT TIME!?!?! Who am I kidding?!?!?! Next time should be the last thing on my mind at this time, but still there I was,
planning years ahead already. Cuz that's how I roll.

Dr. Y said the amniotic fluid looked nice & clear, which is good. Jack wasn't in such distress that he passed some of his meconium into his fluid, which can be bad for the baby (because basically they end up breathing their own crap). So that was good. I felt the pressure of her lifting Jackson from my womb.

I then experienced the longest few seconds of my life, as I waited to hear my son's cry. It couldn't have been more than 5 seconds, to be totally honest. But it felt like an eternity. I laid there with my abdomen cut open, unable to see what was going on, while Tim snapped pictures, and all I could do was wait. I kept whispering to myself "Cry, Baby, cry". This really didn't help that feeling-like-I-couldn't-breathe dealie I already had going on!

The most beautiful sound in the world is your child's first lusty wail.

I would have killed or died a million times over to hear that sound. I heard it, and my entire body went slack (like I wasn't slacky from the epidural, but whatever). He was here! He was here and he was crying and he was okay. It was the tiniest little crumb of peace and contentment, but I clung to it.

Since Jackson is a little early, he's having some complications that require he stay in NICU instead of in my room with us (Tim packed my air mattress and has been sleeping on that, on the floor so he could stay in my room with me. What a gem of a
guy, huh?). His lungs are a little immature (which is why we wanted to do that amniocentesis in the first place, to check) and he had a little bit of amniotic fluid stuck in there from being born via c-section instead of a vaginal birth. When they come out through "the door", the birth canal helps squeeze that extra fluid out for them. When they have to come out through "a window" they don't get that little perk. So he is in the nursery across the hall, which sounds so close but is yet still so very far away from me. I am still a little wobbly on my feet and they just finally took the IV From Hell out of my arm last night. Jack can't take any food by mouth yet because he's not yet ready to eat and breathe at the same time. So he's on a feeding tube, and Tim has been going to the nursery every few hours to feed and cuddle him. He sings to him and tells him he's going to grow up to be the best quarterback ever of the San Francisco 49ers. :)

I try to make it over there too, but sometimes it doesn't work out with my own eating, insulin dosing and breastmilk pumping schedule. When he's not eating, the nurses want him to rest, so I am shunned from waking him in the nursery to visit with him unless it's a feeding time that fits into my schedule. Except that when I'm not eating, insulin dosing or breastmilk pumping, my doctors want me to rest too. I can't win! :(

I am still more than just a little frustrated with my birth experience. I'm getting over it,
trying to accept the outcome. I'm getting there. I'm not there yet. It's really hard for me. I live life with a lot of discipline and planning. I scope out every move. I like it that way. I control my destiny. Over the past few months, I have trained for this. Millions of kegels, squats and pelvic tilts later, my bahina was prepared for birth. I feel like I trained for a marathon that I didn't get to run. It's so disappointing. I did everything I was supposed to. Everything. And it still wasn't enough. My everything wasn't enough. That *kills* me.

I have one tiny ray of sunshine in my dreary outlook. I have Jackson. I have a 6 pound, 11 oz, 19 inch long baby boy who is just the most beautiful thing I have ever
seen. And while he's struggling a little bit right now, his size and weight is just what his mom worked so hard for so long's *perfect*. At 37 weeks, a healthy baby of a non-diabetic mother is supposed to weigh between 6 and 7 pounds. Babies of diabetic mothers typically weigh more when the diabetes isn't controlled at all, or is poorly controlled. Not my baby. I worked my tushus off and it shows. It might sound stupid to you, but I take great pride in his size.

Before turning off the lights to go to bed last night, I told Tim the bad news.

I told him there was another man in my life now. Tim said, "Oh yeah?" And I said
"Yeah. But don't worry, he doesn't even weigh 7 pounds. You could totally take him out."

And so, I present to you our firstborn son, Jackson Phoenix, who was born on Thursday, September 28th at 2:19 pm. He is 19 inches long and is 6 pounds, 11 ounces of the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. However, I will readily admit that I am quite biased.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The score: Dr. Y - 0. Jackson - 2

It's Thursday morning, and I've just showered and changed hospital gowns. Why do they call these 'gowns'? They aren't appropriate for wear to any formal event. (Or informal one, for that matter!)

Dr. Y came in around 6:30 this morning to take my Cervadil out and check my progress. I am still neither dilated nor effaced at all. The nurse just left my room, after hooking up a new bag of Pitocin in an effort to give that a second try.

I spent all night writhing in pain. I had contractions and back labor all night. It sucked so hard. When Dr. Y checked me this morning and said I had not progressed at all, I cried. All that for nothing. I have now been in the hospital for an entire day for NOTHING. I'm so frustrated. I feel like such a failure.

I wish I knew how long they're going to let me go to see if the Pitocin does anything today. I have just about abandoned all hope of having my desired non-medicated vaginal birth. And I don't care anymore. I give up. I quit. Cut me open, I don't care.

Just make it end now, please.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Update: The new plan sucks monkey nuts too

So after sitting here all day long with the pitocin going, I have dilated and effaced...not at all. Dr. Y put in the cervadil a little while ago. It felt hard and scratchy going in. I don't recommend it at all.

I could have spent today at home and ended up with the same results! I'm pissed!

I wanted to do my nails today. I wanted to do my nails in the same color I wore on our wedding day for Jack's birth day. (All together now..."AWWWWW!") I was so disappointed to think that all those first pictures would be taken of me, holding Jackson, with a sad worn manicure. So when Tim went home to grab our bags and take the dogs to the kennel, I had him grab me my stuff. So, my nails are done now (in OPI Shanghai Shimmer, if you must know) and I am *now* officially ready to give birth. Well, my nails are ready. My cervix isn't. Priorities, you understand.

The plan is...there is no plan!

As of Monday, the "plan" was for me to have an amniocentesis this morning to determine lung maturity and if that came out good, which it should, then we'd come back to the hospital tonight and start a dose of cervadil to ripen my cervix to give birth and start on some pitocin tomorrow morning to induce labor.

Well, this morning Dr. Y took a look inside with an ultrasound to find that I didn't have enough amniotic fluid to do an amniocentesis and my placenta is beginning to go kaput. This all surprised the heck out of me...Dr. Y, not so much. So I did not get to pass go, I did not collect $200, I went directly to...labor & delivery.

Oy. I was all about The Plan. I was ready for The Plan. I had my bags packed at home for The Plan. And plan! The new plan involves me in a L&D room, on an IV of fluids, antibiotics (I have Group B Strep in my dirty whore's vagina, apparently), and pitocin. I have a blood pressure cuff on my left arm that monitors me every few minutes. Contractions feel like the worst menstrual cramps I've ever had. OW!

I'm focusing on letting go of The Plan...or any plan for that matter. I have to wrap my head around this possibly not working out for the unmedicated vaginal birth that I had my heart set on. If my blood pressure doesn't hold out, or if Jackson starts showing signs of distress, I might need to be gutted like a fish. Since I know that being disappointed in your birth experience ups the risk for PPD (and we all know I'm already petrified of the big, bad PPD), I am working hard to mentally get myself to a place where I'm okay with a birth, any birth, as long as the results are a healthy baby.

The fun good news portion of this all is that one of the girls I went to high school with is one of my night nurses in labor & delivery. I haven't seen her since our 10 year reunion. But it's still awfully comforting to have a familiar face I can immediately trust with my life as part of my medical team. Once again, I have to chalk it up to "God knew what I'd need". He knew this would be a difficult turn of events for me to accept, and He knew I'd need a friendly, familiar face to get me through. So he put Sarah here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A New Perspective

I've decided that I'm okay with having Jackson being born on Thursday. I'd much rather mark the date on my calendar as Jack's birthday than as anything else.

Since I choose to start making a lifetime of new, good memories to replace all those old, bad ones...this makes sense to me.

It's 11:00 pm on Sunday night, and I've just enjoyed my very last ever child-free weekend. It's an odd feeling. In four days, my son will be in my arms.

I'm supposed to rest and take it easy between now and then, but it's incredibly difficult. It's like waiting for the best Christmas of my life.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Mark your calendars! I suppose I should pack a bag now. Also, now taking applications for post-partum support.

Little by little over the past 2 weeks, my blood pressure has been gradually rising. While my health is in decline, the baby seems to be doing just fine. However, I'm told that it's only a matter of time until Jackson begins to be impacted by the problems I'm experiencing.

Based on my current status, my OB would like to perform an amniocentesis next Wednesday morning to check for lung maturity. If the lungs are ready to breathe, we will start the induction process on Wednesday evening and Jack will make his grand debut next Thursday, September 28th. Hold on. I want to check what sign that would make him. Ooh, he'd be a Libra. Libras are nice. Hubby is a Virgo/Libra cusp baby. Anyways, back to the situation at hand.

So, next Thursday I would have my baby. WHOA. That seems so close...and yet so far away! And as I check the calendar, a wave of nausea washes over me. Next Thursday is 9/28. That was my wedding anniversary to my ex husband. EW! It was bad enough how it just so happened to work out that Tim and I got married last year on Dave's birthday. But have our first child on our wedding anniversary? That would be...WEIRD. Dave and I get along great now. I guess we had to get divorced in order to be friends again. I just hung up the phone with him and he laughed hysterically at my conundrum. Thanks a LOT, Pal!

I've been in denial over my impending delivery and I've been a bad girl and haven't packed my bag for the hospital yet. I think this is something I should get done today though. I wish someone could tell me exactly what was going to happen and exactly how it is going to feel and exactly how long it is going to take. I'm not afraid of giving birth, I'm not even afraid of the pain. I'm just afraid of the unknown.

One of the unknowns I am most afraid of is Post Partum Depression. I'm fairly certain that my mother suffered from this with me (why else would you abandon your newborn infant and run away from home?) and with my own personal history of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression, I feel like I'm a sitting duck. I know the medical physiology of PPD. I know how the fluctuation in hormones can hit you like a ton of bricks and land your heart on its ass. I'm scared to death of this.

I've discussed this with my doctor, and she is going to start me on a prophylactic dose of progesterone after delivery in an attempt to keep my hormone levels even-keeled so I don't go over the deep end. So at least I feel like I'm doing something to address my own worst fear. At the same time, if any of my beloved friends/blog readers would like to volunteer to be my lifeline should I need one, I will gladly accept the volunteered help. I feel like since there's very little I can do to truly prevent PPD from happening to me, the best plan I can have in place involves preparing my body with the progesterone and my mind with a support system in place. It's really hard to be prepared for something you can't prepare for.

If I focus on it too much, I feel like a hamster running in a wheel. I keep running and running and running in my mind but I get nowhere with all my running. It's really very frustrating! I want to run away from it. Away from my genetic predisposition, away from my personal predisposition, away from the inherent risks just from giving birth. I want to hide from it, maybe under my bed or something. I want a gigantic bubble around me, like in the movie Bubble Boy, that will insulate me from anything bad that can or might happen. But I know I can't run or hide or insulate myself from the possibility. And so I reach out to you, dear friends, and ask you if you can be there for me if I need it.

Because frankly, I'm just so afraid. Knowing I can't control it makes me even more afraid. The juxtaposition of my emotions over Jackson's impending birth absolutely torments me. I am so excited to meet him. I feel like I know him so well after loving and nurturing and carrying him for so long. At the same time, I know I don't know him at all. He is an individual with his own thoughts and feelings and likes and desires. I've never loved anyone as much as I love him. There's a certain vulnerability involved when you let yourself truly love someone. If you don't give your heart to them, they can never hurt you. I adore this little person so much, I can't help it. But by loving him, I give him the ability to break my heart and that scares me. And of course, I dread coming to the realization that I am suffering from post partum depression, if that happens. I know I will completely feel like an utter failure if it occurs. To think that all my life - 31 years of hopes and dreams of a family of my own - culminated in me not being able to handle it will crush my spirit.

My excitement to meet Jackson is evenly tempered by all these apprehensions rattling around in my brain. It's ugly to think about. I think I'll go pack my bag now.

P.S. I'm laughing right now, because I just spell checked this entry and spell check suggests "party" instead of "partum" in my post. Post Party Depression. Oh, how I wish it were something as uncomplicated as that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

On negativity from the past, and how it prepared me for a positive future

Before I put myself into therapy in my 20's in an attempt to heal from my traumatic childhood, I could see nothing good about a lot of what I grew up with. After a few years of working through things in my mind, I slowly came around to the conclusion that I could use all the ugliness of my past as a guidepost for my future. For instance, after growing up being beaten black and blue by my mother and being told how I was stupid, fat, ugly, ruined her life and never should have been born, I knew that those were things I would *never* do to my child. Maybe I didn't learn how to be a great mom by my mother's example, but I did learn some very specific very bad things that I absolutely did NOT want to do. So I can still use those negative experiences to guide me, as a template of what not to do.

This spin put a refreshing twist on what I had been through and made the pain just a little bit more manageable.

As hubby and I are going through our childbirth preparation classes, we're learning various techniques that are supposed to help me deal with the pain of labor and birth. A huge part of this involves conscious relaxation through contractions. Which sounds damn near impossible to me. We're supposed to practice fake contractions outside of class to make the technique more accessible when we need it. This sounds utterly ridiculous to me, and I'll be honest: we don't do that.

However, I have done something else. Anytime someone pisses me off, stresses me out, makes my blood boil or upsets me in some way I have worked on consciously going to my 'happy place' and deliberately making myself come down from what I am feeling at the moment to a place of peace. This is REALLY hard for a high strung person like me to do! But I think God knew that practice contractions would never teach me what I need to know in order to be prepared for Jack's birth day. He knew that I needed something real in my everyday life so I could learn how to 'let go'.

I don't believe that I'm making lemonade out of lemons. I truly believe that every experience of my lifetime thus far has been building me, molding me, preparing me for this. When I couldn't see His hand working in my life, when I didn't understand why I was living through the pain I felt, I truly do believe that everything was carefully being orchestrated in order to get me ready for my future.

It was as recently as last week that my stupid mother in law got on my last nerve again. And while I didn't recognize it at the time, it was yet another opportunity for me to practice finding peace. That clerk at Target that made me want to stab her in the jaw on Sunday when she wouldn't honor their advertised sale? It was a chance for me to practice. The stupid receptionist at the hospital who was a lazy idiot? Another chance.

So now that I've been able to look back on these occurrences with perfect 20/20 hindsight, I'm going to have to get better at recognizing these moments when they happen as the gift they really are.

And now that I've learned that lesson, and can practice this technique every day (because even though I have a strict Zero Tolerance Policy for Stupid People, I still end up finding at least one each day), I can also advance my technique to better prepare me for motherhood. Because I'm sure there will be plenty of times that instead of a knee jerk reaction, my children will need a thoughtful, patient response.

I'll be the first one to admit that I am a work in progress. And even though the catalyst for my progress has really sucked at times, I am thankful for the struggles of my yesterdays that serve to prepare me for my tomorrows.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why I love my husband, part 2 in a series

A huge clap of thunder awoke me from my happy nap time this afternoon. Our power flickered and in a panic I thought to myself *GASP* "my sunroof is open!".

I peeked outside, it was pouring. Thunder and lightning struck again, my neighbor's car alarm went off. Oh crap!

I told Tim "oh no, my sunroof is open!" and he popped up like a pop tart jumping out of a toaster, threw his clothes and shoes on, grabbed my keys and before I had a chance to realize what was happening, ran across the street in the driving rain to close my car up for me.

Then he nonchalantly strolled back into the house, like nothing happened. To him, no big deal. To me, gigantic overture of kindness.

I wuv him.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

UPDATE: The pre-eclampsia terror alert level is YELLOW. So far. :)

I spent today "on tour" as I have taken to calling it. I try to schedule my doctors appointments in groups a couple days a week, so I can have one or two days "off" a week too. This morning I started at my OB. My blood pressure was still slightly elevated (130/90) but my test showed no protein spilling. The blood pressure thing really throws me off. For anybody else, 130/90 would be "slightly" elevated. My normal BP is more like 105/65. I normally run just a little on the low end. Compared to everyone else's definition of "normal", my BP is only slightly abnormal. Compared to what I know I usually am, my BP is just a little too high for my comfort. But, so far I'm holding steady at my previous level of health/wellness (depending on how you look at it, I suppose). My condition hasn't progressed or worsened. So, yay!

Then I did yet another non-stress test. Jack hates the NST. He was especially ornery today. Just when the nurse thought she had him, he said "No!" and wriggled around elusively to evade the sensor's probing. The NST showed that he's still healthy as a horse, good heartbeat and no signs of fetal distress. So, yay!

Then we did the Amniotic Fluid Index. I am starting to think that the polyhydroamnios that Dr. Coffee Breath found at my first Level 2 ultrasound was a fluke or a misdiagnosis. Never before or since has an ultrasound shown that my fluid levels are above normal. Again, today's test came out good. I'm not high, I'm not low, I'm normal. Just right in the middle. So, yay!

Then I had to have my Group B Strep swab. Ewwwww. The midwife said it would feel like a tampon. I've felt tampons before, tampons feel nothing like that. But hey, it's over and in a week we'll know if I need antibiotics during delivery. So, yay!

Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel. Dr. Y consulted with Dr. Coffee Breath at Loyola and they decided that since all my Perinatologist consults at Loyola were normal, unremarkable, and my labs didn't even look like a "high risk" patient, I could get my weekly biophysical profile ultrasounds done at the local hospital instead of driving an hour plus every week to Loyola. So, YAYYYYYY!

I'll still see Dr. Fag at Loyola for another ultrasound in a couple of weeks (provided I haven't given birth by then...). I love Dr. Fag. He's the one who really encouraged me to find a new practice and get away from Dr. Boob Check since I was so unhappy and uncomfortable there. Plus, Dr. Fag is well dressed and fabulous and a militant greenie like me. We bonded over a discussion on recycling and composting with vermiculture bins. Plus, he hot. Who cares if I'm as big as a house and he plays for the other team. I'm married, not dead. I can still appreciate a handsome man regardless of his sexual identity.

By the time I got done with all my tests and screenings and OB appointment, it was 3:00 and I hadn't had lunch. But I needed to be back at the hospital at 4:00 for a biophysical profile ultrasound. So I grabbed some grub and then headed back to the hospital for yet another test. Poor Jack. He got poked and prodded and picked on entirely too much today. The hospital's ultrasound department was running late, and I didn't get into a room until about 5:00. However, Action Jackson was quite cooperative with this test, so I got out of there in about 20 minutes. The test showed good healthy lung development and a steady heartbeat. Oh, and fully descended testicles. Why do ultrasounds make babies' schlongs look HUGE? Maybe it was the zoom in feature on the screen. Either that, or my kid is HUNG. So, yay!

It just occurred to me that Jack is going to laugh so hard when he grows up and ends up reading this. He is going to DIE of embarrassment. Or maybe he'll be all proud that he was packin' at such a tender, young age.

I got back into the car around 5:30. I have to pick Tim up at the train station at 6:00. So, I could go home, look at the driveway, and then turn around and go to the train station, or I could go to the train station, kick back for a few minutes, maybe tidy up the interior of the Jeep and toss out my granola bar wrappers, pick up Tim and then go home. I chose the latter. You should see the pumpkin seed and granola bar wrapper-free interior of the car now! :)

We just got done with dinner and I feel like I ran a marathon today! I'm just pooped. Of course the poochies are running around and happily playing. They're psyched to be out of their crates and want to run and jump and fetch and play. I have a load of baby clothes in the dryer that I "should" fold and put away. However, I'm not sure I actually "will" do that tonight. I don't think Jack will care if his sleepers are wrinkled, and I need a break. Because while so far I'm holding steady at Pre-Eclampsia Terror Alert Yellow, I don't want to push myself into the Orange by trying to accomplish too much.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On having high blood pressure: It's giving me high blood pressure and other musings

Look, I'm gonna bitch and moan here for a bit. So if you don't feel like calling the wahhhhhmbulance or giving me a shot for my cryabetes skip ahead, mmmkay?

I went to my OB appointment on Monday like a good patient. I really didn't want to, it's one of those crappy, dreary rainy days that makes you just want to curl up under a blanket with a mug of cocoa and read. Preferably by a fireplace, if that's an option. In your pajamas. Or a sweatsuit. You know the kind of day I mean.

I was so unsuspecting. I thought everything was OK. As of last Friday, everything was OK. Why wouldn't everything be OK now? Au contraire, mon frere. My health has been great for my entire pregnancy. I've experienced a relatively unremarkable uncomplicated turn at this. And all in a matter of seconds, my unremarkable, uncomplicated pregnancy turned on me like a banana that had been left out on the counter for too long on a 100 degree day with no air conditioning on. And I can't even make banana bread.

I have developed a condition called Pregnancy Induced Hypertension, PIH, or it's also known as pre-eclampsia. Yippee yi yo ki yay. After 8 months of working my tushus off at being "perfect" for this baby...8 long months ... I am rewarded with high blood pressure and my kidneys not filtering things correctly. For 8 months I have had a machine attached to my body delivering minute doses of insulin around the clock to keep my blood sugar levels stable. For 8 months, I have pricked my finger to check myself 12+ times a day. For 8 months I have woken up at 2 am to check myself and make sure my blood sugar was OK during the middle of the night. I have experienced hypoglycemic episodes so low, I was unable to move or speak or even help myself. I just laid there convinced I would die. I've spent too many hours of too many days mentally beating myself up for an errant high blood sugar. After all of this, I get a "complication".

Baby, why'd you have to go and make things so complicated?

I feel like all my hard work over the past 8 months has been an exercise in futility.

Here's the catch: I am a hands on patient. I manage my disease. This has been my stance since I was diagnosed with diabetes as a kid. I watched my grandfather die blind, of a heart attack, with no legs...all complications of his uncontrolled diabetes. When I got my diagnosis, I chose right then and there that I was going to make diabetes my bitch. Because while my vision has been jacked up since the 1st grade (thanks Dad) and I've had a heart murmur since birth (the one time MVP doesn't make you the Most Valuable Player) I have (ok, really had but we're talking about 20 years ago, not now that they're all swollen and stuff) fantastic legs and I was NOT going to go legless into that dark, cold night. Oh no not me. I learned all about my condition, how I could best help myself. I scour medical journals for news of new therapies, new drugs, new ideas on how to help diabetic patients. I just might possibly know more about my disease than my own doctor does (no offense to you, Dr. Doogie). Doctors have, in the past, been frustrated with me because I question everything regarding my treatment. If I have read an article that would contradict their recommended treatment, I would ask them about it. What they ask me to do in order to manage my disease is something I closely scrutinize. It has to make sense to me. Minute by minute, I am the one in the driver's seat when it comes to my condition. I monitor my blood sugar. I know what the numbers mean. I know what to do to make them go higher or lower as necessary. I manage every minute detail of my control. All I need a doctor for is to write me scripts so I can keep getting my medication and testing supplies.

So here I am now, with this new "condition" that I've never dealt with before. Dr. Y tells me my levels before were 0, which is good. And my level now is 261, which is bad. But how bad? I don't know how to put this in relation to anything. Give me a color key like the terror alert system. What am I, in the yellow now? Orange? I have no clue. This is all foreign to me. I don't know how to take this information. My level is 261. What does that mean? I assume I have not reached Code Red level of the Terror Alert Pre-Eclampsia Warning System, because I'm sitting on my couch right now. If I were Code Red, I'd be in the hospital. And while I trust Dr. Y, not being able to fix the problem I have is something that is incredibly frustrating and foreign to me. When my blood sugars are high, I can take more insulin to lower them. When they're low I can eat to raise them. I can always make myself "just right". I can't do a damn thing about this. I feel like I'm bound and gagged in a dark basement, duct taped to a very uncomfortable and rickety wooden chair and all I can do is make muffled cries for help...but nobody can help me, not even myself.

I feel helpless. It's frustrating and painful. It makes me angry.

The treatment for this condition? I am supposed to go home and REST. I am supposed to relax. Nevermind the fact that I am supposed to have another month yet to prepare for my baby's arrival and I am not anywhere near ready. Nevermind the fact that I've been slack around the house lately because I've just been short on both time and energy. Oh, NO. I am supposed to relax. Because we don't want to raise my blood pressure more, now do we? So Dr. Y freaks me the hell out and then prescribes "relaxing" as my medicine. OH YEAH RIGHT!

Dr. Y told me that I should watch out for a few symptoms (which of course freaks me out even more, any strange twitch or blip makes me this the complication?) and to go home and pack a bag. To be ready to go at any time. She said that if things rapidly worsen by the time she sees me again on Thursday, I should be prepared to go directly to the hospital to be induced to deliver. I will not pass go, I will not collect $200, I will not be able to run home to walk the dogs one last time before I'm admitted.

I sat there with my jaw on the floor. I was not prepared for this. I'm only 35 weeks. I'm supposed to have another month! We're taking childbirth class, and we're only on week 7 of 10. I'M NOT READY!!! Dr. Y looked at my shocked expression and said "You're having a baby!" And I said "I know, but not today! I'm not ready yet!"

And then I called Tim to tell him. And then I texted the news to my friends & relatives. And then, I went home and cried.

But I'm supposed to be relaxing.

I am anything but relaxed.

I am upset, on edge, completely fried, and utterly overwhelmed at all I have to do to feel "ready" for Jackson's arrival. And at the same time, in my heart of hearts, I know that no matter how much laundry and chores and cleaning and meal preparation I do to get "ready", I'll never truly be ready for all the challenges that come with raising a person.

I will never be ready.

Oh dear God save me!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Being Rich: It Has Nothing To Do With Your Checking Account Balance

What an awesome day today was. My wonderful cousins threw us our baby shower. While watching the date approaching on the calendar, my stress level had been growing and growing day by day. Would my friends blow me off? Will it suck? Will they have good cake? Will Tim feel like a lame girly man? Will I still fit in at least one semi nice outfit by then?

My friend Alice from high school who now lives in Colorado (and whom I haven't seen in several years...since before she was married, before she had her two kids, before I even knew my husband Tim existed...we're talking many, many moons here) had mentioned that she was going to be in town visiting her Chicago area family this week. I was altogether way too excited to be able to have my baby shower while she was here, so she could join us.

I'm a pretty low-key, intimate affair type of person. I didn't want a big crazy bang up shindig with a million family members that I only see at weddings or funerals. What I really wanted was just a small, unobtrusive, fun afternoon with my close family and a few dear friends. And that's just the afternoon that I had.

My cousins Sue and Tracy who threw the shower just really went nuts with cute balloons, festive plates and napkins and tons of yummy treats. Everyone also seemed to have a good time shopping off our registries for some much-needed baby gear (Finally! Stuff we picked out! Hoorah!).

Besides feeling overwhelmed at everyone being so generous with gifts, I was just so happy and thankful that this room full of people were all here because they love us so much. The girlfriends that came have known me for over half my life. My cousins that came are like sisters to me. My aunt that came is just the sweetest lady alive. As I looked around the room, I said "I'm just the luckiest girl EVER".

Because I am. My life is so rich and full of good things right now. My belly is full of this incredible package that holds a lifetime of my hopes and dreams in the palm of his tiny baby hand. By my side is my wonderful, devoted husband. I am surrounded by supportive, loving family and friends. When it comes to the things that truly matter in life, I am so fortunate to be so incredibly rich. I'm rich in the things you can never put a price tag on...and that makes my heart smile.

Friday, September 01, 2006

I may say that I would punch every bee in the face, but really I run away from them in fear.

My near-death experience, and how my knight in shining armor saved me. A true story.

So last night was "Mom's Night Out" with our parenting group's moms, so I know, always nice to make new friends and that. Anyways so that was OK. On my way home, I called the Hubster to ask him if he wanted/needed anything and he said "surprise me with a treat".

So I went to get him a banana split from our favorite ice cream place. While I was in the drive through waiting for his ice cream, I saw *gasp* a gigantic wasp on the gear shifter thingy. So I'm trapped in the Jeep, with the drive through window on my left and this gigantic stinging insect that I'm allergic to about 6 inches away from me. (WASPS IN A JEEP!) I still carry my epipen with me, but I have no idea if it's approved for use during pregnancy. I just assume that an injection of epipen would be better than, DYING.

The ice cream boy comes to the window & he's all "our bananas are underripe and we can't use them, is there something else you want?" I can think, I'm sitting there having a panic attack thinking "I am going to die in the ice cream store drive up of multiple stings. Gawwwww." So I tell Ice Cream Boy, "I don't know make me some random sundae thing with some kind of fruit in it, I have a wasp in my car & I'm deathly allergic. I'm gonna pull up to try to shoo it out of my car."

So I pull out to the back of the store, hop out & start shooing like a wussy girl, scared to death that I'm going to just anger it and get stung.

This other guy comes out of the ice cream store, says "Where is it?" and I showed him. He reached in WITH HIS HAND, smooshed it in between his fingers and threw it on the ground. JUST LIKE THAT.

It was the manliest thing I have ever seen a 17 year old boy do. Dear Nino of the Rolling Meadows Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy Store: I am eternally indebted to you. You're my hero.