Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pregnancy and what I don't want to forget

Not too much longer now, and unlike with Del's pregnancy, we know the plan is to not get pregnant again. (With Del, we didn't have an opinion either way about whether that would be the last pregnancy or not ... until after she was born).
I always tell photography clients who are seeking a maternity shoot that this time is so relatively short in comparison to life. It's hard to remember looking back that you actually had that baby inside of you and your belly grew to accommodate your baby. It feels long in the present, but it's just not. Pregnancy is fast.
So I'm trying even more so to live in the moment, relishing every pregnant detail.
This time I'm waddling. A first. And it started around 20 weeks gestation. I've realized this has nothing to do with how small or big I am, just how loose my pelvis is.
Everyone comments on how tiny I am. And to be fair, I have a hard time gaining weight (this is largely due to a restricted diet that comes with gestational diabetes. At least, that's my theory. I think of oreos, doritoes, tacos, pasta, etc were part of my diet, it wouldn't be so hard to gain and keep weight on.).
I want to wear a shirt that says: "I'm 8mos pregnant. Yes, really."
And even when people are saying: "you're so small!" - I feel like I look huge. I know "huge" is culturally a negative thing, but not in this case. I can't believe how much my stomach has stretched. I keep feeling amazed that my body has done this!
I can't walk as fast. And I'm often out of breath more quickly.
But I also don't realize how much I'm doing until I sit down and realize my body is tired!
It's harder to squat than last time (say for milking - although I wasn't milking last time, I was faithfully squatting to prepare for birth).
When pregnant, it seems the rest of my body gets smaller, my muscles become more defined, and my belly grows.

This baby seems to be the most active of the three pregnancies.
I try to keep this in perspective - I'm experiencing this pregnancy now, and memories fade. So maybe I'm exaggerating? But I don't think so. They say that babies form a routine in utero and take naps.
I don't think this one naps at all.
It's constantly constantly on the move.
You can see it bump, nudge, and rub my belly as my skin moves across my uterus.
And it can be intense. This is a strong person and I'm seeing a lot of heel pushed up against me, I'm guessing.
Even intense movement, I want to remember. How amazing to think there is a person inside of me!

Braxton Hicks are real. This time. And all the books/websites say Braxton Hicks are "mildly noticeable" at worst. That's a lie. They are most definitely noticeable. And if this was a first baby, I'd have been the mom who cried labor multiple times already. The pressure from these contractions wakes me in the night. That's not "mildly noticeable". And if there isn't a bathroom nearby - watch out! The contracting uterus puts intense pressure on my bladder. When we're out and about (say, in the car), this can be awful. I take a deep breath, shocked by the sudden need to empty my bladder, while trying to relax through a Braxton Hicks.
The children find this incredibly funny ... after Ren Man told them the baby finds my bladder and squeezes it and says: "oooh, this is squishy squishy!" So now the children will randomly say to me: "squishy, squishy" in a sing-song voice. As a side note: laughing while trying not to pee is really hard.

This baby has been head down with its back to my right, and feet and hands pushing on my left side. It's not uncommon to get a jab to my bladder, or a head (I presume) rolling across my bladder. Hiccups happen occasionally - maybe once or twice a day. I remember Noah having hiccups and it was painful because it was right under my ribs.

Physically, I feel great overall. Yeah, it's harder to breathe and I'm starving one minute and two bites later feel super full ... only to be starving 20 minutes later. And the gag reflex is still intense at times.

Colostrum happens before the baby comes. I can't believe how full and ready these milk makers look and feel!

The hardest thing about this pregnancy has been diabetes. I'm so so relieved that my numbers have been fine after some weeks where they kept creeping up. I think what made a difference was increasing veggie intake significantly (a large salad a day). I'm sure experience has also helped, I know what works and what doesn't and just hammering that out has been huge. For example, conventional gestational diabetes advice includes a night-time snack - as in, right-before-bed, to decrease the risk of "dawn phenomenon" where your number spikes in the morning. I found that a night time snack doesn't help, and seems to increase my fasting number. So if I'm hungry before bed, I'll eat something small, but my number is lower if I skip the night-time snack.

Diabetes has been so stressful because it limits my diet, making food an obsession. You have to think about every.single.bite and its potential effect. For a few stressful (and tearful) weeks when those numbers kept inching up, it was very frustrating. What more could I do?! If my numbers didn't come back down, insulin talk would begin. If insulin was started, then the homebirth was off the table. And that was very discouraging.
Ren Man started doing (even more) research and found that people on low carb diets will have a sugar numbers without huge swings post-meal. What this means for fasting numbers is that they tend to be higher than the conventional norm. This doesn't mean it's HIGH though, in comparison to the conventionally recommended diabetes diet (that includes carbs).
After seeing this, suddenly my numbers weren't so scary and even started declining into that conventionally expected range (this all refers to fasting numbers as post-meal numbers were always more than okay - they need to be below 140, and were typically below 100). Which speaks highly of the effect stress can have on those numbers!

In light of gestational diabetes, the midwife asked that I see an OB she trusts for a second opinion. I was nervous. An OB!! She ended up being really authentic and as mellow an OB as can be, I'm thinking. She did say she wanted an ultrasound. My feeling is - it shouldn't just be done to be done, there should be a purpose. And the big concern with diabetes is a big baby. I'm measuring over 2 weeks small based on fundal height. But that has wiggle room for inaccuracy - as does everything. Ultrasounds are no different - I've read they can be up to two pounds off. So telling someone they are having a 10lb baby, could really be an 8lb baby ... or a TWELVE lb baby!
The ultrasound happened at 32weeks when the average baby is 3.75lbs. This baby was 3.5lbs. Well, inaccurate or not, it was nice to have an ultrasound show a smaller reading rather than a larger one.

So here are my baby predictions: I think it's a girl, lots of dark hair, hoping for blue eyes, she'll come early (I'm guessing June 13 - the day after our last wedding, or June 21 - the day after our annual solstice party) .... but this baby has been a surprise all along and if it's small then maybe this is the baby that will go past my due date?, she'll be 7.5lbs (smallest baby yet). I'm nervous about how active this baby is! We'll see how that plays out after birth :)

I'm so relieved that we're homebirthing. No matter what, there will be a baby. I know. But the thought of just birthing without having to over think anything (is this it? Or not yet?) or stay on guard to be sure silly things like wearing your own clothes or eating when you're hungry can happen.

Is there anything else I'm going to forget about pregnancy? It's hard (and I had forgotten that) and it also feels so empowering. I'm growing a person. I'm going to birth a person. Our family will grow. And my diabetes sugar numbers are awesome.


Meredith said...

I miss it. It feels like a lifetime ago, but I also remember how exhausting and difficult it is to grow another human. Your baby bump is beautiful! I hope your homebirth is just how you need it to be.

lovermont said...

I'm just nervous that I'm forgetting details that seem normal right now but are part of pregnancy!
I'm glad to have gone through it again because my momnesia had meant that I was SO not sympathetic to pregnant women. I mean, kind of, but mostly: "what' the big deal?!"
Now I know.
And I'm guessing I'm more tired than I was with earlier pregnancies because I'm older? But I do remember being REALLY tired when pregnant with Del too.