Tag Archives: doctor

She Says… Tough Cookie

When Owen was a baby he was so tough that I actually asked his doctor if he could have some weird disease that causes him not to feel pain. In retrospect it was silly, but I couldn’t understand how he seemed completely unfazed by injuries that would have made me cry, even as an adult. He is always black and blue from climbing on things, jumping off of them, hitting the walls, bonking his face into things.

He is one tough cookie.

Today we got a call from daycare that Owen had been standing on a block and when he toppled off of it, his head hit the bookcase. He was left with a deep cut below his lip (and he bit his cheek from the inside, making his whole cheek swell up). After a good, quick cry and some hugs and first aid from his teacher, he was feeling fine again. I rushed over to school (thankful I live less than 5 minutes away!) and found him happily sucking on his popsicle reading a book with his teacher.

“I fell into the bookshelf, Mommy!” he told me. And, with a touch of pride in his voice, “I am fine now. It’s just a cut.” “Are we going to go to the doctor? Can I watch tv after?”.

ER1

I called our pediatrician to see if they could give me some guidelines about what types of cuts need to be addressed by a doctor and what types will heal normally on their own. Because I have no idea. Once I described the cut to them (about 1″ long, and maybe 1/8″ deep, the skin kind of gaping open), they were very clear: Go straight to the ER.

Benjamin and I did a quick hand-off since he happened to be home today too, packed a quick lunch and some entertainment for the waiting room and he headed off to take Owen to his first injury-related ER visit.

ER2

I’m sure it won’t be the last.

In fact, knowing Owen’s antics, I’m surprised we made it this long without one. Our only other ER visit was asthma-related and much scarier.

ER3

Thankfully we have an awesome ER right down the road, and all of the doctors agreed that they could use glue instead of stitches for this particular laceration. A few hours later, Owen was headed back to school, anxious to show his friends his cool skin glue, his hospital bracelet and a little toy truck that they gave him in the ER.

Another day, another doctor’s appointment! But all’s well that ends well.

She Says… Small Victories

Can I get a woot woot?

I feel like a rockstar when I can get dinner made at naptime (thank you, turkey enchilada casserole!). I’ve showered today. My hair is blown dry. The littles are peacefully napping (for now). Owen and I even got to the dentist this morning (please ignore the fact that it’s been a year since we went last and consider this a win…)! This is all even more amazing since yesterday Emmett was diagnosed with a CRAZY contagious rash all over his body and Benjamin was working half the weekend.

Let’s back up.

dentist1

I have been trying to make us dentist appointments for about, oh, a year now. And by “trying” I mean I had a reminder set in my calendar that I kept looking at and thinking, “Oh! Time to call the dentist!”, but then getting sidetracked by anything and everything before actually doing so. We went last back in January 2013, which meant that our 6 month follow-up put us EXACTLY at Emmett’s due date. Well, anyone who has had a baby (and probably anyone who hasn’t) can tell you that dentist appointments aren’t usually high on the list of priorities once the wee babe pops out… so it took us another 6 months to actually get there again. Ummm, oops. The grandson of a pediatric dentist should do better, eh?

dentist4

At least our visit was a huge, cavity-less success.

dentist 5

Benjamin’s dad is my dentist (why yes, I DO still see a pediatric dentist…) so Owen gets to see Pop when we go. Even more incentive to keep up with our appointments! O hopped right up in the chair next to me, put on the cool shades he was offered, and chatted it up with all of the hygienists while they flossed and cleaned and counted his teeth. He could not have been happier or more at ease in the office. Hallelujah that he did not inherit my fear of all things teeth-related!

dentist3

He “played dentist” with everyone and loved getting to hit the buttons to move my chair. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if any readers live in the Boston suburbs and need a pediatric dentist, check these guys out. I realize I’m biased, but I am always impressed with how they treat Owen when he is there. (Bonus: There are 2 adorable pictures of Owen blown up on the wall!).

dentist2

Everyone wanted to meet Emmett too, but alas, he was quarantined at home.

On Saturday I noticed that Emmett was shaking his head around and acting kind of fussy. In the afternoon he woke up with a temp and all of my Mommy signals were screaming “Ear infection!”, so I made an appointment with our doc for Sunday morning. When I put him to bed on Saturday night I noticed two small red dots on the backs of his shoulders. He is constantly battling eczema and has very sensitive skin, so I made a mental note about it to ask the doctor about it on Sunday. I know some viruses can come along with a rash as well, so figured that’s what he was fighting.

When he woke up in the morning, his arms and trunk were covered with what appeared to be boils or crusty sores. GROSS. The doctor confirmed my ear infection diagnosis, added on a symptom of blisters on the back of the throat and then called in 2 other docs to take a look at the weird rash. It looked like chicken pox, but the distribution wasn’t right. Long story short we figured out what it was (very contagious) and started treatment right away for all three things. SAD BABY. He hasn’t been eating or sleeping well, and won’t let us put him down. Can you blame him? Poor guy is exploding with an itchy rash all over his tiny little body! Benjamin was traveling all day Sunday (I survived the day without him!) but got home just in time before I had to handle double bedtime with a screaming baby. Phew.

I’m just counting on my magical Mommy immune system to get me through this one without boils all over my body too, because I’m not going to not touch or hold my sad little guy. In the meantime I’m bleaching and doing a constant rotation of laundry in hot water and anything else I can do to stop this awful infections from spreading to other members of the family.

Uhh, anyone want to come over and play?

She Says… Food Allergies x2

Remember the months I spent entrenched in The Great Allergy Experiment in 2011 trying to figure out what was causing Owen’s eczema cheeks? Sadly we seem to be back there again. Different kid this time, but the cheeks are just the same. And Emmett has some little patches of itchy, dry eczema on the insides of his elbows and on the center of his stomach as well.

Sigh.

At least this time around I noticed it THE DAY it started, knew exactly what it was and was prepared to treat it and begin the investigation much earlier than I did with Owen.

Let me back up a minute, though. Because I’m not sure I ever actually wrote the blog post I promised you about Emmett’s possible allergies that led to me having to stop breastfeeding and starting him on hypoallergenic baby formula. Here’s the very short story.

  • When Emmett was between 2 and 3 months I began to realized that his poop was super mucus-y. In the very beginning I couldn’t tell the difference between “normal for a newborn” and “troublesome mucus”, so I waited with a watchful eye. Around 3 months I googled for some pictures (yes, of other peoples’ baby poop… don’t judge) and was slammed with pictures that looked EXACTLY like Emmett’s (stringy, mucus-filled, watery, abnormally green/dark before starting solids, etc.) and every one linked to a website about identifying food allergies, specifically cow’s milk protein allergy.
  • At his 3 month doctor’s visit I showed our pedi. He immediately confirmed that was “not normal” and that I should go on a strict milk and soy-free diet. He also indicated that Emmett was dropping in the weight charts and didn’t seem to be gaining weight appropriately. I had already started this diet per my own research, but I tightened up and eliminated anything that could even possibly include milk/soy and did not “cheat”. I saw little improvements here and there.
  • A couple weeks later when I hadn’t seen any real improvement overall, I also eliminated chocolate (I had been having some dairy-free chocolate, but some breastfeeding mothers noted on discussion boards that chocolate upset their babies’ tummies, so I figured it was worth a shot).
  • A  week after that, shortly before his 4 months appointment, I also eliminated eggs (as one of the top 8 allergens and also something I noticed flare-ups after eating). No dairy, soy, chocolate or eggs for 8 weeks — it’s no wonder I found it so easy to return to my pre-pregnancy weight!
  • Given that our family has had a lot of experience with celiac disease and maintaining a STRICTLY gluten free lifestyle for Benjamin and Owen, I am quite good at the “are you sure you’re REALLY eliminating these things entirely” game. I asked my doctor if I should also avoid wheat/gluten, given the family history, but he assured me (and some other research has supported this) that gluten does not pass through breastmilk and this isn’t necessary. Especially given that I had already eliminated so many foods, I think he was also trying to help me from going crazy. In retrospect I question this decision, but hindsight is always 20/20, eh?
  • At Emmett’s 4 month doctor’s visit I asked the doctor to test his mucus-filled diaper for blood. Test immediately turned positive. I also noted that he had started arching, crying and fussing more while eating, and I was seeing a lot more spit-up than previously. Ahem. ALL THE SAME THINGS I saw with Owen at the exact same age. Doctor noted that Emmett had actually lost weight since his 3 month appointment. I always told myself that with Baby #2 I would not pressure myself about breastfeeding like I did with Owen, and the minute the child stops gaining weight appropriately I would do whatever it takes to get them eating again.
  • We decided to take breastmilk out of the equation, despite my elimination diet, and do a test of 5 days of hypoallergenic formula (Nutramigen) only. I pumped during this time thinking I was still going to return to breastfeeding once we figured out the culprit.
  • By Day 3 on the formula I saw a huge improvement in his attitude and stomach comfort. By Day 5 his poop had NEW, VISIBLE BLOOD (!!!), but no more mucus. (We have since confirmed that the visible blood was the tail end of the allergens getting out of his system, but that shit is scary!). On Day 6, relieved and able to see the light at the end of the long tunnel, I stopped breastfeeding. Tummy discomfort went away, poop became normal, Emmett seemed happier and more full. He started gaining steadily, hence the deliciously chubby cheeks you see today.

Oh… you wanted the short story? Sorry. Once I started I figured that I might as well get this out there so others who are in the midst of this hell hole can learn from my experiences.

So all was well after we started the hypoallergenic formula at 4 months. Until we started solid food.

Started with avocado. Then added homemade sweet potato. Green beans. Peas. Apples. After his 3rd or 4th time eating apples with a smidgen of rice cereal (WHEAT FREE rice cereal), though, I noticed a little bit of prickly red dots on his cheeks. Just like with Owen, people said to me, “Oh, it’s just from drool.” or “Oh, it’s just the cold”. But I knew better. I could feel it in my gut. I stopped the rice cereal. When it happened again, I stopped the apples. From what I can tell, an apple allergy is pretty rare, and it’s more likely that I’m seeing a reaction to something else, but in the absence of that answer, I’m willing to put apples on hold for the moment.

Then we added broccoli. Butternut squash. Pears. After eating pears for 2 days I noticed the same red cheeks. No more pears until I figure this out.

I’m currently investigating a “Birch Pollen Allergy”. This is interesting because Benjamin has oral allergy syndrome, which means his mouth gets itchy when he eats apples. It’s not anaphylactic and isn’t something that gets worse the more times you challenge it, so he just eats apples rarely and deals with a little itchiness. I know peeling and cooking foods in the birch pollen allergy family can help, but both the apples and the pears that Emmett ate were organic, and peeled and steamed at home.

So I don’t know. I’m trying not to let it overwhelm me. We’re going slowly now adding new foods and I’m keeping notes of what is eaten when so I can maybe shed some light onto the issue. Going to discuss in depth with our pedi on Monday.

Two days ago at school his teacher called me and said that, all of a sudden in the middle of the afternoon, Emmett’s face blew up with a red rash. She said it didn’t seem to bother him, and seemed to happen without warning. He hadn’t eaten solid food since the morning, he’d only had his normal bottles. I asked if maybe someone had a new perfume or ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch or anything, but she really couldn’t think of what could have caused it. She sent me this picture.

Emmettrash

An hour later when I picked him up, it was mostly gone. I put some lotion on at bedtime and by morning his skin was clear again.

Has anyone had this happen or know what this might be? I hesitate to think food-related because it came on suddenly outside of anything he had eaten… but I really don’t know.

Welcome to The Great Allergy Experiment x2.

 

She Says… Boogers x2

It was inevitable.

Emmett was bound to get sick earlier than Owen did. He’s constantly accosted by his brother who can’t keep his germy little hands off of him. He’s gone to daycare once a week for 3 weeks. It’s the beginning of fall when all of these lovely illnesses come out of hiding.

photo 2

Still, though, I didn’t think it would happen SO SOON. The day that Emmett hit 3 months last week (monthly post to come… someday…) I started to hear the telltale grunting/snorting/snuffling when he nursed like his nose was stuffed up. Owen had the same. The next day it had migrated to both of their chests — a thick, mucus-y cough. Red around the eyes (“sick eyes” as we call them). No fevers and they were both pretty happy and playing normally, so really nothing to do but wait it out.

Since Owen’s asthma diagnosis we’ve kept a close eye on any and all respiratory bugs, as in the past they almost always got super serious and morphed into bronchialitis, pneumonia and an ear infection very quickly. Now we have an asthma action plan that includes starting up his inhalers at the first signs of a cough. It has helped IMMENSELY and dramatically cut down on the number of illnesses he had last winter. So last week when the cough started, I knew exactly what to do. After 2 days of “puffs”, he’s cleared up and feeling fine. Magic.

Nebulizer-2(1)

Having one asthma kid has put me on high alert for similar symptoms in Emmett. With Owen, now I know the sound and rate of his breathing and when/how to intervene. But I have no experience with a 3 month old getting sick, and Emmett is a completely different kid with a completely different body that I just don’t know as intimately yet.

By Monday Owen was still complaining of ear pain (he said, “I have an ear ninfection”, and he’s always been right when he’s said that in the past) and Emmett’s cough was still pretty thick, so I felt it was the right time to head to the doctor. Unfortunately I didn’t make the call until afternoon nap time so the only appointment they had available was 6:15pm. RIGHT AT BATHTIME. And I was home alone since Benjamin was traveling again. Of course. Still, I wanted to make sure both kids were ok, so we made it work.

The doc said Owen’s ear was dull and inflamed but not infected, so there wasn’t really anything to do except some Motrin if needed. His lungs were clear. Similar situation with Emmett — gunk seemed to be all in his upper respiratory area, not in his lungs, so no sign of his brother’s asthma (yet). Tylenol if needed and lots of hydration and humidifying.

I had already started humidifying over the weekend, hence the fire alarm scare. Since I couldn’t use the humidifier overnight for Emmett again, I decided to get out Owen’s old nebulizer from when he was a baby (he has since graduated to an inhaler and spacer) to give Emmett some saline-only treatment.

photo 3

Guess who wanted in on the “fun fish face”? The kid who I used to have to wrestle to the ground to administer his treatments. My how times have changed. Unlike his brother, Emmett sat totally calmly and quietly while I held the mask in front of his face. Like he was at the spa or something.

Owen is feeling almost all better again (thank goodness for asthma medicine!) and Emmett won’t be far behind.

I think we’ve made it through our first double illness. While I’m sure there will be many more, I’m proud of (and exhausted from) handling two sick kiddos all by myself for several days. Sickness + fire alarms = NOT a lot of sleep for this mama recently, but we’re on the up and up.

She Says… No More Babies (For Now)

Disclaimer: This post discusses my ladyparts and is for those who are interested in TMI posts about fertility stuff. If you read for the cute baby pics, sit this one out.

I remember at my 6 week postpartum visit after Owen was born, my doctor asked me what I was planning for birth control. BIRTH CONTROL?! I scoffed. Thinking about sex was kind of the last thing on my mind. All I could think about were my nipples that burned and felt like someone was jabbing them with a knife whenever I dared put a shirt on them. Or how many minutes it had been since I last nursed and how many minutes I had to go pee before I had to nurse again. Or if I walked out the door in my pajama pants. Again. Birth control seemed like a lifetime away.

And yet, it’s vitally important, especially if you really aren’t ready for an oops baby.

So last time I was too paralyzed with new motherhood to make a decision about what kind of birth control I wanted to use. The comments on this post were extremely helpful, but I just couldn’t make myself make the appointment to get a sharp thing stuck in my vagina after that big slippery thing had just come out. As I said in that post, I am anti-hormone, given my infertility issues in the past, and I wasn’t ready for an IUD (mentally), so I chose not to choose.

This time, I was ready.

Even before I had Emmett, I talked with my midwife about ParaGard, the hormone-free IUD. I wanted to be held accountable so someone would make me do it. We had to reschedule the insertion date due to my extra-long postpartum recovery and then unexpected surgery a few weeks ago, but yesterday I put on my big girl pants and just did it. I had a lot of anxiety around this process, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I couldn’t find very many candid blog posts about what it actually feels like. So, here you go internet, here’s the real deal about getting an IUD inserted (for me — everyone is different, obvs).

My doctor advised me to take a bunch of Motrin 30 minutes prior to the appointment to dull the pain. Umm, thanks. That made me about a million times more nervous than I would have been if they’d said, “It’s no big deal. Just come in”. Once I got there I saw piles of cotton balls and some brown goopy stuff and tools and those sealed bags of medical accoutrements sitting on the counter. Ew. I waited an uncharacteristically long amount of time for my doctor, which made the anticipation mount even more. Once she arrived and the pleasantries were out of the way, she had me spread ‘em and put in the speculum. She prodded around figuring out where exactly my uterus was, which way it was tipping, etc. This was actually the surgeon who had just done my hysteroscopy, so she was intimately familiar with my uterus (score!). She swabbed the area with soap, which just felt like a dull pressure, not pain. Then she told me to take deep breaths while she inserted the little copper T. It was kind of like when you get a shot and they have to squeeze the medicine into your arm. The shot part is a quick sting, then the liquid going in doesn’t exactly hurt, but it feels all hot and weird and it gives me the willies to think about what they’re doing. So I felt a pinch, and then a hot, cramping feeling. Not terrible at all… just… strange. Like a really minor contraction or a medium-grade period cramp. It lasted maybe 30 seconds to a minute while she inserted it and positioned it. I yoga-breathed and stared at the ceiling. Then she cut the string to the right length (there is a string so it can be pulled out when I want), which I couldn’t feel at all, and we were done.

Not comfortable, but nothing compared to the other things my uterus has had done to it recently.

I mentioned in my other post that I had heard people say their partner could feel the string of their IUD during sex. Ew. She said that she has heard this complaint with Mirena (the hormone-releasing IUD), but never with ParaGard. Apparently the strings are made from different materials and the ParaGard one is preferable. Phew.

Since then I’ve had some minor cramping, like a period (not that I remember what THAT feels like!), but really nothing to complain about. The thing is good for up to 10 years if I want it, and the whole thing was covered entirely by my insurance. Hooray.

So glad it’s over, and it really wasn’t that bad. This was definitely the right contraception choice for us, and I look forward to condomless and baby-free sex.

 

P.S. If any friends or family members are still reading, I’m sorry. And I told you so.

She Says… 2 Months (and a “then vs. now” comparison)

Emmett is 2 months old! Today we saw the doctor for his 2 month visit.

Having been through this once before with a not-quite-so-easy baby, I can say with confidence that Emmett is SUCH AN EASY BABY. While generally happy and certainly not as hard as they come, Owen was a lot more “high needs” than Emmett. He needed to be held more. Rocked to sleep more. Fed more. It’s hard to say how much of this was his needs or my parenting, but looking back I think it’s safe to say he was a bit more challenging. Emmett, however, is easy peasy. He puts himself to sleep most of the time. He eats really well (aside from those random fussy times). He is insanely happy and smiley and social. He’s happy to lay on his back or sit in a chair and take in his surroundings. He’s even stretching out his night time sleep a little so that I have to stop saying, “Well, he’s perfect except that he isn’t into long stretches at night…”. In short, he’s awesome. I know that, soon enough, we will find his thing that he is not so good at. (Every baby has one. Even the perfect ones.). The thing we will struggle with. But for now? For now he’s making this transition to a family of 4 as easy as it can be.

He’s 24″ (88th %ile) and 11 pounds 11 ounces (35th %ile). That means he gained 3 inches and 3 pounds since his 2 month visit. All of that time we’ve spent nursing and nursing and nursing some more (and making little bottles here and there to top him off) has paid off! He’s round in all the right places and even has some delicious rolls on his legs and under his chin.

SUCH a contrast to his brother at this stage. At 2 months, Owen was 23″ and 10 pounds 10 ounces (19th %ile), and they were the same length and only a few ounces apart at birth. This was the last “regular” checkup we had for Owen because after that his weight took a nosedive and he slowly slipped into the single digit percentiles for weight and was diagnosed with reflux. Thus began the series of events that made me confront our nursing issues. Something tells me that isn’t going to happen this time around with Emmett. I was looking at these pictures of Owen from around this time, wearing an outfit that I had Emmett in the other day. The difference in how they look in the outfit is astonishing!

The blog is such a fantastic resource for me as I go through these newborn stages again. It is so helpful to be able to look back and see what I was doing/thinking/worried about/celebrating.

Speaking of which. When we were cleaning the basement during our staycation this weekend I pulled out our keyboard and put it in the playroom. I figured Owen would have fun playing with it. As we played on it together I had a flashback to him playing on it when he was a toddler. The blog saved this awesome memory for me and I had to share!

Then:

Now:

 

She Says… A Doozy

Yesterday was a doozy, folks.

The night time was a bit rough (shorter stretches between feeding Emmett than we’ve had for the last few days), but that was the least of my worries. Benjamin said goodbye in the morning and headed out to drop Owen at school before leaving for work. Upon leaving and seeing our neighbors’ trash cans, he texted me to say that it was trash day and could I put the trash out? No problem, I thought. After I fed Emmett I put him on his activity mat, collected the trash and went outside to put our trash out.

We keep our trash in our garage, right outside the door from our hallway off the kitchen. That makes it super easy to take the kitchen trash out… and makes what I’m about to tell you even more disgusting.

I guess we had put a bag of kitchen trash out there a few days ago without securing it in the trash bin. And since it’s been so hot there have been a lot of flies around. I’m sure you can see where this is going… when I moved the trash bag to put it in the bin, MAGGOTS POURED OUT. And I don’t just mean a few. I mean hundreds. Thousands. It was like that scene from Indiana Jones with the snakes. They were crawling out of the bag and hitting the floor and scattering ALL OVER OUR GARAGE. I was, stupidly, wearing only flip flops (thank goodness I at least had those on… often I do this task barefoot. ::Shudder::) and I do not do well with massive amounts of bugs. Sure, give me a spider or centipede or something. I can handle it. But thousands of tiny maggots that looked like rice pouring out of my trash and into an extension of my house? I freaked.

I full-body shuddered uncontrollably and tried not to throw up as I threw the bag across the garage (aiming for the open door, but my throw didn’t go nearly far enough, so all I succeeded in doing was moving the maggot-spewing bag into a different part of the garage.

Gag.

I peered into our trash can and saw them crawling in and out of every bag in there. Up the side of the can. Falling off the side. Gag gag gag.

I kicked off my flip flops and jumped inside, unsure of what to do next. Just ignore them? Probably not wise. So I suited up with rain boots and rubber gloves and went to work. I stomped them and vacuumed them. I got up the courage to roll the trash can outside and kicked it over, dumping the maggots unto a corner of our garden. Gag gag gag.

Long story not-so-short, I got rid of the maggots. (Aka I am superwoman). I went back into the house completely skeeved out and feeling like bugs were crawling all over me only to find my sweet baby had passed out on his activity mat in front of the Today Show. Parenting fail.

After a long, scalding hot shower to kill the invisible maggots all over me, Emmett and I headed to the grocery store. I remembered the carrier (score!) and he slept peacefully while I shopped. At checkout I was getting my workout squatting with him in the carrier to lift my groceries out of the cart and onto the conveyor belt, and a bottle of salad dressing spontaneously combusted and splattered all over my leg, the magazine rack and the rest of my groceries in the cart.

Clean up in aisle 5!

After driving home with salad dressing all over my leg (and those same flip flops that I wear every day, all the time), it was time to put the groceries away, feed Emmett and head back out for my 6 week postpartum visit with my midwife.

Oh joy. Just what I wanted to do on this doozy of a day… have my still-healing postpartum ladyparts examined. As it turns out, I adore my midwife (almost enough to have another baby so I can see her every week!) so it wasn’t all bad. But still. It didn’t exactly turn the day around. She said I healed beautifully, but I’m still experiencing a lot of bleeding that really should be gone (or majorly tapering) by now. Thankfully looking at old blog posts helped me remember that the same thing happening after I had Owen (still bleeding pretty heavily after 6 weeks postpartum, which prompted us to do bloodwork and some other tests, but then it stopped on its own around 7.5 or 8 weeks), so this time around I’m not worried. Yet.

From maggots to salad dressing all over myself and my groceries to an internal exam mere weeks after having a baby. That, my friends, was a doozy.

Before crawling into bed I made sure to do one thing: order a new pair of flip flops.

She Says… A Ear Ninfection

This morning at 5am I woke to Owen crying from his bed. As usual, I watched him on the monitor and waited to see if it was going to be a few minutes of confused crying, as sometimes happens at night for various reasons, or if he was actually awake and needed Benjamin or I to come in.

He sat up and cried hard and started saying something I couldn’t quite understand. Finally, I heard it. “Mooooommmmmmyyyyyy, I have a ear ninfection.”.

I remember so clearly when he was a baby, especially when he was sick, and I would ache for the day that he could literally tell me THIS IS WHAT HURTS. As soon as I understood what he was saying, a floor of relief washed over me. He’s probably right (and he’s been right before about this exact thing). He’s had the same chest cold/congestion going on that I have, and given his history with ear infections (um, that he gets one every. single. gosh. darn. time. he. gets. sick.), he probably does have one.

Benjamin got up and comforted him and tried to encourage him to go back to sleep. I got up and showered for work, knowing that we weren’t going to make it to 6:30am when his OK to Wake clock tells him it’s time to wake up.

Since I knew exactly what was wrong, I knew exactly what to do. Cuddles. Ibuprofen. Promise of a doctor’s appointment to see if it’s bad enough to get “pink medicine”. Owen’s tears dried quickly and although he was in too much pain to go back to sleep, we had a really nice morning before I had to leave for work. SO MUCH EASIER than if he had just woken up at 5 crying, and I would have assumed he was just… waking up early. And I would have been annoyed when I woke him up. And we would have started the day on a very different foot.

So, in some ways, we’re there. To that elusive place I wished we would be before Owen had the words and self-awareness to tell me when and where his body hurts when it is sick. That, my friends, is a beautiful thing. ESPECIALLY when we’re about to start all over from scratch with a new little screaming, crying creature who can’t tell me what he wants for 3 more years.

She Says… Needlephobia

Since my gestational diabetes diagnosis I’ve gone through the various stages of grief:

  • Denial. No, I don’t have diabetes. So many of my blood glucose levels were LOW (even crazy low) during testing. Maybe the doctor just didn’t look at my whole medical history. This diagnosis just isn’t right.
  • Anger. I have an incredibly healthy diet and I exercise more than most people I know (even the ones who aren’t pregnant). How can this be possible? Why me? Why now?
  • Bargaining. Here’s what I’ll do — I’ll rock the first week of blood testing and then maybe the endocrinologist will take back the diagnosis when he sees how low my numbers are. If I just follow the doctor’s recommendations, I bet they’ll realize I don’t have diabetes after all.
  • Depression. I’m sad about the diagnosis. I’m sad that I can’t just open up the refrigerator and have a snack without calculating carbohydrates and checking my food log to see what I’ve already eaten today. I’m a huge baby about needles and am SO sad I have to prick my fingers 4 times a day to check my blood glucose. I’m sad I actually HAVE to workout on a schedule instead of choosing to do so.
  • Acceptance. You know what? It’s going to be ok. So many people deal with so much worse. Heck, I’ve dealt with so much worse (hello, infertility, miscarriage and celiac disease!). This is just an opportunity to make sure I stay as healthy as possible for the remainder of my pregnancy, and hey, maybe it will keep my overall weight gain low. Win, win.

I know, I know. I sound totally melodramatic… but I also think my reaction is very normal. Gestational diabetes can be scary, and can make you feel guilty (unnecessarily) and sad about not being able to just… eat like a normal person (particularly at a time when you want to be eating all the food, all the time). It sucks. But, it’s also totally manageable by diet, or a combination of diet and medication, and will be, hopefully, temporary. I keep reminding myself that plenty of people deal with a diabetes diagnosis for their entire lives, so surely I can get over myself for the next three months. Yes? Yes.

I met with a nutritionist yesterday to go over the dietary recommendations for gestational diabetes. To be completely honest, I was sort of annoyed by having to go to the nutritionist in general because I pride myself on being incredibly knowledgeable and proactive about my diet. Especially since Benjamin’s celiac diagnosis, I am hyper-aware of the foods I put in my body and make a Herculean effort to make the healthiest choices for me and my family. In short, I didn’t think I needed no stinkin’ nutritionist. (Bad attitude, I know).

I have been keeping a food log since last Friday and we spent a long time talking about how I generally eat. I was very proud when she said that I was probably the healthiest eater she will council all year. That said, I still had/have a lot to learn about the gestational diabetes diet! It’s not a weight-loss diet, or about eating more veggies or less meat or no bread, or even about reducing processed foods and eating more whole foods (which is the basis of my personal philosophy). It’s just about making sure I’m tracking carbohydrates so I don’t exceed certain levels, and defining the threshold of carbs that spikes my individual blood sugar in an unhealthy way. Thankfully it seems I really don’t have to adjust my diet much at all to adhere to the recommendations. Phew.

But I do have to prick my finger to get a blood sample 4 times a day.

Despite the fact that I have withstood countless blood draws and injections and uncomfortable procedures in the name of getting pregnant, and even pushed a 7+ pound child out of a tiny hole in my body, the thought of sticking myself with a needle makes me weak in the knees.

I am SUCH a baby about needles. (Remember when I had to get over that to try acupuncture?). As a kid (and, ok, a teenager… and a young adult…), I would, without fail, keel over when getting blood drawn at the doctor’s office. I learned to tell them I was a fainter up front so they could lay me back in the reclining chair before they ever got the needle out. Thankfully I’ve outgrown this, but I do still avert my eyes when they pull out the needle. Ew.

So on Tuesday I met with a nurse to learn how to use my glucose meter (aka finger pricker) and have been pricking my fingers 4 times a day since then. Though I’m getting a little bit more comfortable, it still gives me the heebie jeebies. Every time. Yes, the needle is tiny. And yes, it’s just a drop of blood. But OH it makes me cringe. The plan is to check levels for 2 weeks and track them with a detailed food log, and then meet with an endocrinologist to analyze the results at that point.

It’s a LOT of work (remembering to take my level first thing in the morning while I’m getting Owen up and ready for school, and then remembering to set the 1 hour timer on my phone after every meal, and then remembering to log everything I eat and when I ate it and how I felt?!). But it’s all for a good cause. Healthy baby, healthy mama.

And I haven’t passed out yet.

She Says… One Test Down

Sigh of relief. Well, at least I think so.

I do not have gestational diabetes.

In fact, my test results showed completely the opposite. Which could mean the presence of another issue, but could just be a result of an unlucky combination of factors.

On Tuesday night after my after-dinner snack, I started fasting. I woke up Wednesday morning, Benjamin took Owen to school and I headed for the doctor’s office as soon as it opened. I brought my computer and planned to get work done in the waiting room since I knew I was going to be there for 3 hours. First they took a urine sample to see if there was sugar present. If there was, I think they could diagnose diabetes from that, and perhaps I wouldn’t even have to do the test at all. Not sure about that, though, because they declared mine “negative”, handed me the ice-cold glucose drink, and started the clock. 5 minutes to guzzle the sugary drink. Not so bad when it’s ice cold.

I was hungry when I arrived, and it’s no wonder that feeling magnified when I sat down in the waiting room knowing that I was going to sit there, without food or water, for the next 3 hours. Brutal. I started working, but about 45 minutes in my eyesight was getting blurry and I felt hollow inside and a little shaky. I knew it was from the fasting/sugar high/sugar crash that my body really isn’t used to, but instead of causing a fainting or vomiting scene in the waiting room, I decided to head back and ask the nurse if I could put my feet up because I felt pretty woozy and shaky. She took my 1 hour blood draw and then showed me to a big chair (very much like the one I used to have to use every time I got blood taken as a kid/teen because I used to pass out a lot — I was a weenie). I leaned back and closed my eyes for 45 minutes. I felt weak, no doubt due to the fact that I hadn’t eaten in a while, but thankfully I had nowhere to go.

At the 2 hour blood work I was feeling a bit better, so I headed back out to the waiting room to work on some spreadsheets and powerpoint slides. Fun, eh? By the time the 3 hour needle stick came around I was so starving I would have eaten the nurse’s arm off if I hadn’t packed myself some snacks. As soon as she pulled that needle out, I shakily stuffed my face with 2 granola bars, an apple and half of my water bottle. The nurse made me finish an orange juice and sit for a few minutes to make sure I was ok to drive. I felt ok and was on my way.

I had already planned my route home around getting an egg & cheese sandwich and a decaf latte. Drive through. It was glorious. It was gone before I even left the drive through lane.

In the afternoon I got a call from the after-hours nurse. “Are you feeling ok? Your glucose level at the 3rd blood draw was super low. Like, dangerously low.” Frankly I was a little confused by the phone call, since I was feeling fine after eating all day long. I was just happy to hear that I didn’t have gestational diabetes!

My numbers were:
– Fasting: 75 mg/dL (normal range 65-95)
– 1 hour: 116 mg/dL (normal range 65-179)
– 2 hour: 114 mg/dL (normal range 65-154)
– 3 hour: 33 mg/dL (normal range 65-139)

Apparently the very low 3 hour puts me in the “hypoglycemic” camp. I’ve always been a self-diagnosed hypoglycemic… if I don’t eat small meals/snacks regularly, I bonk. If I exercise on an empty stomach, I bonk. If I don’t have my emergency granola bar on hand, I tend to get really hungry, and sometimes shaky and starving to the point of needing to sit down. When I’m hungry, I’m HANGRY. But stuffing my face always fixes it pretty quickly. I kind of thought this was normal, and it’s never really been an issue since I know this about myself and rarely let myself get to that shaky/fainty point.

The nurse seemed very concerned by this number, and after some Googling I can see that low blood glucose can sometimes indicate another health issue (pancreatic tumor, kidney issues, endocrine deficiencies, etc.). But given the fact that I’m pregnant and hadn’t eaten in 15 hours and my body is not used to processing large amounts of sugar or carbs, my doctor is not terribly concerned. So… neither am I.

Just happy I don’t have gestational diabetes!

Prior to this test my doctor said she wanted me to have the gestational diabetes test done TWICE during my pregnant, because having PCOS puts me at higher risk of having it. I’m not sure if this still stands, or if maybe she will just let me do the one hour test, fasting, the next time. Because I don’t want to do this 3 hour shenanigans again!