Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dark Can Be Funny, Right?

This pregnancy wasn't planned. We had started talking about the possibility of trying this summer to give Caleb a little sibling, but we hadn't entirely agreed on that timeline. No, we weren't preventing. But considering it took us months to get pregnant before, while actively charting, I didn't really think we were in the market for an Oops. And, yet, that's precisely what happened.

Pregnancy was so far off my radar that I was 10 days late before I even thought to test. Not 10 days past ovulation, but 10 days after I was supposed to get my period. And I'm one of those clockwork cycle ladies.

But we started to adjust to the idea of two under two, RB and I did. And we joked about Caleb's baby twin sisters, because three under two is even more funny. We figured out the baby would be due on New Years' Eve, and so we nervously laughed about our Halloween baby. The only thing funnier than three under two, apparently, is two babies in the NICU with a 15-month-old at home.

As we adjusted and warmed to the idea of trading the Mini Cooper for a minivan, we were starting to actually get excited about this little pickle we'd gotten ourselves into. We codenamed the baby "Inchworm" (Caleb was "Tadpole" until he was 4 days old), and we started to talk about room adjustments and carseat purchases and whether a third baby was in the cards for the future.

However, my progesterone numbers were falling. Not terribly surprisingly, yesterday afternoon the doctor couldn't find a heartbeat anywhere. At 8 weeks, it shouldn't be hard to find a heartbeat, so the pregnancy has been officially called non-viable. We have a D&C scheduled for next week, and then we'll let my body recover before diving into trying again.

In a world where a quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and a world where some people never have one, there are some of us doomed to have more. No one ever plans to be in the 3-pregnancies-1-child camp, but here I find myself. At least I do have that one child, and he is such a joy. I can't lose sight of that, even though times like this are hard.

So, now that my dark sense of humor is clear, and since I obviously cope oddly, I have to share this song whose slightly modified version is stuck in my head:

Go ahead and watch it. It's only about 2 minutes long. I'll wait.

And you're welcome. I can now virtually guarantee this song will be stuck in your head, too. Because, well, dead babies aren't much fun, either, but the song is catchy.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Why Being Pregnant Scares Me

So, yeah, still (probably) pregnant. Still in a bit of denial here.

Obviously, some of my nervousness comes from the fact that Caleb is so young. He still doesn't sleep through the night (well, maybe 1-2 nights a week he will), so I will go from no sleep while pregnant to no sleep while in the NICU to no sleep with a baby to no sleep while pregnant to no sleep with a baby (hoping to skip the NICU this time). That is a really long time to be sleep-deprived.

The other part of it is that I'm just straight up bad at being pregnant. If you don't want to know about the ugly side of being pregnant, you should skip the rest of this post. For real.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

I was so sick with Caleb that I lost weight while pregnant. People don't normally do that unless they are already pretty overweight to start with. I was probably 13-15 pounds overweight when I got pregnant, and after delivery I was 10 pounds underweight. I got a lot of comments about looking like a pregnant skeleton. The problem was I couldn't eat much of anything except salad and fish. You try gaining weight on that diet. Everything made me sick -- smells, textures, flavors. I threw up a lot. I threw up at work. I threw up in the shower. It was not fun. And then at 10 weeks, while trying desperately not to throw up in the trash can in the waiting room, I "got" to take the glucose drink test to diagnose gestational diabetes. Since I had GD, I was forbidden from the diet I would have preferred -- goldfish and Kraft macaroni and cheese -- and had to cut most of the carbs from my already limited diet. No dairy and very little fruit either.

Regardless of the fact that my body was quite sick with all the hormonal changes, I was not producing enough progesterone. Since I had had a previous miscarriage, it was determined that supplementing my already-crazy hormone levels with extra progesterone would be fun. Yay for twice-daily vaginal suppositories through week 12 that are amazingly nasty and guarantee nothing!

At 14 weeks, I gave into the nausea, and went on drugs. I was like a whole new person. It was amazing. I figured it would be short term (maybe I would be one of those women sick for -- gasp! -- 4 months instead of 3!), but every time I tried to wean myself off, I was right back to miserable and pukey. The last time I tried to stop taking them was (inadvertently) the week I ended up delivering. I took my pile of pills each night, including the anti-nauseal, and was usually able to make it through the day with just one dose. That week there was a day that I was sick all day, and figured I'd have to up my dose. Then I went to take my pills that night, and saw my cute little Zofran from the night before wedged in my little pill container, all sad that it had been missed. That's my proof the nausea wasn't psychosomatic, as some had suggested.

Zofran, while wonderful at controlling nausea, did terrible other things to my body. The constipation was so bad that I was consuming 40 grams of fiber in food each day, while taking psyllium husk supplements, and every couple of days I'd still have to take milk of magnesia to manage to do number two in 30-45 minutes. Truly miserable. For the silver lining, though, I figured I got an opportunity to practice my birthing visualizations and relaxing my pelvic floor and pushing out those enormous "butt babies." Seriously, they were so big I couldn't flush them.

My goal was a birthing center birth, so that meant I had to be "low risk". I was, however, automatically "high risk" because I'm over 35. And then I had GD, and found out that if I had to be medicated for it, that would move me up the risk ladder enough that the birth center would have to transfer me elsewhere. So, I controlled that GD with diet. It was hard, but I learned so much about what kinds of things made my body more resistant to insulin, so in addition to what I ate, I controlled my stress levels (through deep breathing, yoga, exercise, reduced hours at work, etc.). It was exhausting, but I was sure it would be worth it.

And then I up and delivered little Caleb at 32 weeks. No warnings from my body, just POP! goes the membranes, and out comes a baby, three hours later, leading to a lovely 40-day NICU stay. I could get all I-didn't-get-the-birth-experience-I-was-looking-for here, but that's not really it. It's just part of how bad I was and this whole pregnancy thing -- I couldn't even carry to close to term.

So, here I am, 8 weeks along, massively nauseous and hating my body for doing this to me. Again. I have some Zofran leftover from Caleb, so I've taken a few doses to keep from descending into the crappiness that I dealt with before. I've given up on any thought of a birthing center birth or a low-risk pregnancy. I'm hearing the same song and dance about low progesterone, and expect to be on the suppositories by week's end. But I'm hoping -- hoping!! -- that we'll see/hear a heartbeat on ultrasound later this week, and looking forward to starting to look forward to this little baby, even with all the ickiness and such that is certain to be my path for the next 5-7 months.

 And since no one has told me otherwise, I'm eating goldfish for an afternoon snack. I already had mac and cheese for lunch. So sue me. I'm going to survive pregnancy as well as I can until it becomes the miserable hell that I know is coming.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Getting Back to Running

I gotta get in shape. No, really. I gotta.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran a 10-mile race. Well, ran is a bad word. But when I signed up for it in November, it sounded like a good idea. I was sure our family would settle into a routine where I would be able to go running on a regular basis, and paying the registration fee for a race was a sure-fire way to make sure I wouldn't bail on my need to train. Oops.

I think I ran a total of 10 miles between November and race day. Soooooooo not ready. But, I'd signed up, and so I was certainly getting the free stuff you get with running a race. And I can't wear that cool t-shirt if I didn't actually complete the event. I guess my various ingrained rules got the best of me, and so I lined up to start. I jogged the first 3 miles. I alternated jogging and walking for the next mile. Then I found a walking partner, and walked the next 3 miles. I jogged when I could and walked most of the next few miles, but I absolutely ran that last quarter mile when they take all the pictures.

Certainly not a great completion time, and definitely didn't make the time I thought I'd do when I signed up. But I finished, and now I am oddly motivated to figure out how to fit regular running, swimming and biking into my weeks. Swimming shouldn't be too bad, especially once I convice RB to hang out with Caleb in the kiddie pool while I swim some laps. And I think I'll put the bike on its stand and "ride" out on the porch or driveway while Caleb plays in the yard (that child *will* enjoy playing in the grass, if I have anything to say about it). And if we can get back to that whole sleeping-through-the-night thing, I might even be able to manage throwing him in the jogging stroller and getting out in the early morning (though, right now, the idea of getting up at 5:30 to run doesn't sound terribly appealing after being up with him at midnight and 4).

I think I can....I think I can...I think I can!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Cleansing the Body

Years ago, a coworker did this crazy diet -- he consumed nothing but lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water for ten days. It looked miserable during the ten days, but he kept saying how he felt really good. He lost a pretty significant amount of weight, and then switched to a vegetarian diet, and is still thin today.

I was intrigued, so I researched it. Called the Master Cleanse, it is intended to remove toxins from the body and give the digestive system a rest so it can get rejuvenated and ready to go again. Toxins end up in our system from fast food, processed food, chemicals in the water, etc. Now, I don't subscribe to any of the conspiracy theories about the government trying to poison us, but I do know that a lot of the chemicals used in foods to brighten up the color or enhance the flavor haven't been around long enough to *really* know what they can do to us long-term. I really don't want to use my body as a part of that experiment, so I thought I'd give it the old college try.

I made my first attempt a couple of years ago. I tried out the concoction, and it actually tastes pretty good, and does a decent job of keeping the hunger pangs to a minimum. However, I derailed at day three when french fries were consumed in my presence. I love carbs, and I just didn't have the willpower to resist those fries. And then I moved. And then I got married. And then I got pregnant. And then I miscarried. And then I got pregnant again. And then I was pumping. Some of those were probably excuses, but several were legitmate reasons not to do, in effect, a starvation diet. So I held off. And then I did it in April. I finished all ten days of the diet with no cheating or anything. I had two really tough days in there (day four and day eight), but otherwise it was just the boredom of the same thing every day that was more of a factor than the craving of any food in particular.

I lost 9.5 pounds on the cleanse, and really felt pretty good -- energized and ready to take on the world again. When I returned to eating regular food, I have been following the diet I did while pregnant with gestational diabetes (but with occasional alcohol). Mostly, that entails eating more salad and fewer/better carbs. And I eschew most fast food (I love the word eschew, but now I want a cashew). I certainly expected my weight to go up as I added calories and solid food back into my, but it hasn't gone up much. At a week out from finishing the cleanse, I appear to have stabilized at about a 6-7 pound loss. Add to that some exercise, and I should be in good shape. My goal was drop a few pounds to reduce my likelihood for developing gestational diabetes if we get pregnant again.

So, when my period was late, I didn't give it a second thought. I figured I was essentially on a starvation diet for 10 days, and that's bound to mess up a woman's cycle. As I ate more normally again, my body would naturally start doing those things it does. And then, last night, I realized I'm now 8 days late. Like a good woman of childbearing age planning to start trying to get pregnant again this summer, I had some tests on hand. So I took one this morning -- fully expecting a negative result. Surely I'm just late because of the diet.

And then there was that faint second line. And now I feel awful. I was doing this diet right when I would have ovulated, and that's not a great start for a baby. Praying hard today that everything is okay.