Parkinson’s Disease Sucks

I originally started this blog as a way to deal with the depression and get all my feelings down in relation to my second and longer bout with infertility.  A cathartic way for me to fill my nights when I just couldn’t sleep because my mind was racing with all of these inner observations and thoughts, usually regarding infertility.  I used to think, “If only I could have another baby, that would solve everything because nearly everything else in my life is going great, then I would be completely happy, no more depression, voila!”  I now see that infertility was just overshadowing other things going on so this blog has taken a turn, at least for tonight.  Tonight I am awake after waking from a terrible nightmare about my dad.  I’m not going to go into the nightmare, I don’t remember all the details, but it certainly did a number on the deep sleep I had going on.  

I may have mentioned before, my dad has Parkinson’s Disease.  

I’m not sure where to begin, so many thoughts running through my head when I allow myself to face this.  It is difficult for me to let it all in because it can just be so difficult for me to deal with the emotions of it all.  This is going to seem like I’m going off on a tangent but bear with me…. I know this unfortunately isn’t the case for everyone with any type of infertility, but for me, I felt like there was definitely a solution and that was IVF.  Fortunately, in my case, I was right, it was successful.  I fully acknowledge many others haven’t been so lucky and still feel out of control, maybe they are out of options or have a definite diagnosis that things aren’t going to happen and my heart of course breaks for them.  I had those days where I did feel out of control and like there was no solution but for the most part, every once in awhile I allowed myself to hope because technically, I still had a chance of getting pregnant, especially so after we decided to do IVF.  I am feeling completely out of control in regards to my dad.  There is absolutely no cure for PD.  Things are only going to get worse.  I try to have hope that one day there will be a cure, especially if it is hereditary (yes, for myself and my husband as a caregiver, but mostly for my children), but I know that even if they found a cure tomorrow, unless it was accompanied by a miracle way to reverse the symptoms that have already come on, it’s too late for my dad.  (This is where I breakdown crying.)

I have been extremely lucky in life.  Infertility was the biggest tragedy for me.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s big and even though I got my babies in the end, it has left lasting emotional and mental scars.  But I’m 32 years old and I haven’t really lost anyone very close to me.  I did lose my paternal grandmother when I was 20.  I loved her dearly and we were close but she lived across the country so while I missed her, mourned greatly for her and still miss her, she wasn’t a person in my daily life either.  There was also a great aunt and great uncle that should be acknowledged but you get the point.  No great tragedies.  I had believed this was still the case even after my dad’s diagnosis.  I didn’t know much about it at first but, as my sister and I were crying over the shock (I was also crying because I was sort of relieved too.  For the split second between him saying, “I was diagnosed” and “with Parkinson’s Disease” I imagined the worst, in regards to something terminal), Dad kept saying it was okay.  If he had to get a brain disease, this was the thing to get.  He told us it wasn’t fatal, it will just (‘just!’ ugh, so naive I was) affect his quality of life.  In my parents’ true fashion, they sugar coated it all for our sake (I have come to hate this sugar coating, though I did have several good denial years because of it….).  We hadn’t had anyone else in the family that has had this or known anyone else in real life for that matter.  Of course the first person that popped into my mind was Michael J. Fox and even at that point he didn’t seem so bad off (I’m not clear on the timeline but MJF may have had his deep brain stimulation surgery at that point).  Anyhow, I carried Dad’s explanation with me.  At that point he was just a little slow in fine motor skills so it was a little annoying waiting for him to do this or that but overall he seemed fine.  Did I mention I was 22 or 23?  So I was still so young and naive, also planning my wedding, so I sort of swept this under the rug.  After all, he joked about how great he would be at making martinis now.  He was FINE.

Now it is nearly ten years later.  My dad is in a rehabilitation clinic doing physical, occupational and speech therapy after undergoing a 13 hour surgery on his back.  He his close to a bionic man with all the metal in his spine.  Because he fell.  Oh yeah, he also has osteoporosis (something that runs in my family on both sides) and is developing a hump.  Falling is a dangerous and, for Dad, too frequent symptom of PD.  Again, we all kind of made light of it at first, cracking jokes (that’s what we do in our family), pushing it further under the rug.  It was just every once in awhile and he always “fell good,” meaning he could always maneuver onto his knees or butt and started wearing knee pads wherever he went.  Well, when you have osteoporosis, you can only be lucky for so long.  He had back surgery several years ago but I don’t remember much about it as I was living further away from home, my parents of course didn’t make a big deal about it and Dad always had a bad back, and it was just to fix one little fracture so it wasn’t extremely invasive (definitely not 13 hours long invasive) and he recovered really quickly.  This one has taken a lot more out of him.  And my mom as both his wife and caregiver.

 After the big fall that did it this time, he went to the doctor several times.  The first couple times he was told he would just be in pain the rest of his life, there wasn’t anything they could do for it.  There was another fracture but rest was the only thing that could be done.  While between selling our house and waiting for our new one to get done being built we were living with him and my mom for the majority of the time between the fall and his eventual surgery and I could see this poor man was in extreme pain and I felt so helpless and angry at these doctors.  Finally, condensed version, one doctor had a plan – this surgery.  I won’t go into details because I can’t keep them all straight anyhow but there was a plan.  I was relieved then quickly terrified because they said it would be an all day surgery.  I was looking at my poor father who had just been laying around the majority of the summer and as a result he had lost so much muscle mass and he just looked too frail to last through an all day surgery.  The surgery was scheduled pretty quickly and the days leading up to it I just prepared myself for the worst.  I was convinced he wouldn’t wake up after all that anesthesia.  Thankfully he did but it has been a bumpy road to recovery.  He’s still so frail looking and so helpless.  We visited him yesterday and that’s probably what prompted my nightmare.  

I have a very good friend who lost her husband entirely too soon to a form of lymphoma about five years ago.  She had one of those boards with the sayings on it and it said, “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.”  How true do those words ring?!?  This applied to my infertility and definitely regarding my dad.  I get the most upset when I allow myself to think about the man he used to be and should still be – very active and outgoing and young for his age.  Parkinson’s is a slow, progressive disease but it fast forwards the aging process.  My 90 year old grandfather gets around significantly better than my 67 year old father.  Of course he’s the same person inside.  Dad still has the warmest heart of anyone I know and still has his sense of humor.  But even the latter is affected.  He used to love to be the center of attention at any gathering, telling jokes and his booming laugh, I will never forget because it always embarrassed me as a teenager and even later as an introverted adult (now I would kill to have that time back).  Now he is either napping in his chair when we gather at their house or is sort of a wallflower, sitting or shuffling around for this or that.  His voice has been softened and his throat is scratchy because his mouth gets too dry.  I’m not sure if this is a symptom of PD or his medications, but it’s all related.  His mind isn’t as sharp so when he tries to tell a joke the delivery gets all messed up.  It’s so painful to see.  The poor man is trying to do something he always loved to do – make people laugh – and we all just sit there, anxiously waiting for whatever corny joke he is trying to tell, and he muddles it up and we all kind of chuckle nervously.  (Breaking down again.)  Even then, he’ll chuckle a little and joke that, “it sounded better in my head.”  God bless that man.

This is not to overshadow the toll this all has taken on my mom.  I mentioned my dad was so active and young for his age.  This goes double for my mom.  No one can believe she is 63 years old, she looks and acts so much younger.  I’m a little embarrassed (but also proud of her) to say that when my husband and I have something heavy to move, she is the one that helps him move it while I hold the door!  She is simply amazing.  

I thank God every day for my mom.  She is such a rock and takes care of every one of us.  Most of the time she does it without complaint.  I’m the daughter that lives the closest (still an hour away but not a week goes by without me seeing her/them) so I think I get most of her venting, though she does talk to my sister on the phone often so maybe she gets it too.  I’m fine with that though, she needs to vent, and she knows I understand.  Dad could be difficult to live with before PD with some bad habits (who doesn’t have them, I know) but PD intensifies existing bad habits, like too frequent online shopping (and shaky hands often hit the wrong item to be bought) or leaving a constant mess around the house or forgetting where he put things, etc.  So I hear about all of that.  I also hear about how frustrating it is when he falls all the time.  Of course she knows he can’t help the falling but gets frustrated because he didn’t have his walker with him or was holding too many things at once causing him to both break dishes and also not have a hand free to catch himself.  You get the point, she vents, understandable.  

What really kills me is when she breaks down crying.  I can count the number of times this has happened and it…Freaks. Me. Out.  She has never really been a big crier.  Only when we were being REALLY difficult as kids would she cry out of stress or frustration (and that wasn’t even very often), then when we left home for college she cried a little more but still, not a big cry baby (unlike me).  So when she allows me to see her break down, I feel just awful.  I know things are really bad and really stressful for her.  She did this the other day and I was so worried that things were going downhill for Dad at the rehab place.  You always hear about how some senior citizen breaks their hip or something and they don’t live much longer after that.  I am terrified of this statistic.  My dad cannot be one of them.  So when I saw her break down I thought the worst.  Of course she was worried for him, he had’t had a very good last couple of days, but she was also just feeling like she was being spread too thin.  His rehab facility is near us, about 20 minutes from us, but it’s an hour away from their house and she has been running back and forth daily, with the exception of staying with us a time or two (even though I tell her constantly that she can ALWAYS stay here).  They have a large dog to take care of and of course regular house stuff and she just likes to sleep in her own bed.  I have asked her to watch the girls here and there, which sounds terrible to put on a woman who’s already caregiver to her husband but I also know she enjoys the girls so much and she misses them and I always let her know we have an alternate option if she can’t or just needs her own time so I don’t think that is an obligation she feels stressed about, though it’s another thing she wishes she had more time for right now.  She doesn’t feel like she can leave Dad for very long.  The hospital/rehab facility has it’s issues.  The food is terrible but Dad needs to eat (remember, he’s lost a bunch of muscle mass already), they can’t seem to get his medicine schedule right (and that’s major with PD), there’s little consistency regarding the staff and I don’t know what else, but Mom is frustrated.  

Did I mention she is a retired nurse?  She’s the best nurse I know and my dad is so lucky to have her there, but I know it’s taking it’s toll on her and I’m just at a loss as to how to help.  I don’t know anything about his medication schedule or much about caring for a disabled person so I can’t really make her feel better by taking her place while she takes a day to recoup.  My sister would be great at that but she lives about three hours away from me.  All I’ve been trying to do is just be here for her for whatever she needs, whether it be venting, a homemade meal, a place to stay, grandchild therapy, etc.

Bottom line, Parkinson’s Disease sucks.  It can go fuck itself because I’m just sick of it.  But I do feel better getting this all out.  I know my blog started and is still titled about infertility but I really started this as a way to deal with my emotions about anything going on in my life, it just so happened that infertility was at the forefront at the time.  Fortunately nothing new has come up, tragedy-wise, just dealing with things now that have been pushed down or overshadowed.  I know I’ve been really bad at keeping up with my blog but as I mentioned in the beginning, I started it when I had persistent insomnia and needed a cathartic outlet.  Lately I’ve slept so soundly when I do sleep (and I’ve actually slept quite a bit as I have a baby that sleeps wonderfully! Don’t hate me! 🙂 ) and my days are so filled that I just haven’t had much time at all to blog.  I will post more about the happy things in my life (at the top of the list, my two beautiful girls!) very soon!  Right now, it is 6:30 am and I’ve been typing for the last 2+ hours and I have a child’s swing set to help my husband build today!

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SHE’S here!

Warning: New baby announcement. Please stop reading if this will ruin your day.

In addition to the past five days being a big, fast moving blur, I also put off posting because there are a few others that I follow and that I believe follow me that are going through a variety of emotions in their own journeys with infertility. Quite frankly, I felt empathetic and a bit guilty. But I also want to update as promised so for those of you struggling, I truly wish the best for you all and hope this doesn’t come at an exceptionally bad time for any one of you. I root for you with my entire being and look forward to your own good news posts!

I will fill you in on the birth story in another post as I am now “swyping” this into my phone and the whole story will probably get wordy!

Sooooo, right to the point….. I am now finally a mother of two beautiful girls!!! I have my husband’s and my oldest daughter’s names changed on the crazy off chance that someone I know in real life stumbles upon my blog and puts two and two together (I know, I’m totally paranoid! What are the odds, really?!?). But I can’t resist, I am posting my new daughter’s real name… Cecilia was born Wednesday afternoon at 7lbs 6.5 oz, 19.5″ long. She has a head full of dark brown hair (just like her big sis, who actually had a little more!)and she is simply wonderful and Elle is over the moon, simply adores her! Labor and delivery went well and my recovery has been great! As I mentioned, I will get into more detail about all that in my next post.

I’m still in such awe that I actually have this little person now. It took me always telling myself that I was in fact pregnant to actually believe it. Now I keep having to remind myself that I am not pregnant anymore. I admit that makes me a little sad sometimes, it just flew by so quickly, I feel like it’s all been a dream I’m going to wake up from. I broke down the other day after washing all of Elle’s newborn clothes (now Cecilia’s) along with some of her 5T clothes. I held up a tee shirt that looked so small just a few days earlier then held up a newborn onesie and bawled my eyes out about how fast time goes and how Cecilia is going to grow up too (yep, hormones)!

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Much quicker update than last time!

Just thought I’d fill you in on my last couple appointments.  Nothing too earth shattering and this probably won’t turn into a really great read, but there is a bit of news, or at least progress!  At my 36 week appointment last week ago I was already between 3 and 4 cm and 70% effaced!  Great, no big deal, lots of people walk around further progressed than that for weeks, but I was still happy that I was at least a third of the way dilation-wise and obviously things were happening down there.  Enter this week’s appointment – more progress – “a solid 4 cm” and 90% effaced.  I didn’t see my regular doctor this time but she was great.  Probably similar in age to me (that’s so weird to me that I’m old enough to have doctors my age or even younger!) and very chatty in a good way.  Prior to my 36 week appointment, I had totally forgotten how much those cervical checks hurt!  I hardly noticed it this time since I was talking with this doctor the whole time!  Anyhow, I liked her a lot (she was the one doc in the practice I hadn’t yet met).  After checking me she also said, with conviction, “yeah, you’re not gonna make it to your due date.”  I’m still hesitant to believe it since that is what a doctor told my sister about 2 or 3 weeks before her due date and it really screwed with her head and patience – and she didn’t even go a day beyond her due date (did I mention she was, like, one of the 5% that actually had her son on his due date??).  This doctor also mentioned that if I wanted, they could strip my membranes at my next appointment since I’m going to be 38 weeks and am already progressed.  I don’t think I will opt for this because, frankly, I’m not in that big of a hurry and it may or may not even work, from what I’ve heard.

Ok, so I wrote the previous post and never finished it two weeks ago!  I just thought I’d leave that part so you could see the progress and understand what’s going on without me rewriting everything…

I am 39 weeks tomorrow and getting induced.  HOLY SHIT!  I think I’m still in shock that the time has finally come because I keep having to tell myself that I will have a baby within the next 24 hours or so (likely less based on my dilation and effacement).  Only when I consciously tell myself that do I get extremely giddy and crazy excited!  You know how it is, when you’ve been infertile for so long, you imagine things happening that never seem to.  Now I find it actually happening and still feeling like it’s a figment of my imagination.  So crazy!

So let me back up a little.  At my 38 week appointment last week I had my doctor again.  Two days before I had an ultrasound to check the baby’s size because of the GD.  The tech said everything looked great, measuring just a day ahead and the only thing a little big was the baby’s belly which is pretty normal with GD.  Then she says, “now this is only an estimate and is usually off, can be off as much as a pound even, but according to the measurements, he/she could turn out to be about 7 pounds, 8 ounces.  Now, I realize this is not a huge baby but nevertheless, my jaw pretty much dropped.  My first was 6 lbs 3 oz at just 3 days early (no GD though).  She later went on to say that he/she would likely be more around the 7# mark and I’m a lot better with the idea of that weight.  So we’ll see!  Things just keep popping up with this pregnancy that nothing should really surprise me!  Luckily these things are quite minor in the grand scheme of things so I’m not complaining.  I am, however, really excited that I (likely, fingers crossed) won’t have to keep up a food diary, eat around the clock, prick my fingers 4x a day anymore and obsess over why my sugar was high when it seemed I did everything right and worry how it’s affecting my baby…  So okay, back to my appointment with my doctor.  She must have thought either the baby is a little bigger than she wants or I’m a little too smal-framed or both because she upped the induction date to 39 weeks (tomorrow), always adding in, “if you don’t go before then.”  Once again, I was between 4-5 cm dilated and 80-90% effaced and no one (including myself) seemed to think I’d even make it to the induction date.  Well, here I am!  Last night was the only night I had anything even close to regular contractions and they still weren’t what I’d call painful, just maybe a little more uncomfortable, and not very timeable either.  Of course they didn’t progress.  I’m fine with being induced because I am getting an epidural so I’m not too afraid of the Pitocin, if that will even be needed.  My doctor said that since I’m so far progressed, breaking my waters and stripping the membranes might be all that’s needed.  Again, we’ll just see! I’ll try to be good and post about it not too long after…but if you’ve been following me, you know that’s a long shot!  Wish me luck, I’m off to try and get some sleep!!

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Recent happenings (probably going to be long and boring, sorry!)

I am 36 weeks pregnant tomorrow.  Boy, that time sure flew!  Okay, not every single moment has flown by (like the periods of insomnia I have many nights) but overall, it has definitely gone extremely fast.  This may not be the most exciting post, I just thought I’d update my little following on what’s been happening lately.

First thing’s first, the gestational diabetes.  Last I posted I thought I had things under control with my diet.  Apparently I spoke too soon!  My numbers weren’t off the charts crazy but I was struggling to keep a consistent range so they put me on the lowest dose of glyburide (oral medication) to help lower my morning numbers.  I’ve been on that maybe ten days now and things seem to be leveling out well.  The diet part isn’t terrible though I do tire of forcing myself to eat even if I’m not hungry and eating on a schedule and only certain things or amounts of things has kind of taken the fun out of eating, but I can deal with this for what little time I have left of it (God forbid I get stuck with type 2!).  The worst part has been that if I don’t break up my “before bedtime” snack I tend to have an out-of-range high fasting level (for those who don’t know, going too long between meals/snacks can make the levels go up, I don’t get it but that’s how it is) and that just seems to throw off my entire day.  So now, on top of getting up to pee several times a night, one of those times I have to trudge down the stairs and eat something, thus leading to the aforementioned insomnia afterwards.  I do feel like this is priming me well for a newborn again though!  Pretty boring stuff, but that’s what’s happening there.

Exciting news – my sister had her baby!  She had a boy on her due date (not induced) and named him Silas and he’s awesome!  It made me even more excited to meet my own!!  My parents, Elle and I rushed out to where she lives (about 4ish hours away from here) and ended up having hours to spare.  If I would have known what a stick-in-the-butt hospital she was at I would’ve let my parents go ahead and then waited until my husband got home from work to drive with us (we left early Friday morning after her phone call, J came up that evening after work).  They didn’t allow children under twelve (unless they were children of the woman in labor) to go past a stuffy, hot, crowded, windowless waiting room.  They had a nice, airy, windowed waiting room with a view through the L&D set of doors just down the hall.  I understand not allowing her into the actual L&D room with my sister but I was quite pissed about the crappy waiting room to which we were banished.  I realize I’m very impatient with most people these days anyhow (thank you, hormones) but the receptionists were some of the worst, unfriendliest ones I have encountered.  First, they called my 5 year old “the baby” and didn’t even acknowledge her presence (besides stating rudely that “the baby” had to stay in this waiting room and a guardian had to stay with her (duh!!)) or her feelings or say something along the lines of, “I’m really sorry, it’s just our policy, I really wish we could help.”   That definitely would’ve softened the blow of my poor kid having to take turns waiting with different relatives while we all got to see Aunt K and then later on, the baby.  So anyhow, the rest of the family – my parents and my sister’s in-laws – were all so sweet and we ended up spending most of the time in the cafeteria all together, which is really the fun part of waiting for the arrival of a new little one.  Despite a small (and deserved) pout session after the baby was born because she felt so bad she couldn’t see Aunt K and Silas, Elle behaved awesomely.  Then we decided to skip another day of preK (which we didn’t end up missing, for once a snow day worked to our advantage!) and a gymnastics session to stay until Tuesday evening so Elle could have some time with Silas after they were discharged from the hospital.  I’m so glad we did too!  She was soooo great with him, I felt like it was a good dry run for when we have ours.  I realize it will still be different having a take-home sibling vs a cousin for a couple days but I still feel pretty good about how she’ll handle our new little one.

Another new, yet bittersweet development I never did follow up on after my last entry… we sold our house!  The final offer was accepted Sunday night so this is still pretty new and shocking to me.  I don’t remember if I ever explained too much about why we are moving but my husband got a new job about a year and a half or so ago and has been commuting an hour and fifteen minutes each way everyday since.  So we are moving closer to his job.  I am seriously living in my ideal area right now – fantastic friends, schools, community, small town feel with a big town nearby, great house, neighborhood….I can’t say enough wonderful things about where we live – so this has been difficult for me to stomach ever since we put the house on the market.  Then my stinking husband kept flip-flopping with the idea of staying in this general area, still moving, but closer to the interstate, thus cutting it down to about an hour or less commute and making me crazy by getting my hopes up and then the next week deciding we are in fact moving an hour away.  Let me be clear, he isn’t the only one deciding and he’s not being a dictator laying down the law and the only reason he keeps changing his mind is because he wants to cater to my feelings.  I pretty much told him that it was his choice since it is his commute and there’s nothing I’m doing here that I can’t do there.  So anyhow, I finally caught on to his flip-flop tendencies and decided to just surrender to the idea of moving an hour away, no matter what his thought of the day was at any time.

Sure, I was a complete basket-case Sunday night when things were finalized then woke up in the middle of the night and sat in our former and soon-to-be nursery again and bawled my eyes out thinking about the memories and the fantastic schools and friends we are leaving behind, only ended up getting about four hours of sleep…wait, where was I going with this??  Oh yeah, but I am better now and trying to look at it as something new and exciting.  It is only an hour away so it’s not like I’m never going to see my friends ever again and there are good schools where we are going, we’ll make new memories and of course we’ll still have the old memories and most importantly, each other.  We are no further away from my parents and grandparents and my husband will get home at a decent time.  So I am better.  And luckily the buyers agreed to let us stay until May 23 so we’ll have a couple months or so to get used to having a newborn around and Elle can finish up her preK program here with only three days of commuting to here from wherever we’ll be.

Of course we have no idea where we are going to live and that is stressing me out.  The area we are moving to consists of several cities mushed together and we are considering any one of three areas we have narrowed it down to, though I have one in mind that I would really prefer.  The problem is that there are so few houses in our price range with what we want on the market now and I am beyond frustrated and feel like we will never find anything (we’ve been looking for awhile).  I realize the market should pick up soon with the warmer weather (hopefully) approaching but I just feel like we are cutting things so close and do NOT want to live with my parents!!  We’re going out this weekend to look at a few places and maybe some lots to build on, but even lots are hard to find in the town I want to live… wish us luck!

Okay, so back to the pregnancy.  I feel huge.  I never felt this huge with Elle.  I have definitely gained more with this one.  As I have mentioned before, I attribute this to a) IVF drug aftermath and b) being a second-timer and c) not having been on a restricted diet, at least not for the first 3/4, and maybe a little bit is from the GD, which is obviously very possible and common but I feel stronger about reasons a, b and c since I started off bigger.  Actually I don’t really feel THAT huge, I know I am “all baby” as everyone tells me.  I am very lucky in that I don’t gain the weight in my face or swell up (I’ve been able to wear my wedding ring the whole time, couldn’t with Elle but that was also in the hot, humidity of summer) or anything else that makes me look huge all over, but my belly is huge.  And a woman that worked at the lovely hospital my sister was in said she gave me two weeks (I was about 34.5 weeks along).  AND the nurse today at my non stress test (oh yeah, now that I’m on meds for GD I have to do those twice a week on top of the now weekly OB appointments) said she bets I won’t go to 40 weeks; she thinks because I’m so small-framed the doctor will induce me by 39 weeks.  So now I’m freaking out that I have a giant baby in there that’s going to either a) rip me to shreds or b) cause me to need a c-section!  I’m really glad I have my 36 week OB appointment to get more info out of my doctor tomorrow.  Then I have to wait until 38 weeks (which of course will come up quickly but I’m so anxious!) for my next ultrasound to actually see if the baby is a monster.

Otherwise, the baby is doing great- moving around, hiccuping a ton, dancing on my bladder, kicking my ribs, crowding my diaphragm – all the things he/she should be doing!  🙂  My blood pressure is always really good so I am not too freaked out about preeclampsia (fyi, another thing that can be a higher risk with GD).  We got a new crib but won’t be setting it up since moving it will be easier in the box and the baby will only be about two months by then, thus still sleeping in the co-sleeper or pack-n-play anyhow (even though I am just ITCHING to set it up!).  We are slowly getting other things together out of storage for our nursery and I need to go through some bins of clothing for some gender neutral things to bring to the hospital.  I also need to pack my hospital bag.  And make frozen dinners.  Between house inspections and all these NSTs and doctor’s appointments and regular busy life, these next few weeks are going to fly away from me and I just hope I can get prepared in time without stressing my body into an early labor!

(Sorry this turned out sooooo long!)

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The results are in…

Well, I have gestational diabetes.  Fantastic.  Actually, by now I’m fine with it.  I was depressed and really pissed about it the day I found out – I’m blaming a lot of how I felt that day on hormones and the fact that when something goes wrong I tend to dramatize my entire life (even though I really don’t have too much to complain about).

So the day I found out, I was pissed because in no way, shape or form do I fit into any of the risk factor categories.  I don’t know who I was pissed at but I just knew I was pissed, it just wasn’t fair!  I am in no way saying other women that do fit into any of the risk factor categories deserves to have it, just like no one deserves to have infertility, I was just having a self-pity/rage moment.  Then I fell back into the whole “it’s not fair” way of thinking (just like during the thick of infertility crap) – I did all this work, spent all this money to get pregnant (when most everyone else in the world can do this for fun and for free) and then something goes awry?!?  NOT FAIR!  I am like a spoiled child – I finally got my pregnancy, now I want it to be perfect, dammit!  So that is my knee-jerk reaction to pretty much anything that goes wrong in my life.  Irrational entitlement.  I’ll just sum up that it ruined my day and my poor husband and daughter had to endure my ridiculous bouts of alternating between sobbing and snapping at them.

Luckily I have my sister.  You may recall, she is 5.5 weeks ahead of me (due so soon!!) and was diagnosed when she was 24 weeks.  So of course I feel really lucky that my doctor doesn’t test until closer to 29/30 weeks (I am 31.5 weeks now).  The nurse I met with explained that testing that early isn’t necessarily needed nor does it reduce much of the risk to the baby so that was good to know too as I wondered about why they test so late in the game if it was so important (she showed me a chart that explained it well and I won’t bore you with what I vaguely remember).  Anyhow, my sis helped me somewhat understand what I was likely in for and emailed several pages her dietician had given her.  This helped because, while I took the 3 hour glucose test Monday morning, I was diagnosed and told over the phone that Tuesday, late morning.  Well, apparently they only hold the diabetes education class on Tuesday mornings at 8:30.  So of course I missed it and had to wait a whole week before I knew exactly what my plan was.  In the meantime I put myself on a lower carb/higher protein diet thinking I’ll get a head start on this thing (yeah, I probably shouldn’t have done that, I lost a little bit of weight…).  The point I was trying to make is that I felt better after talking to my sister.  She had similar numbers to mine and has been able to regulate her GD with diet alone.

My sister’s doctor even let her stop pricking her finger after a couple weeks and just rely on her regular new diet.  My nurse, however, says I need to prick my finger four times a day until the baby is born.  She said glucose absorbtion changes as the trimester progresses so it’s good to keep an eye on things.  It isn’t as bad as I thought though; I feel like the lancets they use in these diabetes kits are way smaller than the finger pricks I have gotten at the doctor’s office in the past.  I’ve been at this since Tuesday so I’m 18 pricks in and my fingers aren’t sore at this point.

I need to keep a food diary and eat lots of small-ish meals and snacks with a certain amount of carbs each time.  I know small frequent meals is what everyone suggests during pregnancy anyhow, especially with the decreasing amount of room in there now, but I’ve always just eaten whenever I wanted, however much I wanted and that was usually just like two to three big meals and snacks whenever I felt like it and I didn’t experience all that much heartburn.  So I was a little worried that I would get hungry – boy, was I wrong, I am stuffed!  When I was stopping to eat my mid-afternoon snack, my husband said, “geez, it’s like a job!”  I guess that’s my biggest complaint- it has kind of taken the enjoyment from my eating (and I’ve always enjoyed eating!).  I don’t always feel like shoving another protein or carb down my throat just to meet my minimum amount.  The things I have around my house are either surprisingly low in carbs per serving or too high (like bagels, one of my favs-boo).  I do sort of like the structure though as it is forcing me to look at my food choices and I’m eating some more vegetables, which could always use improvement.  But yes, I am eating way more than I was, or at least what I’m eating is more filling.  Oh yeah, I have to test my ketones in my urine every other day (unless they come back high, then I am to test every day).  I had no idea what ketones were before this so I will briefly explain – they indicate if you are getting an adequate amount of calories each day.  Of course this is especially important during pregnancy.

So far, nearly all of my tests are turning out well with my diet.  The nurse said this first week is trial and error so I’m not to freak out if I get any funky levels (there have been a couple out of the range they want me in but nothing too crazy).  I have a follow-up appointment with her and the dietician this Tuesday and my 32 week regular OB appointment Wednesday.  I’m hoping I at least get an extra ultrasound out of all this!

Obviously my attitude about all of this is much better than it was that first day.  My sister’s pregnancy has progressed really well so far so I have no reason to believe mine couldn’t very well do the same in the coming weeks.  I only have about 8(ish) more weeks anyhow and this entire pregnancy has just flown by so I can deal with what little inconvenience this is going to cause for the remainder.

Of course this could all be eclipsed by the fact that we may be selling our house very soon and don’t know where the hell we’re going to live either shortly before or shortly after this baby comes – so I’m a little stressed about that!

I think that’s enough for now; I’ll write more about my house situation in the next post.  Maybe we’ll have more news about it by then too.

Hope all is well with my little group of followers! 🙂

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Well, dammit

Ok, so nothing awful has happened, I’m just annoyed. 

I had my one hour glucose tolerance test – I’m 29 weeks today – and failed.  According to my lab, the max should be 140 and I was at 190.  I didn’t have anything high sugar for breakfast nor for dinner last night so I was sort of optimistic about the test.  I don’t have any other risk factors for gestational diabetes.  I failed the first test when I was pregnant with Elle and then ended up passing the 3 hour one.  These last two statements give me hope that I won’t have to deal with GD.  What lowers my hope is that my sister, who is even smaller and fitter than I, has it.  She also told me that her doctor said the levels have been adjusted (lowered) since I last had Elise (well, that was over five years ago so I’m not super surprised). 

However, yet another development since I started this post – a fellow infertile-turned-pregnant friend of mine who also happens to have just graduated medical school told me that illness can affect glucose levels.  I just happen to be sick with a really awful, annoying cold that won’t quit!  So I’m going to call the OB office tomorrow and see what the doctor says.  It would be wonderful if they say that is correct and maybe I should repeat the one hour when I am well.  It would be a little annoying if they say they still want me to continue with the three hour test but when I am healthy.  If current health doesn’t turn out to be a factor in their opinion then I just want to take it this Friday and get it over and done with. 

I’m not exactly worried about having GD.  If I have it, I have it and I’m still pretty optimistic that I will have a healthy baby – yes, anything could go wrong (related to GD or not) but I choose to remain optimistic.  There are worse things to have than gestational diabetes and it is definitely something I can deal with for these remaining 10-11 weeks or so.  I will deal with that as it comes.  I’m just mostly annoyed by the inconvenience of it all.  The three hour test.  Then if I do have GD, the follow-up appointments.  I rely heavily on the days when my daughter has school to get errands run and would rather not have to waste them on annoying appointments – especially that damn three hour!

I know how this sounds, I’m reading the same silly sentences as you.  This all seems really petty and picky, especially considering all the work and appointments we’ve done and had just to conceive this baby- this should seem like nothing right??  But on the other hand, it sucks that anyone that has had to deal with infertility has to have anything but a perfect pregnancy (obviously I know this isn’t how things work!)!  Hell, nothing has even been diagnosed yet!  I’m just venting.  I’m still sick and exhausted and I’ve been annoyed by a couple dumb little things today so this is probably just exacerbated by my already hormone-driven mood.  I’m not even mad/annoyed at anyone in particular, just the situation I guess.  I’m sure I’ll be better tomorrow.  Maybe I’ll end up sounding like a big ol’ dope that overreacted to nothing if they end up telling me my cold could very well be to blame and/or if I take the long test and pass and that’s that and move on. 

In fact, I feel a little better just typing all of this out.  There are so many worse things that I could be going through right now. 

Thanks for reading (if you stuck out my little rant!)!

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Oh, so much to write!

It appears this post I wrote weeks ago didn’t get posted. I wrote a lot so I’m going to go ahead and post it now! I’ll try to get to an update soon!

I am now 23 weeks.  Once again it has been entirely too long since my last post!  Part of this is laziness, part of this is busyness with holidays and life in general, partly because I used to write when I had insomnia from depression about infertility (now I still get insomnia nearly every time I have to get up in the middle of the night to pee but I still can’t bring myself to make the trek downstairs, I just lay there after my long walk – all ten feet or so – to the bathroom and back) and part of it, I suppose, is a little dose of guilt for those who I know still haven’t gotten what they want and still follow my blog – which, I warn you, may contain a few blurbs that come off as complaints or lack of appreciation in this post.  Believe me, I don’t understand what’s going on any more than you do!  Let me (try to) explain…

First of all, I am in a very good place now.  The baby is moving a lot more, I am feeling very comfortable with the fact that this very well could result in a real life baby!  I don’t know if I have somehow adopted an optimistic attitude that things will just work out or maybe I’m just resigned to the fact that whatever will happen will happen and there’s not much I can do (besides take care of myself in all the ways I know how) that will change that.  Maybe it is because I had a very good, comfortable, very uneventful pregnancy and delivery the first time around and my brain is (sort of) forgetting all that we went through to conceive this baby.  Yes, we did go through a lot more and yes we did wait a lot longer for this one but I think I am sort of blocking all that out and just enjoying the moment.

Do I still have aftermath from the infertility?  Of course.  I still don’t enjoy baby showers.  My sister’s was last weekend -thankfully she has sisters-in-law in the same city that took care of organizing that.  It wasn’t painful, like how I felt every time I simply received a baby shower invite (and immediately declined) but I just didn’t enjoy it.  I was really pissed off that infertility robbed me of enjoying my only sister’s first pregnancy and her shower and took away the part of me that should’ve been gushing for her and all the cute baby stuff like all the other clueless people there.  I was even annoyed at the attention they gave me – we are obviously very close in due dates and of course that’s special and neat and everyone commented on it.  I was polite but just plain annoyed on the inside.  Do I resent a part of me now being “one of them” (fertile people)??  Maybe that’s a bit deep and maybe I’m looking into this too much, could be just hormones…

I’m definitely not discounting hormones.  I think they are a reason for so many of my conflicting feelings.  They have to be because no one in their right mind could possibly be having the myriad of thoughts I’m having in the span of a week/day/hour!  You are all probably going to think I’m nuts, jumping around on so many different tangents tonight, but this is sort of my journal so I’m just going to get it out there!

For pretty much most of my first trimester and a bit into the beginning of my second I kept waiting for the indescribable joy to kick in.  Of course the initial discovery that the IVF worked was extreme joy and relief.  And that would keep coming back every time I would tell someone the news.  We told the immediate family (who then told extended family) almost right away and a couple really close friends (including my Resolve group ladies), a few more close friends that knew about the IVF after the first ultrasound at 7 weeks, then the rest of our friends around 10 or 11 weeks, mostly because I was pretty obviously showing at that point and our daughter had begun telling EVERYONE.  Anyhow, my point is, it was hard for me to get into this pregnancy and I couldn’t understand why.  Quick side note: I just re-read another secondary infertility blogger’s post about her second pregnancy vs. her first and her first paragraph was like I could have written it word for word so for those of you that may also follow her, a few points may sound a little repetitive because her post is fresh in my mind!

I honestly LOVED being pregnant the first time around.  I had to wait a year to even start trying because my hubbs was deployed overseas then it took us just over another year to finally conceive.  So I always chalked it up to being uber-appreciative of simply being able to get pregnant and be pregnant and vowed I would enjoy every minute (well, not exactly the vomiting but I even took solace in  knowing that was typically a good sign!).  I admit, besides the nausea and vomiting that lasted almost half the time I was pregnant, it really was an easy pregnancy.  Even better, I had a fantastic delivery!  I really was pretty cocky and would even tell myself I was so much more appreciative of pregnancy and childbirth than my other friends and most other people because I had gone through (a touch) of infertility and it was probably even a bit good for me.  Silly me, I thought I was through with all that infertility jazz and I could go on to become a “normal” fertile person (you know, the stories about how someone’s sister/sis-in-law/cousin/friend, etc. had “troubles” getting pregnant the first time and then went on to have ten more kids because her body just knew what to do then) but was convinced I would still remember how difficult it could be and remain all the more sensitive for it.  Anyhow (sorry for the tangent AGAIN), when we began trying this second time around, I was just as excited to be pregnant as I was to get that second baby in my arms.  All I could remember was sunshine and butterflies and vomiting flower petals (ok, vomiting anything really doesn’t sound any better, but you get my point).  Even through all the crap and heartbreak and depression of trying to conceive, I still kept clinging to the hope that I had to get pregnant because I was just so darn good at it the first time and I really just wanted to enjoy it again.  Okay, now enter pregnancy.  Enter hormones.  Please remember I’m hormonal throughout this all and don’t hate me for my feelings.

I just couldn’t get into it.

Let me start by saying that my symptoms have really not been much worse than with my first.  In fact, I didn’t vomit at all with this one, plus I have been able to eat whatever sounded good to me (I was on a Celiac’s gluten-free diet the first time; long story I may have blogged a little about before).  There is something funky with my one hip, it seems to get misaligned a lot, causing extreme pain for a bit until it works itself out.  I am in charge of my own home (lived with my parents almost my entire first pregnancy while waiting for our first house to sell), over five years older than before and already a mom so I blame those factors for the noticeable increase in fatigue with this one vs. the first.  I don’t remember having this much insomnia throughout the entire pregnancy either.  So there are things to complain about but nothing that’s really making me miserable.  But no, I just couldn’t get into it.  I felt so guilty that I had tried and complained for 3+ years, spent lots of money, treated my body as a pin cushion to get what I am so lucky to have gotten and now I was not excited.  What. Is. Up. With. That?!  Sure, when I said it, I got a pinprick of excitement.  I had to keep telling myself I was pregnant to get that feeling, maybe I was just still in denial?  Did three years of secondary infertility destroy my spirit?  Was I let down somehow?  Did I not really want this as much as I thought?  What was wrong with me??  I tried to keep telling myself it had to be hormones.  And in this pregnancy I have a child to take care of and am much busier with her, maybe I was just too busy to be excited?  So these are all things that would go through my head on a daily/hourly/minute-to-minute basis.  I felt terrible and didn’t want to do anything besides the bare minimum of my obligations.  Then I remembered a phrase I often heard during my first pregnancy – “Oh!  There’s just nothing like your first!”  I asked my mom if she felt different with her second pregnancy vs. her first and tried to describe my feelings to her and she did not help.  I love the woman and she is probably the most supportive person in my life, but she doesn’t get infertility.  At all.  All she got when I was going through it was that I was so unhappy and she wanted to fix it (thus, the IVF loan).  She was always there for me to cry on and help watch Elle when I had an exceptionally bad day and even understood when I kept turning down baby showers and rolled my eyes when I heard of someone else being pregnant.  But she thinks that now that I am pregnant it is all over and in the past (don’t get me started on the convo we just had last week about how I don’t still don’t like baby showers, she says she “doesn’t mind them” and I got snippy and said she was never infertile and she cheerfully replied, “well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore!” and I explained how it doesn’t go away, it’s kind of a form of PTSD or a state of being…).  Ok, I got started, now I’m done; that was the conversation in a nutshell.  Anyhow, back to when I first brought up this second pregnancy thing…  She kind of made me feel worse that I wasn’t over the moon happy.  She didn’t say anything outright hurtful and I don’t really remember what she said, but it was just not helpful.  So I thought to ask some of my friends who have birthed more than one child in the recent past (okay, that’s almost all of them, I chose those I thought would be the most sensitive).  Bingo, scored on the first play date!  My friend, whose oldest is just three days older than my daughter, just had her third child, told me that she LOVED being pregnant the first time and both times since has just been kind of “blah.”  I have since talked to other friends about this and they said the same thing.  My mom even came back to the subject a couple weeks ago and said the more she thought about it, she did feel differently the second time around.  This made me feel really good.  It made me feel normal and validated.

I also realized that my looking forward to the end of this pregnancy isn’t a result of me not enjoying or appreciating the pregnancy but more of me being so excited to meet this new little one.  This is another pretty recent breakthrough.  In all of my trying to conceive and wanting to be pregnant, there were times when I questioned my motives.  My daughter can drive me so crazy sometimes, was a baby what I really wanted or was it the pregnancy?  Of course I wanted the baby, the pregnancy is icing on the cake for me.  When I think of the newborn cuddles and all the new things they do I can hardly stand the wait!

Oh, I’m not forgetting the sleeplessness and diapers and inconveniences of a baby, those things are daunting for me to think about when I haven’t done them in quite some time.  I also worry about my daughter.  One of the things that made me so sad when we couldn’t conceive was that she wanted a sibling so badly.  Now that things are becoming more real to her, she has been asking if we will still love her when the baby comes and all that jazz.  She goes through times when she talks like a baby and says she doesn’t want to turn six, when before she said she “can’t wait to turn 6, then 7, then 8…” etc.  I’m trying to not focus too much on “the baby,” stress how awesome she will be and all the cool things she can do that the baby won’t be able to do for a really long time and we’ll very gradually change her “toy room” back into a nursery but of course still worry.  She’s such a sensitive kid.  I know she’ll love being a big sister but she has had us all to herself for more than five years and I worry how she’ll handle the change.

Anyhow, overall, I am feeling much better emotionally.  I am really excited about meeting this new one and even enjoying the actual pregnancy a lot more now that “it” (nope, not finding out the gender!) is moving around a lot more.   No, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies but what is?!

I hope you all are doing well.  I am keeping up on your blogs, I get the emails notifying me of new posts and I enjoy keeping up.  I would comment more if I were at a computer but usually read them on my phone and I am usually too long-winded to comment via mobile!   I wish only good things and am constantly hoping for those of you still trying for your happy endings and those trying to make peace with what is and those working through post-infertility prenatal feelings and all.  I hope my post didn’t annoy or piss off anyone too much – but understand because I piss myself off a lot too!  😉

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