Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Seriously. Get in the pool.

Thanks to Nickie, our awesome doula, I learned that this week the Berkeley YMCA is waiving its initiation fee (which is about $100). I've been dying to swim somewhere warm for at least a month. Just having a little of the weight off of my body for a little while each day seemed like such a luxury.

So, today, I got to swim in the shallow pool, which is basically for old ladies and pregnants, during the free swim hour at noon. It was great. The pool is heated to 90 degrees (a little too warm for me, actually), and it's really short in length. I'd swim a dozen laps and then stretch and crunch my belly, or do arm presses on the side of the pool, and stretches in the water. Or I'd just float on my back. It was all so nice. It's interesting, though, how quickly my stomach muscles feel strained. I was doing the breast stroke, and my stomach was stretched out more than usual, which may explain it. Crunching and compressing my stomach seemed to help work out the strainy pains, though.

While I was waiting to shower before doing my laps, this pretty older lady asked me my due date. Then she told me that she took the prenatal water exercise class at the Y when she was pregnant with her baby, and that she was still friends with those moms over 20 years later. I love stories like that! Here's hoping that some of the ladies I meet at prenatal yoga and swimming will remain friends for years to come.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Holidays and After

We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner with Linda, Peter's mom, going trad German with lentil soup (delicious, made by Peter) cold cuts, cheese, and rolls, and a really yummy arugula, pomegranate, feta, orange, beet salad, which I was supposed to make, but Linda ended up making, because after I made a cake I fell asleep on the sofa. Yes, I'm starting to get more tired than usual again, not as bad as first trimester sleepiness, but still pretty tired. I'm hoping to avoid the grumpusing that I succumbed to during the first 12 weeks, though.

Oh! The cake! We'd gone to Chez Panisse on the 23rd, courtesy of the ever-and-always generous Linda, so I pulled out Chez Panisse Desserts and followed (kind of) its chocolate cake recipe. In case you're wondering, it involves 6 eggs (separated), more than a pound of butter (oh yeah), and a surprisingly minimal amount of sugar. I quadrupled the chocolate. And added three small grated zucchinis. The result? Super moist, dense, cannot-finish-a-skinny-piece-it's-so-rich chocolate cake. I whipped cream and served with raspberries. It was yummy.

Baking really centers me throughout this pregnancy. Granted, I can't eat hardly any of these baked goods, but my friends and co-workers sure love me. Well, Julia claims I'm trying to fatten her up (girl is skinny as a rail, it's true), and is excited that I will soon have a baby to cook for instead of her.

Linda left for LA bright and early on Christmas morning to see Moni and the grandkids, and Peter and I slept in, walked the dogs, and headed over to Kristin and Cameron's for Tom and Jerrys and sharing of the chocolate bird cake. Karen and Thaddeus met us there as well, and everyone enjoyed their Christmasy drinks and dense cake (except for me, but that is a-okay). The Tom and Jerrys did smell delicious, and reminded me of being at Karl's Bar (or was it another bar?) when I was four or five, when they'd serve the same drink.

Today we went to relatively flat Point Pinole and hiked for around five miles. It's not really a hike, given the flatness, it's a walk, and for me it's slightly slow walking at this point. Still, we did it in under 2 hours, which I thought was nothing to sniff at. I mean, look at the size of this belly. That's a lot to carry around at this point.
I'm about 7 1/2 months. There's still 9 weeks or so to go. I'm definitely feeling more awkward and cumbersome given the size of my belly. It's also weird to feel how the dude's movements have changed. I used to just be able to feel his kicks, more than anything, but now, I can feel him moving around a lot more, hands, legs, poky elbows and knees, all crawling around inside me. It's slightly creepy, but mostly fun to feel. He's definitely objecting to any bending from the waist, so I'm spending most of my time bending over with ballet-esque moves (sans the grace)or squatting low to the ground.

If we are blessed with a healthy baby and healthy birth recovery, as I hope we are, I am pretty confident I can handle everything from the get-go, save the patrolling and exercising of Ozzie and Haiko; okay, well, mostly of Haiko. He is crazy energetic. We spent half of the walk playing stick ball with him today, and the other half he ran around in giant circles for the rest of the walk. And he was only minimally tired. Then he puked in the car on the way back, but that is another story. Mostly I'm just worried about bundling up baby, me, and the dogs in March weather in Berkeley and getting the pups' ya-yas out to some degree. I guess we may be doing some Tilden loops. We'll see. I think that we're going to have to rely on the kindness of friends and neighbors, as well as increased dog walks from our lovely dog walker Ashley.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making Difficulties For the Doctor (Or, Asserting My Right To Have the Opportunity to Labor Naturally)

On Monday they measured the little dude's femur length to determine his size. He is tall. Taller than many babes his age, at 70% of the typical growth rate for 28 weeks. This isn't really any surprise; I am 5'8 and Peter is 6'1. We're going to have a tall kid. I asked Dr. Maier if his size had something to do with my diabetes (even though it has been in tight control). He said, from what he could tell, the dude "wasn't fat, he was just tall, you guys are just going to have tall, big babies."

Today, he's been kicking the hell out of me. I don't know how active most babies are supposed to be at this age (this is the week I start counting his kicks, to see how long it takes him to kick 10 times each day; most days he will kick 10 times in less than five minutes). He kicked me so hard and long today (probably 40 or 50 times in an hour) that I almost threw up. I cannot imagine what the little stinker will be up to at 36 weeks!

I had a frank discussion with Dr. Maier at our appointment on Monday about how much I do not want to be induced. I know they're going to pressure me to do so, especially because they want me to give birth a week before my due date(!) which seems cuckoo to me. At Kaiser, you can't choose your delivery doctor, which means you get whoever's on schedule when you go into labor (or are forced into labor). Knowing this, I asked if I could meet with the midwife team at Kaiser in the next month or so. Sure, Dr. Maier told me, but since I'm a diabetic, I will be the lowest priority for them. Ugh.

"Look," I told Dr. Maier. "I do not want to be underestimated simply because I am a diabetic. I think that you can agree with me that I have had a very easy and healthy pregnancy up to this point judging by anyone's standards, not just those for a diabetic. I just want to be given the chance to labor like a normal person."

"Okay, we'll get you a meeting with the midwives," Dr. Maier said.

"If I wasn't a diabetic I'd be having this baby at home," I added. "I'm kind of a hippie."

"I know," he said. I'm not sure exactly what part he knew. Probably all of it.

"See, I'm just afraid of getting pumped full of pitocin, and then the contractions either not coming on or coming on so hard and fast that the baby goes into fetal distress, and then we have to have a c-section."

"Elka, that's the last thing any of us want. And if you ask me, you're going to have no problem with your labor or birth. And you should know, this hospital has one of the lowest c-section rates in the Bay Area. We pride ourselves on that."

Still, even though this is good reassurance, I'm starting the acupuncture inducement at 37.5 weeks, twice a week, and following up with lot of sex (the prostaglandin in semen can soften the cervix) and nipple stimulation. Because I really want to see if my body can do this without the pitocin. And if it can't, or if for some reason little dude won't turn, and we have to have a c-section, that's fine too. We can't wait to meet him. But I'd like to simply be given the opportunity to do what most women take for granted.

(This is the message Dr. Maier left for us when he couldn't come to our German holiday party (his wife is from Germany, and a midwife): elka and peter vielen dank fuer die einladung aber leider konnen wir nicht kommen, weil Christiane arbeiten muss. vieliecht in naechsten Jahr.)

I like Dr. Maier.

Friday, December 11, 2009

When You're Preg and Diabetic, This is Not the Message You Want to See

This is the lovely message I received at around 12:30 today when I tried to take my lunchtime insulin. My bloodsugar had been high for the past couple hours, and apparently no insulin was getting delivered to me or the little dude. This sort of thing, technical errors, etc., drive me nuts. I count on this little device to drip insulin into my body 24-7, and for it to suddenly konk out is not okay. It puts both me and the babe in danger.

So, since this happened at work, and I didn't have an extra infusion set on me, I had to race home (or, as race-worthy one can get on public transit), and then phone my insulin pump nurse to arrange prescriptions for long lasting insulin in case my pump was truly dead, and also phone MiniMed, the pump company, to see what the hell was up. The good news is that it doesn't look like it was a problem with my pump, just a problem with my infusion set. I've changed the infusion set, and my bloodsugar is back down to the low 100s, which both the little guy and I feel much more comfortable with.

The plan, I guess, is to just keep a very close eye on things (checking bloodsugars every two hours, middle of the night, etc.) and make sure that both the pump and the infusion set are behaving themselves.

Ah! The drama of the pregnant diabetic!

Here he is, by the way, the little guy (and me):

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Body, How It Changes (and also: Why I am Thankful For My Disease)

Blargh. The belly is getting more unruly, and all of the little muscles in my groin/stomach/pelvis are starting to soften. A lot. Yesterday on the Reformer in Pilates class I actually had to get off the machine and stop during these inner thigh exercises. They're the ones where you put one foot on the bar and then slide the other leg back and forth on the rolling platform while standing up. They used to kill my inner thighs, now they are not as hard, or, at least, they didn't used to be so hard until this week. But apparently now my inner thigh muscles are softening so the baby can slip out easier (not that it's going to be easy). And it kind of sucks. I feel like a weakling.

Other body things include an insanely itchy lower belly/chest. I know it's because of the expanding tissue and stretching skin, but nothing seems to help. I also left my super-expensive organic belly balm somewhere in Washington state, so I'm back to using organic baby oil on my belly and boobs. Perhaps it'll magically show up again, hopefully.

Peter with his clown hair and Elka making her pouty face because she thought camera had not taken a picture. But it had. Whidbey Island, November, 2009.

And . . . what else? I have to pee constantly, but then I barely pee when I go to the bathroom. I'm sure this will get worse. I'm getting more worried about twisting something or hurting myself due to the softening muscles and joints. Apparently Nickie, our doula, wrenched her back when she was pregnant getting up from peeing! Everytime Haiko yanks me on his leash I think whoo! close one!

I'm sure there are plenty of other random petty complaints, but my biggest realization throughout this pregnancy is that I just am not okay with complaining about this pregnancy! It is a gift, pure and simple. I went into it with so much trepidation and fear, thanks in part to the medical community's underestimation of my ability to be healthy, and to carry a baby healthfully, thanks to my disease. But I am so healthy right now! My acupuncturist moved my appointments back to every two weeks, because I am so healthy. She checked my pulse points on Tuesday, smiled, and said, "There's nothing as beautiful as a healthy, strong, pregnant woman." That meant a lot to me.

So here's the thing: my disease has made me appreciate my pregnancy so much more. I am, in many ways, thankful for it. I don't take a moment of this pregnancy for granted. When the little guy kicks me hard, I am thankful that he is so strong, and that I am able to provide a home for him in my body that is welcoming, healthy, and safe, for the first 40 weeks of his life. It is hard for me to listen to healthy women complain about their pregnancies. I know that it is hard for everyone on some level, and everyone has issues, but this ability to carry a child, in spite of all its chaos and difficulty and hardship, is a gift, pure and simple. And for those of us who have a disease, who have had heartbreak trying to get pregnant or stay pregnant, every moment is a prayer answered.

Monday, November 30, 2009


We drove up to Whidbey Island for Thanksgiving. Yes, from Berkeley. We drove straight there on Wednesday, which was stupid and something we will not do again. I mean, I am kind of a fan of the crazy all-in-one-shot road trip adventure, but with two dogs in the back of the car and a little kicker in my belly, it was a little more complicated than usual. Still, we mostly enjoyed ourselves, save for four hours of stop-and-go gridlock around Salem, OR.
Once on Whidbey we occupied ourselves with dog walks on the beach, visits with friends and family, and multiple Scrabblings. Oh, and eating, of course. Lots of eating.

In general my bloodsugar behaved itself; there was a low, low bloodsugar on the beach Thanksgiving afternoon, which made my walk back up the staircase and the path kind of jostley and uncomfortably shaky, even with the help of part of a chocolate bar, but overall everything was fine.

I really enjoyed seeing Marylynne and Ron again, who I hadn't seen since the wedding. It was also great to meet Karen, my mother-in-law Linda's college roomie and BFF. She is my new thrift shopping comradess. And of course, it was awesome to spend more time bonding with Linda, Aaron, Otto, Lyne, and Moni. It was a really wonderful holiday.

We got to see Lydia in Seattle on Friday night, and to meet her sis Sara and her hubby and baby Ivy, who nursed at the Greek restaurant happily (something that will likely be in our future as well). I asked Peter if the open-boob policy made him uncomfortable. "Of course not," he said. I should've known. He is the furthest thing from a gynophobe there is. Ivy was adorable, as was her mommy, as was their awesome coordinated Moby wrap/shawl combo. There is nothing cuter, I think, than seeing a baby poking her head out from between the buttons of a hand knitted shawl from her mommy's chest.

We stopped on the Oregon coast on the way back home for a stay at a dog-friendly hotel, with lots of gorgeous walking on the beach post- and pre-daylight. It was so beautiful. I was really glad we took the extra 2 hours to drive there and back.

One of my favorite parts of the Spoerl/Armstrong/etc holidays is the tradition of saying what we are all thankful for. It is really meaningful and wonderful, each time. Ron and Marylynne, who have been married for 27 years (Thanksgiving was their anniversary) talked about how they are more in love now than they have ever been, which is such a wonderful and hopeful thing to hear, as a younger couple. I talked about how I am thankful for renewal, physically (my body getting stronger through this pregnancy), emotionally (with my family, friends, and husband), and spiritually (with my outlook on the world).

What are you thankful for, and how was your holiday?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Diabetic Fun

Yesterday was another of my every-three-weeks appointments. The cute nurse who always takes my vitals ushered me off to fill a cup with urine as soon as I arrived, and amazingly, as soon as I pulled my maternity jeans down, I peeled off my infusion set! Ugh. This has not happened in a long time.

I was pretty mad at myself, because I was having my annual review for work, and this meant that I had to go home (back to North Berkeley) after my appointment to re-do my entire infusion set, which would take another 45 minutes out of my work day, which might make me miss my annual review appointment. In the meantime, there was the issue of my body not getting any insulin whatsover delivered to it. Which was troubling.

Leave it to my awesome team to come up with a solution. Sharon, my insulin pump nurse, and Kimmy, my dietician, brushed off my concerns with a wave of their hands. "Oh, don't worry, we have extra sets." I'd just picked up insulin in the pharmacy, so I was able to borrow the rest of the medical equipment and get my pump working again. I also tried a new infusion set, the Silhouette, which inserts at an angle. This means it's easier to place on the side of my belly, out of the way of bumps.

But it's also meant for "extra lean adults" because its infusion depth is shallower than my standard infusion set. I am not extra lean. I have a giant belly (which is, as I type, shaking from a very kicky young man waking up) and a little more than usual fat on it thanks to the pregnancy. Still, it seems to be working great. And I like that the tool for inserting it was described in looks, by Kimmy, as a "Klingon ship" (we are secret Star Trek soul sisters, methinks).

During the appointment there was some discussion about being careful with not overexerting myself in yoga as far as my abdomen was concerned (no hernias, please), and also whether or not it was okay for me to continue to do upside-down positions (dolphin on the wall, handstands). Dr. Maier seems amused by me and said as long as I am not doing it for longer than the baby can hold its breath comfortably, should something get jostled or squished, then it is fine. I don't even do this very regularly, but it is something I enjoy that gives me an extra adrenalin rush that I crave from class, especially when I can't do things like twisted crow. Oh! And it turns out Sharon has taken class at Namaste with my friend and yoga teacher Kristin (she described Kristin as "that cute blond with the awesome bod"; Sharon is 67; I love that this is how she talks).

In other good news, at least on the ultrasound, it looks as if the baby is growing out of his Spoerl skull shape and into a more normal round Karl-Martin baby head shape. Wheeee! He's quite the cutie.

Oh, and in some really annoying news, apparently I have to go to Kaiser Walnut Creek twice a week starting at 34 weeks to get heartrate monitoring of the baby's reactions to uterine contractions, to make sure he can handle labor. This puts such a major crimp in my day, since it takes 40 minutes each way to get there, and this is time I could be spending yoga-ing, pilates-ing, walking dogs, working, baking, etc. Anything more interesting than non-stress tests. And I just think it's unnecessary. At this point it seems as if I am having a low-risk, easy pregnancy based on anyone's standards, not just those for a diabetic! I'm going to ask some other peeps about this and see what they think, and also see if I can get this reduced to once a week at the most.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Staying Healthy

I'm 24 weeks, which means I have 4 months, more or less, to go in this prenatal adventure. The little guy has been kicking like crazy. Last night we went to see The Swell Season at the Paramount, and while I assumed that the little guy would kick through some of the louder songs, he seemed to really dig the violin solo that the fiddle player from The Frames did, as well as one of the quieter ballads. It was a great show, but I fell asleep through one of the songs, on Peter.

I think I've overdone it a bit. I had yoga Wednesday night, pilates on Thursday, and then another yoga class Friday before the concert. I can't make myself go to prenatal yoga yet; I just find it too slow and unchallenging. I'm sure that's going to change at some point. As it was, in regular class on Friday, I couldn't believe how solid my belly rested on my leg during pigeon pose, or how challenging moving from Warrior 2 to plank pose was. Of course, there's no cobra position at all, so I basically go through a modified upward dog to a downward dog, and modify any abdominal exercises with a kneeling boat pose, squats, or stretches.

Throughout my diabetic life, I've dealt with a series of funny (not ha ha) body immunity issues, and since getting a cold virus a few weeks ago, this cycle has returned. It may also have something to do with my return to acupuncture, since acupuncture works something powerful on me, and always seems to stir up some crap in my immune system on the way to strengthening it.

Anyway, the cycle goes something like this: As a long-term type 1 diabetic, I have a somewhat not-so-awesome immune system to begin with. This is exacerbated by pregnancy, though thus far I have had a mainly awesome and low-risk and very active pregnancy. Still, after getting sick, I went through symptoms of my typical immune system fallout, which usually consists, in no particular order, of cold sore, UTI, and yeast infection.

Luckily, this time, there was no UTI. In the past I've successfully warded them off, usually, with lots of chugging of water and unfiltered, unsweetened cranberry juice, along with horsetail (which contains silica, but is unsafe to take for pregnancy).

That's the thing: with the yeast infection, too, my typical option was eliminated. For years, I've taken boric acid for yeast infections (amazing, cheap, and effective, usually clears it up within a day). However, this is not a good remedy while pregnant, as it can, from what I understand, weaken the lining of the uterus. And I refuse to use OTC meds. So, what I found effective this time was taking all simple carbs out of my diet, eating lots of probiotics, and then rinsing the lady parts (externally) with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and water. It cleared things up within a few days.

Ah, and I did get the cold sore, too. I have it now. I would post pictures for you if it wasn't grossing me out so much. I hate getting cold sores. I feel like they overtake my face completely. Yick. Elly gave me some natural product that seems to be working well on it, and I'm trying to get lots of sleep, up my lysine, and stay healthy.

We start our prenatal classes at Birthways in a week or so, and I'm excited to look forward towards this part of the learning process. I have an eye on the labor experience, and every week nearer makes me more adamant that I do not want to be induced, and wonder how my doctors are going to react to the diabetic refusing medical interventions. I am just working hard to remain strong, active, and centered, and hope that this will help guide me through a natural birth with the little one.

One happy spot this week was a visit from a massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage. She told me that I have excellent posture for a pregnant woman of 24 weeks, and that I am not arching my back as many women do. I totally contribute this to long walks in the hills, pilates, and yoga practice. My massage therapist, who is a tiny, sinewy, athletic woman, also told me that I am in much better shape than she was before she gave birth, and predicted for me a natural, quick, and easy labor.

I do not want to count on such predictions, but they give me a great feeling of assurance and happiness even so. And I am working hard to make sure that the rest of the pregnancy, the birth, and our life with the little guy, will be one of health, happiness, and discovery.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Baby Showers Rock (When Cool Ladies Like These Frequent Them)!

This is mostly a photo post, but I wanted to simply say that I feel so honored to have so many wonderful women in my life. From my mom and auntie-in-law and mother-in-law and sister who threw this party, to the fabulous 30 or so lady friends who showed up to help craft and celebrate the arrival in February or March of the little boy, I am so lucky and blessed to have such wonderful Bay Area friends in my life. Thank you for coming and sharing the day with me!

Elly cautions Haiko to stay away from the sandos, pre-party.

Mom and Elly. Elly loves to throw parties in cute aprons (cute apron courtesy of Mom).

Mom poses with Linda, my mom-in-law, who's working on the pony head for the little boy's huge collage.

Vickie, Linda, Laurel, and Kristin on the deck.

Michele, Wendy, and Hyland craft in the baby's room. I swear it is not this bright green in person!

The horse's neck, collage in progress, thanks to many ladies' hands.

Jen and Ginger

The second crafting area.

Part of the amazing spread of food that Elly, Linda, Mom, and Vickie put together.

A beautiful day, and a beautiful view from the deck.

More crafting in the dining room.

Even the anti-crafters didn't seem to mind this project too much.

Thank you for the beautiful flowers, Grandma and Aunt Kathy!

I'm going to post after pictures of our craft project soon, either when I hang the entire piece (or, I should say, its eight pieces) up, or when I lay it out again on the floor. Till then, you'll just have to wonder at the finished product!

Friday, November 13, 2009

OMG We Went Out on a Weeknight

Peter picked me up from BART on Wednesday, since, as a city employee, he had Veteran's Day off. He'd taken the pups for a 7-mile ramble, and they were nicely tuckered out for the evening.

"What are we doing tonight?" he asked.

"I was thinking that we go see Kristin's dress rehearsal for the Devil-Ettes show at Cafe Van Kleef," I said.

"And Burma Superstar for dinner!" he said, which was what my thoughts were, too. We high-fived over our gastronomical synchronicity.

And so we went out. On a weeknight. At almost 6 months pregnant. It was fun, and the food at Burma Superstar, especially the fiery beef, was super delicious. I also really enjoyed the housemade lemon mint tea. Which, as I pointed out to Peter, we can make from our backyard garden. But, as Peter pointed out, "cannot replicate the effect given our lack of a cute clear glass teapot."

From there we went to Van Kleef's and I had a delicious pint glass of club soda and fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, and we watched the ladies of the Devil-Ettes bounce and shake and boogie. Since it was such a tight fit in there, they were about six inches from us. Peter didn't mind.

Granted, we left the bar at 9:30, but still, it was a night out! On the way to the car we ran into Adam Hatch and his girlfriend, and it was a total Oakland flashback. When I first moved back to Oakland after grad school I worked for Adam's construction company while waiting to get more freelance writing jobs. That's where I also worked with Pat Spurgeon (a little bit of Oakland indie music trivia). My friend Jen used to go out with Adam at that time (2004), and we were deep in the Oakland arts and music scene, what with Kitchen Sink, LoBot gallery, throwing warehouse parties, and Mama Buzz. It was good times, and I miss them a lot. I especially miss living with Armstead, Carla, Jen, and Elly, and the three dogs, in a big Victorian in West Oakland. Those were tough, penny-pinching, awesome days, and I really cherish them.

And now, for something completely different:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Miss Horses

I've been working on a project that reflects it. You'll find more about it soon, and super soon if you're coming to the baby shower on Sunday!

In the meantime, I think about when I can ride again, and how much I love the work that rescue organizations like The Humane Society and NorCal Equine Rescue are doing. I plan on adopting a horse from NorCal when I can finally get my own pony.

Also, Pat Parelli pretty much rocks.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Hate Being Sick

So, Tuesday night I woke up at 3 in the morning or so with a raging sore throat. Blech. I hate being sick! By the morning I was hacking up gross things, congested, and experiencing a killer headache in the back of my skull, running down my neck. I was freaked out about the h1n1, but didn't think that I had it. Moreso, I was pissed that my five-months-straight of perfect health had been marred.

On Wednesday I went to a new acupuncturist, who's just down the street in Kensington, and she basically rocked my world. I'm excited to work with her through the pregnancy. She also took my bp and it was 120/76, so I think my mom was right, and I do have a bit of "white coat syndrome."

Later that afternoon I went to Kaiser, because they're ka-razy about any pregnant diabetics with flu symptoms, and insist on seeing them. They gave me a strep test, told me to watch for fever, but figured it was likely a virus. I checked my test results this afternoon and they're all normal, and my a1c, which I had done yesterday, too, is the lowest it has ever been in my diabetic life, at 6.4%!! Last time it was 6.8, which is still pretty awesome, but now it is even more incredible. Yay!
I'm also excited to make this!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Last Night I Puffed Up

I think it was likely because I spent all day on my feet in these very unsupportive sandals. Which was a bad idea. Sandals for bike riding. Sandals for book browsing. Sandals for thrift shopping. Sandals for grocery shopping. Sandals for baking brownies and roasting squash and garlic.(I have been on a massive baking kick and have no control over my baking habits, though luckily, control over my eating of baked goods.)

My ankles got a bit puffy, noticeable enough for Peter to see, and I went to bed early and laid around with my feet up for a few hours. Dinner was really late for us, like 9 pm, and by that time my bloodsugar had plummeted to 44, which sucked, and made my bloodsugar a bit high this morning because I went to bed immediately after eating.

I may be going a bit overboard on the exercise? It is one of the only things that makes me feel like I am really impacting my pregnancy in a positive way. I do the other things: take my vitamins and check my bloodsugars and eat well, but the exercise really makes me feel good. So this is what we did this weekend (me and baby boy that is):

Friday night: 1 1/2 hours of Forrest yoga. Little guy kicked the hardest I've felt him kick; my hand was right on my stomach as I was resting from half-wheel, and boom! I felt him kick right over my hand! I also am excited because when I do modified Warrior 2 pose, I can finally twist my hand around to grab my thigh instead of my shirt. Progress!

Saturday: The big ol' hike of 6+ miles, as described in prior blog post.

Sunday: Biking 9 miles to and from Karen and Thaddeus's for Karen's birthday brunch. Yes, exercise was negated somewhat by delicious bacon-caramelized onion-pumpkin quiche, but dang, yum!

And today I biked to Macarthur BART and will bike back home, so that's 10 miles of biking. Hoo-ee.

I feel great though, and I don't feel like it's doing anything other than good things to the bod and the babe. My heart rate is fine, and I feel strong.

Thursday I am going to my first acupuncture appointment. I am very excited about this. It is a step in the right direction as far as my blood pressure and circulation and general health goes. And, our insurance covers 12 appointments!! YES.

(Bicycle image from Etsy seller OnlyGoodDreams.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lovely Day Hike

Yesterday Peter, Haiko, Ozzie, and Zeus, a loaner dog friend, headed out to the Sunol Regional Wilderness in the East Bay for a hike. We'd opted out of backpacking this weekend in part due to the promise of brunch quiches prepared by Thaddeus and Karen (if Thaddeus and Karen ever offer to prepare food for you, you should always go; it is always a good time and great company and amazing food).

We did the Maguire Peaks loop at Sunol, which is pretty untraveled, and, with the inclusion of the last little peak scramble, is about 6.3 miles and 1500 feet of elevation. We saw two other people the entire hike, a sweet middle-aged couple who helped us to identify the scarlet gilia on the high peaks.

I dialed back my basal rate to 40% initially, since my after-lunch carb-loaded lunch (decaf iced latte, snickerdoodle, half a turkey sandwich) had given me a bloodsugar reading of 130. By the time we reached the near top of Maguire Peak, after ascending 1500 feet, my bloodsugar had plummeted to 50, which is way too low. I opted against taking any bolus insulin (food-covering insulin), and ate about 40 grams of carb (two fruit leathers and some graham crackers with peanut butter); then I dialed my basal back to 20 percent, and we headed back down the peak.

I know that my dietitian would say that this is way too little insulin for way too many carbs, but at this point I have a pretty good handle on how much energy my body burns on a hike like this (and I was proven correct when we reached the truck three miles later and my bloodsugar was a perfect 93). My breathing at elevation is getting pretty labored. I do a lot of deep, long breaths in and out of my mouth and keep a steady pace, and eventually we get there, but it's both fascinating and frustrating to see how the increase in blood in my body, as well as the baby pushing against my lung capacity, makes it more difficult to breathe.

One of the things that's fun now about hiking is that Peter has to carry almost everything. I don't think he would agree that this is fun, but he does like going on hikes (even if they are slow ones) with his pregnant wife.

Elly alerted me to a fascinating Dutch study about preeclampsia, which reminds me that the Dutch are much more progressive in their medical studies than we American are. Elly and I hung out on Friday night and went to Kristin's Forrest yoga class, which was an hour and a half of sweating and stretching and flexing. Elly had never been to one of Kristin's classes before and she was kicking herself for not going sooner. "I went from feeling terrible to joyful in about 10 minutes," she noted. It's true. I don't know what it is about Kristin, but she can put the joy back into the most overworked and miserable M.Arch student's life in mere minutes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Getting Bigger Quicker

Last night at yoga, I mentioned to Kristin, my teacher, that my stomach had increased in size a lot from the week prior. "Stand back," she said, taking a look. After a quick assessment, she concluded, "Wow! Yes it did!"

It's weird, because every morning this past week I could feel it was bigger as I got out of bed. My balance point had shifted during the night. I'm trying not to lean forward too much, and not arch my back. I'm trying to preserve my posture.

Yoga helps. A lot. Last night in class there was another pregnant lady who was about a month and a half ahead of me in her pregnancy. She was really strong and inspiring. It was also nice to have someone else there who had to do modifications as well. I took off my insulin pump in class last night, because it was 88 when I checked it beforehand. About 15 minutes into class I checked my bloodsugar and it had dropped to 44. Ugh. After a Clif bar and half a bottle of water I was back at it, and finished the rest of the hour strongly. It's amazing how much better it makes my entire body feel.

What also helps is walking around the hood. One of my new goals is to make it through the entire pregnancy and still be able to walk, without stopping, up each of the hidden staircases, including this one, Billie Jean, which is a loooooong staircase. I love walking all of the staircases and paths in this neighborhood; it's one of my favorite parts of living here.

I also need to scrounge up enough money to start acupuncture. I'm concerned a bit about preeclampsia, which diabetics are more prone to get, and want to do everything I possibly can to avoid it. Getting preeclampsia could cause bad complications with the baby, and would make it a lot harder to have a natural birth. Anyway. acupuncture has been shown to be helpful in lowering blood pressure and increasing circulation, which could help, and would be darn helpful for a diabetic pregnant like me in general.

Otherwise, things have been pretty good here. We're hoping to go on a backpacking trip this weekend, but may opt for a 6-8 mile day hike on Saturday and then biking to Karen and Thaddeus's for brunch on Sunday for exercise purposes. I have some sewing projects I should really get going on.

I'm getting excited about Mom and the twins coming out, and the upcoming baby shower. So many baby showers coming up! I'm still contemplating cribs and cradles and numerous other baby-related questions.

Oh? And the baby? He's good, I think. He's kicking a lot. It's fun to feel.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Updates

This weekend we went to a puppy meet and greet organized by Pound Puppy Rescue, the rescue from which we adopted Haiko. It was so cool to meet five of his brothers and sisters, and to see them recognize each other. Seriously, the pups really did recognize each other from puppyhood, and played so well together.

It made me think a lot about genetics, and inherited traits. All of the pups have the same head cock that they do (confirmed by the other owners), they each have a tiny white tail tip, they all have the same head shape, and they all are rather submissive and sweet (Haiko the least of all of them though, he's a naughty little bossy boss). It also made me think Baby Boy Karl-Spoerl probably would like a sibling someday, too, so he can have somebody to compare and contrast his inherited weirdness with (which is what Elly and Ian and I do).

I bought this west elm Moroccan wool rug off of Craigslist this weekend. It's in perfect condition and was a lot cheaper than I could've found online (plus this particular pattern has been sold out for a while). I'm going to switch out the knobs on the bookshelf behind it, and get rid of that blue pillow, obvs. Thinking about making a little cuddle corner for baby and me and papa and pups with poufs, sheepskins, etc., and then there's the matter of a crib. I think it'll be a great room, really soothing and eclectic and odd (just like us, yay!).

I also don't like the majority of sheet choices out there for cribs, so I'm excited to think about getting some organic or vintage fabric and making my own crib sheets. This is a great tutorialthat shows you how.

Yesterday Peter and I spent at least three hours fixing up the garden. It was really hard work. The ivy had come in under one of the garden boxes, so we spent the majority of the time digging all of the soil out, separating ivy roots from the soil, laying down landscaping cloth, and then filling it back up again. We also pruned back a huge pile of ivy, planted all the containers and garden boxes, and one of the side boxes. And Peter picked up the yard of dog detritus, which was a big job in itself.

This is not what the garden looks like right now. I wish.

We planted flowers, carrots, beets, swiss chard, celery, herbs, two different lettuce mixes, and broccoli. Peter is very skeptical about the seeds actually germinating. But he shouldn't be. He should just look at my belly. Zoink!

Look Who's an Offbeat Mama

Go here to read the post. Oh, and feel free to comment here, but don't feel obligated to comment too gushingly (heck, it's just little old me!) on the Offbeat Mama site. But on this here blog, heck, gush all you want.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Amnio Results Are In . . .

I started to get freaked out this morning, knowing that today was the day they were supposed to call from Kaiser genetics. And if they don't call you during the day, it's their policy to call in the evening, to break the bad news when you're not at work. So, I was getting nervous by 10 am, which is really early to get nervous. But such is life with me.

And they called at noon, with good news! Baby has no indication for neural tube defects. He has 46 perfect chromosomes! He is okay! Not mutated! A perfectly normal baby. Well, as normal as he can get with me and Peter for genetic material. Which is not very normal at all.

Which means that this is probably what we can look forward to:

(T-shirt found at El Sobrante Thrift Town, as per usual.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Getting My Fix

Sometimes I feel as if I’m becoming a doctor junkie. I feel so much better after I’ve seen Dr. Maier (kind of high, actually), as if some unfathomable weight has been hoisted from my shoulders. I know why I feel this way; it’s because I’m certain something terrible has happened to the baby between each appointment. This past time, it was because the puppy jumped on my stomach, and also because I had been so anxiety-ridden due to amnio/waiting for results that I was sure I had poisoned the fetus with my bad energy (this seems like a rather Darwin Karl-esque thing to think, actually).

I realize that all of these thoughts are absolutely irrational and ridiculous, yet that does not reassure me until I have seen the baby moving around on the ultrasound or heard his little badoom badoom heart on the fetal heart monitor. And then I am buoyant, joyous, restored.

At 19 weeks, I am becoming more insulin resistant, which is common for Type 1s in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Not that this makes me happy. At all. On Friday I made the call myself and switched my bolus (carb-covering insulin) rate from 10 carb grams to 1 unit of insulin down to 7 to 1. This is contrasted with a 15 to 1 pre-pregnancy carb-to-insulin ratio. I hate eating through my pump reserves faster. It’s stupid, but it was a point of pride that I could get through three full days before having to change my infusion set. Now, it’s closer to 2 to 2 ½ days. I am not a fan of changing my set, and having to do so more often is just another task that I’m adding to the schedule.

Speaking of tasks, Peter was away backpacking this weekend, which is great for him; I don’t begrudge him this time at all. I mean that sincerely and seriously. I love that he loves to be outdoors and by himself climbing peaks and peeing off mountains. But at the same time, at this point it’s just a lot to take on household-wise by myself. Haiko is going through a teenage hyperactivity streak that renders him near impossible to wear out. By contrast, I am very, very easy to wear out. On Saturday I took Kristin’s Yoga For Back Pain workshop (2 ½ hours), which was great, very restorative and it was fantastic to stretch and move and sweat. But on Sunday I had basically lost it. I felt so down and tired and energy-less. I eventually got my shit together and cleaned the house, pulled up the dying garden, walked the dogs, did four loads of laundry, listened to lots of podcasts, cooked dinner, etc. But it was hard to get there for a few hours.

Another highlight of the weekend was meeting Nickie, who I'm pretty sure will be our doula. Peter still has to meet her, and I really liked Leila, but Nickie has worked with diabetic pregnants before, and she is studying to be a midwife. I really liked her competency with medical issues, procedures, etc. I am trying not to be swayed by the fact that she is totally cool (her dad was, in her words, “the American that ruined the German metal band Accept when he became their second singer”). Nicky is smart and pretty and tattooed and intuitive and sensible. I just really dig her. Thanks for the recommendation, Jen. I also like that she brings the nursing staff brownies during labor. (Talk about scoring literal brownie points.)

Today, when I saw Sharon, my pump specialist, and Dr. Maier, my perinatologist, Sharon said, “Look at you! You’re looking like quite the cute pregnant lady now.” I think in part it was because of this skirt. I totally recommend it to pregnants and non-pregnants alike. It’s the Patagonia Morning Glory skirt. It has this great flippy waistband that I used to just roll down pre-baby, but now it covers my bump quite nicely, and since it’s made out of climbing tight material (good ol Patagonia), it hugs the belly nicely.