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.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Popping and Locking

I haven't told everyone at work yet about the baby,and I think that the only reason they haven't noticed is because a) I sit down a lot; b) I wear a coat into work; c) I wear a lot of empire waist dresses; and d) they probably assume I've just gotten really fat in the stomach and boobed out.

But as you can see, I've fully popped. Or, for 18 weeks, I've fully popped. I know I'm going to get a lot bigger, and at some point it will hard to grab things off the floor and get out of bed or do more difficult yoga poses.

It's weird to have the belly really showing, and to realize that there's finally obvious evidence that yes, I'm pregnant. No, it's not all in your head. My mom described the first trimester as "lots of hard work, with nothing to show for it." I was nauseous, bitchy, bone tired, and fretful during the first trimester. In the second, I'm still fretful about the results of the amnio, and the puppy jumping on my stomach (yes, this happened on Sunday, I freaked out), but moreover I am just basically calmer. And more energy-filled. And excited. And I've started rubbing my belly a lot. Because it's there.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

For Michelle: My Latest Maternity Fashions

Since I'm a fan of keeping my loyal few readers happy, here is a documentation of my latest maternity fashion, for Michelle D, as per her request.

Here we have a gorgeous batiked tablecloth that I discovered at a thrift shop in either the U.P. or Wisconsin in August. But I think it was in Wisconsin. It's a round tablecloth, and I knew that if I just took a middle circle cut out of it it would be the perfect burgeoning belly skirt. And isn't it sooooo pretty? It's now elasticized in the waist area, making for easy belly growth.

It also has a ton of material in it, so it is super swingy. Yay!

This morning I went to prenatal yoga, where I was surrounded by lots of pregnant ladies. It was slow. And easy. And snoozeville. So I will continue going to other yoga and pilates classes, with modifications, and save the prenatal times for the third trimester. I did like the teacher though, and maybe I'll go to meet more pregnant ladies. That's always a plus, right?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Some Not-So-Unexpected News

Well, yesterday was the amnio and major big ultrasound. Peter got me off on the even wrong-er foot by asking if we could stop for coffee on the way to the appointment.

"You want to drink coffee. While they stick a gigantic needle. In my placenta." I monotoned through gritted teeth.

"Yeah, I'd like some coffee," he said, oblivious.


"Jeez, okay, fine," he huffed.

I was wound up enough about the appointment. I was not a fan of getting a needle stuck in my belly, and little babe's chill space getting un-chilled by said needle. Peter's coffee request just put me over the top. Still, the amnio only took about thirty seconds, at the most, and Dr. Maier, who I adore, did the procedure. The ultrasound technician, Connie, cooed, "You are so good," as he did it.

"I bet you say that to all the doctors," he joked.

"No, I certainly do not," she said, in complete seriousness.

I didn't watch the needle go in, though Peter did, and seemed unaffected. I did, however, watch every second of the fifteen-minute ultrasound, which explains the crick in my neck. Which is how I learned this disappointing news:

My baby girl has a penis.

I'd started to suspect that she was a he a couple of weeks ago. I confessed as much to Elly in hushed, scandalized tones, to which she replied, "Ew, gross!" Still, I really was pulling for a baby girl. Peter, apparently, was not. When the coy baby finally uncrossed his legs and showed us his junk, Peter jumped up, pumped his fist, and yelled, "Yes!"

Connie noted, "Every father does that." I was still horrified.

I'm excited though. I'm a total tomboy, and I would be freaked about having a super girly girl. And we can try for a girl, if Peter's damnable sperm decides to cooperate with the gender of my choice.

The good, good news is that every single marker looked perfect. Four chambers of the heart were pumping away and beautifully so. The brain's two lobes looked great. The organs were all on the correct sides. There were 10 fingers and 10 toes. And he wriggled around a bunch. I am so proud that our baby is growing so well!

And doesn't he have a damn handsome profile?

We get the results back in two weeks, and I am praying that everything is fine. But I assume they could see anything super bad on the ultrasound . . . and baby seems healthy enough, and is doing fine, I think, from what I feel in my body and my heart.

I am very excited and thankful that baby is doing so well.

In other news, we had a visit from Zeus.

And I am really digging dressing like a sexless round person. This "Nina Marie Pour la Mama" denim jumper is from Sears, likely 1980 or so, and was discovered at the Bessemer, MI, St. VIncent de Paul in August. I was giddy with excitement about it. Pair it with striped knee socks and a striped shirt from Moni, and I look like a total nerdface. Hot stuff!

Oh, one final note: When I called Mom and told her the news, the twins were in the car, too (my seven year old siblings, Forrest and Grace). "Elka's having a boy!" Mom yelled to them. And all chaos erupted: Forrest made the exact same noises Peter had, lots of "Yes! Yes!"ing in a deep boy voice, while behind him I heard Grace wailing. She'd just sent me a pink onesie with a fuzzy leopard rhinestone-collared kitty on it. We both wanted a girl. Grace, you should know that my friend Jen's baby Ginger will happily wear the onesie, and they are both very excited about it.

Mom emailed me this morning to report that Forrest has named the baby Chester Spoerl. I don't think we're ready to commit to Chester, but we are taking suggestions for baby boy names, since I have very few good ideas. So let's hear em!