Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Changes

Yesterday marked the beginning of a large change in my pregnancy. A scary one. But, one that both Will & I are taking by the horns and dealing with. I have gestational diabetes. It is not news we wanted, however, it is news that we cannot change.

Diabetes is something I am very unfamiliar with, having only read about a fourteen year old girl with it in "The Babysitters Club" series about 20 years ago. Stacy from NYC who relocated to Stoneybrook and met up with Claudia (the artsy one), Kristen (the tomboy), and MaryAnn (the shy one). Anyway, Stacy had diabetes- but she wore emerald green berets & the boys thought she was cute.

My new duties, in addition to being a good home for Eileen, now involve counting every carb that enters my mouth, pricking my finger & testing my blood sugar four times a day, increased exercise and lots and lots of planning as grabbing Cheerios with half & half has gone by the wayside with peanut butter m&ms, tying my own shoes, and button pants.

I am overwhelmed with the massive amount of knowledge I have to absorb in the very short amount of time as days count, not weeks. There are things to learn, excel sheets to document, and books to read.

My family has been amazing in the last twenty four hours- Brother makes jokes, Martha gives me the positive thoughts on what to take from it, Mom reads just as fast & furiously as I do, Dad is really, really supportive and understanding- which is really the most valuable thing to me right now, Deedle still wants fun Aunt RaRa- which I have to live up to, and Tellis lets me hold her, smiles & reminds me that all of this is for something greater than just me.

And Husband, breakdown after breakdown I had yesterday, Husband was there explaining to me how this works and pointing out the yummy things I can do and have instead of what we cannot do.

We.

He has jumped into this diabetes business with both feet and without so much as a blip, peep, or stutter.

Yesterday, I tried to make a fried egg... it took 2 frying pans, 3 spatulas, and 4 eggs before I almost got it right and had a half-way cooked egg that I had to finish off in the microwave (it neither tasted good nor was it fully cooked). If I was the "glass is half-empty" type of person, I would have said half-way runny.

At first, we did not want to tell anyone, but thought maybe silence might not be the best way to combat this. Some things can be hard to explain, but if others know, then maybe they will understand. Mostly, I was afraid of pity-- this is not a death sentence. This is just something we have to handle before it becomes something more serious.

This will become, like most things in life, something that will be softer and less life changing than it is today. This will be a challenge, but it is one that comes with an amazing group of people helping both me & Eileen, with doctors, nurses, a specialist, a priest, family and friends.

And I never said I was not up for a challenge.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ohh... the nursery!

Ohh... the nursery! It's coming together, slowly but surely. Her room is perfect, just perfect. The walls are the palest shade of pink with green window treatments and sassy hot pink fringe- it's too much for words.

Husband set up LMC's crib last night- it's a beautiful white wrought iron crib that will hold tiny Eileen in just weeks. In her nursery are two hot pink chairs, a round table that will soon hold a lamp and books to read to her, a mahogany chest of drawers to serve as her changing table and an antique French baby bathtub. The bathtub will hold oodles of toys and stuffed animals. All we need is a rug and a baby!

Today is Monday and I am 29 weeks pregnant. Currently, I am sitting at MCG in the walkway over the Emergency Room entrance. There is no cause for alarm, but if it has been said once... it has been said 1,000 times: pregnancy is not for sissies. Last week I failed my glucose test. I hate failing tests, any kind of test, especially the type that they make you retake until you get it right. Last week I also took my FINRA continuing education test and if I did not pass it in the time provided (three and a half grueling hours) then I would have to take the whole thing over again... from scratch. I passed, I think by sheer fear alone.

I digress, glucose. Yuck.

Last week, I took my one hour glucose test and my results came back over the safe levels. So, last night this pregnant person had to fast all night and into the morning for the nurse to take my blood levels. Next, I had to drink a whole bottle (let me reemphasize that: a whole 10 ounce bottle of glucose) of this orange drink that is so sugary it makes my teeth hurt. Now, I am sitting... waiting for the hour to be up for them to draw my blood, for the second hour to be up, for them to draw my blood, and finally for the third hour to be up for them to draw the last set of blood, if there is any left!

Plenty of people, well, plenty of women, fail the first go-round at the 1 hour test so there is nothing uncommon about this and nothing to raise a flag over.

Just tell that to my nerves!

The sugar [glucose] has just hit Eileen and she is up and kicking right now. She is almost 17 inches long; just so we're clear: that is over a foot and a half. Her weight is almost three pounds and she is expected to at least double that over the next 11 weeks. Her lungs are still developing so she will be able to cry out good and loud for us to hear her from her nursery, with her walk-in closet, when we are upstairs.

And I registered! Martha took me last week so we could be completely ready for when she gets here. All kinds of fun stuff, too! It was super fun to look at the little booties, pink smocked dresses, strollers, and diaper genies. Maybe not the diaper genies, why do they not come with a real genie, ready to change the stinky diaper???

From MCG to you, my first hour is almost up and I need to check back with Miss Carla.

Just call me the human pin cushion.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

All About Eileen

This week has been all about Eileen! Husband & I went to the greenhouse this weekend and purchased oodles of veggies for "Eileen's Garden." Husband spent most of Saturday playing in the misty cold weather planting veggies and herbs. He is looking forward to playing in the dirt with her. I think this summer it will mostly be Husband playing in the dirt and LMC watching or sleeping, but next year and the year after, she will have her own set of tools and will be ready to rock and roll hand-in-hand with her dad.

We also started our "baby birthing" classes this week. There are five classes in total and they involve a lot of "TMI" and what promises to be an eye-opening experience for this Cagle. Doctor Husband knew pretty much all of what RN Pat had to say, but he paid attention and laughed at all the bad jokes, which made me happy. Husband looked just like any other expectant father sitting at the table.

The week also brought us St. Patricks Day. I took Big Dad to mass downtown at Most Holy Trinity- formerly St. Patricks Catholic Church. Big Dad scooted his walker in like he owned the place strutting his five different shades of green. All he needed was his Knights of Columbus regalia or an Irish Heritage sash. Big Dad knew pretty much everyone there. I guess that is what happens when you start out at a church and 88 years later... you're still there. There were some moves in between, but where he started is where he will finish. He was proud as a peacock heading to the front for a pew. There were Irish dancers with their very big hair, short skirts, and Hollywood makeup, gypsies (with the same big hair, short skirts, and Hollywood makeup), Irish Heritage society members proudly wearing the green, white, and orange sash, nuns, 12 priests celebrating, and about 107 shades of green. What a bunch! After Mass, we had a picnic lunch with my parents outside the church and watched the parade with Tellis. We all got beads- especially Big Dad!

It was a good week. We went back to the doctor. After five weeks of no doctor visits, we heard LMC's heart beat, which was a little anti-climatic as the last 4 visits have involved ultrasounds. And I had my icky gluco test. YUCK. I go back on Monday for more lab work & then we see Erin every two weeks until the end.

Poppy has been UBB for 28 weeks. She is almost a foot and a half in length and weighs about 2.5 pounds. She can blink those baby blues and she can dream. Her REM and sleep patterns are establishing into a routine that will carry her throughout the rest of her stay en untero & into infancy. I wonder if she can come out potty trained?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lent-

Growing up at St. Mary's Lent was a "big deal." So was Advent. As children, we took great pride in cutting out our yellow tear drops from construction paper and then the smaller, but more important orange teardrops. Taking our Elmer's glue, we would glue them together. Then, on Friday mornings after prayers and our "Pledge of Allegiance" we would take turns "lighting" our candles, or taping our flame to our Advent candle.

During Lent, we were given Rosary decades. For you non-Catholics, this was a little circle of 10 beads with a cross on the end. For those 40 days, every morning we would pull out the Rosary decade from our pencil box and in unison with Sr. Ruth or Sr. Kathleen, we would say the Apostles' Creed, the Our Father, three Hail Marys, and then the "Glory be the Father." Some very cool eighth grader in their blue and white uniform would recite one of the five mysteries of our faith and then we would say our decade of Hail Marys, our mini-Rosary would go back in our pencil box & the day would begin. Every Friday, instead of just the first Friday of the month, we would walk down to church and go through the twelve stations of the cross.

At the beginning of Lent though, was Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday would involve a whole lot of silence. Lots and lots of quiet time to reflect on what we were giving up for Lent. After we went to Mass and had the ashes on our forehead, we would come back to class and write down what we were giving up for the next 40 days. Some very lofty third graders thought they could give up television, or Nintendo. I always tried for candy & cookies. Our note to ourselves would be sealed, put in a box, and the box would be in the back of the room for us to be reminded what we were sacrificing on a daily basis. At the end of the 4o days, we would open our envelopes to see how well we did.

Since college and a brilliant homily from a brilliant priest, I have given up time in some fashion or another, volunteering at soup kitchens, children's advocacy groups, or any number of other places. I feel better about what I am doing and at the end of 40 days, I am renewed as there is no substitute for time. By giving up television, I can still read or play on the internet. This year, I gave up time- but of a different sort. I am going to Mass twice a week. Considering that is two more times than I normally go in a week [month], it has been really nice to "return to the church" and remember why I am Catholic. On Sundays at 6 and Wednesdays at 5:30, you can find me sitting in a pew listening to the words of someone wiser than me and becoming more instilled about what I believe, but more importantly, why I believe.

Lent is about sacrifice, but it is also about bringing yourself closer to the Big Man upstairs. Someone told me not to long ago that the closest she ever felt to God was when she was pregnant. At first, I thought she was a little nuts. But, now I am starting to know what she means. I spend a lot of time thinking about Mary and what she had to overcome and deal with. Imagine being the mother of Jesus. It would be a little hard to tell HIM what to do! But, it takes a mothers guidance to become who you are. And it takes God to make a baby.

Our baby was 27 weeks on Monday (I am well aware it's Friday!). Husband is taking care of the NICU this month & he told me that there is a baby there that was delivered at 26 weeks. I asked if I could see it and he said I would not want to-- there is a reason why they need 40 weeks. At 27 weeks en utero, LMC is just over 2 pounds and almost 15 inches in length. Her brain waves are firing like a newborns and she is kicking a bunch. Her most recent cravings are orange sherbet and seafood. Why seafood does not make me sick but chicken still does, I have no idea. And we can start that "days without being sick" calendar over... as of last night, it's been about 10 hours... before that though, I made it almost 6 days.

As a daughter, I never understood the sacrifices my mother made for me and my brother. I never understood until Poppy came into our lives. And going to church twice a week will never come close to the sacrifices Someone greater than ourselves made for us, but it's a start.