Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Moving a Million Hearts in Mono

I have been asked, on several occasions, within the last two weeks, "How are you feeling?"

Six weeks ago, I would have lied and said, "You know... pregnant. Really though, I feel fine.".

Or, to those a little closer to me, I would have said, "You know... like most things in life, peaks and valleys."

Or, to Husband, grumpy and tired I would look at him when we crawled under the covers at the end of a quiet day and just whisper, "I don't feel good" and pretend that I did not want to cry.

Ask me today. Go on, ask. I dare you.

"Rachel, how are you feeling?"

I feel fine. She's in love with me and I feel fine.

I have a new lease on life. I have a new lease on pregnancy. Give me what ya got-- BRING IT. I might cry (shocker), but I can take it.

Continually, I am humbled and amazed by pregnancy and what a blessing gd-GD has been to both the Cagles. My last visit, two weeks ago, showed that my short frame has fleshed out (I love that expression) five pounds, still a net of negative 3 from where I was pre-gd-GD. Today proved that Excel sheets, dedication, exercise and admitting that not cheating are all good things. I weighed out at a 2 pound loss.

Do that math, you mathematicians! I am negative FIVE from where I was pre-gd-GD! Total weight gain... I cannot believe that I am typing this for cyber space... 14 pounds thus far!

My fondus (I have no idea what that is, but I do know that it sounds inappropriate and funny- it's not and it is) gained 4 cm. and is right in line with my 34 weeks of pregnancy.

We played with the 3Cs today-- Chrissy, Christy, and Casey. Chrissy checks us in at the ultrasound, Christy performs the ultrasound and Casey (the student) practices on my uterus. We offer to Casey to practice every time, mostly because it lets the ultrasound last longer & we get to watch our precious daughter suck her thumb, punch her fishbowl, or blink her eyes. We get to play with the 3Cs every week until June.

After playing with the 3Cs, we walked over to IGOR's domain (Ms. Fran), who performed my second non-stress test. This time though, I was cool, calm, and collected... a better 3C than crying, clammy, and cowardly! For the second time since this whole pregnancy got started wayyy back in September, I asked Husband for his phone.

"Who are you calling?"

"None of your business," with a wink & a smile.

ring.... ring.... ring.....

"HEY BUD!" came that old voice from DoeRun

"Oh, Tommy... it isn't Bud, it's Budette!"

"Hey Budette, how ya doin'?"

"Doin' great! Miss y'all! But, I wanted to let you know something."

"What's that?"

"If you ask reallll nice, I bet your son might let you hear your granddaughter's heartbeat."

"Oh YEAH?"

"Yeah! Hold on a sec..."

And for the second time, I took my father-in-law to a place where mothers go, husbands go, new moms, sisters, and friends, but rarely... if ever... do FILs get to go behind those heavy doors or even behind the curtains to this mysterious place where pregnant women are inspected and lose their humility, dignity, and embarrassment.

For the first time, my non-stress test was actually stress-free. No tears. Just that laughter from my diaphragm talking to Husband and Tommy. As Eileen's heartbeat came through loud and strong on the monotone speaker, we sat and listened to the next generation- incubating and waiting to be born. Her little pulses on the monitor moved all of our hearts.

And that's how a non-stress should go.

(PS- the nurses say she looks like Husband; I said she looked like Deedle & Tellis. Only time will tell!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Little Lessons in Love

What a lovely day! Mama's girlfriends hosted a lovely shower for Eileen yesterday afternoon and I was positively showered with love and attention from everyone. These women watched me grow up and were so excited to take part in this special event. Mom had a little trick up her sleeve- one that I could not believe and one that I am so humbled to have received.

At 33 weeks, Eileen makes it her goal in life to find both my bladder and my right lung with her hands and feet and squeeeeezzzeeeee tightly. She weighs in at just over four pounds and is on track to be seven pounds... ouch. If you were to keep an eyeball on my stomach, you would see her swish this way and that. Husband and I are already making plans to take her on her first beach trip to St. George Island in November for her to play in the biggest sandbox and swim in the salty water. But, with plans and babies... if you want to make God laugh, make a plan.

Back to mom's present... beautiful. Just beautiful. No other word for it. My mom's friend found moms wedding dress in the back of the closet. She took the lace off the wedding dress, cleaned it, and made...

For Eileen. You cannot see it in this picture, but behind the dress, is the tiniest little bonnet with more of the same lace and her name embroidered on the inside.
Diapers... check.
Clothes... check.
Very expensive window treatments that I am very jealous of... check.
Wild patterned pink chairs...check.
Changing table...check.
Antique French baby bathtub (that holds toys- not babies; don't worry!)... check.
Baby...7 weeks, maybe 6... if I'm lucky.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Brave Front.

I can be so bold sometimes. So bold in the face of things I do not know or understand. Pretending. That is how I get through some things.

I can pretend all day long I understand diabetes. And I know a lot- a lot more than I did three weeks ago- but I still do not know so much.

I know that people still do not understand that the only way I am able to control this, and help keep Eileen is 100% through my diet. No cheating. Cheating only hurts her.

I know that I am healthier for having been diagnosed and that by sticking to my diet and ignoring chocolate chip cookies, cheese dip, and Cheerios- I am making the last 7 weeks, the hardest 7 weeks of maintaining insulin resistance, better.

I know that I can make shrimp 10 different ways and it tastes different and delicious each time. With zero carbs.

I know I have to pack 9 cheese soy cracker cakes for a side to my sandwich for lunch wherever I go or Lay's potato chips will be harder to turn down.

Today though, I learned something new. I have a "high risk" pregnancy.

After such a fun and amazing ultrasound, Husband & I were on cloud nine leaving Christy's ultrasound room where we saw Eileen sucking her fingers- like I used to do- and flipping around. We saw her sweet hand wave to us from her little fishbowl and confirmed that she has my nose, but Husband's heart. We saw her little eyes fluttering and her practicing breathing. Her foot kicked, her little arms flexed, and she proved to us that, as both a Merry & a Cagle (and a little Brennan), she is resilient and gd-GD was not going to get her down.

...And then we walked across the hall...

"Step right this way, Mrs. Cagle. You will have to meet with Ms. Fran before Erin can see you."

Elated, we stepped into Ms. Fran's domain. And then the fun stopped.

Ms. Fran told me about A-bells, B-bells, and D-things...contractions and the woman's fetus behind the curtain next to me had a heart beat so loud that the more Ms. Fran talked the less I could concentrate and listen to, what I am sure were, very important words. As she continued, the more confused I became & the next thing I knew, there were two belts around my belly and cold gel covering a disk that listened to LMC's heartbeat with another monitoring movement. Feet in the air, strapped in... there I sat. For over twenty minutes. And Eileen hated it. She hated every second of it because as soon as the second disk hit my stomach, she started painfully kicking it.

And I cried about my diabetes for the first time in four weeks. A good cry, too-- one of those cries where you are too embarrassed to even let your husband see. I was behind curtains and silently sobbing because I was so scared. So scared of two little words I had not heard before about me- ever... High Risk.

I am many things- boisterous, emotional, silly, demanding, there are more- but my pride has suffered enough today- however, High Risk was never a place I considered myself.

So I cried. And Ms. Fran walked in and says, "Everyone cries, sweetie. It's just your baby's heartbeat. I know, Sugar... it makes you so happy."

No. It doesn't. I mean, it does, but I do not cry when I am happy. I laugh. A lot. And it comes out of no where and I laugh deep and hard, starting in my diaphragm. That is what I do when I am happy.

I cry when I am scared.

Husband would not wait outside the curtain- he came back there and sat with me, held my hand and promised that everything was fine while I hid my face behind a rough towel. He promised me that HE would tell me when he was nervous, and Husband keeps his promises. So, I put a little faith in Ms. Fran (IGOR as I shall refer to her, since I will be seeing her every week until LMC gets here), a little faith in Husband, and a whole lot of faith in Eileen.

It's all I can do. That and watch my food. And find that laughter from my diaphragm.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Greatest of Them All.

British golf writer, Pat Ward-Thomas, used those words, "The Greatest of them all," in reference to the great Bobby Jones back in December, 1971 when he finally passed away after a long hard battle.

This week is one of the greatest weeks we, as Augustans, experience. We are hosts and hostesses to the whole world. For four brief days we stand at attention and welcome fellow patrons into our lives, our homes, and our fair town for what has been dubbed by those that whisper into microphones "a tradition like no other."

Welcome to my world. Welcome to my home.

The Greatest of them all. This time of year always makes me think of my sweet Aunt Helen. Especially now. Aunt Helen died last Easter & I miss her so much today. I would have loved to tell her that I was pregnant with her great-great niece, named for her favorite brother's youngest daughter. Aunt Helen was the greatest of them all.

In my heart, I know there are poignant words she would have spoken to me in her little sorority house with Aunt Carol. In my heart, I would have held them there and taken them with me for the rest of my days. But, in my heart, I know she had to go and be with the rest because of what was coming ahead. She had to get up There so she could take care of all of us and keep a little closer eye.

We believe that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. I believe that Aunt Helen is truly not too far from Them, sitting at the right hand of Someone, helping and guiding her little flock of redbirds make right decisions and find strength in a pool that was thought to be dry.

Every day this week I have seen a redbird in my backyard as I made breakfast. Every morning, a little whisper "hello" to the Greatest of them All and wishes of a solid life for her newest pending arrival & our growing family. With a lady like Aunt Helen on our side, whispering words of encouragement as we sleep through the night, surely we will all continue to grow in health and happiness.

As this week of $1.50 egg salad sandwiches in little green wrappers winds to a close and Easter is upon us, I welcome spring with all the hope and promise that it brings and will listen for those whispered words in half daze of morning. And I will look for my redbird with renewed joy that, though she is not with me to hear her sweet voice and those poignant words I will want for the rest of my life, she is with me in my heart taking me where I need to go.

The Greatest of them All.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Best of a Bad Situation.

It’s been a tough go at the last 2 weeks. There’s been blood sugar to learn about, cookbooks to stick my nose in, and lots and lots of time on the internet finding out what my carb count will be if I eat _______. But after the tears and the fear of what is happening to my body and the growing one inside of me, something important happened. I got over it.

So, my detailed excel sheet tracks everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) down to the 2 tbsp. of chocolate ice cream I had last night when we got back from “baby birthing” class. Blood sugar, exercise, carbs, food, you name it… it’s on there. And my little “trigger pack” is discreet & fits in my purse, or on my desk, or in my car, or anywhere I need it to- and it only takes about 25 seconds from soup to nuts to test my blood sugar and write it down.

The last two weeks have been a big change in our pregnancy.




Today though, I woke up with no knowledge of how big the change in my pregnancy actually was. We had an appointment with Erin a few hours ago and we learned some things we did not know about me, my body, gestational diabetes, and how it changes.

My blood pressure is down.

My coloring is better.

My blood sugars are perfect.

My “squishies” are gone. (swollen appendages; it has a fancy medical term, I just cannot remember it. Edema?)

I have lost eight pounds in two weeks.


Erin & Will were both very proud of me. I was very proud of myself.

Apparently, "gd" GD agrees with me.

And the silver lining on the gray cloud is that we get to have extra ultrasounds to chart LMC’s growth a little closer. Our next snapshot into her fishbowl will be in two weeks. Her heartbeat was in the 150s- normal & we are all getting very excited about the upcoming arrival.