Friday, December 30, 2011

Week 13: Post-Breakfast Spike

I have very little to say about this last week.

My blood sugars are fine, although post-breakfast spikes have been somewhat unpredictable. One day, I gave an extra unit or unit and a half, and I was still high 2 hours post-breakfast. Another time, I was at 33 a mere hour and a half later.

I'm trying to eat fewer carbs in the morning, and my mother suggested that my cortisol levels may rise more on days when I haven't slept enough.

I feel a little sick in the late morning and a little sick in the evening still, and quite tired all the time. One night, though, I managed 9 hours of sleep. It was incredible! I hope to repeat it many, many times.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

For Unto Us A Child Is Born

Merry Christmas to all, wherever you are!

When my husband and I were preparing for our confirmation in the Catholic Church (Easter 2010), I was just learning how to pray the rosary. I made praying the rosary daily my Lenten sacrifice, and I have done my best to continue that practice ever since. In addition to preparation for our spiritual conversion, I had also just barely found out I was pregnant, somewhat unexpectedly, and only 9 months after our first son was born. I was overwhelmed.

Meditating on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary gave me more consolation than I can tell you:

I pondered the 7-months pregnant, elderly Elizabeth greeting her teenaged cousin Mary with such joy and tenderness as befitted the king and queen who came to visit. After an extended life of infertility, she was only carrying the greatest prophet (John the Baptist) in her womb, who was unfit to remove the sandals of the babe in Mary's womb, and her husband had been struck mute. But she bore no envy towards her cousin. And if I know anything about the end of pregnancy, she probably felt a hundred other reasons to grumble. But there was still no bitterness in her greeting. I asked her to be my patron saint for our confirmation, to seek God's grace for me to bear the physical and psychological pain of the pregnancy I had just begun.

I imagined Mary and Joseph's poverty of spirit, as well as the physical poverty of the entire Holy Family, at the moment when the God of the universe was born as an infant. At the moment when she might have suffered terribly, Mary loved God with her body and soul and was delivered from death. And she held the baby God. She reminds me that the weakness that doubles me over with pain and grief, offered to God with love and humility, returns to me in glory. I asked her to teach me the way of physical and spiritual poverty, as my husband and I prepared to leave the potential for a full-time salary behind and commit to 5 more years of school.

I wondered at Mary's presenting her son to God, dutifully returning to that Father what came from him but was also truly hers, her flesh and blood. I sought to give all that I have - even my very flesh and blood - to the God who gave His so willingly to me.

I remember these mysteries, and that precious season in my life, to such great effect during Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and beyond. The season is rich in blessing for those who seek the Christ child. May he be born to us again today as we welcome him to our world!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Week 12: Ctrl-Z

After all that I said last week about the big changes I needed to my insulin levels last week, I basically undid a whole bunch of it. I started waking up in the 40s and 50s again, so I took my pre-dawn basal rates down to normal overnight levels (0.65). I'm back to 1:10 for breakfast, although I am toying with giving an extra 2-3 units at breakfast to keep my 2-hour postprandial down. I'm back at 1:10 for lunch. I've actually lowered my afternoon basal rate to 0.60, and dinner is still at 1:12. Unfortunately, things are still a little weird, particularly in the morning, and I have a feeling that they are partly so because I've been trying to compensate for anticipated highs by giving manual boluses on the side.

Breathe, Beth. Blood sugars are important, but it's not going to kill anyone if you have a few 2-hour postprandials above 150.
In fact, it's significantly more likely that it WILL kill someone if you can't keep your blood sugar above 50. P.S. Try to stop eating cookies in between meals. I know the cookies you made to celebrate your son's patron saint's feast day are delicious, but it's seriously not helping.

I went to see my endocrinologist again this week. He was mad that I didn't call him sooner (today was the first news he had of the pregnancy). I told him that things were under control. He seriously doesn't believe they possibly can be without his meddling. He wants me to come in every month, which I gave him grief about. He gave me grief about the fact that he's "trying to take care of my baby." I wanted to smack him and tell him that no one - NO ONE - cares more about the health of this baby than I do. In my calculation, the marginal benefit to my health and the health of the baby derived from coming in to see him every month compared to the marginal benefit of me not having to stress about a babysitter, the risk of "discovering a problem" that isn't really there, AND my insurance company having to pay hundreds of unnecessary dollars for care that I don't really need...well, the marginal benefit actually favors fewer visits. If I can't find a babysitter for any given day, I just won't come, and I am not re-scheduling.

By the way, I am aware that it sounds like my endocrinologist and I are old friends and/or an old, unhappy married couple. He was my endocrinologist when I was first diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and I was actually an unusual case in his office (he isn't in the business of treating children). He lived in our neighborhood, and my mom knew him because she worked as an ER physician at the hospital just down the street. We all went to the same pool together in the summer. I moved away for college and then to St. Louis with my husband, but we're back now, so he's stuck with me again. Based on my last two visits, he has come to expect that when he gives me grief, I give it right back. I am now of the opinion that it's not entirely unhealthy, but also not without tension...

My A1C was up just a bit, from 6.0 to 6.2. Of course I'm worried about it, but of course I know that I'm doing the best I can and I really and truly don't believe that my endocrinologist will magically make these numbers improve. I've done this for two pregnancies already, and if I got it down to 6.0 by myself once (and below), I don't need a doctor to do it for me the second time. Contrary to what he believes about his own interference.

Also, I've gained about 3 pounds, which I consider a small victory. Victory because it's only 3 pounds, small because who wouldn't love to emerge from their first trimester saying they hadn't gained any weight? I'm pretty sure I had gained about 7 pounds by the end of the first trimester during my first two pregnancies.

I also got a call from Medtronic this week, and they told me it was time for a pump upgrade. What they really mean is that my pump's warranty is expiring, and insurance companies will now pay for a pump upgrade. I'm obviously skeptical about spending more money (even my insurance company's money) if it's not necessary, but what sold me on it is that I will be able to adjust carb ratios by decimal point! That makes a huge difference at the end of pregnancy. Being able to adjust from 1:4 down to 1:3.7 instead of jumping all the way down to 1:3 will be great. Also, I am upgrading to the model that holds larger reservoirs, so I won't have to change out my site every day. I used to be able to get away with replacing the reservoirs without changing out the infusion set, but ever since Medtronic had their infusion set recall two years ago, the site always gets blocked up when I try to do that.

Also in pump news, I tried again today to insert my new infusion set into my belly rather than my backside, just to see if it would work. It kinked, so I am really just not going to be able to use my belly until the baby is a little bigger and the skin is not so flabby.

The last event of the week was a visit to the OB who delivered my second son. This may be one of the first doctor's appointments I won't be griping to you about in months! It was a treat to see him. He looked at the blood work done before I conceived (mid-September) and said, "ordinarily, I would expect a young, healthy woman to have good numbers, but I always look them over just to be sure. You know what? Your numbers are extraordinary. Look [pointing to my hemoglobin value]. You have more blood than I do!" That was a good feeling. He also did a Doppler to check for baby's heartbeat and gave me a glowing smile when we both heard the sound.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Week 11: Big-time Changes to Insulin Levels

I remember well the day that I turned 11 weeks with my last pregnancy, our second son.

It was the weekend of Easter. My husband and I attended the vigil mass at the Cathedral Basilica in Saint Louis, Missouri, where we were confirmed in the Catholic Church and received the body and blood of Jesus for the very first time. It was amazing.

I hadn't been feeling well, as might be expected during that first trimester. My husband's parents and my father came into town for our confirmation, so we were hosting house guests. We stayed up late on the night of the vigil partying (and by late, I mean really late: our confirmation sponsors hosted a party for us at their house and it lasted until almost 3:00 in the morning). On Sunday, for dinner, I cooked three legs of lamb and we hosted a small army of very dear, Christian neighbors to dinner at our house (30+ people).

After dinner, most of our guests had cleared out. It was about 8:00 p.m. I was expected at work the next morning, which was Monday. The house was a mess. Under any ordinary circumstances, even apart from pregnancy, I probably would have said, "I'm too tired to clean up right now. It can wait until the morning, or Wednesday morning, or my husband will do it. Eventually."

However, on that Easter night, much to the surprise of everyone left in the room (including myself), I got up from the table, without so much as a groan or a moan or an achy sigh...and started to clean. Sweep, put tables and furniture back in order, pick up trash, and wash dishes. For the first time in a while, I actually felt like my old, non-pregnant self! I will always smile when I remember The Night I Felt Like Cleaning Up. It was a relief to know that the old woman (something of the good part, anyway), was still under there, despite the huge physical and spiritual changes happening in our lives.

The 11th week of this pregnancy, however, began much less pleasantly. I have decidedly NOT made peace with my fatigued state, and my grumbling is increasing in pitch. I apparently have not truly learned the sheep and goat lesson from last week.

It began for me on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Unlike the previous day, I was barely able to choke down half an avocado at breakfast and a protein shake at lunch. Fortunately, shrimp fried rice for dinner was tolerable.

Also notable was that throughout the week, my insulin needs changed. I had a few post-dinner blood sugar spikes (the same ones that I needed 5 units to cover during the very earliest weeks of this pregnancy). My 2-hour post-dinner was a little on the low side, but after a modest something to raise it, they were continuing to go up dramatically towards bedtime. So for the time being, if I notice the BG seems artificially high before bed, I give a slightly-larger-than-average correction bolus and set an alarm to check during the night.

Previously, my BGs had been trending low upon waking. I forgot to tell you all that some time last week, I lowered the rate to 1.00 because I was tired of waking up at 50. Well, suddenly, I'm waking up at 120-130, so it's time for the pre-dawn basal rate to come back up. I raised it back to 1.20, will keep my eye on it over the next few days, and may need to raise it further, especially if my post-breakfast BGs are still up.

And finally, because my post-breakfast BGs were up even after a day or two on the elevated morning basal rate, I also raised my breakfast bolus ratio from 1:12 to 1:10. I raised my lunch bolus ratio from 1:10 to 1:9. Dinner bolus ratio is still 1:12.

I also raised my non-morning basal rates from 0.60 to 0.75.

I talked to Jenn this week and she and I commiserated about how the late first trimester blood sugar changes are difficult to manage. I noted that my eating tends to be undisciplined when my blood sugars are constantly trending low, and she noted the ping-pong effect of constantly bouncing between 50 and 220. Her doctor is keeping her targets a little higher, and I decided that I would try getting my eating under control to see if I could bridge the gap. One notable way for me to do this would be to eat modestly (a half a glass instead of a full glass of juice, for example) in the event of a low blood sugar, rather than over-shooting to correct the low. I think I've mentioned that before.

On Monday, I realized that I have lately been spending an inordinate amount of time lying on the couch AND thinking about meat. I also noticed that some of my cravings, like ground beef, share a common feature: Iron! So I said to myself, "Self, you have been pregnant or nursing continuously for more than 3 years. Despite your ordinary prenatal vitamin, it is entirely possible that you are iron-deficient. Besides, despite the fact that your recent blood levels were normal, you weren't pregnant then and I don't even know if your endocrinologist would even run a test on your iron levels. You are way more tired this pregnancy than you were either of the last two. So, let's eat some meat - and a lot of it." I had a bowl of beef stew AND a hamburger for lunch and boy, was that good.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 10: How are you doing?

When I think about answering the question, "how's it going?" these days, it makes my heart beat a little faster. Of course, my honest answer is that my life is difficult right now. "Are you excited about having another baby?" Well, I haven't actually felt good about much of anything except eggnog, snuggling on the couch with my children, and asking my husband to do favors for me for several weeks, so no, not really. But I do think that having a baby is a good thing, even if it costs me a lot of discomfort, if that's what you mean.

I probably worry about this more than I should. No one has flown off the handle at me. But here's what I worry that other people are thinking. The first is just a general discomfort with the suggestion that having a child is anything but a blessing. I can understand this one, particularly from people who don't have children, or from people who are particularly sensitive to our culture's complex relationship to childbearing. The other response, which is more likely to be accompanied by hostility, is a complete lack of sympathy. "You chose to have a baby, now you have to suffer the consequences. Don't ask the rest of us to listen to your griping." So, I'm trying to find the middle way between these two extremes, for the sake of my mental health.

Also, after I listened to this Gospel reading in mass on Sunday (Matthew 25:37-40): Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

I finally understood the meaning of this verse (1 Timothy 2:15): Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

If I had known - really known - what a sacrifice it would be to have children, I probably would not have chosen it. Fortunately for selfish people like me, in a Christian context, the cultural imperative for married persons to have children is so powerful that I could not help but surround myself with hungry ones who need food, thirsty ones who need drink, naked ones who need clothing, the least of Christ's brothers - in short, these, my baptized children. Jesus states very clearly that only those who fed, clothed, and visited him are to sit at his right hand in heaven, so I am certain that this path, childbearing, is my gift from him, and my way to salvation, if I continue in faith and love and holiness. So, no more griping...at least for the rest of the day.

The last of my news this week is that I felt the baby move! I know, it's super-early, but I promise, promise, promise it wasn't gas (which "Your Pregnancy: Week by Week," assures me that it is). Let me ask you this: does gas ever feel like someone is tapping you from the inside right where (and only where) your uterus is? The correct answer is no.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Week 9, again: Adventures in Pregnancy Dating

On Friday, November 11, I went to see the doctor again. It was a frustrating visit, for a few reasons. I felt horrible, first of all. Late morning is always the worst. I was also anxious because my mother-in-law said she dreamed we were having twins (!). I had no reason to believe I was pregnant with twins, since they don't run in our families, I'm still pretty young, and we didn't use any infertility treatments, but I was freaked out at the possibility of having to buy a new car on a (putting it mildly) modest graduate student income.

Then, I asked if they would do an abdominal ultrasound rather than an internal one. My doctor in St. Louis always did abdominals from 8 weeks on because, he told me, usually women complained that they were uncomfortable. Here, however, my request was neither considered nor heeded. The nurse said, "I don't think the doctor will do that...," and as far as I know, she never even mentioned it to her boss, because the doctor didn't address it when she came in the room. So much for patient advocacy. I let it slide, figuring it wasn't something I cared enough about to make a big stink about. The kicker was when she shoved the probe even further up to look at my ovaries, though, which she had no reason to do. And that part hurt the most! When I winced, she did not even look at me again while she moved the probe out of the way to (ostensibly) make it more bearable. Desired effect not achieved. It still hurt. When I asked her why she looked at the ovaries, she told me that she was looking for masses, and "for practice."

HOLD IT. First of all, you knew or should have known that a transvaginal ultrasound is uncomfortable. If you didn't, it's because you're not listening to your patients. I did, in fact, try to tell you that I don't like them, but apparently the nurse that works for you is too afraid of you to even pass on the message. Second, there was no indication whatsoever that my ovaries were causing me or anyone else problems. And finally, if I was content to be subjected to additional discomfort during my pregnancy for the sake of your education, I would have told you (or you could have paid me).

The last frustrating thing about the visit is that, instead of 10 weeks tomorrow, I am 9 weeks today (and no, I'm not going to try to blame that one on the doctor :). It just means I am about to do the worst week of pregnancy over again. Boo. That means my due date is June 15, about two weeks after my first son turns 3. In the end, I know that its more of a psychological wound than anything else, but it stings. Especially because I almost vomited at the zoo yesterday.

The doctor (who will no longer be my doctor as of my next prenatal visit) gave me a prescription for Zofran, but when I asked her about whether it seemed to make her patients feel better, she answered me with a statistic about rates of hyperemesis gravidarum being reduced after Zofran was made available to pregnant women. Totally not the answer to my question. I am not in any danger of inadequate food or liquid intake. I have not had ANY symptoms of dehydration. I just don't feel good. I haven't gained any weight, but I haven't lost any, either. I have really not shown any danger of becoming a statistical victim of hyperemesis, so why quote me statistics about how much Zofran helps said victims? I re-phrased the question slightly and asked again and she said, "Well, I have had some patients for whom it just never worked..." So, what it sounds like is that the only people you've ever heard back from told you that it didn't help. Do you even ask your patients whether the Zofran helped the next time you see them in the office? I picked up the prescription, but kicked myself for doing so after I looked at the cost. Only $20 to me, but another $80 to my insurance company. Not to mention - isn't it probably a good idea to avoid unnecessary medication, even when it's been proven "safe"? Because it seems like 40 years from now someone could come out with a huge meta-analysis saying that approving Zofran in pregnancy was a horrible idea.

Some of you may notice that I am drowning in contradiction here. I hate statistics, then I quote them. I want relief from discomfort, and then I reject pills. I don't even know what I want any more. I just don't want other people assuming they can quantify risks and benefits for me without my input, alright?

The rest of the week passed in mild nausea and fatigue and self-pity.

The upside is that my blood sugars have been fantastic - truly fantastic - for the last several weeks. I'm hanging out between 70 and 110, reliably, with only a few blood sugars here and there outside the range. I'm having some lows in the morning, and a few blood sugars just a tad high (150-200) after dinner. Not too shabby! My bolus ratios are 1:12 for breakfast and dinner, 1:10 for lunch. My basal rates are 0.5 over night, 1.15 from 4:30a to 7:00a, 0.6 during the day.


Just to prove that I'm not making this up.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Week 9: Food Cravings

When I was pregnant with my first son, I spent a lot of time being sick during week 9. I think it was the worst of all my sick weeks with him, so I am bracing for the worst this week and hoping we can manage somehow. My schedule has almost entirely cleared, since I haven't felt energetic enough to plan much of anything over the last few weeks.

Saturday, I forced myself to get out of the house with the boys so that my husband could work. Every time I've done that, I've kept myself from vomiting. Unfortunately, I still felt terrible when I got home. Fortunately, we went to a friend's house for dinner and she served a.maz.ing. enchiladas. This got me out of dinner prep AND into some delicious food. I stopped myself, but definitely could have eaten three.

On Sunday, I made white chicken chili and I've had the strangest recurring memory about a single bite of the chili with monterey jack cheese. On the one hand, I can't wait to put it in my mouth, and on the other hand, I have this very strong sensation that I will vomit it right back up again. Really, I've been re-living this experience all week. So weird.

Tuesday was a busy morning. I muscled my way through it, but it was not very pleasant. And I had a very powerful food craving for - of all things - eggnog. There it was, on the grocery store shelf, right next to the milk I was putting in my cart, and I thought to myself, "I have to have that." Sure enough, I had finished off the quart in less than 8 hours. Don't worry, it was low-fat (but so much for avoiding dairy).

Also, as I was preparing dinner, no joke: I ate about a half a pound of the ground beef I was preparing to put into my pasta dish. Right out of the frying pan. Fortunately, I had some frozen meatballs I could throw in instead. Sheesh. Eggnog and ground beef. What a strange combination.

Wednesday saw me lying around on the couch a whole lot. Random food craving of today was avocado and mixed frozen vegetables with butter (if only it were like that every day!). It was a beautiful day, so I forced myself to go outside with the boys after their naps.

Staying up late is morning sickness no-no for me. It seems like eight o'clock on and I'm done for the day. Looks like that 80s party I was invited to on Friday night will go on without me.

By the way, my blood sugars have been pretty reasonable this whole time. The eggnog made me go a little high, but nothing extreme. I am using a little less insulin for meals (1:11 or 1:12 bolus ratios) and my morning dawn phenomenon basal rates are pretty modest (for me) at 1.15 from 4:30 to 7:00a. I haven't been eating a lot, so that may explain why my blood sugars haven't been anything to blog about.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 8: Miscarriage Milestone

The OB that delivered my first son said that weeks 8 and 12 are big ones for the risk of miscarriage, because it drops at both of those weeks. So, this week, I celebrate the milestone of a reduced risk of miscarriage.

On the other hand, the first trimester is really, really lame:

Saturday, October 29: My brother and sister-in-law come over to celebrate my son's first birthday. It takes a lot of effort to avoid vomiting into the bowl of bratwurst, cabbage, and beer soup that I make for dinner. I also completely forgot to make or buy anything resembling a cake, or a birthday gift. Poor second child.

Sunday, October 30: Right before communion, I excuse myself from mass to run to the bathroom. I was rather surprised by it, but did actually hurl once I got there.

Monday, October 31: I think I might vomit when I get out of bed. I think I might vomit about an hour after breakfast. I definitely feel worse when my blood sugar is 40 (as it was when I woke up this morning, and about and hour and a half after breakfast), but not exclusively (because I felt sick when my blood sugar was at 164 before lunch, too). I lowered my early-morning basal rate once more, to 1.35 from 4:30a to 7:00a.

Another impact of this fatigue and gross feeling is that where I used to be able to hold the next four things that I was planning to do in my mind (two diaper changes, two coats on, go to the bathroom, go outside with the boys), now I can barely hold one (one diaper change. Hope second child doesn't get a rash?).

Tuesday, November 1: Running as a morning habit is long gone. I made it through mass with the boys, and even squeezed in a trip to the grocery store. Somehow, today is better than the others, and I go on a cooking rampage to use up the vegetables that will go bad and to prepare the meal I've promised to bring our priests on Thursday evening. Chili is always better leftover, right?

Wednesday, November 2: In pondering today's feast, All Souls' Day, I wonder if purgatory will feel like this, and I hope that if so, I don't spend much time there. I offer my pain to God as penance.

Thursday, November3: My 2-year-old must think mommy being pregnant is either the best thing in the world or the worst. Between-meal snacks ALWAYS involve tortilla chips (yay!), but I spend a lot of time lying on the couch trying to avoid eye contact.

Friday, November 4: Today was OK. Not great, but OK. Blood sugars have been fine this week. I think I've got my bolus ratios and basal rates down...for now, anyway. I'm having fewer high highs and fewer low lows, and while I worry that they are trending higher than average, I think that may just be me worrying.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Week After That: Breaking the News

This week we broke the news to our families. I didn't want to do it while we were at the wedding in Florida, since I didn't want to distract from the bride's big event or from my sister-in-law's baby news. My husband wanted to wait until his conference was finished, to avoid casting a pall over his work, in case anyone responded badly to the news that I am pregnant for the third time in three years. Fortunately, our families are pretty great, and I think we've spent a lot of time grooming them for babies in rapid succession.

Saturday, October 22:
The morning starts out horribly when my birthday boy (second son, one year old) pulls out my insulin pump's catheter. Post-breakfast reading is 313. Ugh. After a correction bolus and 2 hours, my blood sugar is 419! I FREAKED out. My new site was kinked, too! This has happened at least 3 or 4 times in the last few weeks since I found out I'm pregnant, and I now think that belly sites are definitely not working. Maybe the skin and scar tissue are stretching, or the muscles are too loose, or something is making them kink up. I'll stick to the backside for now.

In the meantime, I decide that if my blood sugar is going to be excessively high, I might as well go for a run without any danger of dipping too low while I'm out. After a very sluggish run, in which I spend the entire time praying for protection for our child from the harm these high blood sugars may be causing to him (or her), I finally eat lunch at 2pm.

In other news, this is the day my cousin got married! I don't often hear people talk about the bearing and raising of children at secular weddings, but this one did. I was very pleased to hear the justice of the peace include remarks about the couple's preparation for children.

Sunday, October 23: At a brunch held in honor of the newlyweds, my 94-year-old grandmother tells me that I have too many children. My cousin thinks that may be because she can't tell which of the four toddlers at the party are mine. I'm not sure what to think, because my grandmother had four biological children and seven total after a second marriage! In any case, it was a little hurtful, but I think she means well. She had three children very close together, and her husband was often absent both emotionally and physically. She remembers it being very stressful.

Monday, October 24: Before we pack our things into the car to drive back to the airport, I am chatting with my grandmother. We will miss her dearly, and despite her general confusion, we and she know that we may not see her again before her soul departs her body for its eternal life. Once again, she confuses me with my sister-in-law, who is also newly pregnant. Since my husband and I are still trying to keep our news under wraps, this confusion has been unnerving.

"And you're having another."
(Silent gasp, and a moment's pause to figure out how I can avoid lying to someone who is already confused about how many great grandchildren she has.)
"Do you mean Hillary? Because she's pregnant now."
"Oh, is she?"
"Yes, she's due in May."
"Well, what about you?"
(Another silent gasp. But seriously, I'm not even sure why I need to bother hiding it from her. She won't remember in a few minutes.)
"Well...um...we are hoping to have more, but it probably won't be in May."

The travel day is uneventful, except for some pregnancy-related nausea and fatigue. The boys hold up like troopers. We all get to see daddy before the boys collapse into bed.

Tuesday, October 25: Wave after wave of pregnancy nausea and fatigue hit today. I don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to keep this a secret, particularly from my parents. So we decide to let the cat out of the bag and we tell my dad. We also call my husband's mom, and she is so excited. She is convinced it will be a girl, and unbeknownst to us, she's been stocking up on little girl clothes.

I also had a doctor's appointment this morning. I was disappointed for a few reasons, not the least of which is that when you go in before 8 weeks, they don't actually do anything. Not even a Doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat. They bill your insurance and tell you to come back when you're 8-10 weeks. For real, people, I could have saved my babysitting credits! Also, I think I will probably return to the doctor who delivered my second son. I know he'll want to induce me at 38 weeks, but he also knows I won't want it. If I'm going to have to put my foot down either way, it might as well be with someone I know.

Wednesday, October 26: So this (nausea and fatigue) is apparently just how it's going to be for a while longer. I remember this happened before...but not very well...and eventually it was over...but man, it sure saps the life out of you. I'm not sure what's going on metabolically, but I can't seem to keep my blood sugars up and there's a definite correlation between sickness and low blood sugar.

We call my sisters and brother today. They are all excited. My mom comes home and we break the news to her, too. Her lack of enthusiasm is conspicuous, and I can't tell if she is worried about me, worried about my kids, worried that life in her house will become even more unpleasant than it already is, or all three. I think it's safe to say she thinks it's unwise. She subtly implies that I have slyly timed the birth of our next child so that I can feed off the federal government (Medicaid) for assistance with my diabetes expenses while my insurance won't cover it. Ouch. (Mt 5:11-12).

Thursday, October 27: Seriously, forget everything I said about what I was going to do differently next time. There is no way I can avoid juice and dairy (no juice and no milk for low blood sugars? Impossible). Also, I'm not even sure I can avoid sweets like cookies, cake, candy, and so forth altogether. Because I can only drink so much milk and juice in a day before I vomit it back up. I need some low blood sugar alternatives, and a soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie works really, really well.

Friday, October 28: The Cardinals win the World Series in Game 7, baby! For those of you who don't know, Jenn and I met in St. Louis. Our husbands were in school together there for 3 years. Good times, and good memories of our time in a great baseball town.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Next Week: Feeling Pregnant

I'm definitely feeling pregnant this week. A headache here, a little can't-keep-my-eyes-open there, and a little please-put-that-away-or-I-might-puke-on-you. I am terribly worried about my blood sugars, but as I recall, it wasn't much different the last two times I did this.

Saturday, October 15:
I was reminded today that I am pregnant because when I sat down my belly bubbled up over my waistband and into my crossed forearms. Also, I had a pump problem in the evening. I think my site was kinked. Putting the catheter in my belly may be a problem throughout pregnancy. I do remember it being an issue for a few months after the other two kids were born, and early on in pregnancy with my second son.

Sunday, October 16: As a result of the pump problem, my blood sugars ranged between 40 and 270 over night and into the morning, and didn't finally stabilize until after mass. I like to call this my diabetic hangover. You know, since I'm not allowed to drink alcohol now. It makes me feel cool...or something.

Monday, October 17: No news today. I'm glad I don't feel very sick, and even though I'm tired from getting up early in the morning to run, I resolve not to take a nap in the afternoon so I can actually sleep when night falls. I love collapsing exhausted into bed, and I love sleeping hard all night.

Tuesday, October 18: I eat my words about feeling sick and not napping during the day. Today I had a mild headache, bout of nausea, and extreme fatigue, and I felt like I couldn't stand up. I absolutely had to take a nap while the boys had theirs. We leave for the wedding tomorrow. I spent the rest of today packing and searching for outfits to hide my bulge.

Wednesday, October 19: Sure enough, I slept poorly last night, no doubt from my afternoon nap. Today is our travel day. Travel days are always hard on my blood sugar, particularly hard when I'm pregnant.

Thursday, October 20: Travel day wasn't too bad for my blood sugars, though I did feel more fatigued and more nauseated than usual. We have fun on the beach today.

Friday, October 21: I'm doing a pretty good job keeping the BGs under control. Feeling good about this. We have more fun on the beach today, and my boys' cousins show up (along with my sisters and brother and their spouses). The only thing that would make this vacation more fun is if my husband were here!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week 1 (or 5, or 6, or something)

The next few posts will contain my reflections from the first few weeks of pregnancy, to catch you up on the first trimester. I don't know how long I'll keep this up, but I'm hoping I can pen a few reflections about my pregnancy each week, all throughout, focusing on how to manage my blood sugars and how to navigate the world of extra testing during pregnancy that Type I diabetics experience. I'll try to avoid telling you stuff you don't need to know or that everyone else on the internet has already commented on (like dealing with hot flashes and heartburn. Seriously, it's my third time, and I have no idea).

We had our positive pregnancy test on a Sunday night. Here's my very first week.

Monday, October 9, 12:30 AM: I am still not asleep, two hours after taking the test, and my blood sugar is in the middle of one of those mad spikes. Curses. Remind me next time to take the flippin' test in the morning. I give 5 units to cover it, taking a giant leap of faith and hoping that I don't wake up in a sweaty diabetic coma in the middle of the night.

Monday, October 10, 7:00 AM: Commence freak-out-every-time-my-blood-sugar-goes-over-170. Begin to notice that I have, indeed, been experiencing pregnancy symptoms. It probably wasn't my husband's bad driving that made me sick in the car on Saturday night. I probably had not simply eaten too much when half a bowl of butternut squash soup made me feel as though I might throw up in my mouth.

Tuesday, October 11: When I woke up in the middle of the night, my blood sugar was 88 (at 1:30a), but by the time I got out of bed at 5:30a (back on the bandwagon!), it was 206. I adjusted my morning basal rates earlier and higher.

Wednesday, October 12: I called some doctor's offices today, not sure I wanted to remain with the doctor who delivered my son last October and not sure they would still take Medicaid. As I learned, however, hardly anyone takes Medicaid these days, and even fewer will see high-risk patients like me. No one wants to take care of the sick AND the poor, I guess. That work is left for saints. I called at least 25 OB/GYN practices and only 4 accept Medicaid. We settled for a new practice and I have an appointment on October 25. The receptionist estimated that I will be 6 weeks on Saturday. And my news is out of the bag in this house, after I asked my dad to babysit the boys for a "doctor's appointment." Since I see doctors all the time, I didn't think he would ask, but...

Father: "So what doctor are you going to see on the 25th?"
Me: "Um, well, it's just, I have a...crap, dad. Don't ask that question."
Father: (awkward chuckle) "OK, question withdrawn."

I also reduced my bolus ratios today because I was having some lows 2 hours after meals. The higher morning basal rates worked (at least last night). As I dialed up an extra 5 units to cover my high blood sugar (269) before bed time tonight, which is way more than I would usually take to correct that number, I thought to myself how stupid it would be to ask someone else to manage my blood sugars for me during pregnancy. If my endocrinologist had been there, looking over my shoulder as I made that decision, he would have said, "You're crazy! You'll never wake up in the morning!"

Thursday, October 13: Fortunately, my endocrinologist would have been wrong. With five units before bed and a basal rate of 2.0 between 4:30a and 7:00a, I roused at 7:15a at a very comfortable 77. I am SO GOOD AT DIABETES.

Friday, October 14: My blood sugars have actually fallen to levels below normal. I'm not needing many (if any) 5-unit boluses for spikes. I gave one yesterday and one today in anticipation of spikes that never happened, and was stuck in a low rut for a few hours each time. My confidence from yesterday gives way to humility in the face of the ever-changing realities of diabetes during pregnancy.


The end of the first week finds me fully adapted to the idea that I am going to have another baby next June, that people may think I'm crazy, that I'm going to have to go through pregnancy again and pregnancy is hard. But the emotional upheaval is resolved...for now. At least until I remember (really, really remember) that I will have to go through labor again.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Running

During the first week of October, I made a resolution to get up early in the morning with my husband, at 5:30a, as a show of solidarity and maybe to squeeze in a run. After two days of the new schedule, I noticed my blood sugars were spiking at odd times, and way higher than I would expect. I assumed I was probably losing some weight on the new regimen, and I hoped that they would regulate once my weight stabilized.

By Sunday, I/we had fallen off the bandwagon big-time. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday involved zero running. But my blood sugars were still spiking at odd times. The spikes were happening right after breakfast, sometimes in the afternoon before dinner, and over night. I needed about 5 extra units to cover them.

On Sunday morning, I made note of the high blood sugars to my husband. "The only thing that makes this happen to me is pregnancy or weight loss." And then, refusing to consider the frightening alternative, "Maybe running is just bad for me..." After dinner, my husband stepped outside to say good-bye to some friends that came over. I decided to take a pregnancy test while he was outside.

Seriously, I have the worst timing ever.

Five minutes later, he came back in.

"The line is pretty faint. Are you sure?" "Yes."

We decided that I am probably only 5-6 weeks pregnant, based on our NFP charting, and came up with vague but truthful answers to awkward questions that I will no doubt face at my cousin's wedding in two weeks. ("Are you pregnant?" "Geez, I have been trying so hard to lose the weight!" And, if they ask, "No, seriously, are you pregnant?" "If I was and I wanted you to know, you would know.")

I am about 12 weeks along now, due in June. That means there will be about 20 months between these two, and if all goes well, I will have a barely-3-year-old, a 1-year-old, and a newborn. Lest you pass out on my behalf, please note that we have been living with my parents and they help with everything except carrying the unborn baby. I often feel like I am cheating on these early childhood years, because this would be a lot harder without them! And since there are not even 17 months between the first two, I have an inflated sense of personal heroism. Maybe it will help.

I always say my husband and I have never tried to have a baby. How it's possible to conceive three children without trying is something you may need your parents (or, if you live in our school district, your KINDERGARTEN TEACHER) to explain to you. So, although we have never actively tried to have a baby, we have gone through periods of not not trying. Those periods account for exactly three months of our marriage. Natural family planning does work. We used it to successfully delay childbearing for two full years. I am just always a little surprised at how well marital intimacy works for us. Having a baby is never a guarantee, even when you time it perfectly with ovulation, so I have to stay humble by reminding myself that fertility is a gift that God has always given to us very, very freely.

In all honesty, despite the "surprise" of it, I have never been more prepared to give everything I have for my baby, right from the beginning this time. I don't care if I need a c-section (though I hope not to have one) to do that (and that doesn't mean I trust my doctor to make the call without my input!). I wish I could rewind in time and give this gift, my whole self, to my first son, right from the moment of conception. I can't, but fortunately he has a spiritual mother, the Mother of God, who has been lavishing gifts and storing up treasures for him in heaven. I pray that he (and all of my children) will one day join her there, in perfect blessedness, where they will never lack any of the love they deserve.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Getting Fired...

It's true, I got fired by my doctor today. Boy, that came out of no where! This was my second prenatal visit, the first had been highly encouraging 4 weeks ago...

At the practice I'm currently seeing, you see one of the 4 doctors each time you go for a visit since they have a call schedule for delivery and you never know who you will get the day you labor. Doc #1 was very laid back about the "dia-bets", he even went as far as to say, I would most likely do better than most "normal" pregnant women. I was thinking, alright! I've lucked up, this practice might be ok.

Then I went for my 14 week appointment today. Thankfully, I didn't have much to report to doc, my nausea subsided around 10 weeks and hasn't bothered me too much since. The fatigue diminished around the same time and other than some evening heart burn I'm feeling pretty good for a pregnant lady these days.

I reported about my visit with the endocrinologist this past Monday... My A1C continues to trend down (it was 7.3 when I conceived, then was 6.5 around 10 weeks and is now down to 6.3). My endocrinologist is seeing me every two weeks, for which I am VERY grateful because since we are new to one another, we still have so kinks to work out in how he will manage me and our communication, etc.

We didn't even talk about my thyroid, although I did have some questions about that because things went south pretty quickly after I told him that I had a few questions about labor and delivery since I was new to this hospital and practice with baby #3.

I began with the simple question first (now remember, this is the FIRST time I've gotten to ask questions of this practice, my first visit lasted 2 hours and was all THEM talking at me really- maybe this should have caught my attention).... do you only deliver at "Hospital X"? I asked because "Hospital Y" is 2 minutes from my home and a smaller hospital that I do not think has a NICU, but Hospital X is a good 30 minutes from my home. The doctor smiled, laughed and said, yes, only Hospital X.

Ok, now what sort of expectations do you have about diabetic births, I asked. Doctor responded: "we induce between 38 and 39 weeks, But given your history of the tear with your first baby, I don't think you need to be delivering a baby that is larger than 8lbs, so we will take that into consideration, also, a scheduled c-section may be the best option."

I think I wanted to scream at him, but despite my usual lack of calm in these situations, I was able to remain very calm and ask him my questions that followed that absurd statement. "Now, I've had 2 vaginal births, one without any interventions, why do think I should have a c-section. And also, I'm not willing to induce before 40 weeks unless there is some good indication."

Doctor didn't say anything. So I continued, "ok, lets say I'm in labor and the physician on call orders my water to be broken or pitocin, and I decline what would happen in a situation like this?"

Doctor says " I think you need to find a practice where they will let you call the shots, this is not a practice like that, and it sounds like you can't trust us."

I back peddle...." I didn't say I needed to call the shots, but I am the one having the baby, right?"

Doc says something along the lines of we will deal with this later and says he will see me in 4 weeks and quickly leaves the room.

I was stunned and angry now, I made my way through check out quickly before the tears started... stupid pregnancy tears, they just come whenever they want, it's like there's no way NOT to cry when you're pregnant. :) I called the hubs and relayed the story, he was so kind and encouraging. He said we would find another doctor, not to worry, I of course can't NOT worry because this is "the" practice that everyone in town goes to and expects me to go to, especially my mother in law, super.

I came home and immediately called the Midwifery practice to see who they would recommend. The gave me the number to their overseeing physician who also has a new partner, I haven't heard back from them yet, but they are my best hope at this point.

It seems after making some more calls to local OB offices that "in town transfers" are not accepted per many offices policy. Grrr. So, I'm praying I'm not stuck, although, worried that I may be.

I promise to write about bloodsugars this pregnancy soon, baby is nudging me right now!!! YAY :) that can always make you smile when things seem crazy. Praying that the Lord lead me to the right Doctor soon! jenn

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

This year, I am grateful for my own health and that of my children. I will be celebrating with my gigantic extended family (40 people...and those are only the local relatives!). I will be making stuffed mushrooms for the first time. I will probably try to avoid watching football, but may get sucked in anyway. I will try to put a larger portion turkey on my plate and a smaller helping of mashed potatoes. I will remember that everything that I have is from God, and holidays are no excuse to stop playing by the rules (particularly the ones about temperance. You know, the ones that tell you it really is unreasonable to have three slices of pie). I will do my best to teach my children about gratitude and to keep them from a love of material possessions, and maybe we'll all sing a song of thanks to our gracious Lord.

Thanks be to God!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Contributor: Blood Sugar Management During Labor

Thanks again to Amy for sharing her stories with us over the last week!

One of our regular visitors commented that Amy's birth stories didn't include a lot of information about blood sugar management during delivery. In response, Amy had the following thoughts to share about her blood sugars during labor and birth.


I did want to say something about the comment that these don't seem like natural birth stories from a woman with type 1 diabetes just because I didn't mention my blood sugar in them. Beth was right in saying that when I wrote these it was just for friends and family and they either wouldn't care about what my blood sugar was and/or wouldn't even know what the numbers meant :) Also, my labors have all been extremely fast and there just wasn't time to check my blood sugar multiple times. Of course I don't think it is unimportant, but I honestly just don't have the time to do it. Plus, as Beth mentioned, for type 1's with good blood sugar control our births don't really look much different than "normal" anyway.

Thinking back to when I did check my blood sugar while in labor:

With #1 I know I checked once during labor at home (probably actually around 9-10 or so because I had eaten dinner and wanted to get an after meal check), it was around 100. I checked again before we left for the hospital and it was 86. I did not check any more after that since I arrived at the hospital fully dilated and my son was born about 45 minutes after we arrived.

With #2 I woke up and my water broke at 6am, I took a shower, finished packing my hospital bag and we were out the door by 6:35am. I checked my blood sugar before leaving and it was in the 150's, I didn't do anything about it because I was afraid of dropping too low if labor happened to bring it down low as well. We arrived at the hospital a little after 7am, put in a room around 7:10/7:15, and he was born at 7:25. There was simply no time to check my blood sugar again.

With #3 I remember checking it once while we were sitting around in triage (when I "wasn't really in labor") and it was in the 80's. Once I was actually in active labor- for a whole 27 minutes- there wasn't time to check my blood sugar, I was just concerned with pushing my baby out. Besides, I'm not exactly sure what the recommendation is for how often to check your blood sugar during labor, but even if it were hourly or every 30 minutes I wasn't even in labor for that long.

I always resume checking my blood sugar soon after the birth and it is always climbing in the 200's. I don't really know how to prevent that, it is difficult to maintain good control when there are so many hormones going crazy at the same time.

All that to say, YES these are natural birth stories of a type 1 diabetic! But I don't think my labors would be a very good example of what your blood sugar does during labor and how to manage it because I have extremely fast labors and there simply isn't time to track my blood sugar every hour throughout labor or to see what it is doing during different stages of labor (like early labor, hard labor, transition, pushing). All my stages of labor pretty much happen all at once. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guest Contributor: My Third Son's Birth

Over the next week, we welcome some posts from a guest contributor. Amy contacted me a few weeks ago to share her birth stories. She has Type I diabetes and three sons, all born vaginally and with minimal intervention. Her stories have been a real encouragement to us, and we hope you enjoy reading about her journey!

First of all, when we found out that we were expecting a baby at the end of March we always joked about the baby being born on my husband's birthday, April 2nd. Sharing birthdays is kind of a trademark of my family. I share a birthday with my dad and my brother. But we didn’t actually think that would happen! I was pretty sure he would be a March baby. According to my due dates my first son was born at 39 weeks 5 days and my second son was born at 37 weeks 6 days. I didn’t imagine that I would go past my due date this time.

What I did expect was to have several episodes of contractions before the actual birth, and my third son certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard. With my first son, I experienced four different episodes of contractions on different days within the two weeks leading up to his birth. With my second, I had 10 consecutive days of contractions, several hours every night. They are not Braxton-Hicks, mind you. They are regular, timeable, painful contractions of varying intensities. I’ve just resigned myself to the reality that this is how I labor.

On Sunday March 20th I had a few hours of contractions in the evening after the boys had gone to bed. Nothing really alarming about that, as I assumed I would have several days or even weeks of these, but it was exciting because I knew we were getting closer to the birth! From Monday through Wednesday of that week I had sporadic contractions.

On Thursday the 24th things changed. I thought something might be happening because these contractions lasted all throughout the day, about 10 minutes apart, and they were intense. I needed to focus on breathing through them and even get down on my hands and knees sometimes. I didn’t want my husband to go back to work, because I wanted him to stay with me. I needed him for support and I didn’t want him to have to drive back home from work if I truly was in labor. He was only be a few minutes away, but if you’ve never experienced a fast labor you have no idea how insane they can be. Sometimes you don’t even have a few minutes to spare.

Of course he did go back to work, my contractions continued, and I called our doula later that evening to see what she thought. I’m used to having bouts of contractions before the actual birth day, but I’ve never had them all throughout the day like this, so I thought perhaps this would turn into the real thing very soon. Amanda suggested that I take a shower and then lay down for about an hour, timing the contractions and noting any changes. Taking a shower would hopefully relax me enough to get everything going if it was for real, or to calm the contractions if it wasn’t. After my shower the contractions didn’t exactly go away, but they didn’t get closer together or more intense. When my husband got home we went to bed.

The next morning everything started up again. Contractions 10 minutes apart pretty much all day long, sometimes longer depending on what I was doing. This lasted for the next week. I will admit that I was miserable. My husband will admit that too, because he was home with me on vacation all week! I spent a lot of time emailing/texting/calling Amanda. We decided not to go to church on Sunday the 27th, partly because I felt terrible and partly because I didn’t want to kick into active labor while I was an hour away from my planned place of birth.

Late Monday night (March 28th), I felt like something was different. My contractions were different, sometimes they were closer together or sometimes very intense. I did not want to go to the hospital if it wasn’t the real thing, but we thought that we might as well go in and see what would happen. We called Amanda and met up at the hospital. I hadn’t had any exams up until this point. I always decline them late in pregnancy because honestly there really is no point to them and they can introduce bacteria to the area. The exam found that I was 4cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the baby was -2. That wasn't bad, but it didn’t mean I was in labor either.

I was on the monitors for a little while and then I was free to walk the halls or do whatever I wanted. We walked around the halls for awhile, contractions were sometimes every few minutes, sometimes much farther apart. My husband and Amanda helped me through every contraction and we all just enjoyed one another's company. I was in some pain and decided to take a shower to get relaxed and relieve some of my aches and pains. It had been a few hours after I got out of the shower so Laura came in to check me again and nothing had changed. It was a huge letdown. Reluctantly we packed up and headed home. It was really early on Tuesday morning and I didn’t sleep at all the rest of the night because my contractions and general discomfort kept me awake.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I had the same contractions and pain. I did decide to go to the chiropractor twice. I thought that the baby might be a funky position, still head down but maybe positioned in a strange way. My regular chiropractor’s sister is also a chiropractor who is trained in the Webster technique (most often used to turn breech babies), so I went to her and had a few adjustments.

These 10 days wore me down and caused a lot of anxiety within me about how we would know when to go to the hospital or if we would even make it. I had also had a feeling all along that this baby was of a similar build to my second son, who weighed a large 8lbs. 14oz. at just shy of 38 weeks. Now I was 40 weeks, so this baby could be a pound or more heavier than that. That was making me nervous too. Even though I know of plenty of women who have given birth to larger babies vaginally with no problems (in fact, my second son's birth was easy), I sometimes still let the whole “big baby” scare tactics get to me. I know that fear and anxiety can inhibit labor so I tried to let go of the fears I had and also prayed for God to take them away and replace my thoughts with truth and peace. I’ll be honest, that didn’t really ever happen, because I was holding on too tight.

My due date, March 31, came and went. I was proud of myself for successfully avoiding an induction and standing up for myself to a doctor I barely knew. Most doctors would recommend induction at 38 weeks, but I made it clear that we would NOT agree to an induction unless there was something wrong with the baby or myself. Fortunately, there wasn't.

By now it was April - April Fool’s Day to be exact. The day started out like every day had throughout the past week. Contractions were 10 minutes apart for the most part. I sat around being a bum, complaining about my circumstances, while my husband pretty much ran the house and gracefully dealt with me :) In the afternoon my contractions started to get a little closer together, about 6-8 minutes apart. They still felt the same but we thought that we should really keep an eye on them. Later on in the evening they were about 4-5 minutes apart and I started to wonder if this could be it. Maybe I was actually going to have a more normal labor this time and this was my early labor!

I still wasn’t sure if we should go to the hospital or not, and after what happened earlier in the week I did not want to go back to the hospital unless I was REALLY sure. I wasn't convinced yet. But the thought didn’t leave my mind all day. Looking back I think it was God prompting me to go in to the hospital even though it seemed different than my other births. He knew we would actually need to be at the hospital right when active labor kicked in if we had any hope of actually birthing the baby there!

About 9:45pm we decided that we should go to the hospital. We called my husband’s dad to come over and stay at our house, and we called Amanda to meet us at the hospital. I was having consistent, intense contractions but it still felt strange to be driving to the hospital when I could still think straight and things really didn’t feel *that* bad. My husband called my mom to let her know that we thought this might be the real thing, and she began to six hour drive to meet us. He also called Amelia to ask her to pray for me. We called our doctor as well, but he was out of town as we thought he would be. He had told us to call anyway. I liked the doctor on call more than any of the other doctors in the practice, aside from my own, so I felt alright with our doctor being out of town.

We arrived at the hospital around 10:30pm, and Amanda was there waiting for us. We entered through the ER and then we escorted up to L&D. I can’t even explain how strange this all felt to me compared to my other births. This was downright weird! No urge to push, and no "can't-think-straight" or "can't-do-this-anymore" feeling at the hospital entrance. And I was a little excited, thinking that I would have at least progressed a little bit from earlier in the week and would truly be in labor this time.

The nurse examined me and found me to be exactly the same as earlier in the week. How could that even be possible?! I was so discouraged. I felt like maybe we had made the wrong decision about when to come in. As we all sat around in the room while I was on the monitors I expressed my discouragement and fears to my husband and Amanda. I was in so much pain, I was afraid we would be sent back home, and I didn’t think I could take this any longer. At one point I said, “I am in so much pain. You have to tell me I can do this!” I needed support and encouragement from my husband and Amanda and of course they did not disappoint. I can’t tell you how much it meant to even just have their encouraging words. Of course they did so much more as well. I can’t imagine birthing without them. I didn’t even know what to do, I was pretty distraught at this point.

We decided to walk the halls in hopes that my labor would progress. Sometime before midnight we started walking. I remember walking past the clock right at 12am and telling my husband, “Happy Birthday!" Maybe the baby and his father would share a birthday after all. I was still having contractions of course, every few minutes. They were bad and whenever one hit we stopped and I leaned against the wall. I swayed either side to side or back and forth while Amanda squeezed my hips together or put pressure on my back or whatever it is that she does that is seriously amazing.

[If you’ve read through all my birth stories and still haven’t considered finding a doula for your next birth (or recommending it to others), what are you waiting for?! A doula’s support is absolutely invaluable no matter what kind of birth you are planning.]

At 12:37am we went back to our room. I went to the bathroom and then sat in a chair and leaned over the bed during contractions. I was still struggling with the pain and my fears. Sometime around 1am the nurse came back to check me again. I tried to be optimistic, and hoped that I had progressed and we could all consider me "in labor." Thinking back on this, I realize how silly it was for me to be waiting for the nurse to declare that I was in labor based on a vaginal exam! I WAS in labor, whether a vaginal exam proved that or not, according to all other emotional and physical indicators. After the exam Laura said I was still (still….STILL!!) at 4cm, and everything was the same.

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

OK, I didn’t really scream, but probably just because I was so despondent at this point. I was so overwhelmed. I had already been at the hospital longer than I had been first and second births combined, I was having contractions every few minutes, I was in pain, and I was confused at what was going on.

Having been our nurse earlier in the week, Laura knew my birth history and knew that we were a little nervous to go home in case we wouldn’t have enough time to get back. She told us that she could feel my bag of waters and thought that if my water broke then things would probably start progressing pretty quickly. She said we could stay at the hospital a few more hours if we wanted to. Maybe my water would break in that time, or things would otherwise progress, and we could talk to the doctor in the morning to see what she thought.

Laura left the room and we just sat around. I was so disappointed and confused about what to do. No one was pressuring us to do anything, so that was good. I just felt like I couldn’t take it any longer. I think one reason that I was in so much pain and feeling so terribly was because I was only thinking about my labor based on how far dilated I was. The mind/body connection is very strong, and what you think about something or how you perceive it can affect your pain level and how you feel physically.

With my first son, I never had any exam until I arrived at the hospital and I was fully dilated. With my second, because of the pre-term labor incident, I knew that I was at least 5cm dilated throughout the last four weeks of my pregnancy. When I got to the hospital I’m not even sure that they had to check to see how far dilated I was. They just looked and saw that he was coming! So I didn’t have any point of reference to think, “I’m 4cm right now, but that means that soon my labor will be over because I usually progress quickly from here” or anything like that. I thought, if I can’t even handle myself at 4cm then I’m certainly not going to be able to do this once I start progressing. I thought I had hours ahead of me - hours of much more intense contractions and pain. And those thoughts I had affected the way I felt things physically. As with my labor with my first , I should have paid more attention to my emotional sign posts. If I feel like I just can’t do it anymore then I am VERY close to the end no matter what anyone else is telling me or how far dilated I am! If I can’t even think straight, I am VERY close to the end. If I had realized those things then I think I would have handled everything better.

By then it was around 1:15am. We were sitting around discussing things and probably all praying that something would happen. I was lying in bed on my side because lying on my back was extremely uncomfortable during contractions.

At 1:20am, I had a contraction that was way different than the others. I was clenching the handrail of the bed, I couldn’t even get my thoughts together enough to remember to relax, and I weakly told them that I thought that contraction was different.

A few minutes later, BAM! another one and now I am quite sure that something has changed! I started crying and they encouraged me to get out of bed in order to handle everything better. Someone pushed the call button for the nurse. I tried to move over to the chair and sit down but then said that I did NOT want to sit down. Instead I just leaned onto the bed while standing. The nurse was not responding to the call button but I did not want either my husband or Amanda to go get her because I needed them with me.

I tried to relax and sway during contractions while Amanda applied pressure to my back and my husband was right there next to me. I felt like I couldn’t do it (and that thought completely freaked me out since I was only 4cm dilated), but my husband kept telling me that I was doing great. With the few contractions I had while leaning on the bed I felt just the slightest urge to push at the peak of them, which also freaked me out because I was only 4cm and thought that couldn’t possibly be right. So I didn’t say anything about that at the time. I reluctantly let my husband run to get the nurse while Amanda stayed with me.

Laura came in around 1:35am and didn’t hesitate to examine me while I was standing up. I told her there was no way I was getting back into the bed, and some nurses won’t do that, but Laura was great! She said I was 5-6cm with a bulging bag of waters. On the one hand that was good since it meant that things were progressing (not that we didn’t realize that already), but on the other hand I thought, “5-6cm, you have got to be kidding me. I really cannot do this for much longer, let alone HOURS." I was still mistakenly thinking that I had hours to go based on the faulty idea that all women dilate 1cm per hour. At some point I think I tried to breathlessly say between the contractions that I felt like I needed to push. We quickly got ready to move to a birthing room and Laura went to call the doctor.

We moved to the birthing room around 1:40am. The bed was still raised pretty high and I begged them to lower it as quickly as possible because I knew I needed to get up onto that bed immediately. Another contraction would be coming soon and I needed something to lean on. I climbed up onto the bed and knelt down leaning myself up against the head of the bed, which was raised.

I was moaning and saying I needed to push, but of course the nurses did not want me pushing until the doctor arrived. Everyone tried to encourage me to breathe lightly through my contractions but there is just no way to do that when your body is pushing the baby out anyway. Amanda calmly told me to just do my best and that I was doing a good job. They asked me if I wanted antibiotics (I was GBS+ this time) and I declined. I had planned to decline anyway, and I knew they wouldn’t have had time to get them in me even if I had wanted them! They asked me if they could put in an IV and I said no. Hello! Can you not see that I am about to push a baby out here? There is no time for that! I told them that I could not hold back from pushing, whether they were prepared or not.

I pushed a few times? I’m not exactly sure how long it lasted, but it couldn’t have been long since he was born seven minutes after we got to the birthing room. At 1:47am our son was born. The nurses caught him and his waters broke as he came out. Since his waters broke when his head came out, it took me a second to realize that his head was actually out. I thought it might have just been the waters breaking. His body did not come out right away on the same contraction as his head did, most likely due to the fact that one of his arms had come out with his head. The nurses were very concerned about that and wanted me to turn over so that they could “help” get him out. I did not want to turn over onto my back, but when I heard them say he was “stuck,” I immediately thought they meant his shoulders were stuck (which is a very serious situation!) so I turned over. His shoulders were not stuck and I think the rest of his body would have come without their help within the next contraction or two, but they were not willing to wait and I wasn’t in the right mind to be able to argue with them. We talked with my doctor about this later, and he agreed that the shoulders were not stuck.

My baby was handed to me and I held him on my chest. I was relieved that he was here, yet stunned after what I had just been through. It’s hard to explain, but I felt like something happened *to* me as opposed to me being an active participant in my labor and birth. It was terrifying! Not because of the pain, but because of the quickness and my own mental state at that point. I was paying too close attention to my dilation as opposed to other labor markers. I immediately thought, “I am NEVER doing this again, that was ridiculous!” I seriously felt like I was in shock, it was so incredibly crazy.

But now that I am three months out from the birth I think the emotions I had at the time have died down a bit. I think it’s true when people say that you don’t remember the pain after it is all said and done. Besides, it is up to God whether we have more children anyway. Most likely we will, and I will be glad to go through it all again if that is the case (although I certainly won't complain if my next labor happens to be just a little bit more “normal”).

My husband and I both thought that he looked exactly like our second son, and in fact for the first week of his life I think I called him by our second son's name more often than not! When he was first born he was bluish, but nothing to be very concerned about as he pinked up quickly while I held him. After a few minutes he started turning blue again so they decided to cut the umbilical cord. It was much sooner than we wanted it to be cut. They took him over to the warmer, where my husband tells me that he pinked back up right away.

Soon after this the nurses weighed him. We all discussed how much we thought he weighed and we all (even the nurses) guessed somewhere around 8 ½ pounds from just looking at him. Then one of the nurses picked him up to carry him to the scale and she said she thought he must weigh more because he felt heavy. We were shocked when he weighed 9lbs. 11.6oz! I knew he was going to have our second son's build :) I was glad that I chose to decline the growth ultrasounds in my third trimester because if they had thought that he would be larger than normal I am sure it could have been used as another “reason” that I needed to be induced. But it’s amazing what our bodies are capable of when we let them do what God designed them to do, unhindered by unnecessary interventions and negative (and untrue) thoughts such as “this baby is going to be too big to deliver." His birth was not difficult at all and recovery was easy (aside from the afterbirth pains - those are seriously killer!).

My son began nursing and the doctor arrived around 2:10am. The doctor was there for the delivery of the placenta and to put in some stitches. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, or how big or small the baby is, I always tear.

So we’re now 2 for 3 on the nurses catching our babies. Although I do hope that our doctor will actually be there next time! Our first son’s birth was the only one he was there for and it was the least hectic. The baby's blood sugar was checked at 2:45am and it was 67, which is just right for a newborn! Around 3:45am Amanda left and we got ready to move to our postpartum room.

So, was my third birth as quick as my others? Well it all depends on how long you consider me to have been in labor:

Do I count from when I started having regular contractions? Then that would be over a week.
Do I count from when my contractions seemed to be getting closer together? Then that would be around 12 hours, even though I didn’t progress dilation wise for 11 ½ hours of that.
Do I count from when I went into active labor? Then that would be 27 minutes.

So I just say it was long and short.

April 2nd will always be a special day in our home and I’m expecting a great gift on my next birthday since I've set the bar pretty high.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Contributor: Baby's Low Blood Sugar

Over the next week, we welcome some posts from a guest contributor. Amy contacted me a few weeks ago to share her birth stories. She has Type I diabetes and three sons, all born vaginally and with minimal intervention. Her stories have been a real encouragement to us, and we hope you enjoy reading about her journey!

About one hour after my second son was born (you can read his birth story here), his blood sugar was checked and it was 22, which is quite low. It should be above 40 to be considered normal for infants. I had been nursing him off and on, but when it was checked again it was down to 16. His body temperature was also not registering on the thermometer. It was quite low as well. We tried lots of skin-to-skin contact and covering ourselves with warm blankets. We hoped to bring his temperature up just by doing that, but we also needed to give him something for his blood sugar.

The nurse offered for us to use either sugar water or formula, and we chose the sugar water. We really did not want him having any formula at all. Then she said he really needed to have the formula since the sugar water would not keep his blood sugar up. This situation started to become really frustrating. We had not adequately prepared ourselves for something like this. It was frustrating to have choices offered to us that suddenly became unavailable after we chose them.

Amanda suggested that we give him formula through a dropper instead of a bottle since we didn't want him to have any nipple confusion. I am so glad she was still there because I would not have thought of that in the moment! For a little while we tried to give him the formula through a dropper while I was holding him. He was not taking it very well. We were told that if his blood sugar did not go up after having the formula, he would have to be have an IV put in. We wanted to avoid that, so I am sure we were all quietly praying that his blood sugar would go up.

We started giving the formula a little before 10am. Eventually my husband and Amanda took our baby over to the warmer and helped him take in more formula over there. He had about one ounce by 10:34am. At 10:37am his blood sugar was rechecked and it was 34. We all breathed a sigh of relief and thought it was great to see that his blood sugar was on the way up!

Even though his blood sugar was going up (which was the only requirement we thought there was) we were told he still needed to have an IV. What?! Why did they even offer the formula? My husband went with our baby to the nursery and Amanda stayed with me. I was talking with her about how upsetting this all was to me and how I didn't understand why he still needed an IV since his blood sugar was obviously going up. I knew it would most likely continue to go up since it was checked right after he finished the one ounce of formula . Your blood sugar does not even peak until 1-2 hours after eating. She thought maybe we could call my husband and have him ask the doctor if they could check his blood sugar once more before inserting the IV to see if it had gone up anymore. Perhaps he wouldn't need an IV after all.

I called my husband, but the doctor said it didn't matter if his blood sugar had gone up since we last checked it. He would be getting the IV no matter what. It was really frustrating to me because if he was going to need an IV anyway, then why didn't they just tell us that in the first place? It would have made it a lot easier to accept and I probably would have asked to just skip over giving him the formula (which I never wanted to give in the first place) since an IV would bring his blood sugar up anyway. I started to get all emotional. First, my son had been born into a room of people who were all shouting and frantic (I would have liked a more peaceful birth), he had already been poked several times for blood sugar checks and had blood drawn once (to check his blood sugar in a different way), and now was having an IV inserted into his tiny little body. It was too much to think about at the time. I am sure my hormones were all whacky from just giving birth anyway. I know that many other parents have had to deal with situations much more serious with their little babies, so it might sound silly to get all worked up over this, but it's just what I felt at the time. It didn't help that one of the nurses said, “he could die from this!” as if I didn't care about the life of my baby just because I was asking questions about what was happening.

A nurse or nurse's aide came back into my room and asked if I was ready to get up, use the bathroom, and then go to the nursery to be with my son. I told her no. I was still trying to process everything. A little while later I told Amanda I was finally ready for those things. One of the best things about our hospital is that because it is small, they let us stay in the nursery the entire time our baby was in there. I held him and nursed him and we all touched him and talked to him. He didn't have to lie there by himself without his family around. Amanda stayed with us for a while, and at some point we went to my postpartum room so that I could eat breakfast.

I know I've said it before, but I am so glad that we had Amanda to be our doula and that she stayed there with us for several hours after our baby was born. We never had to decide if my husband should stay with the baby or go with me because Amanda was there to stay with me. She provided support and a listening ear and advice when it was hard for us to think straight. I highly recommend having a doula for your birth, because I know we would have been a lot more stressed out had she not been there.

Our son's blood sugar was stabilized but his temperature was still so low that he had to stay in the nursery for several hours. He was there until the mid-afternoon. Eventually my husband's mom came to stay with us and Amanda went home. Once our son's temperature was stabilized, we all went to our postpartum room and the baby was allowed to room-in with us the entire time. That was a real blessing since he still had his IV in and I am sure some hospitals would want an infant with an IV to stay in the nursery.

My husband didn't seem to want to hold our son very much during his first day and I wondered what was wrong. He told me later that he was nervous because of the IV and didn't want to mess anything up. But from that afternoon on everything was just fine, our son's IV was removed the next morning, and we were even able to go home that night.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guest Contributor: My Second Son's Birth

Over the next week, we welcome some posts from a guest contributor. Amy contacted me a few weeks ago to share her birth stories. She has Type I diabetes and three sons, all born vaginally and with minimal intervention. Her stories have been a real encouragement to us, and we hope you enjoy reading about her journey!

This birth story really begins with my "premature labor" and hospital stay. I came home on October 9th, at 35 1/2 weeks.

On the evening of October 14th, I had a few hours of contractions, but of course they didn't go anywhere. My mom and brother came to town for my son's birthday party and the night of October 15th, I remember telling my mom before she went to bed that she shouldn't be surprised if we left for the hospital in the middle of the night to have the baby. I wondered every night if this was “it,” but they always stopped and didn't seem to follow a consistent pattern when they were happening. If my husband was at home I wanted him to be with me during the contractions. I don't even remember what I did for the nights he was at work. I have contraction timings scrawled down on the bottom of my daily planning notebook so I guess I must have kept myself occupied doing that! I was beginning to wonder when this baby would arrive and what kind of cervical changes these contractions were causing. We began to pray that God would give us a definite sign when I was in “real” labor so that we would be able to make it to the hospital on time. The hospital we use is 30 minutes away, so I was concerned that we would not be able to make it there.

This continued almost every single night up until October 24th. I don't know what exactly to consider these contractions. I don't think they were Braxton-Hicks, because they were not painless. They were real and painful. I figured that the same thing was going to happen as it did with my first son: several nights of contractions followed by a quick labor and birth. The nurses at the hospital told me to rush to the hospital the moment my contractions started back up again. They expected the baby would be born any minute. In light of the end of this story, that's pretty ironic! Apparently that's just not how my body works.

It didn't take long for me to get really fed up with these nightly contractions. I told our doctor at my 37 week appointment that I did not want to be induced, but I didn't know how much longer I could handle this. On top of all the contractions, I felt horrible and got exhausted easily. I had no energy, probably at least in part due to sitting around the hospital for so long and not engaging in my normal activity levels. I had also decided that the baby had to be really long because I could not get comfortable AT ALL. He was either up in my rib cage or pressing on my pelvic bones or really doing both at the same time and I felt like I couldn't even sit down. On October 22nd I went in for a non stress test. Thankfully, our doctor was on call that night and told the nurse to send me home even though I was having contractions during the test. When I was on my way out of the hospital I stopped to chat with the lady at the front desk and she asked when I was due. I told her I was due in about 2 weeks and she said, “it looks like the baby hasn't even dropped yet." Gee, thanks, actually the baby HAS dropped already, and now I know that my perceived hugeness is not just a figment of my imagination.

On October 24th my son and I ran to the grocery store to pick up a few things and I immediately regretted it. It took every ounce of strength I had to walk around the store. After I put my son to bed my contractions started up again and I felt like I could really not deal with this for much longer. I felt horrible and it was hard to deal with the contractions. My husband was at work. I thought about emailing or calling Amanda to ask her to pray for my stamina, but I didn't even have the strength to do that. When my husband got home I took a warm bath, my contractions let up, and I was finally able to get comfortable enough to fall asleep around 2am.

The next morning I woke up a few minutes after 6am to use the bathroom and while I was walking to the bathroom my water broke. It wasn't a lot, since the baby was so well engaged already, so I was unsure. Once I decided that this really was my water breaking, I called out to my husband from the bathroom and he immediately called his parents to come over and watch our son. I also called my mom to let her know what was going on.

I called Amanda to discuss our options. I was not having any contractions yet. We had planned a few weeks ago for Amanda to just meet us at the hospital this time, as opposed to our house, but I didn't really want to go in yet since nothing else was happening. I know it sounds funny with how fast things usually go for me in the end, but I am always nervous about getting to the hospital too soon. I do not want to be there any longer than I have to. I would prefer to arrive already well-advanced and in hard labor. She told me that my contractions would probably start once I was able to relax and I did want to take a shower before going in.

I decided to call my doctor to see what he thought. When I told him that my water broke he said, “Great! Now I have something to look forward to today!” Have I mentioned how much I really like my doctor and how grateful I am that we found him?! He said that medically and legally he had to tell me to come in right away, but really I could do whatever I wanted to. He also mentioned that he was actually on call that day so we would not need to call him when we decided to go.

When I got off the phone with the doctor, my husband and I discussed what we should do. He really wanted to get on our way to the hospital even if I wasn't having contractions yet since once they started it would probably all happen pretty fast. But I did convince him to let me take a shower first. So I showered and he put some last minute things into our hospital bag. We also got our son up since we heard him moving around even though it was earlier than than his normal waking time. Because of a hospital policy that had just been put into place a few days before (something about swine flu), he would not be able to come visit us at the hospital so it was nice to see him before we left.

At 6:25, my husband called Amanda again to let her know we were leaving soon for the hospital. By this time my contractions had started and we were loading up the car. I briefly considered grabbing something to eat but I started to feel sick so decided against it. The first few contractions were probably a couple of minutes apart, but they were quite intense and I could barely talk or walk or think through them. We got into the car and left for the hospital. This time we had two car seats in the back, so I had to sit in the front seat.

A few minutes after we left our house (6:38) I called a friend from church to let her know that I was in labor and to ask for prayer from her and the other ladies at our church. I had to hang up with her suddenly because I felt a contraction coming on. The rest of the ride to the hospital was absolutely horrible! My contractions were very close together, I'm guessing probably 2 minutes apart and lasting for around 90 seconds so I felt like I hardly had any break in between them. It is so hard when your labor starts and you are suddenly in transition! I can't think clearly, I can't relax...I don't even know how to describe it. Looking back on a short labor I can think, “wasn't it nice to have a short labor?”, but in the midst of it, it's terrifying. A short labor doesn't mean it was easy or less painful, it just means it was short.

Anyway, we're on our way to the hospital and I am wishing to be basically anywhere other than buckled into a car. I had been planning on having a natural birth anyway, but just sitting there in a car is certainly not the ideal place to be dealing with contractions. I wanted to move and try different positions to see what was most comfortable, but I couldn't. I knew that I was in transition at this point. I kept telling my husband that I could not do this, it was so painful and I was scared. He is always so very calm and just kept reassuring me that I could do it – that I WAS doing it. I really don't know anyone else who could be so calm and encouraging when in this same situation, and he's dealt with it twice! I asked him to turn the radio on at some point, thinking that might help me to focus on something else. But I think I mostly just kept asking him to drive faster.

We made it to the hospital a little after 7am and had to use the ER entrance. A contraction started right when we walked in the door so I dropped to the floor on all fours to attempt to deal with it and my husband went to get a wheelchair. A woman arrived with the wheelchair and then proceeded to give me the slowest ride EVER up to the 4th floor. I’m guessing that she just didn’t want to jostle me around too much, but I was about ready to jump out of the wheelchair in between contractions and run up to labor and delivery myself! It was really ridiculous. Even my husband thought so. It was so difficult to just sit still and by this time I was feeling a lot of pressure and knew that I was probably fully dilated or somewhere close.

When we got up to labor and delivery a nurse was getting a bed ready for me in the room where they take women to monitor them and determine if they are really in labor. I figured they probably didn't want a baby to actually be born in there so I said something to the effect of “No, I need to be in a real labor room, I am really in labor. My water broke, and I think the baby is coming soon." The one nurse flashed a questioning look to the other nurse who was there and they reluctantly took us to a birthing room. I climbed up into the bed, which was upright, and was on my knees, basically kneeling, and started to undress. I was SO relieved to not have to be sitting down.

The nurses were slowly getting things ready, trying to register me in the system, trying to monitor the baby’s heart rate, and so forth. This was about 7:10/7:15ish. I definitely needed to push now and I kept saying that, but the nurses just told me not to. I don't believe they had called our doctor yet and they had not checked to see how far dilated I was. I was getting really nervous because I could not hold back from pushing. Finally a nurse decided to check me.

I wish someone had recorded the mad scramble that ensued when she found that I was fully dilated. An ER doctor was called up, the nurses continued to tell me to stop pushing and I continued to tell them that I COULD NOT stop. I managed to hold back for maybe one contraction but I just had to push, so I did. Well it didn’t take them long to realize that I was not going to be able to stop pushing so then they began to try and get me to assume the “normal” pushing position of laying down with your feet in stirrups. I did not want to do that because 1) I knew how uncomfortable I would be, 2) even though this position is very commonly used in hospital, it is pretty much the worst position to birth a baby in (you're not even working with gravity!), and 3) being upright is a much better position since it would allow my body to open up even more to let the baby pass through. My husband argued with them for a minute or two, all in vain. I wish Amanda or our doctor (or really BOTH of them!) had been there. I know my doctor would have been fine with me pushing in any position I felt comfortable in.

But the nurses were extremely insistent and were practically yelling about it and saying “what if the baby gets stuck," which is a ridiculous thing to even say since there wasn't any indication that the baby was at risk for getting “stuck." Besides, being in an upright position actually opens up your pelvis MORE than if you are just laying there, which means that would actually allow more room for a baby to come through, lowering the chances of the baby getting stuck...but I digress. I finally had enough of people yelling at me about when to push/not to push/what position to get into that I just told my husband: “It's ok, I'll just do what they're asking. Everyone is acting like they don't know what they're doing and that's making me really nervous." I regret giving in and wish I had continued how I was.

In the midst of turning myself around another contraction began and I pushed the baby's head out before I could even get into their preferred position. I felt so relieved after his head was out that I wasn't even thinking about how I needed to push the rest of him out as well- cue the shouting from the nurses to PUSH!- but a few more pushes and out he came. I asked what time it was because I was pretty sure that no one was paying attention to that. The birth certificate does have the wrong time of birth on it. It was 7:25am. Since of course no one had any time to read our birth plan, I might have been a little snappy when asking them to please NOT clamp and cut the cord and to just let it go until it stopped pulsing.

We had already chosen a name for this guy, or rather, we felt that God had given us a name for him. He was handed to me right away, we covered up with lots of blankets, and I tried to nurse him. I was surprised that he had dark hair since I assumed he would look more like our first son did, with the red hair and dark blue eyes. His whole face was purple and bruised from coming out so quickly! Our doctor arrived a few minutes later, and at 7:32 my husband called Amanda to tell her that our son had been born. She was only just walking into labor and delivery area! A little while after that I pushed out the placenta and was inspected for any tearing. I only had some superficial tearing this time, which I attribute, at least in part, to the fact that I was trying to turn over when he came out. It was MUCH easier to recover from than the tear I had with my first, and I only needed a few stitches.

I had been holding our newborn son all this time and at that point I still figured that he would weigh less than my first son did, since he was born at 38 weeks and our first son was born a few days before his due date. I about fell off the bed when he was taken to be weighed and measured and he was 8 pounds 14 ounces and 22 inches long! He was actually quite proportional. You can tell he's just meant to be a big boy. His weight and length have always been off the charts. But I really could not believe it. Our doctor joked, “I guess we didn't have to worry about growth restriction with this guy!”

Our second son certainly has an interesting story and we want to thank everyone again who prayed for us and helped us in any way during our rough time with me in the hospital and throughout my entire pregnancy. Just like with our first, we saw God working in many ways and answering the many prayers that were prayed by us and you for our entire family.