Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Week 16: Life Within!

This week marks the first time I felt the baby move this pregnancy. What a relief! I have recently heard two stories of women who miscarried late - at 15 weeks - and was sincerely hoping that my child hadn't passed from life to death inside my womb and was waiting to also pass out of my body. In my first three pregnancies, I felt movement absurdly early: 9 weeks with my first, 10 or 11 with my second, and 10 with my third. So this was normal given the pattern of most pregnancies, but atypical for me. The midwife at my doctor's office suggested that it might reflect a different placement of the placenta (anterior instead of posterior).

I also went on retreat with the Sisters of Life this week. Their work is to promote the sanctity of human life through prayer, but they also run a few mission houses where they serve women with crisis pregnancies and women who have had abortions. Women may come and stay with them during their pregnancies, up to a few months after the baby is born. It's a beautiful work, and you should check it out!

In any case, a lot of mostly hidden anxiety came out about this pregnancy while I was reflecting on my life. There's something about silence during a retreat that really helps to focus your attention on the fears within your heart. That certainly happened for me this week, and my greatest fears these days seem to be about my blood sugars (especially the low ones).

I should probably preface this by mentioning that earlier this week, a few days after Christmas, my blood sugar was very low when I woke up one morning. I became very stubborn when my husband tried to help me. It happened several days in a row, these severe lows, and I was very discouraged by it. It's one of the only reasons my endocrinologist can point to justify why he believes I shouldn't have more children (which is something he says almost every visit). At least I didn't almost drown myself in a bathtub this time, but I think I rather disturbed my spouse!

So lows are a continual challenge. It's interesting to note that it was about the same time of year, same time of pregnancy, when this happened last time around. Most of the time I think that I just need to get better about dealing with the lows (which is true!), and then sometimes I wonder if it really might be wiser not to have more children. I'm not sure the answer is all that clear-cut, given how awesome babies are. But I do know that, at least this time around, I just have to play the hand I've been dealt and manage the lows as safely as I can.

How do you and your family deal with your stubbornness when your blood sugar is low? I told my husband to just keep repeating the same words over and over: "Your blood sugar is 34. Can I help you? Your blood sugar is low. Would you like me to bring you something? Your blood sugar is 34. What can I do for you?"


  1. Hi Beth, i am a TI for the past 20 years and have just recently found out we are pregnant with number 2. Number 1 was delivered naturally with zero complications and I am hoping number 2 is just as smooth. I have a question about morning sickness and weight gain. I gained a lot with the first and I am trying to limit that to 35 lbs this time around. The only problem is that combatting morning sickness requires me to eat many small meals coupled with some crippling lows during the first trimester = major excess calories. Do you have any suggestions for morning sickness? I am trying to limit treating lows with just glucose tabs instead of cookies, etc but the morning sickness is tough to figure out.

    1. Congratulations! I do know how complicated first-trimester symptoms and their relationship to eating patterns and weight gain can be.

      It might be difficult to do, but if you feel morning sickness and your blood sugar is not low, can you try lying down instead? Perhaps your oldest is in school, or you can make an exception for him or her to have a little screen time when you feel sick so that you can rest instead of eat.

      Have you been able to lower your basal rates? I found that when I was low, I felt more sick. When my rates were properly adjusted for the first trimester, I wasn't as low and didn't feel sick as often.

      You might try eating your meals as two snacks. So, a normal breakfast (if you can stomach it), and then an apple and peanut butter or yogurt snack in the late morning, followed by a salad or small sandwich at lunch time, then a bowl of cereal in the afternoon, and then half of the normal portion of dinner you might eat.

      When I feel hungry in the evenings but my BGs are stable, I try to either go to bed or drink some tea. That way my BGs don't get off before I go in for my long fast, and I get a little extra sleep.

      In my experience, trying to limit my weight gain in my third pregnancy was pretty uncomfortable (enduring morning sickness, hunger, fatigue, some headaches, etc), but I do think it was worth it. I think it's safe to push yourself as far as you are able, even if it's uncomfortable. Your doctor will tell you if your weight gain is not sufficient (and wouldn't it be a major bonus to be told to eat more? :).

      And in the end, you will probably fail to control your eating more often than you'd like. Don't be discouraged! Just pick yourself back up and keep trying. Neither you nor anyone else can ask you to do better than your best. And keep me posted!

  2. How about if your husband just gives you some fruit juice or puts some honey on finger and puts it in your mouth? Or would you bite him? Good luck. So glad you are on the do your best and stress less path!

    1. I suggested that he continue to repeat to me the following facts: "Beth, your blood sugar is low. Can I help? Your blood sugar is 42. I'm happy to get you something. Your blood sugar is 42. Would you like some juice?" Sooner or later, I'm bound to give in...that is, once the logical part (hopefully eventually) kicks in.

      Cause yeah, I think I might bite him!

  3. Thank you for the suggestions. I am constantly updating my basal rates and the lows are getting much better. I have noticed a correlation between lows and sickness now that you mention it.

    1. Good! Glad to help! I found that I really pushed myself with my third pregnancy. Not eating when I felt bad but wasn't low was HARD, but it did give me the desired modest weight gain.