health

A Pregnancy Update

I think the last time I did a proper pregnancy update was when we found out Baby Z’s gender in May when I was 20 weeks along. I’m now in the third trimester, almost 30 weeks now. What a blessing that God has brought us this far.

29 weeks pregnant baby bump

29 Weeks

Baby girl is doing great! She measured right on track at my last midwife appointment and had a steady heart rate in the 140s. She moves a lot and Jimmy and I can usually feel and see what we think is her feet/head/legs/etc.! I kind of feel like she’s laying sideways (transverse) a lot of the time, but she has some time to get into the head down position if she actually is transverse.

She gave me a scare on the Fourth of July and wasn’t very active at all that day. I was about to call the midwife when finally, late at night, she moved in her “normal” way. The worry and anxiety of parenthood starts way before baby is out of the womb, and it has taught me a lot about how God is truly the One in control.

She has been so spoiled by friends and family with clothes, a crib, and other sweet gifts. She also has a name! I’m not sure if we will share it or not. This is actually something we’re conflicted on: what we will/won’t share about our daughter. Any parents out there have advice or guidelines that you follow? Is it just intuitive?

Black cat laying on baby clothes

Malcolm likes to nestle on top of her clothes!

At my 28 week appointment, I took my one hour glucose test and had a routine blood draw along with it. The glucose test was pretty awful. The drink was gross, but the worst part was how terrible I felt afterwards.

First, I thought I was going to throw up. That was followed by a headache and then feeling crazy tired. I took a long nap and was nauseous the whole day. A few days later, I got a call that I failed the glucose test and my blood work revealed I have anemia. Eek!

The midwife told me that if my levels of hemoglobin drop any more, I’ll need to give birth in the hospital (we’re planning a birth center birth, Lord Willing). Where my hemoglobin levels are now, I can deliver at the birth center, but have to have a hep-lock IV in during labor due to the risk of extra bleeding.

I am working on getting those levels up over the next few weeks and have another blood draw later this month to check on everything. The anemia diagnosis totally explains why I have been out of breath walking up hills during dog walks and feeling extra tired.

The glucose test results were interesting. My levels were supposed to be less than 135 and I was at 153. I was asked to take the three hour glucose test but asked if there was an alternative since I had felt so sick after the one hour test and know that the three hour test is even more intense.

The alternative? Be diagnosed with and treated for gestational diabetes. It was a tough few days of figuring out what we would choose. I knew the three hour glucose test would be awful. What if I failed it and had to be treated for gestational diabetes anyways?

Blood suagr testing for gestational diabetes

Choosing to accept the gestational diabetes diagnosis would require some extra monitoring and possible intervention, which was a lot to think about as well. The monitoring meant checking my blood sugar levels four times a day, meeting with a high risk doctor, having some extra ultrasounds to check on baby’s size, and a possible induction if she grew too large too soon.

We prayed and talked and decided to accept the gestational diabetes diagnosis without going through the three hour glucose test. We felt peace about the extra monitoring and possible interventions. High risk doctors and hospitals are there to help us, and we’re thankful for that.

Blood sugar monitor for gestational diabetes

So, that’s how I found myself diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I had to take a class to learn to control my blood sugar with diet and exercise and now take my blood sugar four times a day. The plan is to meet with a high risk doctor after a week of testing my blood sugar levels and decide on a plan of care based off of the results.

I have had a few high readings, which is nerve-wracking. I don’t want to take insulin or medication unless it’s 100% necessary. Taking oral medication would also risk me out of delivering at the birth center. I know if we have to deliver in the hospital and need a higher level of care with insulin or medication because diet and exercise isn’t cutting it, then that’s just part of God’s plan and we’ll do anything to make sure our baby girl is healthy.

I’ve learned the high levels generally correlate with eating too many carbohydrates during a meal, so I’ve had to learn to cut down on carbohydrates and up my other nutrient intake so I’m not too hungry. It’s definitely a learning experience and such a tricky balance with eating the right things to have good blood sugar levels. I don’t know how people who have diabetes do it day in and day out.

I’m definitely taking comfort in the fact that gestational diabetes is a condition that only occurs during pregnancy (so if I need medication or have to continue monitoring my blood sugar levels, it’s only for a few more months) and that so far, our daughter has been healthy and doing great!

My next appointment with the maternal fetal medicine doctor is this week, so we’re praying for insight and good health as we move forward! I know God is going to be with us every step of the way and has everything in His capable hands.

Other baby-related things: we created our registry, have our baby shower coming up this month, and have started working on the nursery! I’ll share more about the nursery in another post since this one is pretty long already. Thank you to everyone for your prayers, love, and support as we journey through this exciting time! It means so much to us 🙂

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On Stress

I spent Saturday morning crying. Actually, I think sobbing is a better word. You know that kind of cry where you can’t even form a sentence, and you have an instant headache afterwards? Yep, that was me.

I’m currently dealing with some mega school stress right now. I’m not going to go into detail (probably because I’ll start crying again. Ugh.), but the point is that I’m feeling overwhelmed. My classes are hard, and I have a lot of responsibilities on campus–the typical college life stress.

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(My mom and I working at a real estate event together after my meltdown…)

Though I’m (clearly) a work in progress on stress management, I want to share four things I do to handle stress.

1. Seek God first.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I know it’s time to spend extra time reading my Bible and praying. I’m usually tempted to feel like I have so much going on that I just can’t make time for more Bible reading, but I have come to realize that reading the word of God is one of the best things I can do in stressful situations. I also like to pray more–really pouring out my worries, and leaving them with God. The hard part is leaving the worries to God, but I’m always working on it!Bibletime

2. Prioritize.
Spending a few minutes figuring out what needs to be done first can be so helpful. Something may not need to be done for a couple of weeks, whereas something else may need to be done in a few days. Knowing what I have to do today relieves a bit of anxiety, because it helps me realize that I’m probably stressing out over something that isn’t even due for a few weeks. I try to take life one day at a time!

3. Try to achieve balance.
This is one of the hardest things for me. When I know I have something to do, I tend to have “tunnel vision” until it’s done. I try to remember that it’s super important to pay attention to all aspects of my life. I should spend (fairly) equal amounts of time doing homework, working, and playing. When I have balance in my life, I’m a better student, daughter, Christian, athlete, etc.

4. Take care.
I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s always good to remember to take care of myself. I have to know my limits, and realize that it’s absolutely necessary to take care of myself. By taking care, I mean doing things I love, getting enough sleep, saying no sometimes, asking for help, and enjoying the little things in life.

The other thing I do to handle stress? Drink a lot of coffee.

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How do you deal with stress?