Hiatus

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It’s been a tough month and I’m very behind on my Project 365, for good reason as well. In fact for the last few weeks I just haven’t really taken any photos except of my new bundle of overdue joy. She didn’t want to come out, but we forced her out eventually. She’s happy and healthy and that’s all I could really ask for, coming out at a whopping 4.05kg (huge for someone as little as me).

Me on the other hand am slowly on the mend after nothing going to plan (not that I really had a plan), but it seemed like everything that I didn’t want ended up happening. I had to be induced because she was almost 2 weeks overdue, and after ‘failure to progress’ (horrible term by the way) I ended up with an emergency c-section. To top it all off, about 10 days after, I ended up with a very nasty infection that saw me back in hospital. The first two weeks of my little one’s life on the outside, I spent half of it feeling sorry for myself in hospital, and feeling a bit bitter about how indifferent some of the staff in the hospitals are. Don’t get me wrong, most of my care was absolutely fantastic, but having to endure the emergency department is an entirely different story. Thanks for the endless budget cuts to health you lousy government!

However, I’m back home and bouncing back and hopefully that will be the end of that. The point is that I really haven’t taken any photos for Project 365 over the last few weeks. I don’t even know what the themes are anymore. Hopefully when I’m settled down I’ll get back into it. For now, I’m just going to enjoy a bit of a break in my sleep deprived state and spend a bit of time just staring at my little (or not so little) one, and wondering what to do with myself. Everyone tells you how hard the first few weeks with a newborn are, but no one really tells you how to get through it! Special mention goes to the husband who has been so amazingly calm throughout the whole ordeal, helping me get around when I was in so much pain, and also caring for our daughter when I was in no condition to do so. I am forever grateful for his love and support, and thankful that we have a healthy little one despite all the drama.

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Project 365 2014 – Day 111 – Close

Day 21 - April Photo A Day - Close

Day 21 – April Photo A Day – Close

Now officially a week overdue. I feel like I’m so close to going into labour, but obviously not quite there yet. I’m so big now. This baby just doesn’t want to come out. So close, yet so far. This has been the longest week of my life just waiting and waddling around.

Project 365 2014 – Day 105 – I’m Reading This

Day 15 - April Photo A Day - I'm Reading This

Day 15 – April Photo A Day – I’m Reading This

So my due date has come and gone. I’m passing the time by eating sensibly, napping on the couch, watching bad TV, playing the Lego Movie game, and reading baby books I borrowed from the library. Most of the books are baby books and eating better. The ‘Slow Death By Rubber Duck’ is just to break up the baby obsession.

The doctors are letting me go for another week with monitoring because my blood sugar levels are good. I hope the little one comes soon.

Unnecessary Baby Stuff

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I’ve been on leave for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been good in some aspects (sleeping in, napping when I want, slothing around and catching up on bad reality TV ie. My Kitchen Rules and The Block). It’s also been good because I’ve finally washed all the baby stuff we’ve gotten. I feel like the baby has more clothes than what I do, and that’s a lot! It’s weird not going to work, but also nice. Everyone keeps telling me that I should just relax and enjoy and take it easy, but there’s always a part of me that feels like I should be doing more (still haven’t finished packing my hospital bag and I’m technically at full term now!).

One of the things that has been occupying my time is reading baby books and going on the internet, including my good friend Pinterest. It’s so easy to just Google things, like what I should pack for my hospital bag when I’m stuck on ideas. What’s really annoyed me though is how over-medicalised and generally crazy and over the top some American blogs and sites are. I guess it’s just like everything, to take it with a grain of salt and just use the information that I find useful, ignoring the rest. I still can’t help by find some things really irritating though, just like crazy parenting forum acronyms. I know I should just ignore it, but I think I’ve just got too much time on my hands at the moment. So here’s what is annoying me.

Too much material stuff. How can one tiny little baby possibly need all this stuff? Now I might not really have a good idea of what a baby really needs and what is just convenient, but some of the ‘essentials’ lists are just insane. There is so much baby stuff that they only use for a short period of time, yet people buy this crazy stuff. Here’s a list of really useless stuff that no one needs at all! Every time I walk into a baby store I feel completely overwhelmed with the amount of stuff they have in there.┬áBabies really just need love and attention and you know a few other little things. A diamonte encrusted dummy or a wipes warmer is not something I would consider an ‘essential’.

Too many crazy rules. There is so much angst over whether babies are developing at the right rates and what they are meant to do at what stage and then of course stressing out over it. I can see myself doing the same thing, comparing my child to other children and stressing about it. I just need to remind myself that everyone develops at their own rate and not to stress about it too much. While we’re talking about stress, I don’t know why everyone is so hung up on sleeping through the night. I remember learning about sleep cycles during uni and newborns don’t have sleep cycles like adults do, so why are their so many rules and books and advice on getting them to do something that isn’t natural to them? It’s not forever and eventually they’ll settle. Parents just need to do what works for them.

Too much emphasis on God and religion. Now I’m not religious and I have nothing against religion, but it really irks me when people say that they are just putting their trust in God and it’s not God’s plan to have children, and thanking God’s good grace for getting through labour and the difficulties of coping with a newborn. How about these people give themselves and their partners and support people some credit. It’s not God that got them through. It’s just themselves.

Professional baby photography. Now, I know it’s pretty important to get photos, but I was reading a few posts about there being professional photographers in the US who are affiliated with hospitals to get those all important perfect newborn shots. Don’t even get me started on a ‘cake smash’ photo shoot. Very contrived.

Professional maternity photo shoots. Maybe it’s just me, but I think these are sometimes a bit cringeworthy. Nothing wrong with getting photos while pregnant to remember what you looked like, but some of the poses are a bit… It just makes me feel embarrassed for them. Just like an engagement shoot, I think it’s very American and very unnecessary.

Going home outfits. I can’t believe people actually go out and get crazy designer wear for the baby to go home in. At first I thought I needed to get a ‘going home’ outfit for safety or comfort purposes (keep the baby at the right temperature etc.), but then I quickly realised it was just all for photos and show. Everything has to be ‘picture-worthy’. I think regardless of what the baby is wearing, he or she will definitely be picture-worthy. Just get a random onesie and a blanket and a safe car seat and I think that should be it!

Elaborate baby announcements, gender reveal parties, crazy baby showers. I think all of these are kind of cute, but entirely unnecessary. I hadn’t even heard of a gender reveal party until I started going on forums. What happened to just telling people? And don’t get me started on baby showers. Some of them seem really over the top, when really it should just be about catching up before the baby comes. My workmate was saying that it doesn’t stop there. Kids birthday parties are getting more and more elaborate as well. It feels like it never stops and people are just trying to show off.

Phew, that’s a lot of stuff. I clearly have too much time on my hands, and feeling overly judgmental today! Even though there’s a lot of crazy advice out there, there are some really practical blogs I’ve read that make me feel a bit more sane and more to my liking. Who knows, once the little one pops out I might think otherwise.

 

Also on a completely unrelated note, I was reading an American food blog and there was a post on how to make home-made whipped cream. Seriously? Is this for real? As if you need an actual ‘recipe’ for that. Do they only buy things in canned form? Growing up I had never even heard of any other way to make whipped cream other than, you know, whipping cream. The comments on how amazing this method is astounds me. I also hate recipes on Pinterest that use instant pudding mix, cake mixes etc. Instant turn off.

Project 365 2014 – Day 87 – Nostalgia

Day 28 - March Photo A Day - Nostalgia

Day 28 – March Photo A Day – Nostalgia

I am missing my nightly milo at the moment. Gestational diabetes sucks. I know some people still have it as a snack, but it doesn’t work for me, so no tasty tasty milo until after this baby comes out. I look at this tin every day as a make my non-caffeinated, sugar free tea and feel so sad, which in itself is a little pathetic. It’s the little things. I used to have milo almost every day as a child, and a very naughty treat was mixing crunchy milo with condensed milk. Definitely not healthy at all!

Project 365 2014 – Day 85 – I Am Here

Day 26 - March Photo A Day - I Am Here

Day 26 – March Photo A Day – I Am Here

Getting close to the end of my pregnancy and feeling very anxious and excited. I’m pretty over the pregnancy thing, particularly with the diabetes. I can’t wait to eat some sugar and carbs! I’ve almost filled up the front page of my patient notes with appointments, so hopefully not much to go. I’m such an impatient person and I just hate waiting for things to happen, so this is where I’m at now, just twiddling my thumbs and waiting waiting waiting.

Project 365 2014 – Day 65 – Chair

Day 06 - March Photo A Day - Chair

Day 06 – March Photo A Day – Chair

I’ve been given a lot of very useful things from friends, friends of friends and my workmates, including this chair that you strap to normal chairs instead of getting a standalone high chair. So thanks S from work. It’ll come in handy very soon.

Project 365 2014 – Day 63 – On My Mind

Day 04 - March Photo A Day - On My Mind

Day 04 – March Photo A Day – On My Mind

I can’t escape gestational diabetes at the moment. Testing my blood and monitoring what I eat is always on my mind. No matter what time of day, I’m thinking about it. I think about whether I eat something that I’m not sure will put me over, if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep that my readings will be over, if I’ve done enough exercise for the day.

I’m lucky that it’s diet controlled at the moment, but also frustrating not knowing if I’m going to have a bad reading for no apparent reason. It’s also frustrating having to time everything, thinking about what I’m eating and what I’m going to be doing in 2 hours time and remembering to carry my kit around with me. The timing usually works pretty well with my breaks at work, but on occasion I get held up and can’t get away, which then delays my readings and leads to inaccurate readings.

I still feel very bitter about having gestational diabetes with absolutely no risk factors. Everyone new I see (midwives, endocrinologists, dieticians, diabetes educators, doctors, GPs, general people) look me up and down (probably wondering why I’m not horribly obese) and then proceed to ask me if there’s any family history, and when I say absolutely not, they have that surprised look on their faces as if they’re not sure of what to say next. I’m also met with surprise when I’m at dinner or morning tea and I tell people I can’t eat this particular thing. They just think I’m being paranoid, that I’m being a health nut and worried about my pregnancy weight, and that one little tiny piece of cake isn’t going to hurt. The problem is I know that delicious cake, as much as I would love to eat it, will put my readings over. I’m not any of those things people think I am and I don’t like being boxed in like that. I would love to eat cake and chocolate and white bread and creamy pasta and udon noodles, but with some trial and error, I know my body won’t respond well and that I’m putting my little one at risk.

There’s a lot of judgment and misunderstanding around diabetes. Everyone expects you to fit into this cookie cutter idea of what they believe diabetes to be and are surprised when you don’t meet their expectations. I am also guilty of this. I had no idea about it before being diagnosed and I had so many misunderstandings of what it actually is because it just never concerned me.

I’ve come to accept that it’s nothing I’ve done wrong, nothing I’ve done to cause this. Gestational diabetes isn’t a ‘lifestyle disease’ and wasn’t caused by me eating a bit of chocolate during early pregnancy or being inactive. It’s just something that sometimes happens. However, I have quite tired of having to explain that to people, when they’re judging me, when they say that I shouldn’t have eaten this or that or that I should have done this or that. I’m also tired of having to explain and justify what I’m eating or not eating. What I put in my mouth is my business, but apparently when you’re pregnant, everything is up for discussion and unsolicited advice, particularly from people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Some days it really gets me down, especially when I get a high reading and haven’t eaten anything out of the norm. Other days I’m okay with it, that it’s just another part of life, and am hopeful that it’ll just all disappear after giving birth.

Project 365 2014 – Day 55 – Half

Day 24 - February Photo A Day - Half

Day 24 – February Photo A Day – Half

My half eaten 90% Lindt chocolate. Since getting gestational diabetes I really want to eat chocolate, but I’ve limited myself to one square of the darkest and least sugary chocolate I could find. It’s an acquired taste, but is growing on me.┬áMy little treat every few days.

Winning

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Overall I think I’ve had a pretty good pregnancy, that is until the last week. Apart from having to deal with the gestational diabetes, which I think I’ve got mostly figured out (limited carbs are okay in the morning, can’t have any at night or it pushes me over), I managed to get gastro last weekend. It was fairly mild as far as gastro goes, but when you’re pregnant, even small things make you feel like you’re dying. Trying to manage blood glucose and make sure I’m getting enough nutrients when I can’t even keep water down is not easy.

So on Monday I pushed through the first hour of work before leaving to see my GP as calling the hospital was pretty much useless. I think I’ve mentioned before that I quite like my GP because she’s very sensible, but also very cautious about things. Some time off work watching bad (but addictive) reality TV, a blood test and a urine sample later, I was feeling much better and I went back to get my results.

Turns out my liver function test was a bit abnormal, which could be related to the gastro or another pregnancy complication. Hoping it’s the former, but I’ll need to have another blood test soon. Also I have a UTI, which I’ve never had before and just thought all my urinary symptoms were just a normal part of pregnancy. It’s hard to differentiate what’s normal and not normal during pregnancy as pretty much everything could potentially just be a ‘normal’ part of being pregnant. It’s frustrating because I don’t want to be a hypochondriac, but I also want to be cautious, and I have a tendency to worry about every little thing.

So I got started on some antibiotics. They ran another culture and turns out that there are two strains of bacteria, one of which is resistant to the antibiotics, so they started me on a different lot of antibiotics. I haven’t taken antibiotics since I was in primary school, and they’re making me dizzy, nauseous, and just a bit upset over everything.

As the husband said, I am totally winning at pregnancy this week. Hoping for a much better week ahead!

 

Damned Glucose

A few weeks ago I failed my glucose challenge test. Not a big deal, the midwife said. Quite a lot of people get a higher result on the one hour challenge test and go on to have normal results. I unfortunately am not one of them. I lived on the false hope that it would all be fine, that it was just an anomaly, that I didn’t fit into any of the risk categories apart from being of Asian descent. No family history, no previous personal history, not overweight, generally eating healthily, probably could do more exercise but hard in this heat. There was a little part of me that was worried, but a bigger part that was confident that I’d be fine.

I did my glucose tolerance test earlier this week, one of the most boring tests ever and not easy to just sit for 2 and a half hours. I got a missed call and a voicemail on my phone and they told me that I had gestational diabetes. I have to attend an education session and see a dietician. Janice the very lovely diabetes educator told me not to worry about it over the weekend and that we’ll sort it out on Tuesday (as I worry about everything). I got off the phone feeling not too bad about it. I told my charge, organised some time off work to go to the information sessions and everyone was really supportive about it. I felt like I was going to be okay, especially surrounded by people I have to be professional around. Until someone asked me if I was really okay, and then I realised that I was actually feeling really upset and angry.

I feel upset and betrayed by my normally reasonably healthy body, that this was happening to me when there were no signs. This is the sort of thing that happens to other people. I feel guilty that I am not able to support my daughter during this crucial time, and in fact I could be putting her health at risk. I worry that I will be predisposed to getting diabetes later in life, that I am potentially increasing the risk that she will get diabetes. I worry that I’ll go into early labour, she will be hypoglycaemic when she’s born, that she’ll have seizures, that I’m putting her health at risk because my body can’t do it’s job and regulate sugar like it’s supposed to. I feel like it’s my fault, that I could have eaten better, that I shouldn’t have given in to my carb cravings in the first trimester when I was so nauseated, that even milk that I thought would be okay turns out not to be. That milo I drank in the first trimester when I couldn’t keep water down. That piece of chocolate I had at work could have been my downfall. All the fruit I’ve been eating probably wasn’t such a good idea. All those breakfasts I skipped because I didn’t feel like I could stomach anything in the morning. I could have exercised more and been healthier before and during my pregnancy. I’m irritated that the symptoms of gestational diabetes that I’ve probably been experiencing are the same as what could be part of a normal pregnancy; thirst, increased urination, tiredness, blurred vision. How could I have known the difference? I also don’t want to have to test my blood glucose several times a day. I’m going to run out of fingers to prick.

I’m annoyed that I’ve never really had to worry about what I eat. I’ve never worried so much about what I was putting in my mouth until getting pregnant, and even then it was just following the guidelines because I didn’t want to be judged for being a bad pregnant woman, for eating forbidden foods and putting my unborn child at risk. It was more external than internal, which is probably not a great thing as the way I’ve framed it, I feel like it’s imposed on me and I should be able to eat whatever the hell I want. I’ve been mostly good though and kept away from things I shouldn’t be eating. Now I have to add a whole lot of other things to that list, with my husband constantly watching me like a hawk in case I eat just that little bit too much white rice or whatever else I can’t eat now. For someone who lives to eat, it’s a hard transition. It’s hard to get my head around not being able to eat what I want to eat. It makes me anxious.

There are so many things that keep swirling around in my head, and I can’t help but feel that it’s my fault. People kept asking me if I was okay. I was like sure, what’s there not to be okay about? It’s manageable and I trust the health care team. I’ll be fine. And then when I got home and saw my husband, I suddenly wasn’t fine about it. All those thoughts came rushing into my head and I started crying (although probably not that unusual since getting pregnant I cry over everything. I cried when I heard a song I liked on the radio, I cried when I saw a picture of a really cute puppy, I get really teary every time I feel her moving, and I even cried at the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother. Who cries watching a comedy??). I felt out of control. Suddenly waiting until Tuesday was too far away and I wanted to have all the information right now, this instant.

The last 24 hours I’ve swung between being fine and feeling like it’s going to be okay, to feeling like just crying in a ball. I have to force myself to be cheery around other people and for a moment I actually feel good, until I’m left alone with my irrational thoughts again. I’m really just doing this to myself, driving myself crazy.

In my search for more information, I came across this post by Elise Blaha Cripe. She says:

“But I am also writing it in the hopes that six months from now, a stressed out pregnant woman will perform a google search for GD meal recommendations and wind up here and read this :

“It’s okay. You’ll be fine.””

I am now that stressed out woman, and I’m trying to tell myself that I’ll be fine. My husband keeps telling me that I’ll be fine. Sometimes I’ll probably believe it too, but for now I’m just upset. I know he’s finding it really hard to deal with me at the moment, but I can’t help but feel really teary when I think about it.

I know things could be a lot worse, that I’ve mostly had a good uncomplicated pregnancy. I know that I’m going to be okay, that with a modified diet and increased exercise I most likely won’t have to take insulin and that it’ll all be fine. My daughter will be fine. I will be fine. It’s just hard to see through all the haze at the moment. It’s just hard not to feel lost and alone.

The husband says that it could probably be a blessing in disguise. It’ll force me to be more careful of what I’ve been eating and potentially eat better. The increase exercise could help me to feel less whale-like and stabilise my mood. Maybe I won’t hormonally cry so much at anything and everything. In the scheme of things it could be a lot worse. I should be able to take steps to controlling it and change my lifestyle for the better. I’m just scared of screwing everything up, or more accurately that I’ve already screwed everything up.

When I feel her moving around and kicking me, she reminds me that she’s still there and it makes me remember that all this is for her. It’s all just temporary and I have to keep believing when people tell me that I’m going to be okay, because it’s no longer just about me. It’s about her and it’s about my family. I have to trust that she’ll be okay.