Thursday, July 30, 2015


Baby's size: Large mango.

Next appointment: August 4.

Total weight gain: 52.8 lbs. So, down almost 5 lbs. from last week. I'll take it.

Exercise: Next to nothing. When I'm on my feet for more than 10 minutes at a time, they swell up. And I can't even go back to yoga this weekend due to the swelling/numbness in my hands. I need to join a pool.

Sleep: Using the CPAP 100% of the time now, though I have to sleep sitting up on the couch with my feet on an ottoman. If I lay on either side my whole body goes numb and then has shooting pains. It's really awesome.

Food cravings: Nothing out of the ordinary.

Symptoms: The vivid dreams are returning, likely because I'm actually reaching REM sleep with the CPAP. There was a rather involved one the other night with Bradley Cooper in it. It wasn't dirty, though - he was like my stepfather or something.

What I'm loving: I'm finally starting to look like I have a baby bump and not just a food baby.

What I'm not loving: The general discomfort I'm in, like, all of the time. Oh, and how the cardiologist assumed I'm eating potato chips 24/7, when I eat clean about 85% of the time.

What I'm looking forward to: ONE MORE WEEK UNTIL VIABILITY.

Best moment this week: There was a day when we checked my BP and it was normal and my blood sugar was normal and I felt like, "Okay, maybe I'm going to be okay after all."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

the finger sticks begin.

On Friday, I went in for glucose meter training. Technically, I already knew how to use a glucose meter, since I had Type II diabetes for a couple of years before losing the weight and sending it into remission, but I thought I'd get the meter itself at the appointment. I did not. That got called into the pharmacy. And the nurse training me got very suspicious when she handed me the meter to try myself and I asked for an alcohol swab.

"You look like you've done this before," she said.

I smiled and nodded.

I don't talk to a lot of people about how I used to be diabetic. It's not something I'm proud of. And when I did have it, early medical interventions made things way worse; the first doctor to put me on insulin kept jacking up the dosage even after I didn't respond well, and I ended up putting on something like 40 lbs. in a single month. And even then, my sugars didn't get under control until I was put on a medicine that basically talked to my liver and told it to stop pumping out insulin.

I also don't talk a lot about my gastric bypass surgery, which I had almost 7 years ago. I don't talk about it because when I had it, I was at an all-time high weight that was the equivalent of four top-of-the-pyramid cheerleaders. To be fair, nearly 70 lbs. of that came from the insulin and fluid retention, but still. It was a dark time in my life and one I don't care to revisit. Plus, I never lost all of the weight after my surgery. I lost nearly 200 lbs.,  but that still put me at close to 100 lbs. over where the height-weight charts wanted me to be, and about 35 lbs. over my personal weight-loss goal.

When you still look like a fat girl and you tell people you've had gastric bypass, they either assume that you were unsuccessful at it or that you're one of the sad folks who's gained all of their weight back. Prior to this pregnancy, I did have some regain from time to time. but I always nipped it before it got too bad and took the weight back off. This is one of the main reasons the massive gain from Jellybean has me so unhinged. I'm terrified the weight won't come off again, And all of the health problems I had pre-surgery loss, they're all coming back - the apena, the edema, the sciatic lower back pain, the shooting numbness in one or both legs, etc.

Except, I think, for the diabetes. This is one pregnancy nasty I may have been able to avoid.

My very first stick - the one that made the nurse suspicious - was 114. "That's really good!" she remarked, shocked that my blood wasn't made of taffy. I left the training feeling unexpectedly chuffed. I was going to be fine! No gestational diabetes for me!

And then, that night, my post-dinner reading was 140 - 10 over where they like to see it. There had been a touch of cornstarch in the sauce we made, and I had about 1/3 cup of brown rice. A friend who has Type II told me she can't tolerate brown rice even medicated, that it always spikes her sugars, so I made a note on my log and moved on.

The next morning, my fasting bgl was 96 - about 7 higher than it should be. I'd indulged in a small piece of chocolate cake for a late-night dessert, and figured that was the culprit. Again, I made a note and moved on.

And then something surprising happened - my post-meal readings for the day were all stellar. After a lunch of spaghetti squash chow mein and grilled chicken, I clocked in at 78 - close to low! Last night's pre-bed snack consisted of a piece of Ezekial toast with natural PB and a small sliced banana. The fasting reading today? 89. And that's with the banana!

So while I'll likely have to pay attention to what I'm eating, and skip as much refined sugar as possible, it looks like my bgl is going to behave through diet modification alone. Of course, I need to track my finger sticks for two full weeks before someone will make that assessment, but still. Early data is promising.

Since that's the case, I think I'm going to experiment a little with foods to see what does/doesn't spike my sugar. I'm making some oat bran with blueberries and almonds for breakfast, just to see what that does. Yesterday I had a whole wheat English muffin with egg and cheese (homemade) and my post-meal reading was 114, which was well within the good limits. So we'll see.

I've been so terrified that I'm going to get pre-eclampsia that in my head I already have it. But this? This makes me wonder if maybe I'll somehow avoid it. When I checked my BP last night it was 122/78 - perfectly normal. Is it possible that I will get through the rest of this pregnancy without any major medical meltdowns?

I sure hope so.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

edema, apnea, and other fun things.

It's been almost a month since I last updated. I'm sorry about that, especially since so many of you have emailed and left comments to check up on me. You're so sweet and I'm a complete toad. Again: apologies.

First things first: I'm barely okay(ish), but Jellybean is perfect. And that's what matters most. To me, anyway.

I fell off the blogosphere for a bunch of reasons, but here are the main ones:

  • I was working a lot of extra hours to get ready for a weeklong business trip.
  • I wasn't sleeping well, and therefore unable to get up early enough to do any AM writing.
  • I was also so exhausted that I wasn't up to PM writing, either.
  • I felt like all I was doing was complaining, and who wants to read that shiz?
  • I left for the weeklong business trip, and it almost broke me.

But now I'm home, and I've really missed blogging. So, here's me attempting to get back into the swing of things.

The last time I updated I mentioned that I'd been snoring again and was terrified I'd developed sleep apnea again. I haven't had it in almost eight years, but I remember how awful it was. The not sleeping. The trying to sleep sitting up. The walking exhaustion. The diagnosis and treatment. The breathing machine they make you wear. Etc.

I went from only being able to sleep in bed a couple hours at a time to not being able to fall asleep in bed at all - sleeping exclusively on the couch, sitting up, in front of the TV. And I knew. I just knew that the apnea was back. It made a lot of sense - why my BP had gone crazy, why my weight was shooting up so quickly, why the swelling in my appendages seemed so much worse than normal pregnancy stuff.

I talked to Dr. Direct about this, and she told me to make an appointment with my primary to order the sleep study. It took almost a week to get that appointment. Then, it took another week to schedule the study itself. And even then, they initially told me they couldn't get me in until the end of August, at which point I played the pregnancy card and told anyone who would listen that I'd had a previous loss and I was terrified of losing this baby, too.

It worked. Turns out no one likes you insinuating that their lack of action could result in a loss of pregnancy. I got the sleep study for two days before I left for my business trip, and the apnea was bad enough that they titrated me that night. I spent the bulk of the next day crying to anyone who'd listen that I was about to get on a plane and needed my CPAP immediately so that I didn't lose my baby. It worked again; by 6:30 p.m., I was getting a lesson on how to use the new machine.

That first night, I wrestled with it. See, the way the CPAP works is by forcing air into you, so that you don't stop breathing in your sleep. I have to wear a full-face mask, too, because pregnancy has given me so much nasal congestion that the nose mask made me outright choke. So I've got this thing over my nose and mouth, and it's forcing air into me, and I feel overwhelmingly claustrophobic, like if I don't rip it off my face right that second, I'm going to die.

I think I made it 90 minutes with the mask.

On the trip, I continued to wrestle with the machine. One night I managed to get about four hours in, divided. But I couldn't just fall asleep with it on, stay asleep 7 hours, and wake up refreshed. There were a couple of nights I didn't even bother using it, but the last day of the trip I was like a zombie, so I went back to my hotel and took a 2.5 hour nap with the mask. When I woke up feeling human, I capitulated: I needed the machine, and I needed to get over my CPAP anxiety ASAP.

But then a new thing developed, and it's this: If I sleep on my left side for more than 45 minutes, my arm falls asleep. My hand goes numb. And then I wake up with pain shooting down my arm. So now, even though I'm finally getting used to the mask, I still can't stay in it long because I wake up in so much pain. Mr. Hope and I decided tonight that we'd set it up in the living room and I'd use the mask sitting up on the couch, so that I'd get quality sleep that was mostly pain-free.

Yep. This is what it's come to.

Can we talk about my hands and arms for a sec? Previously I'd reported carpal tunnel in both arms. This is still present, though the pain in my arms/wrists isn't as pronounced. No, now the problem is that my hands are swollen beyond belief. My fingers are like fat sausages. It's all fluid, too. They are so sore and stiff in the mornings that I can't even make a fist. Throughout the day they grown numb whenever I use them too much. It doesn't matter how much water I pound, I can't find relief for the hands. Not fully, anyway.

If I am on my feet for any significant amount of time, my feet and ankles swell. They look like Hobbit feet. I have pitting edema in both calves. But my favorite is the edema in my stomach. And no, that's not a typo. The lower portion of my stomach, which many plus-size women refer to as their apron, is hard with edema. The skin is so stretched that the pores are enormous. It feels leathery and looks like orange rind. And there's so much fluid collected there that my belly swings like I have weighted balls implanted, one on either side of my belly button.

The apron weight has started pulling on my back, and so now I'm getting twinges and numbness and shooting pains down my legs from time to time. I don't walk anymore so much as waddle. And I get breathless quite easily. So, really, most of the time I don't even look pregnant. I just look like a super-fat version of myself.

I look a lot like the me I was before I lost nearly 200 lbs., and it's totally fucking with my head.

When people ask me how I'm doing, I give them the real answer, which they don't really want. I will say, "As long as I get a healthy baby at the end of this, I can handle anything for a few more months." And it's true. I can.


I am miserable a lot of the time, physically and emotionally. My self-esteem is in the toilet. There have been a couple of incidences of people being not-so-nice to me that have hurt me deeply. I hate the way I look in everything. I dread leaving the house. Etc.

On the plus side, Jellybean is, as I said earlier, perfect. We had our anatomy scan a week before I left on the trip. They couldn't get every shot they wanted (more on this later), but what they saw was exactly as it should be. The relief in knowing that my many ailments wasn't harming him in the least was so overwhelming I almost cried right there on the table.

I have a few days off and I hope to write a few more posts that have been percolating in my brain. Like about the anatomy scan, and how right up until the ultrasound tech pointed out Jellybean's penis, I was still - STILL - hoping there was a girl growing inside of me. I want to write about the torture and mental gymnastics involved in building my baby registry. About my crunchy granola chiropractor whom I love, and the mean girl co-worker whom I now loathe.

And I think I want to retroactively fill in my weekly updates, since I've found those useful in documenting this pregnancy. And I do want to document it, as miserable as I am, because hopefully when all is said and done I'll be holding a fat, happy baby in my numb arms. His life will be something to celebrate, no matter how traumatic his gestation was for his poor, unlucky mama.


Baby's size: Spaghetti squash. Really? I just made one for dinner last night and it was pretty big.

Next appointment: August 4.

Total weight gain: 57.2 lbs. No, that's not a typo. I put on nearly 20 lbs. in the week that I was away. I've already dropped 4.6 lbs. since I got home a day and a half ago, though, so I'm hoping more of the water/fluid drops away over the next week.

Exercise: I walked my ass off on this business trip. (My feet paid the price.)

Sleep: Getting somewhat better now that I have the CPAP. I'm dreaming again, at least when I use it. But I'm still having aches and pains that wake me up routinely, so it's not 100% yet.

Food cravings: Fruits and vegetables. A week of eating nothing but restaurant food and convention center catering will do that to you.

Symptoms: I'm feeling Jellybean flutter almost daily now. I love it. I smile every single time.

What I'm loving: Being home!

What I'm not loving: The crazy water weight gain. Between all of the sodium in the not-homemade food, the heat/humidity, and flying twice, I'm all kinds of messed up.

What I'm looking forward to: Getting back to a normal routine. I'm so glad this trip is over. I'm so glad that life is slowing down a smidge.

Best moment this week: Coming home to Mr. Hope and Precious Pup. It's so good to feel loved.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Baby's size: Carrot.

Next appointment: August 4.

Total weight gain: Not sure - I'm away on business with no access to a scale. I feel like a beached whale, though.

Exercise: Walking, lots of walking. So much walking that my feet keep swelling up. They look like they belong to a Hobbit.

Sleep: The hotel where I'm staying has a cloud bed. It's heavenly. Still not getting great sleep, though, as I'm wrestling with my new CPAP machine. It makes me feel claustrophobic a lot of the time.

Food cravings: Meat, seltzer, fresh fruit.

Symptoms: Swollen everything.

What I'm loving: In an odd way, finding out that I do have sleep apnea has been a good thing. It explains a lot of what's been going on with my body. Also, I feel pretty awesome that I got the testing done AND got a CPAP before I boarded the plane earlier this week. (I rock.)

What I'm not loving: The mean girl co-worker who's making this trip hellish. Are we in high school again? Because that's what it feels like.

What I'm looking forward to: GOING HOME.

Best moment this week: The triumphant acquisition of the CPAP machine.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Baby's size: Small banana. Oddly enough, I ate one of those yesterday and it caused Jellybean to start swimming across my stomach like crazy. Was it the sugar? Or does he just not love bananas? Either way, it was pretty flipping cool.

Next appointment: July 10

Total weight gain: 39.8 lbs. So, yes, I lost .2 lbs. this week. (I'll take it!)

Exercise: I went to yoga on Sunday. It was harder this time! I'm just so swollen.

Sleep: Exclusively on the couch now. Will talk to OB about it on 7/10.

Food cravings: Salty/crunchy things.

Symptoms: I have edema in my stomach. Yes, my stomach. It's so gross. And uncomfortable. My body totally hates being pregnant.

What I'm loving: Jellybean is perfect! I was so terrified that all of the crap I've been dealing with was hurting him in some way, but no. The level 2 u/s on Tuesday revealed a super-active little boy who looks exactly how they want him to look. RELIEF!

What I'm not loving: Just how shitty I feel 90% of the time.

What I'm looking forward to: Mr. Hope and I are going to do our registry this weekend. I've had so much anxiety about it. I don't even know why. I kind of can't wait to get it over with.

Best moment this week: Realizing that I actually HAVE been feeling the baby, but mistaking those feelings for uterine twinges/growing pains.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Baby's size: Mango

Next appointment: July 7

Total weight gain: 40 lbs. on the dot. And I'm not even halfway done yet.

Exercise: None. I missed yoga because of a business brunch. I suck.

Sleep: Eludes me. Still.

Food cravings: Beef. Lots and lots of beef.

Symptoms: The snoring continues! And the sleeping-sitting-up-on-the-couch thing.

What I'm loving: Mr. Hope, for putting up with me when I'm this miserable.

What I'm not loving: The pain and swelling in my hands. The returning fear that I'm not going to make it - that I'm going to lose this baby.

What I'm looking forward to: Still the level 2 u/s. It honestly can't come soon enough.