The one about 30 weeks

Disclaimer: This post will talk about female anatomy. I am probably going to say cervix a few times. I am also probably going to sound really whiny. So if you don't like that kind of thing, go ahead and exit now. You're welcome.

I haven't done a pregnancy update since I reached the viability mark at 24 weeks. Over the past 6 weeks, a few changes have taken place, and, as always, I feel the desire to share them in my little corner of the Internet. I always wonder if I share too much, but then I remember that this blog has served as a great placeholder for my thoughts, feelings, and photos for the past few years, and I can't just leave important stuff out for fear of making others uncomfortable or worry that people won't like it. I am not a paid writer -- no sponsors to please or target audience to maintain. So, here I am, about to just jump right in.

I have hated just about everyday of this pregnancy over the last 6 weeks.

Ok, hate is a strong word.

I have worried just about everyday of this pregnancy over the last 6 weeks.

Getting closer.

I have cried just about everyday of this pregnancy over the last 6 weeks.

Probably the most accurate.

At around 24-25 weeks, I was feeling really good. I had passed my early glucose test. My cervix was measuring at a safe length (you can read all about the history of my short cervix issues here), and we weren't worrying about whole lot.

At 26 weeks, when I had to retake my glucose test (I was tested early since I had it with Shiloh; then retested at the normal testing time to make sure), I failed. I honestly thought it wouldn't be a big deal if I failed. I hadn't been craving sweets this pregnancy the way I had in my prior pregnancies. I could surely live off meat and vegetables for 15 weeks. No big deal. I accepted the news like a big girl and began altering my eating habits immediately, even prior to my diabetes education meeting.

With Shiloh, I was able to manage my blood sugar pretty easily with dietary changes and a small dose of Metformin. I had no reason to believe it wouldn't be like that this time. However, it has not been easy it all.

My fasting numbers (the first test of the day after sleeping) have been too high. Higher than they were with Shiloh. I have only had less than a handful fall in the ideal target range. My numbers after eating food are only in the ideal range if I eat very few carbs. It is recommended that I eat 30-45g of carbs in my 3 main meals each day, and then have 3 snacks a day between 10-20g of carbs. If I eat anywhere near that range, my numbers are too high. I have found that the only safe foods I can eat are eggs, plain meat, beef/turkey jerky, nuts, and green vegetables. All day. Everyday. Every now and then, I can get away with some very low sugar treats or this non-dairy, low sugar, low carb, high protein "ice cream."

So what's the big deal? Well, I have found that any kind of social gathering makes me incredibly anxious. I wonder what kind of food will be there, if I can eat any of it, if I will be mad that other people can have food that I can't, if people will feel uncomfortable eating around me because they know I am mentally beating them over the head with the dinner rolls and cookies they are eating. Going out to eat offers the same challenges. I am checking menus before I go. I will sit down and think that nothing that I can eat actually sounds good, but I don't want to be dramatic so I will order something anyway.

To complicate things even more, my fasting numbers are still way too high even with a double dose of Metformin, and the risk of the baby getting too big is now indicating that I will be starting insulin. This is what I didn't want to do. I can't explain why I didn't want to do it -- I know that I must do what is best for the baby, but adding another medication to my list, a medication that involves injecting insulin into my abdomen, makes me feel like somehow I failed. My head knows that my body is doing things right now that it doesn't normally do when I am not pregnant, and I should just accept that I don't have control right now, but my heart tells me that if I would be more diligent, more careful, more restrictive, I wouldn't have to do this. Unfortunately, as the days tick on, I can't keep messing around with different foods and limitations and have to wave the white flag.

Just as the last time, learning about gestational diabetes and the amount of carbs my body can handle has been eye-opening to how many I `was taking in before. Last night, I really wanted something sweet. I wanted to indulge a craving (like nearly every other pregnant woman does). Luke suggested a mini Blizzard from Dairy Queen. I looked it up, and it was 56g of carbs for the tiniest size of Blizzard. Obviously, that was out of the question. My regular Starbucks drink? 46g of carbs. More than an entire meal. Rice from Panda Express? 85g of carbs. Waffle fries from Chick-Fil-A (my favorite!)? 55g of carbs.

To say this has been a major lifestyle change for me is an understatement. And for my blood sugar to still not be in the right range after all the restrictions and modifications, I am just beyond frustrated and exhausted. Most people can exercise following their meals which will help to reduce blood sugar levels, but my cervical length issues mean that the baby is sitting very low, which makes exercise very difficult. My right hip is also rotated backwards due to this pregnancy, so I don't have much mobility without pain. Physical therapy is helping somewhat.

With regards to my short cervix issues, given my history with Shiloh's pregnancy, I have gone for cervical length ultrasounds (they are just as lovely as they sound) weekly from around weeks 18-24 and then every other week from 24 to now. I have another one scheduled at 32 weeks. My cervix has been measuring on the short end but not in the "worry" range up until this week's appointment. We have been doing weekly progesterone injections in my butt (so glamorous) since 18 weeks. I take a daily medication to help with contractions (I have been contracting off and on since early 2nd trimester). But all along, things have been holding steady. With Shiloh, things got scary around 25 weeks, but we passed that with flying colors this time around.

Now, at 30 weeks, my cervix is measuring 1 centimeter long. That means that 1 centimeter is standing between the baby inside of me and the outside world. To put it in perspective, a cervical length of between 3-3.5 cm is expected for 30-32 weeks gestation. With my contractions picking up more and more these days, I worry that it is only a matter of time before he decides to make an appearance. As much as I want to meet him, I don't want to meet him yet. It's too early.

When Noelle was born, she aspirated some meconium. The NICU team took her away within minutes of her birth. I had to beg them to let me hold her for about 30 seconds before they took her away. The first time I really met her, she was hooked up to machines in the NICU. It wasn't an ideal way to start our bonding experience, and I felt like we were playing catch-up for the next several days. While she only stayed in the NICU for around 7 hours, I missed out on all those cuddles and first feedings.

With Charlotte and Shiloh, they were placed in my arms within seconds of their birth and not taken away for many hours. That is the way it is supposed to be. We bonded. We snuggled. We figured out first feedings, and I could stare at their faces uninterrupted as long as I wanted.

My fear is that our baby boy will be born very early, and with that comes a host of potential complications. I worry that he won't be healthy enough. I worry that he will struggle in his first days of life. My fantasy of holding him when he is seconds old might truly be that -- just a fantasy that won't be able to happen.

And if he comes closer to his due date, will he be huge? Will I need my first C-section? Will there be a delivery complication? Will his blood sugar completely bottom out? Will he end up in the NICU anyway?

As you can see, my mind is on overdrive right now -- worrying, wondering, hoping, praying. I know what I should do -- take it one day at a time, be positive, and have faith that it will be OK. I go in and out of moments of peace. I know that for now, he is healthy. I know that for now, he is safe. I know that there are so many women who deal with much more complicated situations during pregnancy and babies who have life-threatening conditions.

But fear is fear. Worry is worry. I don't wish to contend in the "which pregnancy is scarier" competition. Even with a completely normal pregnancy, expectant mothers fear the worst and pray for the best. The onset of issues in this pregnancy only heightens anxiety and crowds my thoughts.

So what now? I do believe in setting a goal, writing it down, making it a living, breathing thing. So, on my mirror, I wrote these words:

I will carry this baby to 37 weeks. I will do what it takes, no matter how bad it sucks.

I am thankful for my husband who listens to my endless complaining (if you thought this post was whiny...can you imagine what he hears?). I am thankful for all the doctors, nurses, medical staff, and physical therapists who are helping to keep us healthy. I am thankful for the opportunity to carry this little guy, knowing the pain of losing two pregnancies and the gift that children are to this world.

I am thankful. But I am worried. And that's OK.


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