Apr 27, 2017

My Experience with the 2-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test

Two posts in one week? I totally got this blog thing down.

I thought I'd pop in and talk a bit about my experience with the glucose tolerance test. If you haven't been pregnant before, this is a test that almost all pregnant women get somewhere between 24-29 weeks, with the goal of diagnosing gestational diabetes. Based on my (unreliable) research, gestational diabetes can happen to any pregnant woman, healthy or not. There are certain risk factors of course, but sometimes it's just how your body adapts to pregnancy and as with most things in involving pregnancy, child birth, children, life...you only have so much control. I say that because I read so many blogs and forum posts of women beating themselves up for being diagnosed and apparently there's a lot of mom guilt attached to it when there shouldn't be (easier said that done?). Obviously, I'm no doctor, so you can take these thoughts with a grain of salt.

But anyway. I want to share my story because my experience was a bit scary to me and I spent most of my time in the lab waiting room searching on my phone to find others who had the same side effects that I did. I am happy to contribute to those other stories out there that helped reassure me.

At my 24 weeks doctor's appointment, I was given a one page instruction sheet on the when/how/where of the test. It was very helpful as it answered all my of my questions.  I checked my calendar and due to our recent travel, I decided to wait until this week. I had my 28 week check up yesterday, so I called and asked if I could combine the two and they said sure and go to the lab at 8am (which is just down the hall from my doctor's office). Convenient! Also, I read (and I don't know if this true...) that it can sometimes take GD a while to show up (usually at 28 weeks), so taking the test later in the window means more accurate results. Couldn't hurt to wait, right?

The instructions said to eat and exercise normally, but to keep your carb intake to less than 150 grams per day for the three days before the test. I didn't find that to be too hard. In fact, I made room for lemon chiffon cake, pizza, pretzels, and a good amount of fruit. I was to fast 10 hours before the test. My last meal was two large slices of homemade frittata (eggs, sausage, spinach, shredded potatoes, and cheese) with a side salad around 8:30pm the night before.

I wanted to add that I feel like so many other offices do the 1-hour glucose screening first. My practice has chosen to do the 2-hour glucose tolerance test instead of the 1-hour. According to my fact sheet, the 2-hour test is more reliable than the 1-hour, which produces more false positives and more women having to go in for the 3-hour test only to end up passing it.

So the plan was:

  • 8am - Fasting blood draw + drink 75 grams of glucola (the 1-hour is 50 grams and the 3-hour is a whopping 100 grams!)
  • 9am - 1st blood draw
  • 9:15am - Doctor's appointment
  • 10am - 2nd blood draw
That didn't happen. I got there at 8am, as instructed, but they were already backed up, so I wasn't able to get the first blood draw until 8:45am. Ever the Type-A person, it stressed me out a bit and I didn't want to be late for my appointment or my next blood draws. Grrr. 

It turned out to be okay though. I went back for my fasting blood draw at 8:45 and was handed the the glucola. I had a lemon-lime flavor that reminded me of a non-carbonated 7-Up. The first few sips actually where pretty good, but it was so so sweet that I got full quickly and when my 5 minutes were almost up, the lab tech had to urge me to chug, "Pretend you are back in college!". 

I headed to my doctor's appointment and by the time I sat down in the waiting room, my heart was beating out of my chest. I started to feel the effects of the sugar immediately. I was full of energy and had a hard time focusing. I told the nurse that I was feeling pretty strange. I was also a bit nervous due to these side effects and that was reflected in my blood pressure, which was higher than normal at 122/78. She said not to worry, I was still in a healthy range and I'd feel better soon. I saw one of my OBs and he checked out the babe, who was looking great, measuring right on track, and kicking up a storm. Gosh I love when they break out the doppler! He talked to me about pre-registering for the hospital (umm, already?!) and how to start counting kicks. I was in and out pretty quickly. 

I returned to the lab and that's when things started to get hairy. I had cold chills. Then I was hot. My hands couldn't stop shaking. I started to feel faint and light-headed. I was nauseous. Then I (TMI) had a horrible stomachache. These symptoms came and went and I Google'd up a storm trying to figure out if this was a normal reaction. 

I went back for the next blood draw at 9:45 and as she prepared the needle, I started to see black and my hearing became muffled. I told her I was about to faint and needed to lay down. She immediately reclined my chair back and let me rest there with my feet above my head for a while. That seemed to help. She did the blood draw and instructed me to go sit near the front of the waiting room so she could keep an eye on me. She offered to get me a room to lay down in, but I didn't want to be fussed over, so I declined. I'm stubborn. During the next hour, she kept checking in and I was doing my best not to faint, assuring her I was fine. Liar. I continued to shake, get chills, get hot flashes, and have stomach issues. I was big old mess. I sipped some ice water I had with me, took deep breaths and stared at the clock. She said as the sugar wore off, I'd feel better and the second hour is easier than the first. But it was still terrible and I was so scared of passing out and what that might do to the baby. 

Finally, I got my last blood draw and could leave. I should have packed a snack to eat immediately (DEFINITELY DO THAT), but I had forgotten, so I headed to my office and grabbed a Kind bar as soon as I got in. Thankfully, I was feeling better by that time and spent a few minutes at my desk drinking water and eating. When I got home later, I napped for a bit on the sofa, completely exhausted. 

But anyway, I thought FOR SURE that this was not good and I would "fail" the test (terrible way of putting it). Honestly, the thought of having to do the 3-hour test was sounding downright terrifying, though I'd happily do it if it meant getting a correct diagnosis and thus right treatment for me and the baby. 

Luckily, my results came back fine and all my levels were normal. 

I do not have gestational diabetes. 

Drama queen syndrome? Perhaps, but at least no diabetes for me. This isn't to say that if you had the reaction I did that you won't have GD either (I have no way of knowing that), but it was true for me and some other stories I read. There are probably 100 different scenarios with no clear patterns. Our bodies all handle that large amount of sugar differently and the only way to know for sure is to get you results. That being said, don't freak out if this happens to you, apparently it's normal and I wished I had known that going into it. It made for a very long morning. 

If we are blessed with another pregnancy in the future, I'd do the following differently:
  • Not take the test on the same day as an appointment. It was too stressful.
  • Bring Brandon with me. I would have felt better having him there to keep an eye on me and drive me in case I needed it. 
  • BRING FOOD! I wish I could have scarfed something down immediately afterwards.
  • Go as soon as the lab opens at 7:30am to shorten the fasting time as much as possible.
  • Okay, not essential, but bring a cell phone charger. My phone almost died with all that searching :)
My final thoughts on the matter is that my biggest priority and concerns are obviously about the baby. Sure, this test was NO FUN for me, but I'd do it 1000 more times if needed so she can receive the best care for her. If anything, this showed me how I need to remember to eat at regular intervals, watch my sugar intake since obviously my body is NOT a fan, and continue to exercise and be as healthy as I can. With wiggle room of course. 


As far as everything else goes, I received acupuncture today to alleviate some of the carpal tunnel pain (it has been increasing dramatically). It could be in my head, but I think it's already working. The true test will be tomorrow morning when I wake up. 

We can add my acupuncturist as someone else who likes my name pick over Brandon's. Poor guy. Everyone loves his name, but prefers mine over his. Though the debate continues on. 

Got my first middle-of-the-night leg cramp, which my apps have been warning me about. I screamed. I am now eating a banana every day. 

Otherwise, life is good. If this test was the worst thing to come out of this pregnancy, than I should be nothing but grateful. 11 weeks to go! 

Apr 23, 2017

28 Weeks

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Since we last chatted...we flew home (Virginia) for our baby shower and then brought my little brother back to California with us, where we embarked on all kinds of local adventures. I need to gather my photos from both events and blog about them soon, but since I've finally hit the THIRD TRIMESTER I figured I'd catch you guys up on that first. 

I'm exactly 28 weeks today and officially in the third trimester, which is crazy. In general, my thoughts surrounding this are I have SO MUCH to do and I'm so SAD this pregnancy is almost over. It's weird that I'm already mourning the 28 weeks that I have passed. I guess that I'm that obnoxious woman who seemed to really love pregnancy and all it involves. Famous last words as we dwindle down the weeks, right?

Let's get into it.

How far along: 28 weeks on the nose

Baby is the size of a(n): Eggplant, tropical coconut, rollerblade, baseball hat, a Nintendo. I have more if you want them. None of them make sense. But clearly, she's a-growing. She's now to the stage where if she were born prematurely, she'd more than likely be fine and that's really reassuring. I'm so grateful to have made it this far.

Due date: 7.16.17. Hasn't changed since day one, though my belly was measuring 2 weeks behind at my last appointment in early April.

Gender: girl!

Weight gain: +16 pounds. Pregnancy weight gain is super wonky you guys. I was told I'd be expected to gain about a pound a week from the second trimester on. Nope. I think I front loaded a lot of my weight gain around week 20-22 and then it just stalled and even went down a bit. I literally gained nothing from week 22 to 26. I was worried, but my doctor said things were just fine. Just this past week though I've gained 2 pounds, though that could be from all the rich food we indulged in when my brother was here :) But yeah, pregnancy weight gain, like most things in pregnancy, is not a one-size-fits-all plan.

Exercise: Because of traveling, my consistency hasn't been the greatest, but still just a ton of walking. We even went hiking in Yosemite and while I definitely noticed that I was slowing down a bit, I still managed to get in about nine miles that day. Boy did I feel it afterwards though. I plan to continue to walk and do some bodyweight stuff. Any muscle that I did have previously is gone gone gone! Generally, I feel good though. I sometimes forget that I'm not my old self and I'll start walking really fast or taking the stairs at work, both of which leave me gasping for air.

Stretch marks: Surprisingly no. Unless they are on my thighs and I cannot see them which is a huge possibility.

Sleep: I am still getting really really good sleep every night. I know it's supposed to get worse in the third trimester, so I'm enjoying it at the moment. I have no trouble falling asleep and usually only get up once a night to go the bathroom, if that. Very fortunate.

Food cravings/aversions: I'm sad that there hasn't been anything I've just HAD to have, but certain foods do taste better than others. I really have enjoyed watermelon, kiwi, jicama (LOVE jicama sticks pre-cut from TJ's), any type of chip, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fresh salads that are not made by me. I cannot go wrong with pizza, burgers, or fried chicken. My super strong cravings for Pizza Hut breadsticks have waned though. Still not a fan of peppers and I feel like I never will be again. Same with Mexican food. Just doesn't appeal to me. Oh yeah, had In N Out Burger three times last week because my brother couldn't get enough. Let's blame him.

Symptoms: I don't know if it's because no one gets this or they just don't talk about it, but CARPAL TUNNEL. Who knew? It's painful, ya'll. When I wake up in the mornings, I cannot even make a fist, but it generally gets better as the day goes on. Thinking of getting some wrist braces at night so I won't sleep on my hands. My doctor said this will go away after the pregnancy. My feet and ankles are swollen all the time, but it's not terrible yet, just rocking some Fred Flintstone feet. Rest and water really helps. Rings are off and will stay that way. I was nervous about my cross-country flights, but an exit row seat (free upgrade) + a ton of water made for really smooth travel. My back hurts from time to time and I'm starting to waddle from the pain, but nothing major. Emotions are good and in check and nesting is starting to kick in.

So all in all, I really cannot complain. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have made it this far and have had a relatively easy time. I've read so many stories (and witnessed in my circle of friends) of those who have not only had really difficult pregnancies/labors, but pregnancies that haven't progressed as they should and it breaks my heart into a thousand pieces. I simply cannot imagine what they are going through and anytime I feel an odd ache or pain, I just remind myself that it's all a blessing.

Movement: Dance Dance Revolution in my stomach from 8pm - 9pm every single night. She flips, rolls, punches, and karate chops. It's amazing and fun. I am trying to get it on video to show my family, but she hasn't cooperated just yet. We read to her every night (first child privileges, I assume) and try to time it around when she's doing her dance, so that she hears the story.

What I miss: Still Diet Coke, but not as bad as before. I also cannot wait for a giant turkey sub for after I deliver. Miss sleeping on my stomach still and TMI, but I miss my flat chest. Do people really pay thousands of dollars for these things?

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What I'm loving: kicks of course! Also setting up the nursery and going through all of the lovely things she got at our shower. We received a ton of books and I've flipped through almost all of them. They make me so excited to read to her in person. I also enjoy looking at her little clothes and cannot wait to wash them and get them organized.

What I'm looking forward to: Meeting her, obviously. I cannot wait to see if she has hair and if she'll be early, on time (like Brandon) or late (like me). I also have a work shower coming up which I'm excited about. I feel so spoiled!

Next Appointment: Wednesday! I go in for my glucose tolerance test followed by an appointment with one of my OBs. The practice I go to skips the one-hour test and goes straight to a two-hour test, which they feel is more accurate as a lot of women tend to fail the one-hour. I was told to eat normally, but keep my carb intake at less than 150 grams per day, from now (Sunday) until the test. I will also need to fast the night before the tests and my plan is go in as soon as the lab opens because dude, I need to eat.

Four weeks from now my appointment frequency goes from four to two weeks. Getting real ya'll.

Baby Purchases: Umm, a lot is happening. We got a ton of useful items at my baby shower and yet I still feel like there's a lot we need to cross off our list. Yesterday we visited our favorite local baby store, Bandalou Baby (referral link). It's awesome you guys. It's a mom and pop place (but they have a great online store too) and they let you try everything out. I made an appointment to test mattresses, carseats (they even put two bases in our car to see which one worked best), strollers, and wrap carriers. It was a huge success (we were there for 1.5 hours) and last night I started a crowdsource order for our crib mattress, carseat, and stroller. The best thing about this place is that their prices match Amazon, BUT you get points for every purchase and if you can wait a week, you can crowdsource what you want to buy and get even more points. I've accumulated $100 in points so far that from purchasing our Dock a Tot and Halo bassinet. We'll use those points toward the mattress and we'll get even more money ($130) for purchasing our stroller there. Things are literally paying for themselves. Okay, not really, but the point system does help.

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Brandon wasn't so sure about the Baby K'tan (and I didn't like it either), but we loved the Moby wrap! Once she's here, they suggested we come back and try structured carriers with her, so we know what works best for us.

After reading positive review after review, I ordered the Ollie Swaddle last night. I hope it's worth the price tag. Yeesh. I have an H&M and Tea Collection clothing order coming soon (she still needed a lot of sleepers and basics). We also picked up the Hemnes Ikea dresser for the nursery. We have the exact same one in our bedroom and absolutely love it. You cannot beat the price. Nursery now needs curtains, a glider (whyyyy are the modern ones so pricey?!), a little bookcase, a lamp, and some things for the walls. One thing at a time...one thing at a time.

Anything else: Names! We had our "dinner date" to discuss names and it was so much fun! We shared the lists we made, one name at a time, ranked from least to most favorite. We started veto-ing the odd ones and are now stuck with two names. One of them is my top pick and one is his. Neither of us are budging. We've selected a few people to help us and so far, my name is winning by the landslide (our eye doctor, Brandon's best friend at work, and his favorite coffee truck barista), but we still aren't 100%. I would feel so bad having him give up his top pick and he feels the same way about me. Maybe there are two little girls inside of me so we don't have to choose? They'd be fantastic sister names! ;) Any advice?

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I guess it's okay for me to start wearing muumuus now, right?

Mar 25, 2017

My Pregnancy Essentials

My Pregnancy Essentials

I'm now 24 weeks and obviously I am at expert at being pregnant. Ha! Hardly. Kidding. I wanted to share a few things that have helped me along the journey of these past few months. I hope I won't need to add anything else to the mix because I enjoy buying for her much more than me. Also, pregnancy and babies are expensive, in case you didn't know.

Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter
Stretch marks are mostly hereditary, but in spite of that, some kind of oil, cream, or lotion always appears on these types of lists. I guess it doesn't hurt to try. I read about a must-have almond oil that some ladies were using for an anti-stretch mark product and that junk was $40 or more. No thank you. This Burt's Bees stuff is amazing. It's thick, rubs in very quickly, is non-greasy, and doesn't have a smell to it (which is a positive in my book). Also, it's $12. For the record, I don't have stretch marks yet...but I'm sure they are coming. I have been using this once a night, after showering for about 10 weeks now and I think it'll easily last me throughout my entire pregnancy.

Copco Hyrda Bottle
I'm always thirsty and I prefer, for some odd reason, to drink water out of a plastic bottle shaped device rather than my Eddy bottles or simply a drinking glass. This bottle is awesome: BPA-free, does not leak, double insulated, and you can screw the top off (not just the cap) to add ice, sliced lemons, etc. It's also dishwasher safe. I take it EVERYWHERE with me! I'm considering buying a back up so I can leave one at work and one at home. Brandon has even been convinced he needs one.

Boppy Pregnancy Wedge
A few posts ago, I talked about how much I hated the Snoogle (which everyone else seems to love, go figure). But so far, my sleep life has been just fine without it. I bought this $10 pregnancy wedge pillow to use either under my belly or between my legs and it does the trick. It doesn't take up any space and the cover is easy to throw into the wash. My preferred method is to use it between my legs and roll up a small throw blanket to wrap my arms around. So far, I've been sleeping like a rock.

Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal / Garden of Life Ocean's Mom Prenatal DHA
I think I mentioned these back when we were trying to conceive, but they are worth mentioning again. I hate swallowing pills and most prenatal vitamins are huge. That along with the first trimester nausea makes for some pretty gag-worthy mornings. While these do taste terrible (to be honest), they are small and much easier to swallow than horse pills. They are on the pricier side ($22/month), but I tend to think they are worth it. I also like how they are chock full of organic veggies and fruit. The DHA is great because I don't eat fish and it doesn't have a fishy aftertaste.

Ovia Pregnancy App
I have six pregnancy apps on my phone and this is hands down my favorite one. Really, you don't need any other apps but this one. I love how I can upload bump pics, track my symptoms, enter my doctor appointments, and record any other milestones. At the end of your pregnancy, you can print out a whole timeline of it with your photos, milestones, and photos of the infamous produce comparisons. You know the whole "my baby is the size of a ___"? This app has four different themes to choose from: fruits & vegetables, Parisian bakery, fun & games, and weird-but-cute animals. Also, each week you can see the size of her hand grow literally on your screen. It's so fun! Honorable mentions for other apps: The Bump and Sprout. The website Babysizer is really fun too for more comparisons.

Young House Love Podcast
Yeah, that's weird. They don't talk about pregnancy, but I look forward to this podcast each week! I won't let myself listen to it unless I'm outside walking, so it literally forces me to get some exercise and it works well. Of course, my biggest motivator to exercise is mine and her well-being, but this comes in at a close third. I cannot help but be in a relaxed, happy mood during these 40 minute episodes.

Expecting 411 
I have three pregnancy books (5 if you count the two I bought for Brandon) and this is my favorite one. It has a casual, sometimes funny tone, and so far, has been very informative. I'm almost through it and most definitely will buy Baby 411 next. Honorable mention goes to The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and Be Prepared, which is a fun dad-to-be guide I bought Brandon.

I listed a lot of my maternity clothing essentials back in this post. I'm still loving the following:
I hope you found that helpful! Things are trucking along pretty smoothly over here and I probably won't do another full update until I'm 30 weeks since nothing really changes all that much other than my growing midsection. I did develop carpal tunnel this week, which is a surprising pregnancy symptom that will go away after she's born (at least I hope!). Otherwise, zero complaints, lots of gratefulness. 

We are heading to Virginia in a few weeks for my baby shower and I'm so excited to see my family and friends. Oh and eat my brother's delicious spread of food he's preparing. Tonight we going to our favorite pizza restaurant with an important topic to discuss: naming this chunky monkey. I have 16 names on my list with one strong front runner and Brandon has 8 with his own front runner. Time to duke it out!

Favorite girl names you'd like to share with us?

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