Friday, July 4, 2014

This is Hard

And I wish I were about to make penis jokes...but sadly, no. Instead I need to get onto 'paper' what I've been dealing with the past couple months; namely a kind of difficult pregnancy.

My first pregnancy was a breeze. The usual things happened - crying for no reason, some nausea in the first weeks, ridiculous food cravings, fat feet in month 9...but I was still hiking and dancing and hanging out the weekend before the kiddo was born. Aside from labor, my pregnancy with E was almost pain-free.

This time around, not so much. The first trimester and the beginning of the second were almost the same, physically (though not mentally) as they had been with E, minus the stress of planning a wedding, though with the added stress of my National Boards. But starting around week 24, things got really hard.

First, I began having serious pain in my lower swimsuit area. As in, standing up or sitting down made me want to cry. Getting into bed did make me cry a few times. Rolling over became a 5 step process. At my first doctor's appointment about the pain, an ultrasound showed the baby was verrry low which my awesome OB said had resulted in a sprained pelvic floor. Ouch.

So, that led to week 1 of bedrest and instructions to not pick up the kiddo anymore, or anything else really, and a prescription for a really pretty pregnancy support belt. After about a week, things felt a bit better, and we headed down to my parents' place for some rest and floating, which was awesome...but I still couldn't walk all that well, stairs were a literal pain in my ass, and my rolling over process still resembled a turtle on its back. 

 And then something happened. I don't know what exactly, but oh man, did it hurt. And the pain just didn't really go away. I was walking like an old lady for days. Ross had to put my pants and socks on for me, because it was too painful to lift my legs. So back to the Dr, who recommends a chiropractor (which of course Kaiser won't cover because I'm pregnant - if I weren't, it'd totally be covered) because my pelvic bone has come out of alignment.

The chiro, while an odd duck, definitely helped, but in the 6+ weeks I spent pretty much couch-ridden, I lost a lot of my fitness, and what with still not being allowed to do much physical activity (due to concerns I'll misalign it again - a condition called "pubic symphisis disorder"), I'm having a tough time getting it back. On top of that, I'm having contractions almost every time I stand up or go for long walks, and definitely any time I run or break the rules and pick up my 2 year old. I'm constantly on the border of having to call in to the hospital because it's too early for me to be having any more contractions than I am. Which are two of several compounding issues making this next thing possibly even harder than the pain was.

I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes last week. Ugh. I kinda suspected that would happen, considering I barely passed the 3 hour blood sugar test during pregnancy 1, and then had a giant baby, but it still sucks.

I have to test my blood sugar 4 times a day (needles - one of my biggest fears...seriously, I cry at most blood tests), severely restrict my diet, exercise more (easier said than done), have regular consultations with someone over the phone about my blood sugar numbers and diet and may end up on medication. Much of which seemed mostly manageable, until I actually got into it.

First, Kaiser is being incredibly less than helpful. The nutritional education department in Oakland had no openings for the required consultation until July 24 - halfway through the rest of my pregnancy! Not exactly helpful. And they were unwilling to call around to other locations to see about earlier appointments. So I had to do it...6 phone calls later, I got myself an appointment on July 15, meaning I still have to just figure this diet thing out on my own for the first two weeks. One person had meal plans, but not for vegetarians so she just said "Sorry about that" and that was that. And man, no one has talked to anyone in the health education/nutrition departments about how to talk about food and weight with people in recovery from eating disorders.

I've been given lists of things not to do, rules about all sorts of food - no fruit or milk in the morning, only 45 grams of carbs per meal, instructions to count calories, instructions to divide my plate into quadrants. They've even recommended some of my old eating disorder "tricks" to me - when eating out or having a big meal at home, put half of your plate into a to-go box right away; drink a giant glass of water before eating so you have less; fill up on just lettuce; go for a quick run (ha!) right after eating to burn the food off. I even had one person, over the phone, tell me I shouldn't gain any more weight, but also shouldn't lose any weight. I've gained 7 pounds since my pre-pregnancy weight, and only 15 since my low point during 1st trimester.

Aside from the incompetence of the people who are supposed to be helping me, there are so so so many eating disorder triggers for me in managing this, I feel like I'm losing my mind. The blood sugar checks are like immediate criticism or praise of my food choices - it's not easy to be told that, an hour after eating cottage cheese and a banana that you weren't healthy enough. I mean dang, I was still hungry, but my blood sugar was already too high. And honestly, the low numbers aren't all that helpful either. I remember setting goals for myself - keep your meal under 200 calories and you can be proud. Keeping my blood sugar under 130 doesn't feel all that different (although I know in my brain it's for totally different reasons). I have to eat high protein/low carb meals - so for me, that's lots of eggs and cheese and tofu. And eggs make me nauseous (thanks, pregnancy!), which means I spend the hour or so in between eating them and testing my blood sugar trying my damnedest to not vomit on purpose just to get rid of that feeling.

Once a week I have to call in and recite all my numbers. Anything seems off? I have to explain what I ate and then the faceless person on the phone tells me what I did wrong. Fun. I don't know yet what it's like to have a good week to report, cause I haven't had one yet.

Anyways, I'm feeling helpless and emotionally drained. I'm in tears every day, battling demons I thought I had pretty well under control. I tried to call Kaiser yesterday to get an appointment to see a therapist, but they closed early for a long weekend, so I'm just kinda hanging in the wind for now. There's nothing on the internet, that I've found anyways, that's helpful in terms of managing both of these I don't know where to turn. Just a big fat pile of conflicting information for me to sort through on my own - eat all the time, but not too much; exercise, but don't push yourself, but even if you're tired you have to do something but stop if you have contractions; don't gain weight, but don't lose weight, but don't weigh yourself; eat 4 servings of fruit every day but avoid fruit; take each meal one at a time but plan ahead to make sure you eat the right foods but don't think about it too much but make sure you don't eat anything preprepared or processed....ugh. It's all too much.

This is hard.

I'm thankful for my husband, who is doing most of the cooking for me so I can try to think about all of this a little less. For my OB, who so far is the only person at Kaiser who's managed to actually help me. For our backyard, my little safe haven of sunshine, and for parades and fireworks. 

Update! I found a therapist I can work with, and I've seen her twice, and just that alone has lifted some serious weight off my shoulders. And, I talked to my OB about how the phone nurses and nutritionists were all being insensitive buttheads (a technical term) and she said "well, why don't you just come see me every week, and we can look at your numbers together and plan for the next week" and then got me off the call list for the nurses and has been awesome about advocating for me with everyone else at Kaiser. So yay!

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