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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Huge Sigh of Relief

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who has been praying for my little family during this pregnancy. I firmly believe that prayers are answered, and so far, this pregnancy has been going very smoothly.

But here's the exciting reason that I'm posting! We had another growth scan on Friday, and Baby G is a big, healthy boy! He's officially two pounds heavier than KB was when she was born. Right now he weighs roughly 4 pounds,10 ounces at 32 weeks. He's a long guy, and his length is measuring closer to 34 weeks, about 18 inches.

Dr. Hirata, my GD specialist, says he wouldn't expect for G to fall off his growth curve. The only problem may be that he actually gets "too big" because of my GD. I put too big in quotes because there is just no such thing for me, to be honest. I have to have a c-section anyway, so what do I care if he's a 10 pounder (as long as he's healthy)??  

We can expect Baby G to gain about half a pound per week between now and delivery, so even as I write this, he's closer to 5 pounds. I just can't believe it! KB CAME HOME from the NICU at 4 pounds, 8 ounces. Came home!!  She rode in a car seat, and slept in her bouncy seat for the first time, all at a weight that her unborn baby brother has already surpassed!  Such a blessing..

So, with 6.5 weeks until delivery, I'd say we're looking at an 8 pound baby boy. I can't wait!

Oh, and one last thing.. We got a 4d ultrasound, probably our last one, and Baby G still won't show us what he looks like. He's always snuggled up with the placenta, so his facial features can't be distinguished. He did give us this view, though! It's his booty cheeks!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thoughts on Pregnancy Part 3 - I'm a lab rat

So now that the bloggy world knows the gamut of issues I'm dealing with, I'll go into detail about the tests they are subjecting me to. I use the term "subjecting" very loosely. In fact, I'm happy to have every single test they've got. Well.. I wouldn't want an amniocentesis, but I'd still do it if I needed to.

When Dr. Chapman first heard my medical history, she got me doing bloodwork STAT. I did blood tests to see if I had any underlying conditions that may cause high BP, to check my liver enzymes, and to check my blood platelet level. All were totally normal, and all have been repeated twice since then, and I wouldn't be surprised if she did the tests again in a few weeks, just to be sure.

Soon after that I began seeing a Maternal Fetal Internist for my BP at the Fetal Diagnostic Institute at Kapi'olani Women's and Children's hospital. They did the same thing - ran a bunch of tests, did some ultrasounds, had me pee in a jug for 24 hours, etc. Everything came back perfectly normal.

Since I had GD with KB, the chances were high that I would get it this time around, too. So Dr. Chapman tested me for that early on. Yep, I had it. So then I got a new specialist in a new office. Now I am also seeing a Maternal Fetal Internist for Gestational Diabetes at Diagnostic Institute of the Pacific. See how confusing that can get??

What's fun is that all of these separate offices and separate doctors, specialists, and nurse practitioners are all giving me ultrasounds. Thus, we've seen Baby G a grand total of 11 times so far, with another one scheduled for Friday.

Right now I get to see Baby G at least once a week until I deliver. It's not a big 4d ultrasound or anything; just a quick little one to measure the amount of amniotic fluid in there. Before that happens (every Tuesday) I get strapped down to a reclining chair and they monitor me for contractions and monitor Baby G's heart. Starting next Tuesday, I do that not just once, but twice a week until he comes. 

This is all in conjunction with measuring my blood sugar levels four times a day, reporting those numbers to the GD team that monitors me once a week, and seeing the Dr. there once a month. 

See what I mean?? I'm a lab rat! But the knowledge that my baby boy is growing just like he should be keeps me from caring that I get poked and prodded a lot. 
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thoughts on Pregnancy Part 2 - Pre-Eclampsia and Me, A hate story

I promised you guys some thoughts on Pre-eclampsia, so here we go!

What caused me to give birth to KB at 33 weeks was a more severe form of pre-eclampsia called HELLP syndrome. Pre-e can attack different organs, and in my case it attacked the liver. There is really no telling how long I had been suffering from Pre-E on the day that I met my new OB in Mississippi for the first time. What I do know is this:

I saw my PCM at 27 weeks. In Guam you don't get an OB unless you are considered a high risk pregnancy. I was a normal pregnancy at this time, so I continued to see my regular ole physician. 
Never, in the entire 27 weeks I saw him for this pregnancy, did he get a urine sample. I should have known that was a problem, but I had no idea. 
Also, since I was seeing a doctor at the regular clinic, I was having regular clinic technicians do my blood pressure stuff before appointments. It's possible that they were unaware that a woman in her second trimester of pregnancy should have a much lowered BP. My BP was consistently in the 120's during these weeks, but nobody ever said anything was wrong with that. 
Since hitting my second trimester with Baby G, I have learned that the 120's are actually too high for a normal pregnant woman. A pregnant woman has up to a 60% higher blood volume. Her hormones cause her BP to drop drastically to accommodate the extra blood. My BP rests around 105/70 now, but at this point in my pregnancy with KB, it was consistently in the 120/80 range. I guess they just didn't know that was a warning sign for Pre-E.

28 weeks - Took test for GD at the Naval Hospital, didn't see my regular physician.

29 weeks - Diagnosed with GD over the telephone by regular physician. He informed me that I was now considered high risk and would be reassigned to an OB at the hospital.

30 weeks - Met with new OB and dietitian at the Naval Hospital. No urine sample or BP was taken at this meeting. They went over the diet information and told me that they'd see me again in 2 weeks. I informed them that I was actually headed Stateside within the week to have my baby in Mississippi.

31 weeks - Left Guam for Hawaii via Space A since I knew a plane would be leaving Hawaii for Mississippi within the week.

32 weeks - Arrived in Mississippi, had a 5 day wait before I could meet my new OB.

33 weeks - Met my new OB, and delivered KB via emergency c-section 5 hours later.

SO. Now I'm in Hawaii and I have a marvelous OB, as I've previously mentioned. As soon as she found out about my awesome pregnancy history, she began running tests. Since this post is long already, I'll save the tests I'm being subject to for tomorrow's post.

Since I am being so closely monitored, she sees no reason why they can't get Baby G to full-term. Also, (and also because I'm being so closely monitored,) she thinks that if the Pre-E were to set in, she'd be able to give me a good week's notice that I was getting sick. They would start even heavier monitoring at the very first sign, such as protein in the urine, or an elevated BP. I would go on bed rest and try to remain as calm as possible, since stress definitely elevates your BP.

She said that the magic gestational age for a healthy baby is 34 weeks, and that's probably why KB was so healthy since she was very close to 34 weeks. 34 weekers have significantly fewer instances of lung problems, which greatly reduces the time they spend in the NICU. So for his health's sake, we need to get him to 34 weeks. That's only 2.5 weeks away, y'all! I have every intention of being pregnant for at least 5 more weeks, but I could easily have a healthy baby in under 3! That's crazy.

So, for those who are anxiously awaiting every single pregnancy post, tomorrow I'll discuss how being high risk makes your relationship with your OB (and every single member of her staff) go to a whole new level.
Monday, January 16, 2012

My Thoughts on Pregnancy Part 1

You know, pregnancy isn't supposed to be tricky. 

One would think that since women have been doing this since time eternal, it would be a breeze. We get pregnant, feel crappy for a few months, feel great for a few months, feel miserable for a few months, and then we have a brand new baby to make it all worth it. 

Isn't that how it's supposed to go? 

Unfortunately for many of us, that isn't the way of things. I've learned so much this pregnancy that most women never know. I'm not really bitter about it, because I know it has all been a part of a plan much bigger than mine, but I would like to share.

My first fun little issue is this: 1) I have Gestational Diabetes, which is really quite manageable. The concept is very easy. The placenta keeps my body from producing the insulin it needs during pregnancy, so sugar doesn't dissolve like it should. The extra sugar pretty much goes straight to baby. The main concern with GD is that mother could easily gain a lot of weight, and then baby can get too large. This is treated by eating a low carb diet and exercising regularly. 

The first few months after I was diagnosed, I had it so easy. I quickly learned that I could still eat whatever I wanted as long as I got off my tush and moved during the hour after eating. Same applies if I just kept moving all day, which, as many of you know, is easy to do when you have a 15 month old. My GD specialist told me that was mainly because I was only borderline diabetic when they got my positive test. He warned me though, that as the pregnancy goes on, my placenta will be less and less able to produce insulin. Read as: Enjoy eating cake now, because when you're 8 months pregnant, it'll all be over.

Well, that was a fact. Here in the last 2 weeks, my numbers have creeped higher and higher. I think it's a combination of being less active because I'm more pregnant, and the GD just creeping up on me because I'm more pregnant. Those first 2 months were nice, though. But here I am, 8 months pregnant, and I'm no longer supposed to eat dessert. Or bread in normal quantities. Or fruit in the mornings, when the hormones are highest. Big sigh. 

This is really hard for me for a few reasons. 

First of all, I've only gained 12 lbs. I'm actually on the very bottom of my "recommended weight gain" scale. So, hello? I'm not getting too big. 

Secondly, Baby G is firmly in the 50th percentile for his weight. His length is closer to the 75th percentile, but that has nothing to do with GD, it's just because his Daddy is a tall dude. 

Thirdly, I HAD A TWO POUND BABY 17 MONTHS AGO. Lord in Heaven, GIVE ME A PORKER! I'll take a 9 pound baby any day!

My OB is actually very supportive of my feelings on this. In fact, at my last appointment, she helped a lot. She explained that it was the HELLP syndrome that caused KB to be so small. Pre-eclampsia does that. So her words were "GD causes big babies. Pre-e causes small babies. You probably will have both. So while I'm not telling you to have cake and sodas every day, don't freak out over the diet. Be zen. Take it easy." I love my OB.

I just realized that I have quite a lot to say on this topic of my pregnancy with Baby G. Since I don't want this post to cross your eyes from having to read so much, I'm going to do them in parts. Tomorrow, boys and girls, we'll learn about pre-eclampsia!! 
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

25 Questions for a Military Spouse

I just saw this cute questionnaire, (think old MySpace style) over at  The Misadventures of Mrs. Duh and I thought it sounded like fun. Besides, I haven't blogged in a while for one thing, and for another, it's nap time :)  Ahhh, quiet in my house!

1. How did you and your spouse meet?

You want the truth? Because we've been lying about it for years. As it turns out, lots of people we know have met their significant others online, so it's not as big of a deal anymore. We met online. 

We both had profiles on some cheesy dating site, but neither of us were willing to actually pay for it. So, I think I saw his first and did whatever that site's version of Facebook poking was, and then he went and found me on Facebook. He knew that my name was Emily and that I went to Ole Miss. That was it. So he searched through all 300 something Emily's until he found me, and luckily my profiles pictures matched. We messaged back and forth for a few days, then talked for a few days, then he drove down to Oxford and we went out. 

The rest of our story is very long.. We dated for 2 months, broke up because I was an idiot, didn't speak for 2 years, got back together in January 09, and got married 3 months later. I'll have to write about that some day :)

September 06, Jason's first Ole Miss game

2. How old were you when you met?

He was 22 and I was 21. We spent my 22nd birthday together shortly after we met, though.

3. How long have you been together?

Three years now, but we met almost five and a half years ago.

4. Where are you and your spouse originally from?

I'm from a tiny town in central Mississippi called Florence, and he's a Navy brat. He was born in Idaho where his mother's family still lives, and has lived all over. His dad retired from the Navy when he was in middle school, and they settled down in a Northwest Tennessee town called Dyersburg.

5. How did you feel about him joining the military?

He had already joined when we met, but he hadn't gone to OCS yet. This was actually part of the reason I dumped him.. I wasn't convinced I wanted to follow him around the world. Silly me ;)

6. Where did your spouse go to basic training?

He attended OCS in Pensacola, Florida, then Nuclear Power School and Prototype in Charleston, SC, then Sub School in Groton, CT.

7. Has your spouse ever been deployed?

Why yes, he has.. In our three years attached to this command, his first, he's been actually deployed three times, but we've done five big-ish separations for other boat movement.

8. Ever been to his promotion ceremony?

I'm very bitter about this, but no. His first one took place under the water somewhere, and his most recent one took place in the Shipyard, where I don't have clearance to be.

9. How long have you been a military wife?

Two years, nine months and six days.

10. Did you marry him before or after he joined?

After he joined and went through all of those tedious schools, but right before he left for his first duty station.

11. How did your husband propose?

Ah, such a sweet story..  We decided to get married with very little time to spare before he left for Guam. I knew he had the ring, but I suggested that we go on and do a tiny little ceremony before he left, and do our big wedding months later. He almost didn't go through with his planned proposal since we had already decided to get married, but my wonderful best friend told him he HAD TO. So here's what he did.

He kept telling me to not make plans for Wednesday, so I knew it was going to be then. Well, early in the week, I made dinner plans for the two of us to meet up with two of my best friends at our favorite restaurant on Tuesday. I met him and the best friends there right after work.. which meant work clothes, no make up, etc. 

One of my best friends happens to be a manager at this restaurant, and after we had all eaten, he announced that he wanted dessert.. Did anyone else? This place makes fantastic cakes, so I piped up for a slice of cake. He came back, and this is what he had:

Well, I can't find a picture of just the cake on my computer, so an engagement photo will have to do. My best friend was holding this cake, and set it down in front of me. Jason was on my left, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  My face looked like this:

See how cute I am with no make up, and my hair just hanging out? Yeah, after I got over the complete shock that he had actually surprised me, and after I got over how gorgeous the ring was, I was annoyed that no one had warned me to wear make up.

12. Where did you get married?

Under a white columned pavilion, beside a lake in Grenada, Mississippi.

13. How old were you when you got married?

I was 24 and he was 25.

14. Did he wear his uniform on your wedding day?

Nope. This was supposed to be our quick little ceremony, not the whole shebang. He planned to wear his uniform at our big one, which never took place.

15. Where are you and your spouse currently stationed?

At Pearl Harbor, the Navy's Best Homeport! Heh.. those signs crack me up. But really, we do love it here.

16. Do you live on base?

Nope. Base housing for his paygrade and for how many children we had when we got here (1) was crap. We live in beautiful, gorgeous, Kaneohe.

17. How long were you married when you had to go through your first separation?

Ha. A grand total of seven days. Yes, seven. One week. He flew to Guam on April 12, and I followed him in early July.

18. What is your favorite base so far?

I do really like Pearl Harbor. San Diego is nice, too. The only other Navy bases I've experienced are Big Navy Guam, New London, CT and NAS Millington in TN. So yes, Pearl Harbor wins.

19. Do you think your spouse looks good in his uniform?

Are you kidding me?! Those Summer Whites make me get all prickly inside. Twitterpated, even.  And I won't even get started on Dress Whites. Lord, have mercy!

20. Do you think military life is more advanced than civilian life?

I don't know how to respond to "advanced". It's different, and very unique. It takes a special breed of woman to do this well.

21. Do you like the benefits you receive as a military spouse?

Um, who is going to say no to good, cheap healthcare, tax-free grocery shopping, free airfare on military flights, cheap lodging all around the world, and the opportunity to actually take advantage of said cheap lodging??  Not me. Yes, I appreciate those benefits!

22. Do you have a lot of military wife friends?

I do now, both in the form of ladies I've met since I became one, and friends I've always had who became MilSpouses themselves. I've made some wonderful friendships since I left Mississippi, and I wouldn't trade them for the world!

23. What is the hardest part of military life?

For me, the most obvious answer is being far away from my family, especially during tough times. Like when my first baby was due and my husband was about to deploy, or when my grandmother's brother passed away and I couldn't go home for the funeral.. Or now, when my Jason's grandmother and my own great-grandmother are neither fairing well, and we know we can't do anything to help, and we won't be able to attend funerals if they pass away. 

24. Do you own military wife stuff?

Hmm.. I do have some Navy Victoria's Secret pj's, but they don't say "Navy Wife" or anything. I also have an "I Love My Sailor" magnet. I think some things are cute, but I'm not the type to buy them for myself.

25. Do you support your spouse being in the military?

That's my job. I support whatever makes him happy. As long as what makes him happy is driving a multi-billion dollar piece of submerged steel, then I will support him being in the military.

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The Sub Wife Life