Archive for January 2010

Pain in the Rear

January 29, 2010

What to Expect warned me that back pain would start in the fifth month. So I was not surprised when the minor aches started. But I  sure wasn’t prepared for the sharp, shooting pain near the base of my spine, but just to the right.

This “pain in the rear” usually starts around mid-afternoon and gets worse until I finally lay down at night. It is aggravated any time I put pressure on my right leg, when I try to stand up or sit down, or when I try to bend at the waist. It shoots up and down my back (and down into my rear end!) in a straight line and it is a bit tender to the touch. Some days I hardly feel it. Other days I can hardly walk.

My immediate thought was, “Oh, this must be that Sciatica that everyone talks about.” One of my friends confirmed it. She experienced it with her first pregnancy. And it’s in the book, after all.

But then I read this article, that says sciatica actually rarely occurs in pregnancy and that the cause is most likely Pelvic Girdle Pain, also called Sacroiliac Joint Pain.

I have to admit, this description sounds pretty accurate. Great. So what can I do about it?

According to what I’ve read, remedies for the condition include rest, sleeping on your side (I am still working on this one … it makes my hips ache), exercise to build the muscles around the joint (the core muscles), and a pregnancy, or sacroiliac, belt.

I have to admit, I have really fallen off of the exercise wagon since I became pregnant. Between the lows and the extreme fatigue, exercise just hasn’t been in the cards. But I want to try to get back into my water aerobics routine and see if that helps my back any. We’ll see if I can round up enough energy. I also had grand plans of joining a local yoga class, but that, too, has been put on hold. We’ll see.

I am also looking at this pregnancy brace. It gets mixed reviews, but it looks like it might be easier to live with than those belts that go under your belly. The belts are supposed to be worn over your clothing … so I guess you have to take it off EVERY TIME you have to go to the bathroom. That could get old really fast.

Have you dealt with back pain during pregnancy or otherwise? How did you improve your condition?

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18 Weeks

January 28, 2010

This morning I drove into the “big city” for my 18 week check-up with the High Risk OB. I left the house late, but somehow managed to arrive on time and, amazingly, also managed to get out of the city and on my way to work without getting lost.

All-in-all, it was another positive visit. My blood pressure was even better than last time, the heart rate was still strong, and the size of my belly was right on target.

While the nurse was trying to find the heart rate with the doppler machine, we kept hearing this “thunk” sound. Kind of like if you flicked your fingers on a microphone. The nurse smiled and explained. “That’s a kick … (thunk) … and another one.” Also, when she finally found the heartbeat, it seemed to be going in and out of focus. It would get louder and then softer and then louder again. She said “The baby’s really moving around in there. That’s why the sound keeps changing.”

How cool is that?? He or she is alive and well in there … and really moving! I was all grins, as usual. That little window into my baby’s life is, hands down, the highlight of the visit.

I had lots of questions for the doctor this time. He was gracious enough to spend the time with me to answer them all.

I asked about my weight because it is really not going up. In fact, today it was down about a pound since my appointment two weeks ago. He reassured me that this was nothing to worry about. He says the baby is really small now, something like 4 ounces, so the fluctuation in my weight is just in my weight, not in the baby’s weight. He also reminded me that the baby takes everything it needs first, and what’s left over is what I get. So even if I didn’t eat for a week, the baby would probably be fine.

Next we talked about my lows overnight and my ketones. I have gotten the ketones down to mostly negative or trace amounts, but sometimes I am running low overnight, and then rebounding to a too-high number first thing in the morning. He suggested that I change the timing of my 2 AM snack to just before bed (something like 10 or 11 PM) and then try to keep my basal rate as steady as possible overnight. He thinks this more steady intake of insulin and food overnight will help me avoid bottoming-out in the early morning and waking up too high. I was so happy to hear that I can abandon the 2 AM snack that I could have kissed him! Hopefully this works, because it sure would be nice to be able to sleep through the night again (at least for a little while.)

He told me a couple of times that my BGs were good and that I was doing a good job. I think this might have been the most important part of the visit. I get so stressed out about every little thing that happens, so his reassurance does a lot to help me rebalance my stress levels. And he started and ended the visit with a hug! A hug! Man, I really needed that!

At the end of the appointment, I scheduled an appointment for a  fetal echocardiogram at the Heart Center in three weeks and another appointment with the High Risk OB in four weeks. The next steps are my appointment with the dietician next week and then the 20 week ultrasound the week after that.

Blue Monday

January 26, 2010

Yesterday was a down day for me. It started out bad first thing in the morning. Upon arriving at work, I found my inbox full of e-mails about a difficult project that keeps rearing its ugly head. It’s one of those projects that just won’t die. Just when you think it is finally over, the e-mail discussion starts anew and the whole thing has to be revisited all over again.  Ugh.

Then there was the dentist appointment. Sure it could have been worse, but the thought that I was showering my baby in radiation as a result of that x-ray, coupled with the thoughts of the pending shot of Novocaine and the memories of prior drilling expeditions in my mouth did not exactly put me in a good mood.

And the weather. Yesterday started out gray, rainy and dreary, but then got worse. By the end of the day, it was dark, bitterly cold and snowing, too.

I arrived home late, after making up the hours for my dentist’s appointment, and I was tired and grouchy. I was slumped on the couch nursing a backache and generally feeling sorry for myself when the newscaster on the TV said something that caught my attention: Monday, January 25th is the most depressing day of the year.

Known as Blue Monday, apparently psychologists have identified the last Monday in  January as the “… bleakest day of the year.”

They blame it on “… holiday debts, terrible weather, and broken New Year’s resolutions.”

I blame it on office politics and the dentist.

Despite all this doom and gloom, there is a glimmer of hope in this whole Blue Monday concept; The last Friday in June, June 25th this year, is the happiest day of the year. Look on the bright side — it’s just five months away!

Finally went to the Dentist

January 25, 2010

I had a dentist appointment this morning. You’d be surprised how hard it is to find a decent dentist in my area. I asked several colleagues and friends who all replied, ” Oh, yes, I have a dentist, but I don’t really like him.” I asked my doctors, too, but most of them didn’t have any good suggestions, either. Finally my Endo suggested the guy who works in the same building, so I gave him a try. It took me over a month to get in.

As a diabetic, I know how important dental health is, and I also recently learned that your mouth can kind of fall apart during pregnancy (see Resources below). But the whole dentist thing does fall off the end of my to-do list with frightening regularity. About a month ago, I noticed a sore spot in my gum between my teeth, though. So even though it has been over a year since I had made it into a dentist’s office, I started looking in earnest for someone to scrape the plaque off of my teeth.

The visit started out simply enough. The hygienist was nice and did a good job of babying my sensitive teeth. She agreed that I had some redness in my gums where I have noticed some pain. She says this is typical during pregnancy and that all of my gum levels were within the normal range, even the red spots. So it is NOT gingivitis.

But then the dentist came in. He found two potential cavities. Ugh. I am such a baby when it comes to fillings. He confirmed that my gums are fine, and complimented my orthodontist on the “work or art” that is my permanent retainer. He wanted to do an x-ray to confirm the cavities. I was nervous about the effect of the radiation on the baby, but he reassured me that the radiation for the bitewing x-ray is very focused just on my cheek and teeth and they put two of those vests on my belly as an extra precaution.

The x-ray confirmed just one cavity. The other one was a false alarm. He next told me that the filling procedure can also be done during pregnancy and that the Novocaine is such a small amount that it should not be a problem for the baby.

But I am such a chicken. And Novocaine makes me feel loopy … surely that loopiness would make it to the baby, too? I hemmed and hawed a little, and then decided to wait on the filling. He said it could wait until after the birth as long as I promise to floss and rinse with fluoride mouthwash daily. No problem.

At my next appointment in six months, they will clean my teeth, look for new cavities, and then fill the existing one. It will be about a month after the birth … I hope I am healthy enough to handle it.

Resources

Craving Du Jour

January 22, 2010

Something about my appetite is changing and it is happening fast. Just two days ago I was complaining about having to eat ALL DAY. And while the low-blood sugar demons are still forcing me to use 45% temp basal rates with regularity, and I am still slurping lots of juice boxes, a funny thing has happened all of the sudden. On occasion, I actually find myself hungry. And not just a little “oh, I could eat” hungry, but more like a stomach-gnawing, mouth-watering hungry.

This hunger comes on with sudden and ferocious power, like if I don’t eat RIGHT NOW, I might start gnawing on the table.

You might also remember me saying that I had not experienced a whole lot of cravings. Well that might be over, too. The cravings also come on quickly and with ferocity. And they are for things I would not normally even think of eating.

Yesterday the craving du jour was a hotdog. A hotdog! Not just any plain old hotdog, though, oh no. If I didn’t get an all beef hotdog, with ketchup, mustard and dill relish within a half hour, there was no telling what I would do. And if the hotdog was not on a squishy white bun I could not be held responsible for my actions. White bread! I don’t eat that!

Luckily, my husband has (again) been a great sport about all of this. We made a frantic evening run to the store for these very specific ingredients and he prepared the hotdogs for me. He sure is a trooper!

About a month ago a lady at work told me about her pregnancy-induced cravings for watermelon. They were so strong that her husband broke into the melon for her in the car so that she could devour it on the way home from the store. I thought this woman must have been crazy. Ah, but now I SO understand.

It is almost noon and even though I have already consumed two juice boxes, a half a bagel, and a pack of hostess powdered sugar donuts (damn vending machine!), I am looking forward to lunch.

If this keeps up, that lack of weight gain is not going to be a problem much longer!

Bump or Fluff?

January 21, 2010

I am now a few weeks into the second trimester and while not a whole lot has changed since the first trimester, I am noticing one decided difference: I am getting bigger.

I don’t know how noticable it is to onlookers, but my entire body is getting bigger, especially my belly. I have only actually gained about 5 pounds of weight, but it looks and feels like so much more.

I wouldn’t say that I look particularly pregnant, but my belly is definitely larger. My normal layer of “fluff” is still there, but it is pushed further out, which attracts more attention. I would not say that I look pregnant, though, just fat.

And that fluff is starting to get in the way, too. When I roll up to my desk in my office chair, my belly hits the edge of the desk before my hands hit the keyboard. When I reach for that glass on the top shelf, I can’t get close enough to the cabinet to quite grab it. When I reach for my shoes to tie them, the strings seems to be that much further away. And when I try to get up from a deep seated position, it takes a little longer. I find myself scooting to the edge of the seat first, and then using my arms to push myself up and out.

In the back of my mind, I am a little worried about the “all over” weight gain, even though I know it is necessary. But I don’t exactly have a good track record for losing weight. Typically I am able to maintain, but not able to lose.

I’m trying not to stress out about it too much, though. There is really not much that I can do to change the situation, and I know that my baby needs me to add a certain amount of additional fluff. So I am doing my best to let it go, marvel at the changes, and enjoy the journey.

Time to Eat the Donuts

January 20, 2010

This whole eating thing is getting old. It seems that I spend most of my time these days with some sort of snack or meal in my mouth. Every time I turn around, my sugar is low again and I need to eat. And I am just plain full. Full and still low.

This morning was a good example. I woke with a BG of 67. I slurped down a box of juice and adjusted my temp basal rate to 65%. An hour later, I was 74. Another box of juice and another temp basal adjustment.

Breakfast was half of a small bagel with cream cheese and I only bolused for half of the carbs. Before leaving the house I was 93. I tested after arriving at work and I was only 94, even with the bagel still in my system. We are having a kickoff breakfast at work, and I know my BG is on the way down, so I make a small plate.

An hour later I am 122 and that is the highest BG I have had ALL DAY. An hour later: 58. An hour after that: 61. And an hour after that: 57. I am now running at a 35% temp basal and in addition to the breakfast(s) I ate, I have also consumed a fruit cup, two handfuls of cheese popcorn, and a Lean Cuisine. And it’s only 2pm!

If you know me, you know that I like to eat. I enjoy food of all types, both healthy and unhealthy, high-calorie and low-calorie, low-fat and high-fat. So I am usually on the other end of this spectrum, fighting the desire to eat more than is best for my BGs and my waistline.

Boy how things have changed. Between the struggles with ketones and lows, I am always eating something now. And believe it or not, it is not a great as it sounds. I feel overfull and generally NOT hungry. My stomach feels filled to capacity most of the time, which is not helping my other pregnancy-related digestive struggles. On the bright side, it seems that my body is somehow finding a use for all of this food because I really have not gained a whole lot of weight.

I’m sure I will look back on this experience someday and wish that I could go back. But for now, I am just trying to keep up with the energy demands of this baby. Man, he or she must just be growing like crazy in there!

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would bottle these hormones so that we could use them when we’re not pregnant to reduce our day-to-day insulin needs?