Friday, June 24, 2011

Kind of a Big Difference...

I've mentioned before that my husband Chad decided to start watching his blood sugar after we established that he was having low blood sugar episodes, and that his fasting numbers weren't quite where he'd like them to be.  Mostly, he checks when he wakes up and whenever he feels weird.  But for the first couple of days, he did the whole shebang.  He tested before meals and two hours after meals, as I was taught to do.

So after one of those meals, he tested on his handy but very simple Relion meter, and....

Holy crap!!!  We had a moment of panic before I said, "Wait... turn it over."

Yep, confirmed... it had been upside down.

There's a pretty big difference between 201 and 102!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Home Stretch

Things have been going well.  My insulin-to carb ratios have been going up, up, up... but with only 9 weeks left, I'm in the home stretch.  It's not so bad seeing those doses climb knowing that, by sometime in August at the latest, they'll come right back down to normal (or even lower, for a while!).

Things are really about to get busy...  Up until now, I've had an appointment with my OB about once every 2 weeks (plus occasional drop-ins just to get weighed), an appointment with my endo once every 2 weeks, and a total of 3 appointments with the prenatalist.  Now, those appointments with the OB will go up to once a week, and we'll be adding in twice weekly non-stress tests and a weekly bio-physical profile at her hospital.

Jeebus!!!  So much for keeping some vacation time saved up for maternity leave.

Most women do get a little more attention later in the pregnancy, but I have so much because it's getting close to the point when the placenta could start breaking down due to my higher than average glucose levels.  (We are, however, starting it a couple weeks later than my OB would normally start since I've been well-controlled.)

C-section was a big topic of discussion at the last appointment, too... and it didn't have a lot to do with my diabetes/placenta.  It had to do with the fact that this kid is breech.  My OB didn't discourage me getting into positions that make it easy for him to turn and she said she'd probably be willing to do an E.V. at 37 weeks (though she has some concerns about it since there's potential to hurt the placenta), but she did tell me not to get my hopes up too much.  He's never been in a totally-head down position (that we know of from the ultrasounds), and he's been head-up for quite a while, which makes her suspect he's pretty determined to stay where he is.

And yikes, I can testify to that! He has some favorite places to kick or head-butt, and he stays there and does it so often I swear I get sore from it!  When he starts working away on my right side, sometimes he's like, POW! and I jump and yelp.  I'm always torn between applying pressure to encourage him to move a little more toward the center, or just tolerating it in case he's trying to do a somersault and turn head-down!

I certainly hope he flips so we have a shot at a vaginal delivery (my OB said breech = automatic C-section at her hospital, which is pretty typical), but I'm reminding myself that the important thing is that he arrives safely.  I also find it slightly easier to tolerate the idea of a C-section now that it's for some reason not related to the big D.  This is something that could happen to any mother and baby, and there are very few OBs left who are OK delivering a breech baby without a C-section (though midwives assist in this all the time, so a C-section isn't really always necessary).

In any case, we've also started doing some of the fun preparation for baby's arrival: putting together big items from the baby shower and filling in the gaps by buying essentials we weren't given.  (We certainly never expected to be given every essential, but we simply waited until after the shower to see what we'd still need to spend money on.)  This also means spending yet more money on top of medical expenses, so I've been doing a ton of comparison shopping.  I managed to find a great used breast pump for an awesome price on ebay, I downgraded from the nice and super-cutesy baby bottles to plain and boring but highly-rated and inexpensive bottles from the same manufacturer.  I've also created a "shopping list" on Amazon that we'll print and take with us for price-comparison when we go to Babies R Us to take advantage of the 20% off deal you get on any items from your own registry.

Phew! Baby-having is hard work even without having to watch your blood glucose like a hawk!  Thank goodness decorating the nursery is more fun than bolusing...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Glucose Tabs and Tight Ropes

Wandering through the produce section of Walmart Neighborhood Market, I felt a little bit funny.  I glanced at Dexcom and saw a 75.  That's not far from low and Dex hadn't been having the most accurate day, so I thought I'd better make sure.  I pushed my cart out of the way near the deli counter, where a lady waiting for her order started to eye me as I fished through my giant purse, and got my meter case out.  I opened it up, inserted a strip, and tried to pull the lancer out of its elastic.

The cap popped off and went flying, bounced off a shelf, and rolled under my cart.  Dang it.  I put the lancer down... and it rolled off the meter case, bounced through the slots in the metal grocery cart, and landed underneath.  The nosey lady stared hard.

I heaved a sigh, started to move the cart out of the way, and the meter case flipped off of the produce I'd balanced it on and into the cart.

I glanced at the nosey lady and felt extreme annoyance.  At this point, I knew testing was only a formality.  I'm clumsy when I'm low, and now I was getting both frustrated and irritable.

I moved my cart, gathered and assembled everything, and tested.  55.  Not a number that makes me panic, but not a good number at all.  I fished the last four Starburst out of my purse and unwrapped and ate them as I contemplated buying pretzel crisps and hummus.  (Pretzel crisps, yes.  Hummus, not today.)  I didn't feel good at all, but just moved slowly and tried not to let my instinct to eat sugar for survival convince me to pile donuts and cookies into my cart.

Almost 15 minutes later, Dex buzzes and flashes a 44.  I've started to sweat and I definitely feel worse.  I should feel better by now.  I abandon my trip to the cracker and cookie aisle and make a B-line for the pharmacy, where I know there's a bench.... and a water fountain.  I'm powerfully thirsty (something that normally accompanies a high, but whatever).  I sit a minute to let myself hit the 15-minute mark and test again to see a 57.

Not. Good.

I don't have anymore candy in my purse, but there was a further point to heading for the pharmacy bench; it's immediately across from the diabetes supplies.

I grab a bottle of glucose tabs and, sweating on the bench, struggle to tear the plastic off of the cap.  I'm starting to feel a little embarrassed...  Am I going to have to ask someone to open this for me?  I'm not that bad off! I finally make a dent and tear the plastic back in a ribbon, get the dang thing open, and eat three tabs in rapid succession before I stick the jar in my cart and drink deeply from the fountain.

Oh glucose tabs, you may be chalky, but you are a sight for my tired, hypoglycemic eyes.

Finally content, I sat on the bench and spent at least 10 minutes (which felt more like an hour) dabbing sweat from my face and hoping I didn't look or smell too awful.  But no one seemed to be paying attention to the pasty, sweaty pregnant lady on the bench, so I figured I was probably good.  Then I started wondering... would people notice if I passed out on the bench?  Would they assume I was some weirdo who had fallen asleep and just let me get worse?  Even though I was sure I would be OK, I fingered the medical alert charm hanging from my neck to make sure it was visible.

Once I started feeling human again, I made myself stay on the bench a few more minutes for good measure.  55 is not the lowest number I've ever had, but this was by far one of my worst lows.  It felt horrible and it had been persistent.  It had actually made me worry for myself and my baby.  It reminded me that the necessary tight control I've been keeping for the health of my baby includes some danger.  When you're keeping your numbers this low, you don't have very far to fall when your numbers start to drop.  Tight control is also a tight rope.