Iowa City

We were in Iowa City last week Monday for our whirlwind day of appointments.  We started with a fetal echo and a meeting with the cardiologist.  We got good news (It was about time for some good news.) – He was able to see more clearly this time that the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs do appear to be there.  Last time, he was concerned they hadn’t developed and were instead several tiny vessels, which would have required more extensive, complicated surgery.

Needless to say, our day started on a very good note.

We moved on to the growth ultrasound.  My amniotic fluid looked good, and baby was about 3 lbs, 4 oz.  He was measuring in on time and at the 42nd percentile – so just under average weight.  This is all good news.  He is growing as he should be!  This, too, was a huge relief to hear.

My parents then arrived to the hospital for our meeting with the surgeon.  I cannot even express how impressed I was with this man.  He explained things very carefully to us – really took his time – and put us at ease.  I have the utmost confidence in his abilities.  All four of us were very impressed – this may have been the best meeting of the day.

From there, we went into a room and had a meeting with the cardiologist and his nurse, the high risk ob/gyn, the neonatologist, the genetic counselor, the social worker, and a couple of other nurses.  We were able to hear more about what to expect as my pregnancy progresses, what to expect immediately after Jalebi is born, how we should proceed with genetic testing, and I was able to ask all of my many questions.  It played a huge part in helping us feel more confident about what is to come.

Several people at the Help-a-Heart support group we attend told us this meeting would make a huge difference in how we were feeling about everything.  I didn’t really believe them – but they were so, so right!

We had one more big appointment – first with the high risk ob nurse to get an extensive health history and then with the ob himself.  He was another wonderful man who really put us at ease.  Everyone was so helpful and kind, and I am so glad we are receiving our care at the University of Iowa hospital.

The only downside was the social worker who gave us the tour – well – she kept saying (literally about 8 times) that I would cry about various things.  It was just a bit odd.  And she didn’t seem to have the answers to our questions.  Easily handled – we were able to put in a request to avoid working with her if it can be helped.  Even with something as simple as that, they bend over backwards to ensure our comfort.

I came back from that day exhausted (We were at the hospital from about 7:30 until 4:30) but also hopeful and more confident.  It was exactly the day I needed at that point, because I had been feeling a lot of despair and darkness in the week prior.

There are so many unknowns once this baby boy arrives, but I feel a lot more prepared to tackle them.  I have some amazing support, amazing doctors on my team, and an amazing partner through the whole process.  I forget sometimes how lucky I really am in the middle of all of this.  It was good to be reminded last week, and it is good that I haven’t lost that perspective.

We’ve got this.


Control and Perspective

On Friday morning last week, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  At first, I was very surprised, and I didn’t really understand how it could be happening.  I eat fairly well most of the time (Yes, I indulge in dessert maybe a little more than normal since being pregnant, but I also eat lots of veggies and real foods and avoid processed for the most part.)  I was walking when I could (It was sporadic with the move and everything else going on, but it was happening – and with a dog, it was at least happening every evening.)  I was surprised.  I didn’t understand that gestational diabetes has less to do with what you’re doing and more to do with how your body is handling the pregnancy and the hormones at this stage in the game.

It sucks, to have another concern thrown at me.  I definitely had some self-pity days (Serves me right, after writing that last post!)  Here I am, in one of the most stressful situations of my life, and I have had every vice taken away from me.  I already wasn’t able to indulge in a medium rare steak or some really good sushi – or have a margarita (or two) – and now, I can’t have dessert either!?!  At first, it was really hard to fathom.  I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

But – really – it hasn’t been so bad.  If it was just my health we were talking about, I am sure I wouldn’t be so strictly following the guidelines, measuring out serving sizes, refusing to choose any carb that is overly processed or sugary.  But we are not talking about just my health.  We are talking about our baby boy, who already has enough health issues on his plate.  I want to give him the best possible chance I can give him, and this issue…Well, this I can control.  I can’t control his heart stuff, but I can control this.  And I am finding my personality (I love control) is thriving with this.  It gives me something to focus my attention on; it is something I can DO for our little Jalebi.  It is actually bringing me some peace.  It really is.

And in the grand scheme of things (I will probably often relate this back to when I lost my brother, because these are the most emotional, stressful times I have had in my life.), this is a minor concern compared to the news we already got.  I am sure I would be a lot more worried about gestational diabetes if I wasn’t already worried about his heart.  Six months after burying my brother, I lost my grandmother as well.  It was overwhelming and emotional, but it had more to do with having lost my brother than it did with having to say goodbye to her.  Losing her made sense – it fit in the general order of the world – whereas losing my brother was unexpected and tragic and made no sense.  This has been on my mind, because I feel like finding out about the gestational diabetes wasn’t such a tragedy in and of itself.  I know women get this and have to deal with it, and I know that so far, I am able to control it with diet and exercise.  But in light of the more horrible news of his heart condition, it just feels that much more overwhelming and hard…and unfair.  But also – not so bad.  Not the end of the world.  Minor in comparison.

My thoughts aren’t as succinct as I would like them to be, but this is what is floating around in my mind this morning.