In the interim, there's progress, of a sort, on the pregnancy. Little boy is growing, and we're now about ten weeks out from the projected birth, and he seems to be doing fine. I, on the other hand, am not so fine. I've developed both a small hernia, and gestational diabetes. Let me tell you all about them.
"Hernias occur when soft tissue usually part of the intestine protrudes through a weak point or tear in your lower abdominal wall. The resulting bulge can be painful especially when you cough, bend over or lift a heavy object."What I have appears to be an umbilical hernia, a painful spot just over my belly button. This is not a particularly big deal at the moment -- a couple hours of pain most days, but the pain level is fairly minor and can be controlled with Tylenol. It does mean that I shouldn't be lifting heavy objects, but that was pretty much true at this stage of the pregnancy anyway. Kevin has taken over laundry duties (except for folding), and Kavi has learned that Daddy is the one who carries her now, and will cheerfully inform the world -- "Mama is too tired."
It's not recommended to try to repair these during pregnancy, so the plan is to just live with it until afterwards. There's some small chance that it will essentially disappear after pregnancy; if not, some weeks after the birth, I'll come back into the hospital for surgery to repair it. Nuisance, but again, it's all fairly routine, and shouldn't be a big deal. Except for the bit where they are once again cutting into my body, argh! But honestly, I'm not so freaked out about it. Just irritating.
The gestational diabetes is more of a nuisance. It affects about 4% of all pregnant women, and they don't really know what causes it, though being overweight may well be a factor, as with other forms of diabetes. I didn't have it with Kavi, and I'm sort of borderline now (tested normal on both fasting and three-hour glucose, but somewhat high on one-hour and two-hour). It should go away after pregnancy, although developing it now is a warning sign that I may be at increased risk for real diabetes in ten or twenty years. Joy.
What's going on is that the pregnancy hormones are interfering with my body's production of insulin. This is a problem because it means glucose in my body isn't being effectively changed to energy; instead it builds up and leads to hyperglycemia. Which is a problem for babies. Why?
"Extra blood glucose goes through the placenta, giving the baby high blood glucose levels. This causes the baby's pancreas to make extra insulin to get rid of the blood glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat. This can lead to macrosomia, or a "fat" baby. Babies with macrosomia face health problems of their own, including damage to their shoulders during birth. Because of the extra insulin made by the baby's pancreas, newborns may have very low blood glucose levels at birth and are also at higher risk for breathing problems. Babies with excess insulin become children who are at risk for obesity and adults who are at risk for type 2 diabetes.So, we don't want little boy to suffer from macrosomia. Hence, I am now supposed to walk a lot (which is fine, was already trying to do good walking each day), and eat a carb-restricted diet (not particularly calorie-restricted -- they want me eating 2000 calories, which is actually a bit more than I was eating before, I think), so very little bread, sugar, fruit, etc. I can eat a ton of protein, so, for example, when I was hungry and having trouble sleeping just now, I came downstairs and had some leftover steak. The counting is a little annoying, but not too big a deal. I also have to prick my finger four times a day, which has varied from a mild pinch to actually owie (not sure what's making the difference) and check my glucose levels.
Which levels have, so far, been high for three out of the four tests today, which is worrisome. But it's the first day I'm doing the carb-restriction, so we'll give it the rest of the week, meet with the doctor Thursday, and see what she thinks. If it's still high, I think at that point we talk about controlling it more efficiently with insulin injections, but hopefully that won't be necessary. Will cross that bridge if we come to it.
So that's where we are, health-wise. Nothing big to worry about, I think, but a big pain. Or lots of little pains, more accurately. Don't ever let anyone tell you that pregnancy is all about the joyous, happy glow. Maybe if you pop out your babies at sixteen, when your body is primed for it -- but then you end up with bigger problems to deal with. I wouldn't trade, for all my complaining.