Friday, November 25, 2016

Maybe the Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

I've been living with gestational diabetes for a week now.
Though, living isn't what I'd call this.

Guys, this is so real. I cry every single day and I feel like a failure. It looks like I won't be able to be diet controlled. Medical intervention bars me from ever being a surrogate again. While we were 98% sure this would be our last journey anyway, there was always that little voice saying, "never say never..." Well- now we have to say never. Which, of course, drives the depression knife even deeper.

Let's talk about a few things.

The Schedule
My life is lived in a cycle of eating when I'm not hungry, and debilitating crying.

7:00- wake and test blood sugar
7:30 am- eat
8:30 am- test blood sugar
8:31 am- cry
9:30 am- test blood sugar
9:31 am- cry
10 am- snack
11:30 am- lunch
12:30 pm- test blood sugar
12:31- cry
12:35- snack
1:30 pm- test blood sugar.
1:31- cry
3:00 pm- snack
5:00pm- dinner
5:05- cry in anticipation of 6 pm
6:00 pm- test blood sugar
6:01- cry
6:30 pm- snack
7:00 pm- test blood sugar
7pm-9pm- cry
9:30 pm- snack
11pm- sleep. Often crying.

Silver lining? Apparently my makeup is really, honestly, tear-prrof. It's not just good marketing.

The words that come out of people's mouth, "Oh, this could happen to anyone. You didn't cause this."
The look behind their eyes, "You couldn't put the cookie down, could you? Fatso."

My doctor and diabetes educator have walked me through the truth. This is hormonal. That it's the two placentas. And after a careful review of my food journal, have told me I'm one of (if not the most) nutritionally aware GD patients they've had. Despite their reassurances, that's just simply not how society views this. I feel guilty. I feel judged. It's incredibly hard.

My Failures
They said "You just don't have enough carbs. Up your carb intake"
Well, that led to a LOT of very high glucose numbers. So I said, I'm gonna just do super low carb. I love super low carb.

And my glucose numbers were PERFECT.
So they said, well, if you're eating that low carb, we need to monitor your ketones.
And I had heavy ketones in my urine.
Which is no better than high glucose in my blood.

So, my body is a total, complete failure. At this point I have both (low level) ketones (a sign I'm not getting ENOUGH carbs) and high glucose (a sign I'm having too MANY carbs.) How is that even possible?

On top of that, my fasting glucose number- the one that is before I eat anything- is consistently high. Not a lot you can do about that, now is there?

It seems there is no happy medium, and no way to control this monster without medical intervention.

Back to Perception 
You think society looks at you like a 600 pound fatso for simply having gestational diabetes... don't even mention that you're not able to control it with diet alone. That's like saying, "I had gastric bypass surgery, but didn't lose any weight."

People look at you like, "Oh, they told you to put the cookie down and you just couldn't do it STILL?" 

I've joined a gestational diabetes support group. And even there, people are smug. Most of them are diet controlled... and there is a clear condescension to those of us who aren't able to be diet controlled. We're a lesser breed. We had absolutely no self control. We couldn't follow a simple diet.

One of the HARDEST things for me is to watch these diet controlled women talk about their diets and the glucose numbers that are produced as a result... knowing darn well that if I ate as they do my numbers would be sky freaking high. I mean, they're eating sugary cereals, soda, the occasional PB&J... These are things I don't even have in my NORMAL life because they're just not healthy. Yet these women can get away with it with *diabetes*. I can hardly get away with a Greek yogurt (8g carbs)

It is just, so, so depressing.

Now, normally I wouldn't share something this raw. I don't want to scare or worry the IPs. But they've told me they don't read the blog....  and this is life consuming. As the schedule shows, it's all I can do or think about. At this point, NOT talking about it, or saying I'm fine, is a bold face lie. So, I'm sorry if this makes anyone uncomfortable.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

If You Look Hard Enough for Anything, You're Bound to Find It

I try to tow a fine line with this blog.

I am guilty of wanting the world to see surrogacy through the same rose colored glasses that I do. The ones that show how wonderful this process can be. I love to share happy and exciting moments here. I am guilty of not wanting to show sad ones. In general, when there isn't happy news to share, I stay silent.

But writing is my therapy. So, I'm going to write about what happened yesterday.

It has been said that if you look for anything hard enough, you're sure to find it.

I feel like this entire second surrogate pregnancy has been filled with doctors who have not had faith in me or my body, and have spent endless hours and thousands of dollars seeking something "wrong" with me.

First there was the IVF doctor who ordered invasive tests and painful procedures before he'd even consider accepting me as a patient, and then later sent me out for what I still feel to have been unnecessary genetic testing to ensure that I couldn't possibly have a condition that my medical history all but guaranteed that I didn't have. He tried hard, but he couldn't find fault with me.

Then there came the maternal fetal medicine folk who have needed to see me for roughly 90 minutes every 10 days for the past 12 weeks. They've scanned, checked, and done everything in their power to find something wrong with me, too. At one point, just last week, even saying, "You're doing so well, maybe we can talk about cutting back on these appointments..." They weren't able to find anything wrong with me, either. Until yesterday.

As we've mentioned, look hard enough for anything, you're sure to find it.

Yesterday I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
I spent a lot of yesterday crying.
I'm crying now.

Part of me feels so, so foolish. Here I have been, touting my slow rate of gain and healthy babies. I felt so proud of myself. I was happy with my form, and just so proud of my body. Now, here I sit with a disease that is largely attributed to people who can't control their weight. How foolish am I?

In one phone call I went from proud of myself and my confident in my physical appearance to utterly ashamed and embarrassed of how I look. I went from feeling comfortable and cute, to wanting to wear sweat pants and hide in bed for the next 10 weeks.

I feel like such a failure. I feel like my body let these twins down. And I wonder what the IPs will think of this news. Do they blame me? Are they angry? Do they realize that I'm emotionally flailing over this news? Who knows. I know I feel all of those things, though, so they must.

I feel anxiety and incredibly overwhelmed. I know that this diagnosis, with these doctors, means even more appointments. In fact, I've already had to add a 2 hour appointment with a nutrition expert to the schedule for this week. I'm told these are my new norm. A diet expert to tell the big, fat, fatty how to eat. Never mind that I already can't meet their lofty diet goals for me, I now also have to be fat shamed once a week during a time when all I'm going to do is get bigger and bigger anyway.

If you're counting... that takes me up to a minimum of about 4 hours per week at the doctors office right now. In another 2 weeks that goes to 6 hours per week, and in 4 weeks it'll be close to 8 hours per week when we start adding in the non-stress tests.

Frankly, I'm lucky to have a job that allows me to work from home and whatever hours I need. I'm sure I would have lost a traditional job at this point. I am so overwhelmed by the appointments. I just don't know how to make them work with life in general.

I feel like, today at least, my spirit is totally and completely crushed. It's not the diagnosis, not really. While I am incredibly upset over it, I know it happens. I know I'm displacing my other stress onto this one thing. I just feel like I've been fighting so long, trying to prove my body can do this, is capable of this, and now here I am... defective. And crushed.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Twins Diet & Why I'm Failing at It

26 weeks
A while back I posted on the special twins diet that the specialists asked me to keep. It really excited me because, mainly, they gave me free range to eat way, way more than I normally would. Which is awesome, because I like to eat. Like, I really like to eat.

Here's a link to that original post: The Twins Diet.

A big part of the nutrition plan included gaining the mass of my weight in the first and second trimesters, with 20 pounds in 20 weeks a milestone goal. An overall goal of 40-50 pounds of gain. Well, we're in the 3rd trimester now... How have I done?

Spoiler Alert: I've failed miserably.

By my doctor's scales I'm up 19 or 20 pounds... but that's with shoes and clothes that vary in weight from week to week. By my home scale, done at the same time of day and nude (Sexy...), I'm up 14 pounds.

At 26.5 weeks. 

With twins. 

First of all- let's get this out there- the twins looks great. 
They're large for their gestational age, they're growing like weeds, they're so healthy that the "twins team" specialists are a bit baffled on what advice to give me from week to week (which, incidentally, is really fun to watch). 
So, no one is even a bit concerned at my slow gain. It's a non issue at this point. 

But this leads me to what I really want to talk about; the absolute  biggest surprise of this twins pregnancy.

I expected to be ravenous at all times when I learned we were carrying twins. I expected to want to eat the children. I thought I'd have an unquenchable hunger that turned me into something of a cross between Godzilla and the Cookie Monster.

14 Weeks
I was so, so wrong. 

I'm told that the twins are sitting near my stomach... compressing it. That leads to a lack of hunger signals being sent to my brain, and my never, ever feeling "hungry." I'll be honest, I have timers set on my phone to remind me to eat. Because otherwise, frankly, I'd just forget to do it. I'm a mom. A working mom. I'm busy. Don't flame me.  

When I do eat, quite honestly, a cracker could "fill me up." But, obviously, I'm not having a cracker for a meal. I'm still eating balanced, healthy meals. It's just a new experience. I have to put a lot of actual thought into portion size and nutrient density.

It's an interesting feeling. Normally, you get hungry and eat to content. Sometimes you even overeat to contentment. But I can't do that. The fact that I feel content at the start of a meal, means it's sometimes hard to know when to stop. When you're never hungry, you're also never "full." 

26.5 Weeks
I don't know when I'm approaching "too full" until I've sailed right on past it. I overate last week. It was the worst feeling ever. The most pain I've experienced in this pregnancy. I can not do that again. 

So, here I am, with less gain than any of my three pregnancies at this gestational age, and there are TWO babies in there! I actually feel like I look better, healthier, now than I did a trimester or two ago.

So yeah, I've failed miserably at that 3,500 calorie per day goal. But, so long as those babies look great and continue to measure large and grow like weeds... the doctors and I are leaning towards the, "If it ain't broke..." method. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

I'm Going to Pretend I didn't Just Read That

My morning routine is pretty habitual.

Wake up, pee, check my phone for overnight Emails and social media updates.

One of the places I check is a lovely Facebook group specifically for women carrying multiples. This morning I was jolted awake by a post and the commentary that followed from these women.

The post was from a woman in her 30th week who was miserable. She was lamenting that sleep is impossible for her, as laying on her side hurts her hip too much, and laying on her back puts too much pressure on her lungs, making it hard to breathe. The solution, apparently, is to sleep sitting upright on the couch or in a recliner.

Her post was given lots of support and empathy, as I would expect from this terrific group of women, and the comments section quickly filled with other "home stretch" gals in varying levels of discomfort. My back... my hips... my feet.. my heartburn... I can't sleep... I can't walk...

Meanwhile, I'm laying in bed, on my back, after a great night's sleep, breathing comfortably and desperately seeking something wooden to knock on. 

Because, for me, the actual pregnancy part of carrying twins has felt little to no different than my singles. So, now, I'm slightly terrified that in a month or so I'm going to get desperately uncomfortable.

Is this my future calling? Let's hope not... For now, I've got all ten fingers and a few toes crossed that things keep being so easy for me.