I’m not overweight, I eat and prepare healthy foods, I go for frequent walks, and do not have a family history of diabetes, so imagine my surprise when my doctor called today to say I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I knew the possibility existed when I failed my one hour test, but I figured it was a fluke and that the three hour test would come back fine. I was wrong. After twelve hours of fasting, four blood draws, over four hours in the clinic, and one large sugary drink – I failed…
…and that made me feel like a failure.
My doctor called in my prescription to Walgreen’s and set me up with appointments to see his nurse and a dietician tomorrow. I need to adjust my diet to cut sugars and carbs. Honestly, I don’t even know what carbs are, but apparently white bread, croissants, tortillas, white potatoes, and pasta are out – so basically, my life is ruined now.
Once I got off the phone with my doctor, I immediately texted the three people in my life that I knew would comfort me – my daughter, my mom, and my husband. They were all sympathetic. My next move was to Google “gestational diabetes.” I learned that it wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t a failure (even though I still feel like one.) Being a mother of “advanced maternal age” is a leading risk factor, and at 42 years old, I fall under that category. I also learned that due to the added hormones the placenta creates, my pancreas can’t make enough insulin to convert glucose into energy, so I have all this extra glucose just hanging out in my system. I still don’t even really know what my pancreas is.
My husband is going to stop by the pharmacy to pick up my machine and test strips tonight. I’ll meet with the nurse tomorrow so she can teach me how to do everything. After that, I’ll see the dietician so she can explain what I should and should not be eating. We will monitor it all daily and if there is no improvement, I’ll be put on insulin. Let’s pray it doesn’t come to that.
I must admit, I’m frightened. I’m confused. I’m overwhelmed. I’m trying not to add anxiety for the sake of the baby and my sanity, but this is really difficult to swallow. I never had any issues with my other full term pregnancies and knowing this could be age-related makes it harder because aging sucks anyway. I read that nearly 10% of pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and I am one of them. Apparently I am also at risk for a c-section, though I don’t know why. (DISCLAIMER: I have nothing but respect for mothers who have had c-sections. I do not think any less of them or their birthing method. My concern is that it is a major surgery and that is scary to me.) I have so many questions and concerns. The vast majority of women return to normal blood sugar levels after the birth of their baby and are no longer considered diabetics.
There are only 6 days until your baby shower, 5 weeks until Mason is due, and 7 weeks until Aliza is due. Thoughts of you both and my grandchildren consume me constantly. There are so many cliché things I could say…
“Where has the time gone?”
“Just yesterday you were babies yourselves.”
“You were born, I blinked, and now you’re grown.”
…but we all know that just wouldn’t be my style. Instead, I’m going to blog about it (for posterity, of course!) I know my blogs are generally humor-filled, but this one is going to be lil sentimental. That being said, it is important that I tell you girls these things:
I love you. Oh my God, how I love you. I mean, I know I tell y’all that CONSTANTLY, but I don’t think you will ever grasp just how much until you are a mother yourself. (Dallas, since you’re already a mom, I know you get this.)
I know you are scared. Hell, I was scared having Olive. It’s okay to be scared, just don’t let the fear overtake the excitement!
I wish I could take the pain for you. (Okay, that was pretty cliché, but it’s true.) If there were a way for me to absorb the pain of birthing for you so you could only experience the joy, I would do so without a second thought.
I am so proud of you. Every single day, every single moment of your lives, I am proud. Even when you aren’t very proud of yourselves, I am of you.
I have faith in you! I know you are and will be amazing mothers! These babies are so blessed to have you because I know how wonderful you will be with them.
Thank you. I mean that from the depths of my soul. I will never be able to thank you enough for making me a Grammy. One day, when you are grandmothers yourselves, you will understand.
I haven’t been sleeping very well lately. I have the most uncomfortable mattress. It is so firm, sometimes I’m convinced that I’m sleeping on concrete. I want to buy a pillow-top mattress pad, but I haven’t yet. I’ll add that to my already long to-do list. Being pregnant isn’t helping the sleeping situation. I wake up periodically through the night for no apparent reason and I never used to do that. Plus, I have to keep reminding myself that I must only sleep on my left side and that doesn’t do any favors for my neck and left shoulder.
When I finally give up, usually around 6:30 am, I get out of bed tired. I make the coffee, even though I rarely drink it (due to the baby) and even though I could really use it because I am so tired. I put away the clean dishes in the drying rack from the night before, get myself dressed, and go to work.
Once I get to work, I dive into all the emails and voicemails that came in over night. It’s our busy season so I try to do these before the phones start going berserk. I may sit all day, but my job is mentally exhausting, which, in turn, becomes physically exhausting. Sometimes I feel like it sucks the life from my soul.
After a nearly 10 hour work day, I clock out and head to the grocery store. Yes, I go shopping every day. For some it’s a chore, but I enjoy it. Generally, it is the only time of the day I get to myself and I’m the type of person that needs a little bit of “me-time.” I like to plan interesting meals for my family.
I struggle through the door, grocery bags in hand, cutting off the circulation to my brain, set the bags on the table, and take a look around. I am tired of finding a sink full of dirty dishes when the kitchen was spotless when I left for work. I am tired of seeing half full (or half empty) water bottles strewn about the place. I am tired of dishes not at least being rinsed. I am tired of trying to put the groceries away only to find the fridge and pantry in disarray, even though last nights leftovers were placed away in an organized manner.
Once I get the dishes washed and re-clean the kitchen, I get started on dinner. I review my recipes, make sure I have all my ingredients, and follow the directions. While that is going, I head to my room to make the bed. I know it seems silly to make your bed at 6:30 in the evening, but I feel better when it’s put together. I have a new bed set and I love it so much. As I arrange the pillows and comforter just perfectly so, everything looks so inviting, I want to climb in and make “sheet angels” before I drift off to slumber because I am so tired…
but I am not fooled. I know that bed won’t provide the comfort I am after.
Dinner is looking good, the house is smelling delicious, things are coming together, and I make the table. I start to look around, satisfied. Chaos replaced with normalcy.
My legs are sore and my feet are throbbing. I want to sit on the sofa and stare into space, but I know I’ll just notice the dust bunnies rapidly reproducing on the TV and stand. I’ll notice the floors need to be swept and mopped and that the chair needs my dogs slobber cleaned from the upholstery. I’ll add that to my to-do list. I keep pushing myself, but damn, I am tired.
Jose gets home from work and we all sit to eat. All my careful menu planning, selecting the perfect groceries, meticulously following the recipe directions, and carefully setting the table sometimes seems all for naught. In less than 15 minutes, the meal has been devoured, the table a mess, and a pile of dirty dishes await my washing. I desperately want to leave it all for tomorrow because I am oh-so-tired, but I know I’ll regret it if I don’t, so I do.
Once everything is done, the clean dishes drying on the rack, the leftovers carefully put away in the fridge and pantry, the counters wiped down, and the kitchen spotless, I realize I need to breathe. Just as I am about to give up for the night, throw in the towel, put on my nightgown, settle in for some downtime, and hopefully get some rest, I’m caught off-guard. Maybe it’s a call from my daughter asking for a ride home from work, or a text from my son asking me to take him to Hastings, or my husband telling me about a concert in the park that night and that all our friends will be there.
Honestly, I don’t want to do any of these things. I am tired. I want to lay down, I want to relax. I want to not do anything, but I do. I fluff my hair, slap on my lipstick, hop in the car and go do what I need to do.
I know what you’re thinking. You think I should take some time for myself. You think I should learn to say “no.” You think I should sometimes let those dirty dishes wait until morning or that it’s not so bad to get into an unmade bed.
The thing is, at the end of the day, after I’ve done all these things, my reward isn’t sleep. My reward is the self-satisfaction of knowing what I’ve accomplished. My reward is the hug I get from my child, and the words, “Thank you so much, Mom! I love you.” My reward is laying my head in my husbands lap on the sofa while he massages the knot from my shoulder, even after I’ve drifted off to sleep. My reward is crawling under the covers of my recently made concrete bed, lying down (on my left side only,) me being the little spoon, my husband kissing the back of my neck, his arm around me, caressing my pregnant belly. And you know what?
…I’ll never get tired of that.
I wrote this Saturday and didn’t post it to social media. When I got home, I was exhausted. I did notice the dirty dishes in the sink and I did notice the empty water bottles strewn about the place. I knew I needed to go to the grocery store and I was aware dinner needed to be made. I sat on the bed for a moment and the next thing I knew, it was almost 8pm! Jose had come home, decided to let me nap (said he figured I needed the rest) gone to the store, washed the dishes, cleaned the fridge, made dinner, and handled business. I swear that man knows what goes on inside my head and that is something else I will never get tired of.
Let me preface this by saying,
I LOVE PREGNANT BODIES!
I do, I really do. I think pregnant women with large baby bumps are beautiful and sexy and amazing. Unfortunately, I don’t think that about myself. I am 4 months along, so the weight gain has begun. My bump isn’t an obvious baby bump (unless you know me and remember my pre-pregnant body.) It’s more like, well, extra weight. You see, I am in that weird in between stage. (Like when you are growing out your hair and it’s too short to put up, but it still awkwardly hangs in your face and there is nothing you can do but wait it out.) My clothes are snug. Anything that buttons at the waist gives me the “busted can of biscuits” look. Nothing I own is flattering, but I’m not quite far enough along to switch to maternity clothes. I hate it. That being said, being the eternal optimist, I started thinking about the bright side. It didn’t take long to figure out that blaming the baby is easy…
(It’s not as harsh as it sounds)
1) “Do you want to come to my 40th birthday bash tonight? Jello shots, kegstands, and Fireball for everybody!” Gosh, that sounds awesome and I would LOVE to come celebrate with you, but the baby is exhausted and I need to get to bed early.
2) “Would you like another slice of pizza?” Yes, thank you. It’s not for me, it’s for the baby. I’m full. *stuffs my face with pizza*
3) “Do you need anything, honey?” Nah, I’m fine, but the baby could use some chocolate. Mind going to the store?
4) [My day off] “Can you work my shift for me today?” I sure could use the extra money and would be happy to help, but the baby has my stomach in knots, so I think I should just stay in bed.
5) “Want to go bikini shopping/sky-diving/BASE jumping/ to a 5 year-olds birthday party?” Geez, sounds like the time of my life, but right now my doctor says that’s not good for the baby.
6) “Here mija, have some of my homemade menudo.” I’m sure it’s delicious and who doesn’t love tripe, but the baby seems to have an aversion to cow stomach so I’m going to have to pass.
…and then there’s this:
6) “Want to go thrift shopping/out for sushi/grub on queso?”
(I’m exhausted, dehydrated, head is throbbing, tummy is aching, and back feels broken)
*jumps in car, buckles seatbelt, and anxiously awaits to depart!*
Ever since I got pregnant, I’ve been having the strangest dreams. Last night was no different. I think watching an NCIS marathon with my daughter Parker is partially to blame and the wonky hormones are mostly to blame. In my dream, I woke up in a hospital, not knowing where I was or who I was. I had been in an accident and had amnesia. I still knew that Obama was President and that 12 X 12 was a gross, but my husband and family were strangers. This was especially difficult for my youngest daughter Mikayla who was positive that upon seeing her, my memory would come back… but it didn’t. It was scary. Like in a nightmare when you are paralyzed and can’t scream, even though you try your damnedest. I remember being in my hospital gown and approaching the bathroom, headed for the mirror so I could take a look at who I was. That’s it, that’s all I remember of this dream, but I woke up wondering…
…wondering what it would be like in real life if I had been in some sort of accident that cause me to have amnesia. What would I think of myself?
Would I stand naked, under the harsh fluorescent hospital lights in the cold, white bathroom, looking down at my 40 year-old pregnant body and be happy with what I saw? Would I see the stretch marks on my belly from the three children I’ve birthed and see horrible, ugly scars or I would I see a beautiful permanent record of motherhood? Would I gaze into my own eyes through the mirror and see an aging woman with bags, lines, and wrinkles, or would I see exquisite, sparkling blue eyes? Would I look at my mouth and think I should have taken better care of my teeth or would I see a warm, genuine smile? And my hair? Would I see the roots beginning to grow out, salted with gray, or would I adore the reddish-caramel color with Bettie Page bangs? Upon seeing my tattoos, would I judge myself as trashy or think myself as artsy? Would I notice the large deep scar on my ankle where I have seven screws and a metal plate and think I must be klutz or would I assume I must be an exciting, adventurous person? If I glanced down at my breasts which are now enlarged and swollen, would I only notice the slight sag from gravity and years of breast-feeding? Would I be bothered by the now noticeable green veins and dilated nipples or would I feel blessed to have a voluptuous pair preparing milk for my baby?
Upon meeting my family…
Would I look at my husband and question his burly beard, tattooed body, and skater dude sense of fashion? Or would I get weak in the knees with butterflies in my stomach just by looking into the bedroom eyes of the man I have given my heart and soul to, enamored simply by his scent, attracted to his masculinity, infatuated with his smile, the sound of voice, the touch of his hand, his sun-kissed skin, and the mop on his head of perfect, natural curls?
When I met my children, would I feel the over-whelming sense of pride in the amazing persons they have become like I do now? Would I only notice the stretched out gauges in my sons ears or would I see my own eyes in his eyes? Would I meet my oldest and judge her for having a child at such a young age, or would I admire her for overcoming so many obstacles and doing an excellent job at raising my grandson? When my youngest daughter stood before me, would I only see a stranger or would she trigger my memory back as she predicted in my dream?
Upon walking through the door of my home…
Would I be disappointed in the scratches on the wood floors, hate the awkward layout of the jack-and-jill bathroom, be unsatisfied with the eclectic hodge-podge of new and thrift store furniture, and feel like I should have done better for myself by having a newer built, updated, and modern cookie-cutter house? What if I walked through the door and fell in love with the charm and character that a 100 year-old home possesses with high ceilings and original wood floors? Would I immediately feel the comfort of my funky style, vintage collectibles, and tchotchkes?
Upon seeing my workplace…
Would I walk through the campgrounds feeling the sticky heat, swatting at mosquitoes and other creepy flying insects, freaked out by the abundance of buzzards, squirrels, raccoons, deer, snakes, and other wildlife? Would I walk in my office and think I should have gone to college and done something better with my career? I could have been a doctor, a lawyer, a politician, an activist, a world-changer, but instead I chose to live a small, insignificant life in an office in the woods. What if I strolled through camp, serenaded by the singing birds, wooed by the sound of the river flowing, comforted by the warm sun on my shoulders and blue skies overhead? If I walked in my office, finding solace in my framed certificates and memory board? If I felt the adoration of my children on the “Mom Wall of Fame” housing nine seasons of love notes?
We all know our own flaws. It’s been said that we are our own worst critics and that’s probably true. I want you to ask yourself, “If I was meeting me for the first time, would I judge myself so harshly?” Would I even notice the chicken pox scar on my forehead or that stupid pimple on my nose? Probably not. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Embrace your gray hairs – they highlight your wisdom. Embrace the lines on your face – they show you have lived your life. Embrace your curves – for you are well nourished. Embrace your scars and stretchmarks – they prove that you a fierce warrior. In fact, you are a mother fucking bad ass who has possibly made some bad decisions, but decidedly made mostly right ones. Maybe you think didn’t change the world, but to your children you did. Maybe your home isn’t your dream house, but dammit, it’s yours and you worked hard for it. You didn’t grow up to be mayor of the town you love? You did grow up to become something and you work your ass off at it to support your family.