Thursday, February 14, 2013

38 Weeks: Weight Gain

Happy Valentine's Day! I usually take this day as an excuse to indulge in some chocolates, but I'm a bit limited in my sugar consumption this year... But that's okay because my life is definitely full of, if not overflowing with, love these days. This joyful anticipation of a baby girl is sweeter than any amount of chocolates!

Despite my no-sugar-eating, healthy diet, I've been gaining weight steadily - especially recently. The slowing down of the "last growth spurt" that's supposed to occur after 36 weeks hasn't happened for me. A pregnant woman's blood volume increases by ~50%, so I know a lot of it is water weight, but I've been gaining what seems like a steady ~1+lb/week. I swear I feel heavier every morning, and my belly feels tighter. I've been diligently doing my cat stretches, and I officially have a hard time bending over now - so much so that my husband helps me put my shoes on. And I'm such a first time pregnant woman - I'm constantly amazed at how big I'm getting.

Ever since being diagnosed with GD, I've been paying close attention to my weight, getting on the scale every morning as soon as I wake up and jotting down for my record. Though I'm not too sure about my accurate "starting weight," I'm pretty sure I've gained about 30 pounds so far. My weight sometimes fluctuates a bit, depending on how bloated I am, so I'm not sure if I'll gain more in total during the leftover duration of this pregnancy. A woman who starts at a 'normal' weight is expected/advised to gain 25-35 pounds, and underweight women more, and overweight, less. My first doctor suggested 35, and I remember thinking, wow, that's a lot of weight. But now I'm almost there...!! In terms of my measurements, my belly is right on target this week.

I've added a step to my belly moisturizing regimen. I use my regular Earth Mama Stretch Oil after showers, but I also use coconut oil before bedtime. I've heard that some women get stretch marks in the last couple weeks of pregnancy...! That would be a bummer, so I'm trying to  be careful - tho they say it's mostly your genetics and not so much the moisturizing. Still.. Better safe than sorry, right?

A bit earlier in my pregnancy, I used to have a lot of anxiety dreams, where someone is trying to harm my baby, and I'd turn into a beast and destroy all the perpetrators. Nowadays, I'm noticing my dreams have evolved into something more pleasant - well, I'm assuming because I don't really remember them. What does stay with me is that I'm always buoyant, and the baby is already out. I guess I'm looking forward to being lighter. As much as I think I might miss being this pregnant, I am definitely looking forward to being more mobile/agile/independent.

I started taking some GTF Chromium supplements at my midwife's suggestion. It's supposed to help with my insulin resistance, aka Gestational Diabetes. There aren't too many studies done to know the exact mechanism in which Chromium assists sugar metabolism, but it helps some people. She suggested I take 100mcg, twice a day. Being cautious about supplements in general, I decided to start with 100mcg/day after three days of reading about it. And to my pleasant surprise, it's helping. Not that my blood glucose was so out of whack before, but it's more stable now, even if I eat fruits in the mornings for example. I've been enjoying my apples, bananas, berries, and papayas more without worrying about my blood sugar. I even had some cookie the other night after a spicy dinner. Oh, and I might even have some chocolate tonight after dinner to celebrate Valentine's Day. :)

PHOTO at 38 weeks:
This baby could come any day now, and I definitely look it!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

37 Weeks: FULL TERM & impending changes

I'm officially full term today! It's pretty exciting, thinking this baby could come any day now. But of course, I'd like her to stick around in my belly for a few more weeks until our due date. I want her taking full advantage of the womb while she can.

I'm exhausted as I write. This past week has been full of classes and activities - perhaps why I had a rough time with eating and nausea. I am looking forward to not having gagging and vomiting as part of my regular existence. 

Another thing I've struggled with is my super sensitivity to smell. In the beginning, anything would set me off - the air that changes because of a swinging door for example. When I was completely bedridden, my husband always knocked before coming in, so I have time to prepare myself and hold my breath. 

Though those days have passed - thank goodness, I still have a hard time with personal products, like shampoo and lotion. I have a variety of pregnancy friendly products in my bathroom, accumulated throughout the past 9 months. But I still have to take it day by day and assess my condition before I choose which one to use. Good thing it was summer and humid when things were worse because I couldn't put anything on myself without getting sick. Now that it's winter and dry, I'm struggling with dry skin. 

My lips and hands have been chapped for the past 9 months, and this hasn't happened since I was in high school. Partly, it's because I have to prick my finger 4 times a day - for my hands anyway, but it's mostly because I get headaches and/or nauseated from the smell of lotions or scent/taste of lip balms - even if they're "mild," "natural," and/or "unscented." Some of my friends have suggested using pure oils. I've always been interested in going more natural with my products, but I've never been proactive about trying things out because I had a solid regimen that worked well for me - as in, I have sensitive skin, and I get these weird dry rashes if I try the wrong thing (which I'm kind of suffering with right now, and I'm not sure from what), so I've been using the same products for years.

Now that I'm having a baby, it's a great opportunity to switch over. All the products I've been using for years rank rather high in toxicity on, which didn't bother me too much before. But now, I can't help but to think about all the possible future repercussions. I started reading about coconut oil, shea butter, and almond oil, as some friends have suggested, and I tried them for the first time today. So far, so good. 

This baby's not even here yet, and I already feel different in the way I think. My focus is on this child and what I need to know and do to keep her healthy and happy. Sometimes, all the information out there is conflicting and overwhelming. I need to find that line of balance, where I can keep cool but also be mindful and decisive. 

My husband and I attended another childbirth class this week, along with a breastfeeding class. These classes are oh so informative. And everything seems to be falling into place. The thought of having to feed a helpless baby every 2-3 hours is tiring in itself, but then I remind myself how sleepless and difficult this pregnancy has been in general. I won't know until I'm there, but I feel educated enough to tackle it with confidence. Otherwise, I have a great support system set up to get me through it. 

The more I learn and take in this process of becoming a mother, I can't help but to think about my own mother. She had three children by the time she was my age, and she has always talked about this transition as the most wonderful thing she's ever experienced. What mothers go through is amazing to me, and I'm grateful to have a mom who was able to embrace motherhood as the best gift of her life. 

PHOTO at 37 Weeks: Snug in my belly, my little girl stretches a lot. I feel her feet by my right ribs. I push back with my hand, mostly because it hurts. But sometimes, I think I'll miss this interaction, so unique to this period in both of our lives. I will cherish it while it lasts, but I'm also ecstatic at the idea of meeting her.