Monday, February 28, 2011

A blog break

Sorry, everyone. I will not be writing a blog entry this week. Too much going on. But I do have lots to talk about (as always). I had a pump incident this week, and my sugars climbed to 380. I had ketones and all. I changed my pump setting and was able to bring my sugars down after 24 hours. Of course, a freak out session ensued. I also participated in a focus group this morning for expectant moms and moms of kids under the age of 5. Very interesting stuff....Stay tuned!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Forgetful pregnancy moments

I read about why women become forgetful (and clumsy) during pregnancy in the absolutely amazing bestseller What to Expect When You are Expecting a few months ago, but for the life of me, I can’t remember why forgetfulness in pregnancy happens.

I know that something happens to your brain cells, probably something about hormones and the needs of the growing babies. All of the books and articles I’ve been reading insist that a pregnant woman’s brain cells do come back eventually (although people I’ve spoken to say otherwise). Forgetfulness during pregnancy, according to all the research, is completely normal.

In the meanwhile, my forgetfulness and truly dunce moments have been entertaining many, especially my husband Lior. So I thought I’d share a few of these funny moments with you in this week’s blog. Oh and by the way, I have been thinking about writing this topic for a week, but couldn’t remember any of the stories. Lior graciously reminded me of them this morning.

One of his favorites: The celery story.

We were preparing to go for a long car ride (don’t remember to where), and I was preparing to pack a lunch. I had a whole long lengthy discussion with Lior about what to pack. For whatever reason, the decision of what to pack to eat was really stressing me out that morning. He suggested cutting up some veggies like carrots and celery and adding a few cherry tomatoes, etc. Put them in a Ziploc bag making it handy for the ride.

I pulled out the celery, washed and cleaned them. I pulled out a cutting board and knife. And I started chopping them like crazy – like a celery psycho killer – as though I was preparing a salad. Wait not just a salad, but a super duper chopped salad.

I was in my own la la land. I may have even been humming a tune in my head. Lior looks at me, after discussing in detail moments before about how I would cut the celery for snacking, and he started laughing hysterically. I looked down at the cutting board, and let out an “Oh….”

I wound up having salad, and it tasted great.

Another one of his favorite pregnancy brain dead moments: The baby registry list and the car ride with my in-laws.

We went to create a baby registry a few weekends ago with my in-laws who were visiting. I had been reading all the books about what to buy and what not to buy. What’s a waste of money, what the best brands are, what you totally need and can’t live without, and so on. I have been attached to the latest editions of Baby Bargains and Consumer Reports and making lists.

I made the list of all lists. No other list could possibly rise above this list. I had everything on it. What we are registering for, and what we are buying ourselves. The types, brands, how many of each, fabric types, what to watch out for, what’s safe and what isn’t. You name it, it’s on this list.

We went to the store and registered for a whole slew of things. But there was still more to do. Please note: It takes HOURS to register for two babies. HOURS…DAYS…WEEKS….

And so I wrote what we still had to do on the list.

We packed ourselves up into the car to head home after a very, very long day. We were all exhausted. My father-in-law even took a nap at the store. I had the registry package and folder the store gave us in hand, receipts for the cribs we had ordered, a few shopping bags, and my purse. And as we sat down in the car, I decided to look at what was left on the list.

But I couldn’t find it!

I looked in my purse and in all the bags I had beside my feet. I looked in the folder the store gave us. But I could not find that darned list.

“Stop the car! Stop the car! We need to go back to the store!” I freaked out to Lior.

My in-laws started freaking out too, “What happened? What’s wrong?”

Bedlam had hit the car. “I can’t find my list! I can’t find my list! Let me check the trunk. Maybe it's there with the other things.” (We had done quite a bit of shopping that day.) I was freaking out by the thought of having to re-create that list from scratch. Days of research, all of that time spent, and all gone in an instant.

“We have to go back to the store,” I bellowed.

No one was in the mood for that. Lior was like, “Calm down….” He pulled the car into the nearest parking area. I got out of the car to check the trunk for my precious list.

“Ophir, I found it….” I heard Lior holler from the driver’s seat.

“You found it?” I headed back toward the car, “Where was it?” I hadn't even opened the trunk yet!

“You were sitting on it,” Lior was laughing.

Less entertaining forgetful pregnancy moments:

I forgot to pack bread in my lunch bag one day for work. I have also forgotten to take home my lunch bag. And I’ve also forgotten my Tupperware and dishes on the counter at work. To which I said to Lior, “Where has all our Tupperware disappeared to?” I looked at the shelves at work and lo and behold, there they were!

I forgot to bolus for insulin one morning. My sugar went so high! Woosh! Thankfully I wear a pump, and was able to correct it, which took that entire morning to fix. I kicked myself all morning for that one.

The countless times that I’ve dropped things, bumped into things….I’m sure there are many more moments that I simply can’t remember and Lior wasn’t there…

Pregnancy forgetfulness can be funny, and it can also be exasperating. I have been keeping lists for the really important stuff. And thankfully, I’m doing that, or I might get into some trouble.

But all in all, it’s par for the course of pregnancy, and they make for fun stories. And quite frankly, it’s helping me realize just how little some things really are in life, how mundane, and how easy it can be to let go when you don’t let small thoughts invade your mind. How worked up I can get over a list that won’t even be important in five months from now or Tupperware that can be replaced or found.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Because they’re usually gone in an instant, especially when you don’t remember them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A member of the pregnancy club

People who had hardly paid any attention to me, or had never spoken with me, are suddenly my best friends (okay, slight exaggeration). There are those people in my life who had never said more than a hello to me, and are now blowing me kisses. Strangers in stores have full length discussions with me concerning breast feeding and due dates. Friends and relatives that I haven’t spoken with in 15 or 20 years are suddenly calling, e-mailing, and contacting me with their experiences, advice, concerns….and of course congratulations.

I have entered the pregnancy club - or otherwise known as the ‘people who have children’ club.

I had no idea that I wasn’t a member of this exclusive club over the years. I knew I didn’t have children. I’m not completely oblivious. I guess I just didn’t notice that there was an actual club. That people would treat me differently. I noticed that I connected with some people and not with others. Totally natural, right? I never really thought that all I had to do was get pregnant and suddenly people would want to speak with me. Go figure.

I have my theories as to why:

1. People love feeling wise, and they love sharing their viewpoints, advice, and experiences in the world of children. It’s a chance for people to share of themselves.

2. Babies are just so cute, so innocent and pure, so untainted by the shenanigans of life. There’s a small window of opportunity for us jaded folks to tap into it, experience the joys of a new life, and enjoy its vibe. Before they grow up and enter the “mine” phase – or as Eckhart Tolle calls it in “A New Earth” – the developing ego.

3. Getting excited about pregnancy and babies is a way for people to feel connected. We are all connected on this planet – every single one of us is a being on this Earth. We all feel love, sadness, disappointment, gratitude. We are all going to die one day, and we all feel our bodies’ strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes this is hard to see and feel because we become encumbered by our differences. Bringing life into this world is a tangible way for people to feel connected with the other. People all over the world have babies – no matter what race, religion, or political ideology. Isn’t that nice?

Now that I have entered the club, I can’t help but ask myself: If I wasn’t pregnant, would you be talking to me? What about the people who aren’t “in the club”? Some people judge them. I know that Oprah has been badgered for years for not having children or getting married. Others feel pity for those without kids.

And then others, which I hope I’m a part of, accept that everyone has their own journey in life, their own experiences, and their own set of lessons to learn.

I say: Let’s do away with the club mentality – meaning, where someone has to be in the club in order to connect with them.

It’s fun to share about pregnancy and having children. Absolutely! I’m happy to be re-connecting with folks that I haven’t spoken with in years. I don’t want to dissuade people from sharing. My basic point is that although it’s fun to connect with people on things we have in common, it’s also great to thrive in our differences.

We are all connected. We’re all humans on this Earth - with emotions, feelings, hopes, and dreams. We all have a lot to share and wisdom to offer. We’re all grasping for the joys of life in our own way. So let’s listen to each other and learn.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Twin pregnancy, diabetes, and weight gain

Wow, I’m supposed to be gaining weight! How liberating!

With a twin pregnancy, I should gain anywhere from 35 to 50 pounds, according to all the doctors and information out there. I’m at 21 weeks and one day, and I have gained 16 pounds according to my doctor’s scale this morning. Am I right on track?

The fact that I’m supposed to gain weight – and not lose or maintain it – really sunk in one morning during one of my pre-natal work-out videos. I could not help but smile when I heard one of the instructors say: “This work-out is not meant for weight loss. It’s meant to make healthy moms and healthy babies.”

I’m working out not to shed those extra 10 pounds anymore! I’m exercising for pure and absolute health.

I was grinning from ear to ear. It was like a huge load had been lifted off of my shoulders. I have made myself crazy for decades about my body – that I need to lose weight, be thin, and so on. And here I am, the first time in my life, gaining weight – on purpose!!!

After being told to gain weight, I think I felt as though I received a permission slip to eat ice cream, steak, french fries, chocolate, crème brule…I have definitely been indulging in fattening luxuries. It’s for me and the babies. I’m eating for three, right?

Well, I’m not sure. I’ve been receiving mixed messages from my array of doctors. Perhaps I’ve been indulging too much?

I had an appointment with my OB/GYN on Thursday morning and one this morning with my endocrinologist. My OB/GYN said that my weight gain is right on target. My endocrinologist does not necessarily agree nor disagree but does want me to change some of my eating patterns of late. (I can’t really blame him for telling me, “no more ice cream.”)

On the one hand, my blood sugars have been fantastic; my endocrinologist said so this morning. My blood pressure is right on target. I had a twin anatomy and fetal echocardiogram on Monday. The first is a test that determines the growth of the babies and the echocardiogram is performed on diabetics because there are risks of heart problems in diabetic pregnancies. The good news is that the babies’ growth and weights are normal, and their heartbeats are perfect.

But they tell me that the real concern comes in the third trimester. That’s when the babies’ weights can get out of control, and out of control diabetics tend to have bigger babies. We want the babies to have healthy weights so that they make it to term. It gets crowded in there, and having larger babies can cause premature birth. (Please check with a doctor for medical advice on all matters related to diabetes and pregnancy. I’m not a doctor or a nurse, and am merely sharing my experiences.)

So what this all means is that although I felt liberated in the world of eating and began to splurge, I still need to watch my diet. Gain weight in a measured and steady way. For my health and the babies’ health.

Alas, with the weight gain, many body issues have surfaced. My feelings of being fat and huge have only been exaggerated since gaining pregnancy weight. And that little ounce of liberation felt so good.

How can I feel liberated all the time? Whether I’m trying to gain weight for the babies or whether I’m trying to keep a healthy weight when I’m not pregnant? Shouldn’t I always feel good about my body?

This is a big topic for me, I must admit. I think many diabetics go through body issues. How do you love your body when you are told that you need machines, medicine, and doctors to keep it going?

I can’t say that I’m an expert on this topic. I’d say I’m still learning, but I have come a long way from where I used to be. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Compassion and gratitude are the keys.

There are ways to bring these feelings into your life, into my life. But from my experience, it requires daily work. Otherwise, the old habits and patterns of thought come back very easily. And that's where I think my current lesson is.

Let's start with how I have developed compassion in my life. According to psychologist Dr. Matthew McKay, Ph.D. and Patrick Fanning, authors of “Self Esteem”, compassion comes through three steps: understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness.

First, you must understand why you feel the way you feel, where you are coming from, how you were conditioned to have those thoughts. In the case of a Type 1 diabetic, it may come from the stress of managing a chronic illness. It also may come from societal expectations, not only magazines with super skinny movie stars on the cover, but also the media discourse surrounding why people become diabetic. Let’s face it: Most media messages say that people become diabetic because they are overweight. And if you just lose that weight, you’ll be cured. Well, that’s not true in all cases, and it’s not true at all for Type 1 diabetics. But we still have to hear repeated messages that say just that on TV – quite often. It’s got to affect our body image, in my opinion.

Second is accepting that we are human, and we are all just trying to survive in the best way we know how. I’m sure you didn’t choose to have diabetes. I know I didn’t. But I have it. And I have a choice – take care of it and myself, or not. Accepting that you have diabetes, or whatever ailment whether physical or emotional, is so crucial to managing a disease.

Third is forgiveness. I used to be my own worst enemy, until I understood and accepted myself better. Then, I learned to forgive myself. That is liberating.

You can work on those three steps through journaling, meditation, talking with a therapist or a trusted friend, and so on. (Please consult with a doctor if you are feeling depressed or anxious. They will know best how to guide you.)

And then there’s gratitude. I started keeping a gratitude journal a year or so ago, after going through the stages of compassion. I write ten things that I’m grateful for most days of the week. It changes my day, and my attitude. Toward myself – and others. It’s really hard to feel bad about your body, or anything for that matter, when you are feeling grateful for them. It is impossible to feel bad about your body and grateful for your body at the same time. The two feelings cannot possibly co-exist.

All of these things, plus listening to doctors, diet, exercise, meditation, and so on, have made me love my body more. And as I said, I still have work to do on this one.

I’m grateful for this pregnancy for making me even more aware of it. I have gotten a taste of liberation, and now it’s time to make it a daily part of my life.