Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Diabetes "Class"

This morning I left home at 7:30 to get to Bethesda for my 9:00 gestational diabetes orientation class.  This time it was a little different than it was back when I was pregnant with Faith.  Then I went for an entire afternoon, and a whole class of us were talked to by a nurse first, who explained how the testing worked, and then by a nutritionist, who told us how to meal-plan, and what to eat when. 

This morning, there were only 2 of us, and the nurse led us off to a small conference room.  She passed out the folders of info, and then started talking about how we would need to make an appointment with the nutritionist as well, since she was just a nurse and couldn't really help us with meal-planning.  She gave us the phone number, which I dutifully wrote down, and then she got the bright idea that she could call even today and see if we could get in and talk to the lady.  So she asked which we would rather do--try for today, or call ourselves and make a different appointment.  The other lady was quiet, so I spoke up, "Umm, well, this is my 9th baby, and my 2nd with gestational diabetes, and I still have all my information from the last time the dietician talked with me.  I've already been testing my numbers for a week, and things are fine . . . so I really don't want to have to talk to the dietician at all . . ."

The nurse looked at me, shocked ("Your 9th baby?!"), and asked me a few more questions to make sure I actually had my monitor set up and was doing everything I should be doing.  Then she looked at me with a puzzled look and said, "Who on earth made you come here today?!  I'll just note that you were here, but you don't have to stay!"  Woo-hoo!!  That was what I was hoping for! 

I did have to go back down to the actual OB clinic.  I'm testing my blood sugar 4 times a day, but the nurse-practitioner who put in the prescription wrote it for only a jar of 50 test strips (with 3 refills).  You can't get refills until about 10 days before the end of the month, because the provider is supposed to be writing the prescription to last a month.  Soo, I'll wait while you all do the math . . . but 50 strips, testing 4 times a day, means that bottle will last me about 12 days since I started testing last Wednesday.  And the N-P also didn't give a prescription for a big box of lancets, but rather for a box containing 25 lancets plus an extra poker-thing that the lancets go in (you already get one of those, plus 12 lancets, with the actual meter);  So--35 lancets, 4 times a day--that's less than 9 days!  I've been reusing the lancets, which is a big no-no.

So I went down to talk to the lady at the desk to see if I could speak to the clinic attending doctor and get a new prescription.  She took my ID card and disappeared off in the back with it, eventually poking her head back around to ask if I just needed the strips and lancets, or if I also needed medicine.  I never actually talked to a doctor, but she came back and told me the presciption was entered in, and I could go to the pharmacy to pick it up.  Yay!

But when I picked up the prescription, I was dismayed to find that once again, I only got 1 box of 50 (but with 6 refills this time, LOL).  Can doctors not do simple math?!?  Well, that will get me to my next appointment, which is Oct. 12, and then I will have to speak very slowly and clearly and explain that if I am testing 4 times a day for 30 days, then I need 120 test strips at a time!  I did get a big box of 200 lancets, so I'm good to go there for awhile.

My numbers in general have been really great (they're supposed to be under 105 when I wake up, and under 120 two hours after a meal).  I've had pretty much no troubles keeping them low--until Monday and Tuesday.  I think it is the stress of co-op!  I did have one odd thing happen.  This morning, right after I talked to the OB front desk (which made me nervous), it was time to test, since it was 2 hours after my breakfast.  I had eaten my usual breakfast of 1/2 c. bran flakes, milk, and a hard-boiled egg.  This pretty much always gives me a blood sugar reading of around 97.  I NEVER have problems with breakfast!  So I test, and my number comes up as 138!!  I was flabber-gasted!  But I was still feeling flustered from trying to explain everything to the desk lady, so I decided to just sit for a minute and relax, and then test again.  So I sat, breathed deeply, looked around, relaxed--for about a minute.  I had tested originally at 9:25, and so at 9:27 I retested.  My number this time?  100.  What in the world?!  There's no way my levels are actually fluctuating 38 points in 2 minutes, but what could it be?  Who knows?!  It did make me wonder if the high number I got after lunch on Tuesday (right before life science, when I realized I had completely forgotten to email notes to Celia for class, which made me flustered) would have been different if I had relaxed for a minute before testing!   Weird.

I've ramped up my exercising again.  It's been hard to fit it in, but I've been exercising for about 40 minutes in the morning after breakfast, and Bob and I have been taking a 40 minute walk almost every night after dinner.  That maternity support belt I bought from Amazon a few weeks ago has been WONDERFUL.  It has made such a difference in how comfortable I am with all the walking!  We'll see how long I can keep all that exercise up, though.  It's very disruptive to the day, especially the morning time.  Anna and Grace are definitely not getting very much time spent on their schooling, although sometimes I do stuff with Anna in the evenings.  But I'm so tired by the time evening rolls around (no time for naps in the afternoon--must do more school or run errands/get people to appointments!), and that is also when I have to work on biology prep, which is taking a lot of brain power.  Oh well--less than 9 more weeks!  We're in single digits!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cell Phone Saga Update

You may recall that back in the beginning of August, we went to a wedding in St. Louis, and Micah made a name for himself by microwaving our cell phones (nickname of his alter ego, courtesy of his Uncle Terry:  "Chef Micah-wave").  So since then Bob's been using the boys' phone, friends of ours gave us their old phone to replace the boys' phone (thanks again, Steve and Jenny!!), and I've kept using mine, which has limped along.  It definitely was no longer "smart" in the sense that pretty much all it could easily do was make and receive calls, and even then I never used my contact list, because it was impossible to back out of it.  So I kept it on "dialer" and only dialed numbers I knew, LOL.  And I never checked messages either!  But I could make calls, and the boys and Bob could call me (pretty much the only people who call me on my cell, LOL), so things were good.

The funny thing is that I really wasn't happy with the phone since we got it back in March (it was a Droid Bionic).  I had problems from the get-go when it wouldn't access the internet, even on the vaunted "4G network" of Verizon.  Also it would randomly turn itself onto airplane mode frequently, and I would have no idea, so I would miss calls because I wouldn't think to check that my phone was actually in the mood to receive calls.  Sometimes I would be unable to access my voicemail for weeks at a time.  And it would start taking longer and longer to answer.  Eventually the delay would be about 10 seconds, so people would hang up, while I was frantically saying, "Hello!  Hello . . .  hello? . . . HELLO!! . . . "  Soooo annoying.  I would take it in to Costco, and the nice guy in the cell phone booth would take out stuff and put stuff back in, reset everything to factory settings, etc., and things would be normal for a few days before it would gradually go back to its old tricks. I also dropped it out of the diaper bag while getting out of the big van back in May, and the top left corner of the screen was all cracked--again, the touchscreen kept working, but it certainly looked worse for wear after only a few months!

I have to say, microwaving cured all the technical problems!!  The phone never ONCE turned itself onto airplane mode during August and September!  I guess it considered itself warned, LOL.  I do have to add that while I don't really recommend microwaving as a fix for whatever ails your cell phone processor, Micah would be glad to volunteer to do the microwaving, should you choose that route.

Anyhow, the problem was that we still had to pay for a smartphone each month, even though we didn't actually have a "smart" phone.  The solution we came up with was to get a new phone and add an extra line.  We bought another cheap dump phone off Amazon to actually take the new number, and we decided to get . . . an iphone, since everyone we know with one really loves it. 

Bob went to the Verizon store at 6:00 on Friday (second person there--he could have slept even later, although people did start trickling into line after him, and by 8:00 there was a good-sized line).  So he walked out with an iphone 5 (Nathan:  "YOU got an IPHONE 5?!  We never get anything new!!").  The phone wasn't activated until yesterday, and then, in slightly ominous fashion, the activation didn't work right, so I couldn't call anyone or connect to the network . . .  We took it back to the Verizon store yesterday afternoon, and the nice lady there reset something and it started working.  I'm beginning to think the problem is me!!  Cell phones sense that I don't know what I'm doing, like a horse with a new rider, and proceed to cause mischief or something . . . 

So far, the phone seems nice.  I'm sure I am not the right person to fully appreciate all its so-called wonders, LOL.  It makes and receives calls (now, anyway), AND the "home" button works!!  So if anyone has any great suggestions for what this phone should be doing for me to make my life easier, please let me know!  I did enter a ton of things onto the calendar, so now hopefully I won't again make the mistake of scheduling an OB appointment for 1:00 at Bethesda on the same day where I had previously scheduled dentist appointments for 7 kids starting at 10:00, and an orthodontist appointment for Jonathan at 1:30.  Oops!  (OB appt. got moved, LOL.)

One thing we are hoping to use a lot is the camera.  Our camera broke at WSS, so we've been using our very old digital camera, the one we got before Anna was born.  It's kind of a pain to get the pictures off the camera onto the computer, though.  We're hoping that is easier with the pictures on the iphone.  It will be nice to not have to always remember to take a separate camera everywhere we want to take pictures, especially when the new baby comes (less than 10 weeks!!). 

So now we can really say we have joined the 21st century, I guess!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pregnancy Update

Now I'm 29 weeks and a few days. This morning I took my 3-hour glucose test bright and early at Bethesda.  I left at 6:40 and was able to start the test at 7:45, so I made good time.  One thing that really frustrated me when I took the test with Faith was that I had to have my blood drawn first for a fasting number, then wait until those results got back, and THEN I could drink the nasty glucola stuff and start the test.  That took like an extra 40 minutes!  But this time they still drew for a fasting number, but I could drink the stuff right away, so that was much nicer.  I was back home around 11:40. At least I got some biology done!

They should call Monday, I expect.  I have an old glucose monitor, plus some old test strips, and I have been monitoring my levels occasionally after meals.  They have been either on the high side of normal (after breakfast and lunch), or just higher than they should be (dinner), even with exercising, so I am sure I have gestational diabetes again.  The only thing that could potentially be off is that the monitor/test strips are several years old, and I can't make sure the monitor is calibrated, because the testing solution was way old and gave wayyyyy wonky readings when I tried test strips with it.  But still, I'm expecting a call on Monday.  And I'm okay with it, I guess.  What I really don't want to do is sit through the 3 hour nutritional orientation thing again!!  Oh well.  I just hope those aren't offered only on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons or something.

I also called and scheduled my follow-up ultrasound today.  It's going to be at 10:30 on Oct. 19.  I'll be over 34 weeks then, and the doctors wanted it to be around 32 weeks, but oh well.  They were actually the ones who messed things up!  You may not remember, but when I had my regular ultrasound (which was early--I was only 17 weeks), my placenta was over my cervix some, so the tech told me I need to have a follow-up ultrasound to see if it moved.  She told me to call at 26 weeks to schedule the ultrasound for 32 weeks.  So I called a few times.  They never answered, but the message said to leave your name, sponser's last 4, etc. and they would call right back.  But they never did.  So I went to my appointment on Monday, where the nurse practitioner I was seeing told me I needed to schedule this ultrasound!  I told her I'd been trying, but no one ever called me back. She said that was because there wasn't actually an order in the system.  Someone thought they would just do a quick ultrasound in the exam room, instead of an ultrasound over at prenatal assessment, but when they ran that by the head doc, he said, no, she needs to have a formal ultrasound done, down in the regular radiology department!  So the lady put in the order after my appointment, but it had to go through Tricare (?), and I couldn't call until now.  And Oct. 19 is the first available slot.  Originally I was really not terribly concerned--I assumed the placenta would move--but when the doctor said I needed a formal scan, I will admit to being a trifle more concerned now!  We'll see what happens, I guess.  No sense worrying about what you can't do anything about!

As far as physical symptoms go, I have already started having the pubic pain that is always so bad for me at the end of pregnancy.  I just carry so low, and my abdominal muscles are shot after all these pregnancies (and big babies, LOL)!  I found this maternity belt on Amazon.  It got good reviews and wasn't too expensive, so I ordered it, and it arrived Wednesday.  I love it!  It's not too big, so it's comfortable to wear.  I especially have been wearing it when I stand up a lot, and when I exercise, and it really has been helping suppport my poor low belly.  The pubic pain is much less, which gives me hope for the remaining 10 or 11 weeks! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Old" Mom

I was reading a thread on the Well Trained Mind forums a few days ago where someone was talking about how she felt like an "old mom".  She meant that since her oldest was in college and her youngest was 7, she couldn't relate to the moms with only young kids anymore, and she felt really old.  Well, I'm obviously not there right now--I can relate plenty well to new moms and moms with only young kids!  But I am still feeling a difference though.

I got an email Monday morning about something we were supposed to have for all our kids Tuesday monring for our elementary co-op.  I missed half the kick-off moms' meeting last Tuesday, since I had to run back here and teach biology, so obviously I missed that announcement.  We didn't have that supply (1/4 inch binders for all 4 elementary kids) just lying around, so you know what I did? Nothing.  Well, I found folders, but I definitely didn't run to a bunch of stores that may or may not have had school supplies left to see if I could track down small binders.  I can no longer organize my life around my elementary kids.  I used to, though!  TNT was the only thing we had going on some weeks, and I could totally plan my life around it!  Now it is pretty much one of the last things on my priority list, LOL.  I feel old and jaded. 

Another thing I've been thinking about is how I have a totally different frame of mind, as far as how I go about dealing with babies and their stuff, than someone who is just having a new baby.  I put my babies to sleep on their tummies if they're happier that way (so far all have been, LOL), I use crib bumpers, and you won't be able to pry my drop-side cribs (yes, cribS--we have 2 of them, plus actually a third, if we could just find the hardware!) out of my hands!  I don't rear-face until 2 or 12 or 22 or whatever the new recommendation-du-jour is (rear-facing carseats don't fit well in a big van, especially one where 10 or 11 of the seats are filled!), I don't cut up my baby's food into tiny pieces once they get a bunch of teeth (happens before a year for us, LOL), and I don't have a child-proofed house anymore.  I guess what you realize, as you go through wave upon wave of "danger! danger!" articles in magazines like "Parenting", is that life is dangerous.  And there is always some new recommendation to throw away/stop/burn/whatever something you've always thought of as just fine, or something that you think your child is well-capable of doing.  And you can either live in a constant state of fear, wondering if what you are doing is the next hugely avoidable danger, or you can just live your life, making the best decisions you can that take into account the entire family, realizing that you can never mitigate all possible danger and you will likely make yourself insane if you try to.  I'm not saying I'm not careful--I think I am.  But I don't obsess.  There's no time!  In fact, I don't even have time to read all those alarmist parenting magazines, so most of the time I'm out of the loop on what I'm supposed to be worried about in the first place!  But thinking about all that makes me feel like a fuddy-duddy.  Hardly anyone that grows up with Micah or this new baby will have used a crib bumper!  Weird!

One last thing I've been thinking about is playdates.  I used to live for these.  Adult conversation!  New playmates and toys for the kids!  Now I have to make a conscious effort to schedule a playdate, and to be honest, if it doesn't happen in the summer, it probably isn't going to happen.  I just don't have time most weeks to be able to just sit and chat, much as I would LOVE to.  (Big exception:  talking to first-time moms about labor/childbirth and the newborn stage.  I LOVE doing this, and I definitely make time for those conversations!!)  Now, I can babysit your kids, especially if they'll just play with my kids, so I can still get my own stuff done!  But I'm also not lacking for adult conversation anymore.  I have great chats with Nathan and Luke, and even Caleb and Jonathan!  I feel like I'm being stretched and challenged mentally with this AP biology.  It's just . . . different now, then when I only had littles.  Makes me feel old!

So it's definitely odd to be spanning 2 extremes--dealing with high school stuff (I need to register Nathan to take the PSAT in October, and to figure out driver's ed, since he can get his learner's permit after Christmas) and thinking about giving birth and nursing again, while keeping all my other plates spinning.  I'm not an old OR a young mom!  I'm just a busy mom, LOL.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Catching Up

I know, I know--it's been forever since I posted anything!  Several people have commented on it.  I truly have been very, very busy.  This biology thing is taking up tons of time for me to be prepared!  And if on some evening, I am not doing biology (a rarity, for sure), then I am just so tired that I don't feel like I can coherently compose my thoughts to post.

So, what have we been doing, besides biology.  Well, for one thing football is once again in full swing for Nathan and Luke.  For the month of August, that meant practices for both of them every weeknight from 6:00-8:00 in 2 different locations.  Now that school has started, they are down to 3 nights a week, but Tuesday and Wednesday they both have practice, so we have the same time traveling issue we had during August. 

Another thing we spent a good week on was attempting to prune back our ginormous willow oak tree in the front yard.  Branches were starting to touch our roof and were way overhanging the road, so Bob bought a new loper-thing that reached 16 ft., and we got to work.  For 3 consecutive trash days, we filled both big rolling trash containers, plus had a bunch of 4 ft. bundles.  The morning after our first big trimming attempt, Nathan and I were bundling branches, and our neighbor across the street came out.  He asked if we were cutting down a tree in our back yard, LOL.   We told him it was all from the tree in the front yard, and he just said, "Woah . . . that is a big tree . . . "  All our work and you couldn't even tell we'd done a thing!
Here are the size of our "bundles".  We must have had 20 bundles total.  We trimmed a ton of branches!  The trimming was kind of fun (and scary, steadying the ladder as Bob reached and reached . . .), but the picking up and bundling was horrible.  My poor aching back!!  And my legs and arms looked like I had been whipped for a serious offence, LOL.  I think we were all quite grateful to be done with that chore for awhile!
Now that is the last picture that will be posted on the blog for awhile, because we discovered this past weekend, while we were at a wonderful retreat at White Sulphur Springs, that our camera is broken!  Something is wrong with the lens, and it won't come out when we turn the camera on.  We had problems a few weeks ago getting it to go back in, but when it is stuck in, there is no way to pull it out.  Oh well.  So unfortunately no pictures of the weekend at WSS.  It was really, really fun, although again, during pretty much all the free time, I had my nose buried in the biology book.  The speaker spoke on reconciliation and peacemaking.  I am hopeful that what he shared will bear fruit for the boys and thier relationships, especially.   It was really good!  And it was so fun to see old friends from Wright-Pat, plus my parents.  I think this weekend had the best mix of families/kids.  There were a TON of kids of all ages, so all our kids were just running around, doing fun things with friends.  It was great!

And then on Tuesday, Rivendell started, so now we're up and going in full swing.  That means I am now teaching 3 classes, although life science and memory work don't take up even a fraction of the prep time that biology takes.  I think it is going to be a great year for the boys--now if we moms can just get through it too, LOL.  I told someone, "If I can just make it to the end of May . . ."  Of course, May is a long ways off . . . and I'll be nursing a new baby too by then . . . Yes, I think it's going to be a long year! 

Speaking of new babies, I failed my 28 week 1-hour glucose test, so I have to schedule the 3 hour one.  I'll probably do that the end of next week.  I am seriously panicking at the thought of keeping track of times to check my blood, portion sizes, balanced snacks, etc.  I definitely am feeling like I can't handle one more thing, but that is how I felt when I was pregnant with Faith as well, so I am sure I will in fact have gestational diabetes.  Somehow I'll deal with that too, but right now I am simply not seeing how I'll be able to control it with diet and exercise, like I did with Faith.  I do not have the extra time to exercise after pretty much every meal, like I did with her.  It's just not there.  It takes too much time to work with Caleb, Jonathan, Anna, and Grace, as well as do the biology.  So I am trying to prepare myself that I'll probably have to go on pills. 

So now you're all caught up with our busy-yet-not-exciting life!