Last time, with Lis, I was sick. So sick. I threw up all nine months. Before I begged for medication, I was dehydrated, throwing up water and air. No food was touching my lips without being immediately rejected. Even with the medication, it just made it so I could eat, once in a while at least. I ate what I could—some bread, mostly chicken and spinach and eggs. I wasn’t rolling in glorious baked goods or fruit or ice cream or whatever. And yet, I ended up with gestational diabetes.
I stuck to the diet plan, even though it was through Thanksgiving and Christmas. There was no pie; there were no cookies. I ate chicken and spinach and eggs. I grew to hate them as I either choked them down or threw them up. I still ended up on insulin, because diet alone couldn’t control it.
Gestation diabetes with hyperemesis gravidarum is a rather cruel combination, don’t you think? It’s just a real life Catch-22.
For, oh, two years before I got pregnant, I was working out, eating healthy, generally being pretty fit. Things were good! So when I found out I was pregnant, I was all—This time will be different. It’s like every word my doctor and nurses said to me slipped out of my brain and I was firm in my illusion of control. Last time, they told me it was likely nothing I could control, it was just my body’s reaction to pregnancy. No, no. This time, I will MAKE it different.
It has been different. I’ve been nauseous, occasionally throwing up, but not like last time. I’ve been able to keep working out four or five times a week. Last time, I threw up if I walked too fast, so. Not so much on the exercise. This time, I’ve eaten! Consistently! Good foods! Salads, veggies, lean meats, fruits, and so on. Very limited sweets, if any, because I mostly don’t like them anymore.
I drank the stupid orange drink in the beginning of May. They called me the next day to tell me I failed, and I needed to do the three-hour test. My heart just sank. “How much did I fail it by?” “Uh….a lot.” And so, I got a free pass to skip the three-hour test and go straight to stabbing myself with needles four times a day to check my blood sugar.
I immediately began logging everything I ate and my exercise, so when I went for my gestational diabetes “orientation” appointment, I handed the nurse my log. “This looks amazing,” she said. “I have high hopes that it will be different this time for you. You failed, but not nearly as badly as last time. Maybe we can keep you off insulin.”
I had spent a few days crying and feeling defeated, but lo! Here was hope. It will be different this time.
I’m meticulously logging my meticulous diet (lots of vegetables, no carrots or corn or potatoes, chicken, some ham, some red meat, eggs, almost zero fruit, almost zero dairy, but you can take my half and half in my tea from my cold dead fingers). I’m logging, often angrily, the numbers that seem to keep climbing no matter what I do. It was going to be different this time! The most rage and tear inducing one is the fasting number. I am literally asleep for 8 hours. I cannot do a damn thing about that number, and yet it creeps higher and higher. I tried protein before bed, I tried exercising before bed. Creep. Creep. Creep. Just like last time.
This probably means insulin, another needle to jab myself with, except much larger. I am going to have holes everywhere in me, leaking out…something. Will to care and try, I guess.
Insulin means induction. If I am on insulin, they won’t let me go past my due date. I wanted to avoid gestational diabetes for all the extra health complications, both during pregnancy and after; I wanted to avoid insulin, for all the same reasons; I for damn sure wanted to avoid an induction because that was awful. It was all supposed to be different this time. It’s not.
I’m not going to lie—in the deep recesses of my lizard brain, I desperately needed this to not happen. It feels like it’s all unfolding like before, and if this happened, and if I have to have insulin, and I have to be induced, my lizard brain tells me over and over that he too will have craniosynostosis. My rational brain knows this isn’t true, and there’s no real correlation there. The panic feeling that I am walking around with every day, constantly, says otherwise. I have to breathe deep when I feel it growing, and remind myself that I know why the panic is there, and that’s it’s not true.
It’s an odd feeling, feeling like you’ve been betrayed by your body. I am fit and healthy. I will never be tall and willowy, like the magazines want you to be. I am built like a tank, built for extreme sports or crossfit or whatever. I thought, for sure, that my Irish peasant build, meant for hard labor, meant I would be able to “do pregnancy” the right way. It would be something my body was good at. It’s not, and I feel betrayed. What the hell are you good for, anyway?
This time, it was not different.