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August 2008


August 1, 2008

It's official: I have gestational diabetes.

My OB says I need to go back to the perintologist (high risk pregnancy doctor), and they will decide how to proceed. Certainly diet will be a big part of my treatment, but my doc seems to think they'll want me to check my blood sugar level regularly, and will probably put me on medication, too.

My glucose was considerably off. Three hours after drinking the sugary stuff, my levels were 210 mg/dl. 140 or higher is considered diabetic.

I'm pretty bummed.

Mostly I'm concerned about baby Zane's health, but my OB says that as long as we control the gestational diabetes, more than likely he will not have blood sugar issues at birth. However, he is at increased risk for jaundice (which isn't too big a deal as long as it's not bad enough he has to be in the NICU). Also, my OB mentioned that if they do put me on medication, sometimes--rarely--the placenta gives out and they must deliver early.

To this, my hubby replied, "Well, Rarities R Us!" It has seemed that way :( We pray that won't be the case, however.

August 1 (part II)

I forgot to mention that I measured out at 32 weeks today! I've been measuring about two weeks ahead, so this was a sudden jump. My OB says it may be that the diabetes is making me retain fluid.


August 3, 2008

Even though I haven't received full instructions from the nutritionist yet (I can't even call to make an appointment until tomorrow morning), I've been following my OB's basic dietary guidelines for gestational diabetes. Already I feel a whole lot better. All that fatigue (and nausea and dizziness) I thought was connected to me being exhausted because of my new job apparently was connected to the GD instead. I actually have energy in the afternoons now (although I still get a little tired).

I think I've lost some water weight, too. My pants keep sliding down.

I have noticed that if I don't eat regularly (no longer than three hours between meals), I quickly become dizzy and nauseated. Hubby even says I look poorly. But as soon as I eat, I'm fine.

My biggest question right now is if an elevated heart rate is connected to the GD. Two nights in a row, I've noticed I've had a high heart rate while relaxed. Tonight, I took my blood pressure; it was just fine, but my heart rate was 99.

In the meantime, Miss A. continues to entertain us. Several days back, hubby, Anastasia, my mom and I went to a restaurant. Anastasia's only been to a restaurant twice. The first time, she was in awe, and was perfectly behaved. The second time, we put her in a high chair instead of a booster seat, and she wiggled and nagged us the whole time...but was still relatively good. This time, when we walked into the place, she said, "Is this a restaurant?" I think she sees going to one as a great privilege.

She sat, well behaved, in her booster seat and kept her voice down and ate fairly well. And when we left, she waved at everyone and repeatedly said, "Bye bye! See you later! See you at dinner!"

Another thing she sees as a privilege is being allowed to walk--not ride in a cart or stroller--in a store. She's very good about holding our hands and not touching things. Recently, hubby was in charge of Miss A. during a store visit, but he wanted to buy something large enough he needed to carry it with both hands. So he told Miss A. to hold onto his pocket and not let go.

She stuck to him like glue. Even when I came along and took her hand, he had to tell her it was okay to let go before she would :)


August 6, 2008

I saw the nutritionist today. All in all, it was an encouraging visit. She says I may have been more strict about carbs than I need to be; she gave me a typical range to shoot for, and told me to experiment. (Maybe I will get to taste Miss A.'s birthday cake after all!) She also taught me how to prick my finger and test my blood. Unfortunately, it's hard for me to get much blood out of my finger...Trying to do it myself for the first time, I wasted three testing strips. I suppose I'll get the hang of it soon.

We tested my blood in her office, and my glucose levels were great. I tested again after lunch, and they were a little high. So we'll see how it goes.

She also says that I'll become more diabetic the longer I'm pregnant, so I will need to adjust my diet as I go.

So the plan is for me to record my blood sugar for a week, calling in my numbers to the perintologist on Monday, then seeing him in person on Thursday. They'll do an ultrasound then, too, so we should find out if my placenta previa has cleared up.  


August 6 (part II)

I just received an email from a faithful reader, questioning where my placenta previa suddenly came from. She'd forgotten that back in May, the docs said I had this condition. (See my May 19th post.) That's my fault. For one thing, I haven't mentioned the placenta previa much because it hasn't been an issue and both my OB and perintologist assured me it was minor and would go away on its own. (Although they did want to do another ultrasound at about 28 weeks to make sure my body cooperated the way they thought it should.)

And for another thing, when I posted last, I was in a daze. Ever since my diagnosis of gestational diabetes, I've been having a half sandwich for lunch. Today, after I spoke with the nutritionist, she felt I could eat a whole sandwich. So I did. And I felt awful afterwards. I didn't need to test my blood to know my sugars were off. I wrote my last post in this hazy state, and had an extremely difficult time writing clearly.

As it turned out, my blood sugar an hour after eating lunch was 156. Since my goal is to be no more than 140, this may seem like no big deal. But there I was, suddenly exhausted and nauseated. (Please note that women with gestational diabetes have lower target numbers than other types of diabetics.)

At dinnertime, I had a very low carb meal: Baked chicken and broccoli. And I felt so much better! (That time, an hour after eating, my blood sugar was only 98.) In fact, I'm feeling so energetic, I can't sleep, even though it's past my regular bedtime.

So I made a "Pin-the-Tail on Eeyore" poster and tail for Anastasia's Winnie the Pooh birthday party this weekend. And then I checked my email. And now I'm updating the website...And I still have energy to spare!


August 8, 2008

Anastasia has been cracking us up with her prayers lately. Tonight, she prayed for a few things, then paused. So her daddy said, "How do you end a prayer?" Miss A. replied, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!" And proceeded to sing the song.

A few nights back her prayer was: "Dear Jesus, please bless this door [as she pointed to her bedroom door]. And mine princess dress when it is off [pointing to a dress up outfit hanging nearby]. And please bless this bed that keeps me warm at night, dear Lord I pray."

I have no idea where she got the phrasing for the last line. That's not wording my husband or I use.

Miss A. is also terribly excited about her birthday, which we are celebrating on Sunday. (Can you believe she'll be three???) About a week ago, she said she wanted birthday hats (the cone-shaped kind), so that sent us on several shopping trips; they aren't so easy to find! She keeps asking for her birthday cake, and says, "Can I have my birthday party now?"

I've been a little frustrated with my gestational diabetes. My numbers first thing in the morning are high, even when I eat a snack and go right to bed. I'm not sure I can do much about that. Then I was having trouble with my numbers at lunch. It turned out I just needed to add some protein. But I've been eating below 30 carbs a meal, which the nutritionist says is too low. If I raise the carb count, however, my blood sugar soars. If I get more diabetic as the pregnancy continues (as the nutritionist said I would), I'm afraid I may end up on medication. :(


August 11, 2008

I spent most of Saturday day and night of Saturday making cakes: A pineapple upside down cake for my hubby (whose birthday is two days before Anastasia's) and one rather complicated cake for Anastasia. Thankfully, my mom came by to keep Anastasia occupied, but even so, she about drove me crazy asking, "Can I eat mine birthday cake now?"

The day before the party, wearing a silly hat. See the circles under her eyes? The poor dear was way too excited to sleep!  

Next year, I won't choose a cake design that's quite so challenging. I bought a 3D Winnie the Pooh pan and planned to set the resulting chocolate Pooh bear on a platform of a two layer carrot cake. (Anastasia loves carrot cake.) I researched it, and everyone said to stick a couple of dowels up Pooh's rear end, and he'd stay put just fine. Well, the 3D Pooh turned out just fine, and I managed to stick him onto the carrot cake okay. But as I was frosting the cake (and yes, frosting Pooh's features was difficult), the carrot cake began to fall apart. It just wasn't firm enough to hold a chubby Pooh.

So I ended up removing Pooh and decorating Pooh and his platform separately. Then, at the party, just before singing "Happy Birthday," I put Pooh back in place and had a "spotter" make sure he didn't fall. It was a bit disastrous, but I think Miss A. liked the cake, anyway. (Incidentally, she's going to think that after "Happy Birthday," the candles stop glowing, then you have to stop and relight them before you can actually blow them out. This happened not only at her party, but at a recent friend's party.)

And for the record, yes my gestational diabetes did prevent me from having any cake.


(Left): The infamous Pooh cake. (Right): After eating all the frosting off the slice of Pooh head I gave her, Miss A. helps herself to some more frosting.

The Pooh theme was perfect for Miss A. this year. The morning of the party, she walked into the kitchen after awaking and was so excited to see the balloons and Pooh bear banner. Then she "helped" me inflate the helium balloons: Various solid colors, plus a large Mylar Winnie, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore. My hubby grumbled just a little about the cost of those fancy, disposable balloons, but they were a huge hit. More than anything else she received yesterday, she's been playing with her balloons :)

We only have family at birthday parties, but this means four little cousins for Miss A. to play with. While we waited for them to arrive, I was worried about Anastasia. She's been so exited, she hasn't sleep much, and she wasn't behaving very well. For example, I'd set out some un-inflated punch balls and Winnie the Pooh paddle sticks as party favors for the kids, and she kept trying to play with them, insisting they were hers. Oy. I was really worried she was going to be bratty at the party. But once everyone got there, she was thankfully well behaved.

Miss A. is always so tired at her parties (because she's excited about them and therefore doesn't sleep well), she's glassy-eyed most of the time. However, she needed less help than before opening presents. And while she liked everything a lot, her favorites seemed to be books (which she tried to sit down and read right away) and clothes.



My mom got Miss A. a realistic baby boy doll, baby bed, an stroller; she loves them! Anastasia's been asking for a wagon for well over a year. We finally bought her one. She can't wait to put it together with Daddy!

Anastasia wanted to turn her party hat into a "princess hat."

The party hats were a favorite; Miss A. wore her's all day, and is wearing another one today. The pin-the-tail-on Eeyore game that I made went okay. I didn't want to use push pins, because I felt Anastasia was a little young for that, so I chose double-sided tape. Unfortunately, it wouldn't stick! Even so, Miss A. seemed to like the game, and flattered my amateur artwork by asking if we could put Eeyore in her room, on the wall.  

Playing pin-the-tail-on-Eeyore.

She also delighted in blowing out her candles and in having a picnic with her cousins. When it came time for the cousins to go home, she tried to insist on going with them. Later, completely unbidden, Miss A. said, "I had a very nice birthday party."

Just for fun, check out this photo of Anastasia at her party last year. How she's grown!


Her grandma and grandpa's gift to her this year was a toddler bed, complete with new, silky bedding and coordinating curtains. We set up the bed in the afternoon, and she was delighted with it. She even crawled into the bed to test it out. One of her aunts bought a coordinating, decorative butterfly pillow to go with Miss A.'s new decor; when Anastasia opened the package, she threw the butterfly into the air, saying "Fly!" Miss A. insisted on using that butterfly pillow for her head, putting it over the ultra-soft regular sleeping pillow we bought her.

We set up the bed at nap time, so it was in the living room initially. Here, Miss A. tries it out.

In order to get the new bed into Miss A.'s room, we had to remove the crib. And in order to get the crib out of her room, my hubby had to completely dismantle it. There was no going back! Miss A. knows her baby brother will use the crib, and she seems to like that idea. And she was excited to use her new bed. But when bedtime came, it was difficult for her to adjust. Granted, not only was the bed new, but she had a pillow and a new, softer mattress to deal with.

We put her to bed at her usual time (7pm), but she didn't fall asleep until a little after 9pm. I actually teared up; my little baby is sleeping in a toddler bed now! We heard her compliment her butterfly pillow, and say, "I want mine blue blanket and red bed!" (her crib bedding is in these colors). Later, we heard, "I not worry, I not worry."

She was trying so hard. My hubby snuck in a couple of times to check on her. She never once got out of bed.

And while I hoped she'd sleep in this morning, she was up at her usual time. The first thing she said was, "I love mine beautiful butterfly pillow." Next was, "Mommy, I need to get out mine bed!" (We won't tell her she can get out of it herself; she'll figure that out soon enough.)

Nap time today should be interesting!

Just trying it out, but looking pretty sleepy!


August 12, 2008

Today is Anastasia's actual birthday, but we didn't confuse her with this information :) It's so hard to believe my little 1 lb. 13 oz. baby is now three years old!

Tomorrow I see the perintologist about the gestational diabetes. My blood sugar numbers are okay, but always high-ish in the mornings, and occasionally after meals, too. It will be interesting to see if the docs are okay with me still trying to control my blood sugar with diet only. I will have an ultrasound, too. Maybe they can estimate the size of baby Zane. I'm thinking my tummy is big enough we shouldn't buy any newborn clothes...

Miss A. has been doing well at nap time. She hasn't actually napped (a phase she's going through), but she stays in her bed the entire time. Today when I came into her room to get her up, she saw me and hopped out of bed. She just knows she's supposed to stay in bed, I guess.

She hasn't gotten herself out of bed in the mornings, either. This morning, I awoke to her sobbing, "Mommy, I need mine butterfly pillow!" It had fallen onto the floor, and apparently I was the only one who could rescue it.

Last night, we put Anastasia to bed at 6:30pm and she promptly fell asleep. Tonight, even though she initially asked for her crib, she also fell asleep promptly in her big girl bed.

We started potty training again today. This time, she seems really open to it, and whenever I ask if she needs to use the potty, she says "yes." She spent most of today in Pull-Ups because we were out and about, and while she never went in the potty, and she never asked to sit on the potty, I was impressed when, at a friend's house, she sat on the sort of child's potty seat that sits atop the adult toilet.

Miss A. is still wearing her paper birthday hat, and this morning she told a friend, "I eat Pooh every day!" (Meaning her Pooh cake, of course!)

Yesterday evening, she helped her daddy put together her new red wagon. She piled stuff into it and pulled it around, and when her daddy let her take a ride in it, she said, over and over, "Oh, thank you, Daddy! Thank you! I always wanted one!"

Another little tid-bit: At one point, I hit my head on a cabinet door, and she said, "Mommy, are you okay? You're all right. Daddy will make you feel better." (It was her daddy who held an ice pack to her head when she hit her head so badly a few weeks ago.)


August 13, 2008

The ultrasound was really neat today. Because baby Zane is older, and this particular operator used more of the 3D feature on the ultrasound machine, we really could make out his features:  


The perintologist says he looks great; this doc claims the baby's age is almost 31 weeks, whereas my OB (who accounted for my long cycle) says he's more like almost 30 weeks. For a 31 weeker, he's in the 51 percentile for size, so he's not huge. The perintologist says if we can keep my blood sugars controlled, he probably won't end up a 10 lb. baby. One of his kidneys is slightly enlarged, but the perintologist isn't worried about this. (Although he'll keep his eye on it, of course.) And my placenta is now where it's supposed to be...Yeah!

I will be starting medication today, however. My morning blood sugar has been consistently high, and although I eat exactly the same breakfast every day, my after-breakfast numbers are creeping up. Too, I can't eat as the nutritionist suggests. For example, I'm supposed to be able to have 3 cups of popcorn as a snack, but I tried it once and became really nauseated, headachy, and sensitive to light. We're going to try a pill first: glyburide; it's been around for over 10 years, and is not the pill that's currently controversial for pregnant women. Glyburide doesn't cross the placenta, so it doesn't affect the baby.

In some rare instances, it can make a person's blood sugar go too long, and among some people, it won't correct blood sugar enough. If I turn out to be one of those lucky people, I'll get to take insulin. In the meantime, I take this pill twice a day, and call in my blood sugar twice a week until we get the dosage just right.

I asked about medication causing the placenta to give out, and the perintologist said I misunderstood my OB on this count. It's not the medication that causes problems, but diabetes itself. It's mostly a problem for people with uncontrolled diabetes, but if you have gestational diabetes bad enough that you need meds, there is a chance the placenta could give way and the baby end up stillborn. However, between controlling my blood sugars and monitoring the baby closely, the doc says my chances of having this happen are actually less than if I was perfectly healthy.

I'm scheduled for another ultrasound in a month.

Anastasia, by the way, cracked us up during the ultrasound. At one point, when they were measuring baby Zane's head, she said, "Oh look! There's baby brother's head, and it has letters on it!" (The ultrasound operator was typing, which shows up on the screen where we can see the baby's picture.) Another time, when they were looking at Zane's boy parts, Miss A. said, "And there's baby brother's nose!"

August 17, 2008


Okay, maybe it's my imagination, but I think I see a resemblance here. On the left, is my first photo. On the right, of course, is baby Zane's recent 3D ultrasound :)

I can't tell you how happy we are that I'm passed the 30 week mark. This is a HUGE milestone! It's also how long I was hoping to hold onto Anastasia; I'd read that babies born premature, but after 30 weeks have far fewer medical complications.

Not surprisingly, baby Zane has his own unique in utero personality. Whereas Miss A. was always sucking her fingers during ultrasounds (and, indeed, still has them in her mouth a lot of the time now), Zane never does. And while I never felt Anastasia move, Zane likes to give me a good swift kick. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like to hold a "big" (i.e., normal sized) baby first thing...and not have to worry about things like apnea monitors, reflux medicine, and preemie feedings. And, we pray, to bring home our baby at the same time I come home from the hospital.  


August 18, 2008

Miss A. can be a very stubborn girl. (This was a blessing when she was in the NICU, but now...not so much.) I'm trying hard to get her to be more independent. She usually refuses to dress herself, for example...or even try to dress herself. "You do it, Mommy," she says. And sometimes she's even more ridiculous. Today, for example, as she sat on her potty chair, she pulled a magazine out of a basket and "read" it. When she was done, she said, "You put it away." I told her she'd taken the magazine out, so she should put it back in. We ended up having a show down. Finally, I had to threaten to send her to bed if she wouldn't do it herself. After a moment's protest, she put the magazine away all by herself...and did just fine.

This evening, she wanted me to hold her while we prayed. (Her prayer: "Jesus, I need to pray to you because it's big*. Jesus, thank you for Anastasia. Thank you for Mommy. Thank you for Daddy. Thank you for Eeyore [hanging on the wall]. Thank you for his nostrils. Thank you for mine nostrils...") Afterwards, I laid her down in her bed. "Can I get into bed mineself?" she whined. "Okay," I said. So she climbed out of bed, then climbed back in and laid down.

She continues to be a dear about her baby brother, though. She asks to see his ultrasound picture, and when she looks at it, her face lights up. Today, out of the blue, she put her hand on my tummy and waited until baby Zane kicked. Then she smiled and smiled.

Another day, she asked where a certain shirt was that she loves to wear. I told her she was too big for it now, as I've been telling her for at least a week. "Yeah," she replied. "so E. [her little cousin] wears it now. And when she gets too big for it, baby brother Zane can wear it."

Several days back, she asked, "Are you going to eat me?" I laughed and told her I definitely would not eat her, silly girl. But later, it occurred to me where that question probably came from. She knows the food we eat goes into our tummy. She also knows we talk about Zane being in my tummy. The natural logic, then, is that I ate Zane to get him into my tummy! So now I'm trying to explain that our stomachs (where our food goes) are in a different part of the tummy than where baby Zane stays...

We are still working at potty training, although not as intensely as perhaps we should. Instead of locking ourselves up in the house, I put Pull-Ups on Miss A. when we need to go somewhere. I tell her they are a different type of panty...definitely not a diaper. She seems to buy that. She even says, "I too small for mine diapers. E. wears them now." (She means she's too big for her diapers, of course.)

She does not like it when I put a diaper on her at night, saying, "I need to wear panties!" But this is the only progress we've made. Although she's very willing to sit on the potty now (a striking difference from our last attempt at potty training), she doesn't do anything there.

I think I can also safely say that Miss A.'s transition to her toddler bed went very smoothly. After the first night, she never complained about it or asked for her crib. And even though she sees the crib in baby Zane's future room, she doesn't ask for it. Instead, she talks about how baby brother will use it when he comes out of my tummy.

As for me, I continue to take glyburide twice a day for the gestational diabetes. My blood sugar numbers have improved some, but they are up and down for no apparent reason. For the most part, my first-thing-in-the-morning numbers continue to be too high, despite the fact that they are lower. I'm afraid the perintologist is going to try a higher dosage. This is bad because they can only give you five pills in a day, and it's assumed that as the pregnancy progresses, you will need a higher and higher dosage. And bad because the glyburide makes me feel grumpy and weepy. Blegh. Still, the threat of having a stillborn if I don't get the diabetes under control is highly motivating to do whatever we can to lower my blood sugar numbers.

* By this, she meant she is big, and therefore she should pray by herself sometimes.


August 21, 2008

I've been feeling rotten. I don't know if it's the gestational diabetes (which is still not well controlled), or the diabetes medication, or maybe just being 31 weeks pregnant, but there are some days I can barely get up off the couch. My mind is blurred, and I have trouble putting together any intelligent thoughts. I just want to sleep, sleep, sleep. I've never felt this incapacitated.

I feel so sorry for Miss A. because it means I can't do things like play outside (or even play inside!) and help her learn her letters and such.

Of course, part of it may be stress. I've avoided writing about this before, but I think it's time...

A day or two after Anastasia was born, the hospital came to us and said, "You need to sign her up for Social Security Disability." Not knowing anything about SSI, and certainly not being in a position to think about arguing with the hospital, we did so. Preemies routinely get SSI to help pay their medical bills, therapy bills, and similar expenses. Anastasia's benefit never amounted to much. It was sometimes around $200, but was usually lower--sometimes as low as $30 a month, depending on what my hubby earned. We had extremely mixed feelings about SSI. We don't believe in socialist programs. But at the same time, the hospital was worried about getting paid, and Anastasia's care was expensive. In the end, we decided we may as well get some of our tax dollars back.

I was told our benefits would last a year, and then SSI would reevaluate Anastasia's case. Many times, I'd receive two to five letters from SSI each month, each telling me Anastasia's benefit would be a different amount next month. Extremely confusing. So I'd call our caseworker to see if she could explain what was going on. She always huffed and puffed in annoyance and ended up giving me an explanation I couldn't understand. Eventually, I gave up trying to understand the system.

When Anastasia's first birthday was nearing and I hadn't heard from SSI, I called their office. I didn't want to get in trouble because somehow Anastasia's reevaluation got overlooked. I was told: "Oh, we'll call you. You shouldn't call us. She's scheduled to be revaluated in the spring, anyway."

When late spring came, I called again because I hadn't heard anything. Again I was told SSI would contact me and that I shouldn't call them.

Finally, a few months back, when Anastasia was 2 1/2 years old, I heard from a new caseworker. (Our old one disappeared...) She put us through a questionnaire. I was sure Miss A. would loose her benefits, and that was fine with us. At that point, she didn't need any real special care, so it seemed only right.

One of the questions was about any accounts that might be in Anastasia's name. So I told the new caseworker that a while back my father set up a Coverdell Education Fund with Anastasia as the beneficiary. However, I told our caseworker, my father's name is on the account, and he is in complete control of it. I can't touch it; Anastasia can't touch it. Although the account is set up for use of education as early as grade school, my father only wants it used for college. We never dreamed this was something we needed to report to SSI.

However, now SSI is claiming they overpaid us by nearly $4,000; they say we should have reported the Coverdell Education Fund right away.

I filed paperwork for a waiver, explaining what the education account was, telling them nobody ever even hinted we needed to report an account we couldn't touch, and showing them our monthly budget (which reveals we get behind each month). I recently found out this paperwork was denied, although SSI didn't explain why. Now they've scheduled us to meet somebody at SSI in person; at that time, we'll get to view our file for the first time.

I've been trying to contact an attorney for a consultation, but no one wants our case. All the SSI lawyers deal with denied SSI claims (such as for a person who was injured on the job). Even our state's Bar can't refer anyone to me. I do have a phone appointment with one attorney tomorrow, but his secretary feels he won't accept the case. I've also left messages with a few other lawyers. I don't know how we could afford an attorney, anyway :(

To show how purposefully deceptive SSI is, my father called the national SSI phone number yesterday and said, "I have a granddaughter who gets SSI benefits. If I set up a Coverdell Education Fund for her, will this hurt her benefits?" He was told, "Oh we couldn't tell you anything about that."

Utterly ridiculous.

We have been scammed by the government. They are playing by a rulebook that haven't shared with us. And we are in absolutely no position to hand over nearly $4,000. We can't even afford to make a $10 a month payment to them!

There are also a few other issues to deal with. Our original caseworker told me to NOT report my erratic self-employment income. I thought this was very strange, and questioned her on it several times, but she insisted I should not. Now SSI also says they also overpaid because I didn't report that. (It doesn't amount to a huge amount.)

Also, I have some SSI checks that I never cashed (and some I believe I should have received, but never did), and SSI hasn't acknowledged they will credit me for those. (Again, it doesn't amount to much.)

And this sort of thing seems to be habitual with SSI. In an online group of moms of preemies that I belong to, a large number of families have had similar problems with SSI, and others have other horror stories about SSI's incompetence/deceptiveness. Oddly, however, when I do a Google search, I can find no information about this.

So while I'm trying really hard not to be stressed about this, imagine trying to deal with it while taking care of a 3 year old, trying to work (I've already lost several days work making phone calls about this case), and dealing with feeling ill. I'm sure the stress hasn't helped my gestational diabetes.

I tell you about this case not just so you'll know what kind of outfit SSI is, but in case any of you might have information that can help us. Anyone?  


August 22, 2008

Sorry about the problems viewing this web page. Somehow my index file got corrupted. I'm busy trying to re-create it. For now, the June through July updates aren't available, and the menu to the left is incomplete, but I'll get that fixed sometime soon. In the meantime, a funny/horrible story.

Today, as I was loading groceries onto the checkout counter, Miss A. suddenly cried, "I need to help!" She often does this, and I don't mind too much as long as she doesn't grab breakable things. But today, before I could stop her, she reached into the cart (from her seat inside the cart) and grabbed a box of eggs.

And yes, they all fell out and created a horrible mess on the remaining groceries in the cart and all over the floor.


We didn't punish her. For one thing, we'd made her go without a nap. For another, she was just trying to be helpful. However, we had a conversation about stopping when Mommy tells her to and about never touching eggs...


August 27, 2008

Today was the day we (David) confronted Social Security (Goliath). It started out poorly. Even though Miss A. has been on SSI practically since birth, we've never been in the SS office. Since it's in another city (about a half hour away), I MapQuested the address. MapQuest has never failed us before, but it sure did today. It took us into entirely the wrong part of town. So we followed my hubby's instincts, combined with what we felt were corrected instructions. To make a long story short, we got there, but after a lot of frustration and turning around.

As soon as we walked into the office, a security guard asked if we had guns or knives. (Hmmm...now if I really had them and intended to use them for ill, would I answer honestly?) Next, they seated us facing away from the SS employees. Literally, we had our backs to them, and were forced to watch Finding Nemo on their close-captioned television. When we were finally called for our appointment, we sat down at a counter that came nearly to my shoulders, with the SS employee a foot above us.

So far, rather Orwellian.

Then we got to state our case. I explained that Miss A. has no access to the education fund until grade school, and that her grandfather's name is on the account, and that he has sole control over the funds. Now, my father had called his local SS office and asked about this particular type of fund, and was told that if the child has no access to the money, and exception can be made and the fund won't be held against her SS benefits. So I said, "It's my understanding that if Anastasia doesn't have access to the money, an exception is made."

The SS employee agreed this can be the case, then showed us a print out from the Internet. "This is from the IRS' website, and it says that beneficiaries of this type of fund have complete access to it."

Well. I guess that finally explained what the SS was thinking, anyway. However, she didn't have the IRS code number, nor the full IRS text on the topic.

So the SS employee made a copy of our education fund pamphlet (which clearly states only Miss A.'s grandfather can say when and how the funds will be distributed), and told us she'd have to call Morgan Stanley (who created the fund) and get more details.

I then asked whether my self employment was also an issue and was told that only $40 overpayment was attributed to this. (Gee, it would have been nice to know that earlier.) This is not a big deal at all, since I have over $60 in SSI checks that I never cashed. However, I did explain that our original caseworker was adamant that I should not report my self employment income.

We are supposed to receive a letter from SS in a couple of weeks, letting us know what the determination is. If we don't like what we hear, we can appeal again with a different SS employee, and if we're still unhappy, we can take it to a judge. We hope it won't go anywhere near that far!

Oddly, the SS employee said that when baby Zane is born, Miss A. may again qualify for SSI benefits. To ourselves, we were thinking: "No way are we ever going to deal with SS again!" But instead, I said what is also true: "Anastasia isn't getting therapy anymore, so it wouldn't be right to accept SSI any longer." Later, however, we had another thought. If SS insists we pay them for this supposed "overpayment," maybe we could get Miss A. back on SSI and "pay back" SS through those funds. Again, we hope it won't come to that.

In other news, my gestational diabetes seems to be better now. My blood sugar numbers aren't fluctuating so much. And I nearly have my old office cleared out to make room for the nursery. I've moved my desk into the living room...and I wish I'd done it sooner! I'm getting more work done, because Anastasia is happy to play beside me. (But I still spend the majority of my time playing/working with the miss.)

We also went to a tiny local fair this weekend. Miss A. was so excited when I told her there'd be animals there. "Can I ride the elephant?" she asked. But rather than elephants, we saw sheep, goats, chickens, horses, and cows. Of the latter, Miss A. said, "Are they plastic?" She was delighted when they began licking her daddy's hands, hoping for food. "Are they eating your peanuts?" she said. I just about fell over because I thought she said "penis" instead of "peanuts" and I wondered who had taught her that word. Ah well, when baby brother comes, she'll learn about those things soon enough!

We've also given up on potty training for now. Since her birthday, Anastasia hasn't gone once in the potty chair. We tried panties alone, panties with plastic training pants (definitely easier on me!), and Pull-Ups. Sometimes she would ask to use the potty as she urinated, other times she'd wander around for over an hour with soaking wet panties that didn't seem to bother her. I guess she's just not ready yet. She's also still a wee bit behind in her gross motor skills, so maybe inability to "hold it" is also a remnant of being an extreme preemie.


August 27 (part II)

The perintologist has had me on glyburide for my gestational diabetes since the 13th of this month, but just this afternoon my OB's nurse called and said, "Did the perintologist tell you you'd need to come into your OB's office twice a week for monitoring?"

No, he definitely did not!

Apparently, I have to go to my OB every Tuesday for fetal monitoring (a minimum of 20 minutes) and every Friday for more monitoring and an ultrasound (about 2 hours). The fetal monitoring is to make sure baby Zane isn't in distress due to my placenta shutting down (a risk when your gestational diabetes is as bad as mine). The ultrasounds are to make sure he isn't getting huge.

And these appointments are in addition to the monthly appointments I have with the perintologist.

I'm not sure how we're going to do this. The cost of gas alone will kill us. (My doctors are a half hour away.) And my hubby can't take that much time off work. (We are a one vehicle family.) Arg!

And I was just thinking today that the whole gestational diabetes thing wasn't so bad, that this pregnancy was "close enough" to normal to make me feel very fortunate, indeed...


Even with this development, however, I have to be thankful I live in the day and age I do. If I'd had Anastasia in the 1980s or earlier, most likely she wouldn't be alive. And I can be thankful I live at a time when gestational diabetes is more controllable.

The whole NICU thing has been on my mind the past few days, too. Over the weekend, I bumped into one of Anastasia's NICU nurses at a local store. I was amazed she knew exactly who we were, and she seemed really pleased to have an update on Miss A. Thank goodness for those wonderful nurses!


August 30, 2008

Yesterday, I had my first fetal monitoring and gestational diabetes related ultrasound. Baby Zane looks great; the kidney that was slightly enlarged at his last ultrasound looks normal now. His tummy is pretty round, but that's common among gestational diabetes babies. He's biggish: According to the ultrasound, he measures at about 33 weeks (I'm currently 32), about 4 lbs. 14 oz., and is in the 67 percentile.

Baby Zane's profile.

During the fetal monitoring, he was busy kicking me, and showed no signs of distress. I'm supposed to now take an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and count how many kicks he gives me. At least 10 per hour should indicate he's doing fine...He's giving me about that in 10 minutes, so I think all is well :)

My blood pressure was great, and although I've lost eight pounds, my doctor isn't  worried. For one thing, I know I've lost a lot of water weight; I'd gotten pretty puffy due to the diabetes. In addition, if you look at my last three weigh-ins, then dismiss the one in the middle, I've still gained weight. (OBs don't want women loosing weight while pregnant, because it can compromise the mother's health.)

I asked about possibly doing some of the monitoring at our local hospital, which is less about five minutes from our house. Unfortunately, its a very small hospital, and there is no OB on staff. Understandably, my doctor isn't comfortable having someone who isn't an OB interpret the results. I asked if the fetal monitoring results could be zapped up to her by computer; she wasn't sure, although she suspected not. She's supposed to look into it for me.

In the meantime, I am relying on my mom and some good friends to make these twice-a-week visits work. Friends of ours (Mr. E's family) have been extremely generous about watching Miss A., and even offered to drive me to my appointments. My mom is also driving me.

And in between these appointments, we are still working on baby Zane's nursery. I finally have all my office stuff out of the room (a huge accomplishment, since I'm so disorganized). Today, I'm cleaning the walls, windows, and floors, and tomorrow my mom is coming over to help paint. I'm sorry we put this off for so long; at this point, any work at all exhausts me totally. But the good news is, once the walls are painted, we can move on to the fun part: decorating!

Miss A. is adorable about her baby brother's room. She begs to help fix it up for him. "It will make baby bruver happy," she says.

The other day, I was working in his room and when I emerged, Miss A. asked if baby brother was in his room. She can hardly wait for him to get out of my tummy :)

Overall, my gestational diabetes continues to go all right. Unfortunately, yesterday I forgot to take a snack with me to the doctor's office, and by the time I got home, it had been over three hours since I'd eaten. I did have a (very small) snack at that time, but a few hours later, I was sick, sick, sick. My blood sugar was at 140, which is borderline, according to my doctors. For hours afterward, I thought I'd vomit, had a headache, had blurry vision, and was extremely fatigued.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: This is excellent incentive to do everything I can to never develop regular diabetes later in life!

August 31, 2008

I ended up not doing any painting today. My hubby (who was going to watch Miss A. while I worked) had no choice but to cancel out on me this morning. So I watched Anastasia while my mom painted. Exhausting enough, since she spent the entire time asking when she could help paint the walls. Finally, I let her have a go at it with a small roller and a little bit of paint. She was in heaven! "This makes baby bruver so happy!" she said.




I also suddenly realized today that I was probably experiencing my first ever Braxton Hicks contractions. My hubby looked a little panicky when I told him this, but then I explained they are normal and not a sign of real labor. The first time it happened (yesterday), I thought baby Zane was just pushing super hard against my skin. But now that I've had a few, I realize my skin is tightening inward. It makes me a wee bit nervous, but I keep reminding myself it feels nothing like the preterm labor I experienced with Miss A. They aren't painful (although a little uncomfortable) and they are terribly irregular.