Friday, July 29, 2011

Choosing a care provider: Part 1

A VERY important component to avoiding pre-eclampsia, in my opinion (and based on the research I've done) is nutrition. Specifically, they're finding that high protein diets during pregnancy help ward off lots of complications. Prior to getting pregnant I was becoming aware of the things with protein in them to get used to it, though I did not keep official track. Starting yesterday I kept track in a journal that I will bring with me everywhere. I wrote down everything I ate for the day - because if it's going in my mouth, it has protein in it! My preliminary goal is 150 mg. Normal pregnancies should shoot for 80mg, and if nursing a toddler it's recommended you up that to 100-ish. But I'm trying to avoid pre-e AND nursing a toddler, so 150mg it is. That number may go even higher if my midwife deems it necessary.

Did you catch that? I didn't say doctor...I said midwife! I bet you'd think someone who has had pre-e twice and HELLP once, resulting a preemie, would automatically be considered high risk, right? I should be talking to a doctor, or a high risk specialist like a MFM doctor. But that's not the route for me this time. Twice now I've pushed aside my desire for a homebirth because of money. But a homebirth is worth more to me than the money we might struggle to come up with to pay for it. See, the Brewer Diet is something I am going to need some support with. I also want and need someone who is able to spend time with me going over my history and coming up with a plan of action for this one, including diet, exercise & herbs (and potentially other things like acupuncture, etc.) Homebirth midwives schedule you for an HOUR appointment! A whole hour, just talking about you and your baby! And thankfully, based on the changes I've made, the homebirth midwives I have interviewed over the phone were comfortable taking me on. They also have great backup doctors who are supportive of homebirth, should the need to transfer arise. I also feel that pre-eclampsia, should it happen to me again, is easily diagnosed by a midwife and there will still be time to transfer. For me, a homebirth midwife is my one shot at a whole, normal, natural pregnancy. Josh supports that 100% because we would rather start off a pregnancy positively, from the beginning, to give my body and baby the best shot at a full-term pregnancy.

So speaking of the midwives...I need to call a few to interview them in person!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yep...I'm pregnant!

And so it begins, with the pregnancy test...I took one last night and one this morning. Let me tell you, taking a pregnancy test at night before bed is a bad idea if you want to get any sleep! Josh told me he would disregard that one so he could get some sleep, ha - glad it was so easy for him :) The morning test is pictured above.

I had Josh run out to get the tests last night because I had been starving the whole day. Uncharacteristically so. Pregnant, first trimester-type starving. I also flossed my teeth yesterday, and immediately they started bleeding...another tip off! Lo and behold I am 5w4d. That really surprises me - with my other 2 I found out right at 4w!

Why am I blogging about this pregnancy, you might wonder? Well, I have had complications in my 2 previous pregnancies that finally compelled me to make drastic life changes after my second baby was born 10 weeks early. Maia was born 3 weeks early at 37w, as I had mild pre-eclampsia. Kieran was born at 29w5d because I had pre-eclampsia that turned into HELLP syndrome....these complications are enough to make some women choose not to have any more children. But I never felt done. And I felt I needed to give it one more shot. However, to do so without changing some habits would be completely irresponsible and selfish of me, not to mention unsafe to myself and the baby. The habits I speak of include extremely poor eating - I had very little regard for nutrition while pregnant or not pregnant. I drank lots of pop, ate lots of candy, and ate too little veggies. Sugar consumed my diet as did carbs upon carbs upon carbs. I didn't know how much the food you put in your body impacts your well-being. I had high cholesterol at age 22! That is just ridiculous. That should have been my first clue. But after Maia arrived safely, with a smooth vaginal induction, I brushed the pre-e aside and figured my chances of acquiring it were rare, as the statistics say it is.

However, that was not the case. I got pregnant with Kieran just a few weeks before our wedding - I was 7 weeks pregnant the day we got married. To say that's not the best way to start out a pregnancy is an understatement - high-stress, little sleep and food intake, and, oh yeah, I had an 18 month old toddler going through a sleep regression - whew! Once the wedding was over I collapsed on the couch for weeks. I continued to eat whatever I felt like, keeping track of nothing. Starting my day out with a bowl of cereal, juice & fruit - can you say carbaholic? I should also mention I was still nursing my toddler. I know that I was not taking in enough protein for me, much less for my pregnant, nursing body. I suspect my Vit D levels were low as well...this all added up to a pre-e diagnosis at 28 weeks and bedrest, which was quickly interrupted by the HELLP symptoms which sent me to the hospital. My son arrived over 10 weeks early at 2lb10oz and stayed in the NICU 53 days. It was an experience that traumatized me in many ways, but also gave me strength. My son taught me so many things...

And one of those things, is that it's never too late to change your life. After I had Kieran I started to pay attention to my nutrition intake. I ate high protein, low-carb and if I did have a carb, I balanced it with a protein. I felt great! Then I started exercising! I went to birth trauma was a great start to my year, filled with positive changes for the better. My goal was to be heart healthy whether we decided to have a third baby or not. I had to change my life - and I did!

I'll leave it here for now. So many things to write about, so many things to think about. I am positive and hopeful. Well-researched and well-informed. And I'm it's too late to back out now! I'm so excited for this chapter - our third and final baby. Finally, things are going to be different.