Motherhood involves more snot than I thought it would. I knew it would involve some snot, but it’s a lot more than I thought. And not just my son’s snot. My snot, too.
My journey to this snot-filled life of motherhood began after I knew something was up when I had to go back and forth to the restroom during a movie – something which rarely happens. I hate missing parts of movies almost as much as I hate using public restrooms. When we got home from the movie, I immediately took one of the pregnancy tests I had stashed in the bathroom and, there they were. Two pink lines. After a tiny “holy crap am I ready to have a baby” freak out in the bathroom turned into a “holy crap I can’t wait to have a baby,” I went and told my husband that he’d finally have to finish the basement…I was pregnant.
The next morning, I took another test just in case I had made the whole thing up the night before. I didn’t. The rest of the day was spent worrying that I was squishing the tiny human growing in my belly by the way I was hunched over at my desk. So, basically, a normal start to a first pregnancy.
The first 24 weeks went pretty much as expected. There was the
morning all day sickness, the fatigue, the food aversions (all vegetables, anything garlic parmesan flavored), and the cravings (Pop-Tarts. Pop-Tarts. Pop-Tarts). Then, we reached the dreaded glucose tolerance test. I have a family history of diabetes and my mom had gestational diabetes with all three of her pregnancies. So, my doctor thought it was best to skip the one-hour test, which I probably would have failed anyway leaving me with the three-hour test, and go straight for the compromise: the two-hour test. For the two-hour test, you come in fasted and have your blood drawn immediately, then you get “The Drink.” One hour goes by and you have your blood drawn again, then another hour and one final blood draw. Then, you’re free to leave and hit up the Arby’s drive-thru on the way home because you’re absolutely starving, and you’re pregnant, so it’s allowed. Until, it’s not.
I got the call from my doctor a couple days later, with the expected outcome. I just barely failed my test (or barely passed?), but with my family history, it was best to err on the side of caution. That meant picking up a glucometer on the way home from work and testing my blood sugar four times a day. That also meant I had to trade my beloved Pop-Tarts for whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a hard-boiled egg in the mornings. And my McDonald’s fries for a turkey sandwich and yogurt. Oh, did I mention the food journal? Or the visit with the nutritionist? The rest of my pregnancy became all about tracking food and pricking my fingers until they developed calluses.
Mom guilt starts to kick in early, and I was constantly mad at my body for betraying me and my sweet tooth. I had to re-learn how to eat and manage my blood sugar so my body would keep my baby boy healthy, and growing, but not growing too fast. And, I wanted to keep my own body healthy, too. Gestational diabetes is, in most cases, a temporary form of diabetes; however, those who have it have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. There’s also the pregnancy complications, like excessive birth weight that could increase delivery complications. Those possible complications, and the fact that my baby could grow to monster proportions, led to extra ultrasounds to check on his growth, but also extra black and white printouts that still cover our fridge.
I’m sure I complained a lot during my pregnancy about my food journal, and the calluses I was developing on my fingers from the constant pricking, and how I just. wanted. a Pop-Tart. But, keeping that journal and eating the oatmeal instead kept my blood sugar in check without medication. It allowed me to have a pretty smooth, albeit painful, delivery with no complications, and kept my weight gain at only 10 pounds! I know, my doctor was shocked too.
Best of all, it gave me my beautiful, snot-nosed, (9 pound!) baby boy.