A bumpy road

For as long as I can remember, I have hated going to the doctor. I know most people probably feel the same way, but I get anxious thinking about impending appointments weeks before they happen.

It began at the age of three when I fell off a hay bale and hit my chin on a plastic bucket, resulting in the need for 32 stitches. My mom still tells the story how I screamed the entire time at the doctor, telling him I hated him and then telling my mom how much I loved her. I still feel that way.

Now that I’m having to go to the doctor’s office pretty frequently for prenatal checkups, I get even more stressed and freaked out. What if something is wrong? I haven’t had any crazy pregnancy symptoms since day one. I know I should be grateful I haven’t been heaving over a toilet or feeling so exhausted I fall asleep at my desk, but for a while, I wanted those symptoms so I could feel like a “normal” pregnant lady. This has got to be too good to be true, I always think as I sit in the waiting room, nervously waiting for them to call my name. Well, guess what happens when you are nervous? Your blood pressure spikes. The nurse gently tells me to lay on my side for 15 minutes, and they will check it again. How am I supposed to relax in this place? Sure, the walls are painted a soothing color and it’s quiet. But it’s too quiet. I can hear shuffling outside the door and random laughter. I wonder if they are talking about me, I think as I lay there, taking deep, shaky breaths. As hard as I try, I never feel completely relaxed. My numbers go down a bit, but it’s still higher than they would like to see.

Then my urine test comes back, and there is a small amount of protein in it. High blood pressure and protein in urine are telltale signs of preeclampsia. And let the breakdown begin. All I could think was how it’s too early for this (this was happening when I was about 11 weeks along), and that this can only mean the baby is going to come way, way too soon or something terrible will happen to both of us. It’s awful to think about, and while I know it’s not necessarily my fault, I just feel like if I would have ate healthier or worked out more before getting pregnant, this wouldn’t have happened.

So I get the joy of hauling around a bright orange container filled with my pee to test for preeclampsia. For 24 hours. Every time I had to go to the bathroom, it came along. Talk about gross. I promptly turned in the jug to the lab, had blood drawn and waited nervously for the results. Thankfully, everything came back normal and there was no indication I had preeclampsia.

But what I didn’t know was they were going to test my glucose levels when drawing my blood. At 136, they were concerned that I could have diabetes. I told the nurse I had drank a small glass of orange juice and ate a bowl of cereal less than an hour before the test. “That could have done it. But at this early on, if you have diabetes, it would be type 1 or 2 diabetes, not gestational,” the nurse explained over the phone. What the hell is happening? That’s all I could think as she instructed me to have a glucose test taken to test my levels again.

I had hoped the stress would be over after the urine test, but it just continued to pile on my shoulders as I fasted for 12 hours, went to the lab, had blood drawn, drank some sugary orange liquid, waited an hour and had more blood drawn. And then waited for 24 hours for the results. And freaked out about the effects undiagnosed diabetes could have on our baby. Note to self: Stop Googling crap, Ashley. It doesn’t help at all!

Thankfully, my glucose test came back with normal results. Hallelujah! I was told I will still have to test for gestational diabetes at 28 weeks, but there I do not have type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes.

While I know I could still face preeclampsia and gestational diabetes down the road, I am grateful they are not my reality right now. I have began taking steps to be as healthy as I can be for myself and for our little babe. Stay tuned to see what I have been doing to improve my health!

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When the unexpected happens

I didn't trust that one test was telling me the truth, so I took four!

I didn’t trust that one test was telling me the truth, so I took four!

I wasn’t expecting this. Not at all.

After months of wondering what the heck is happening to my body after quitting birth control (for those who haven’t been following along, Aunt Flo took a very long vacation), my doctor diagnosed me with polycystic ovarian syndrome in June. It sucked. I was worried that this meant Brett and I would never have kids of our own naturally.

After wallowing for a bit (or more like full-blow meltdowns), I began to take the steps my doctor recommended to get my body back into motion. I was already taking progesterone to kickstart Aunt Flo, and my doctor prescribed me Metformin to help me ovulate. For a few weeks, I felt awful. A few hours after taking the medicine, I would get terrible stomach cramps to the point I would curl up on the couch and try not to cry. But after a while, the side effects slowly eased away. I can do this, I thought, it’s going to work.

Yet, the kickstarter drug didn’t seem to be working. Aunt Flo was still on hiatus. I had taken it before, and I had no issues. I waited and waited, but nothing happened. I didn’t want to take another pregnancy test and see a negative sign. It’s just too disappointing. But I wanted to have all the information I could gather on my own before calling my doctor to see what I needed to do next. I asked Brett to pick up the cheapest prego test he could find. Side note: I love how this guy has no shame. He will happily pick up tampons, pregnancy tests, whatever I ask for without even blinking an eye. I love him!

When I got home from work, I took the test and waited. After a minute or two, I glanced over and saw something I wasn’t expecting to see, a plus sign. My hands shook as I stared at the test and showed it to Brett. His face lit up. This can’t be right, I thought to myself. We ran to the store and bought more tests. With four positive tests laid out in front of us, we called our parents. Could this actually be happening already? I was convinced it would take months or even longer to see that happy symbol on a test.

I wanted to be happy. More than anything, I wanted to jump for joy and just be relieved, but it seemed too good to be true. I felt fine; normal even. No morning sickness, no fatigue, no bloating. The only telltale sign I had was my boobs were incredibly sore. (TMI, I know.)

The bloodwork confirmed it, but I still felt anxiety. This could end in the blink of an eye. My progesterone levels were low, and they immediately began me on a prescription to boost those levels. These are all bad signs, I told Brett. He always consoled me, telling me that the medicine will help, it’s in God’s hands and that I’m just lucky I don’t have any symptoms or maybe it’s genetic (my grandma and my sister experienced few to no pregnancy symptoms in their first trimester). Your body knows what to do, he would remind me on a daily basis. But each day, I would wake up hoping to feel a little queasiness or fatigue. But it never came. I did begin to experience other subtle symptoms, such as thirst and cravings, but I continued to have that gnawing fear that this would end before it even really started.

It wasn’t until after I heard a healthy heartbeat at 6 weeks and again at 10 weeks that I finally let myself feel excited and began to relax a little. I had this vision in my mind that we would be parents someday, but that it was going to take longer and be more of a process for us than it is for others. As much as I hated that thought, I had started to accept it. But thankfully, as always, God laughed when I began making plans, and threw us a wonderful curveball.

I still continue to agonize about whether or not Baby B is doing OK or if I’m taking every precaution necessary to make sure he or she will be healthy. Yet it’s my husband’s constant reminder that keeps me looking forward to all the good that has happened and, God willing, will continue to happen. “Everything is going to be fine. Your body knows what to do.” And he is right. This miracle has continued to develop and grow, and I have to have faith in God, myself and our little one that everything will be just fine.

We’re having a baby!

A future timelord is on his or her way! :)

A future timelord is on his or her way! 🙂

I was convinced when I began writing about my diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome, that it would be a months-long series about the effects of the medicine I was taking, how I was handling the diagnosis emotionally (probably not very well, knowing me) and how Brett and I were tackling this together.

But, if you have been following along, those posts haven’t happened. I took about a month off from blogging because everything I wanted to write about revolved around something I couldn’t tell the world yet. And it was all for one very big and happy reason. I’m pregnant!

I didn’t think I would get to say those words so soon. It all seemed too good to be true (stay tuned for a post all about my doubts and fears), but after visiting my doctor, getting blood work done and seeing our teeny, tiny baby at 6 weeks gestation, this was truly happening.

We told our families right away, and then slowly began breaking the news to our closest friends. I wanted to be sure our closest friends and family knew before finding out via social media. So we waited — probably a little longer than most couples — to announce the news to the world. It’s been excruciating to see other friends on Facebook announcing they are expecting around the same time we are. All I wanted to do was to shout it from the rooftops, that yes, the Bebensee clan is expanding. But we waited. For one, I wanted to be well into the second trimester before I blasted the news to everyone I knew. And two, we are complete nerds and wanted to announce our little bundle of joy during the season premiere of “Doctor Who,” which was Sept. 19. It was only appropriate for a baby due on Feb. 29 to have a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey birth announcement. 🙂

While I still have to remind myself that this is actually happening, I thank God everyday that he has bestowed upon us life’s most precious gift. I believe the power of prayer how an enormous role, and I thank every single person who lifted us up or sent good vibes our way. It worked!

We are trying to prepare as best we can to be the best parents we can be, and I know it’s going to be truly terrifying at times. But I knew from the moment it was confirmed we are going to be parents, there has been nothing but love and adoration (and worry) for this gift from God. Now, all we can do is wait for February when we are able to bring our precious little one home.