Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Willow's Birth Story

Now that Willow is about 4 months old, I thought it was time to finally write her birth story...

Willow's pregnancy was unlike the other two. The first two pregnancies were fairly easy - except the gestational diabetes I had with Sienna. Because of my type 1 diabetes diagnosis almost 2 years ago, there were many more risks. Risks for the baby: miscarriage, stillborn birth, heart problems, preterm labor, high birth weight, shoulder dystocia, and low blood sugar when they are born. Risks for me: eye problems, heart problems, kidney function problems, ect; so as you can see it was easy for me to worry a little.

I had tons of appointments just for my health: eye appointment, an EKG, blood tests once a month, and diabetes appointments at least once a month. I was considered "high risk" so I had many prenatal appointments, a fetal heart echo, many more ultrasounds than the other pregnancies. I got so many beautiful pictures of Willow before she was born! The last eight weeks of the pregnancy I had to go in two times a week to have an ultrasound to measure her fluid, monitor breathing, her heart and movements. It got a little long having to head downtown to the clinic two times a week and finding a babysitter for the other two. My appointments were discouraging. They would always tell me that I needed to get my blood sugar numbers lower and would always share with me the risks of diabetes and pregnancy. Thanks. I didn't have enough to worry about.

I worked really hard though. It's hard having to count every single carb you put in your mouth - especially when you are eating for two and there are all kinds of cravings. I counted carbs like it was my job, got 10,000 steps in a day, kept up with changing hormones and blood sugar changes, and did not each snacks between meals - so incredibly hard. But I did it. I took my A1C (test for diabetics that measures their average blood sugar over a two month period) from 7.9 at the start of pregnancy to 5.5 - which is an A1C of a normal person! It was empowering that I could have such control over my diabetes when the third trimester can be the hardest.

This pregnancy was hard BUT SHE WAS ALL WORTH IT. She was worth all the worry, time and watching what I ate all the time. It was hard. But she was worth all the work.

One of the biggest risks of diabetes is a big baby. Every time you have a high blood sugar, it gives the baby extra sugar and makes them grow - especially in the shoulder and stomach area making the baby easier to get stuck. They make insulin dependent women schedule an induction at 39 weeks - so that is what I did. I scheduled my induction for June 17.

The Monday before she was born I had to have an ultrasound to see how big she was. They can be 15% off but if she weighed over 9 pounds 15 ounces, they would suggest a c-section because she could be too big in the shoulder area and possibly get stuck. Ouch. Luckily, she measured at 9.6 so I preceded to keep my induction appointment on that Friday. I really wanted her to come on her own but that did not happen.

It is a super weird feeling driving and walking into the hospital NOT in pain when going to have a baby. This was completely different than the last time! I checked in and got settled in my room. They had to give me a round of Cytotec to soften my cervix, which takes 4 hours to work. So for most of the morning, all I did was lay around and watched too many HGTV shows about tiny houses, got a painful IV and ate some lunch. They wanted me to stay in the bed since I had fetal monitors strapped to my belly. They checked me when the four hours was over and I was ready to start the pitocin to start contractions. I was on pitocin for about an hour and a half and the contractions started to come very frequently, but not as intensely as they liked and the monitors showed that Willow didn't really like the pitocin so they decided to stop. I had progressed to about a 2-4 cm and things were going slower than I was used to.

Now it was around 1:30/2pm and they decided to break my water. At first nothing was happening, but then once my contractions kicked in, they started to get intense. After checking me, I was told I was a five. Ok, a five. I could go fast, right? Over the next half hour/hour (I have no idea on timing at that point), they started to get even more intense and very painful - which was fine as long as I was very close to the end. It had that feeling like it was the end and I could start pushing soon.  I was saying the typical "I can't do this anymore" stuff you say when you are close. I made the nurse get the doctor to check me because I was fairly sure I was a 9, maybe an 8 but surely almost to 10. I even remember saying "I'm gonna kill someone if I am still a 5." Oh pregnancy hormones :) So you can about guess what I was dilated to when the doctor came in. Yup, you guessed it. A FIVE. WHAT?!? Umm... About that epidural? Yeah, I think I want that this time around.

Twenty minutes later the anesthesiologist came in and started the process. I just remember it was INTENSE trying to breath through those contractions while they stuck a needle in my back and I had to stay so still. One of the reasons I was scared about an epidural in the past was the giant needle. I guess my hatred for needles has died a bit since I gave myself 4+ shots a day. There was only a small pinch when they numbed my back but I didn't feel anything more than the crazy waves of contractions. Once they were done getting my epidural done, I laid back. It was crazy. One minute I was in terrible pain and the next minute, I was like "Hey guys... how's it going" in my most calm voice.

I've done two completely natural labors and this was my first epidural. Man it made me feel good. Only a little while later after getting my epidural, I told the doctor that I thought I needed to push. She asked if I could wait a few minutes and I agreed. No rush when there is no pain. She came back only a few minutes later and things got rolling. After a few big pushes, that sweet baby girl came into the world.

Willow Everly Penz born at 5:46 pm on June 17, 2016. 8 pounds, 14 ounces, 20 inches of perfection and perfectly healthy. My sweet miracle baby. So many things could have gone wrong in the pregnancy and birth but God protected my sweet girl and me. She is just the happiest, sweetest baby and such a beautiful gift from the Lord. We are pretty much in love.


Friday, April 24, 2015

17 & 18 months

I was wayyyy better updating the blog with Brecken than I am with Sienna. Sorry Girly...

Here are some things this girl is into:
- Frozen- she LOVES Frozen - She even learned "Let it go" She asks to watch the movie a lot!
- Dressing up - she would wear tutu skirts, necklaces and a crown all the time if I let her
- Books - I love when I find her sitting in her room quietly reading books
- Babies! She still loves those dolls!
- the iPad! Sometimes screaming for it!
- loves giving knuckles and high fives
- Does lots of animal noises: lion/dinosaur/tiger/monster, penguin, dog, cat, monkey, duck, cow, pig
- She has such a love for Brecken (or B as she calls him). Brecken's teacher said that she saw him the other day when he was in school and she was in childcare while I was in MOPS. She saw him in the hall on her way to play in the gym and yelled for him. I loved this story that she just thinks so much of him. They also get in wayyy more trouble together. :) I love when they give each other hugs.
- I do not love when she screams when she wants something. She has not learned "drink" or "water" so she just screams when she wants a drink during meals.
-She has been more cuddly more lately - every morning, Todd will get her from her crib and she will ask for "mommy, mommy" and then lay in bed and cuddle with me while I try to wake up for the day (totally NOT a morning person)

Words she knows:
-Her favorite characters: Melmo, Elsa, and Anna, and just tonight - Wally
-"B" for Brecken, Mommy and Daddy, Ba-Ba for Bauer
- "Pees" (please) "Ma" (more) "Nack" (Snack)
- "Owww..." "uh-oh" "stinky"
- "teeth" and "gummies"
- "Nigh nigh" "bye" "walk"
- I feel like there are lots more I just can't remember them! Sometimes she just sits there and just chats to herself

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Diabetes is Dumb... my diabetes story

I've been wanting to write this post for a really long time because sometimes writing your feelings down does wonders...

You probably know since I posted on Facebook that I was diagnosed in November with Type 1 Diabetes. I had gestational diabetes with Sienna (Gestational Diabetes is where your blood sugar is out of whack because of the pregnancy and hormones and often goes away). I controlled it strictly with diet, had a healthy baby, and it went away. A six week follow up test showed that I had "pre-diabetes" - something associated with type 2. In my head I thought that I would develop diabetes in my lifetime, but not for a good 10 - 20 years, right? That is when most people get it...

Last year there were many times I didn't feel the best - fatigue, muscle aches, ect.  I often worried about my health thinking something was off but whenever I went to the doctor they found nothing wrong except allergies, low iron or the fact I had two littles. Todd and I went on a trip to Vegas and while there, we were walking around the mall when all the sudden I got super thirsty. All I could think about was getting a drink of water. Once I found water and an Izzy soda, I drank so much I made myself sick to my stomach and couldn't eat my Chipotle. It was like I could not stop chugging water - like my thirst could not be quenched until I made myself sick. Super strange.

A few days after we got back I got blurry vision. Not up close, but things far away like road signs were blurry. After three days I decided to check my blood sugar and it was high (like 200s - supposed to be between 90 - 130). I called into the doctor and since I had blurry vision they told me to go to the ER since it was the weekend. This was a complete waste of time (and money) as they said that my blood sugar, although "mildly/moderately high" would not cause blurry vision and told me to visit an eye doctor and talk to my family doctor on Monday about the diabetes. Literally the next day, the blurry vision went away.

I went into the doctor and after he looked at the blood sugar numbers I had been recording, he told me I had diabetes. He was thinking it was type 2 since I had gestational diabetes but still wanted to test me for type 1 since I didn't have the typical type 2 characteristics (age, weight, family history). He put me on some pills to lower my blood sugar, and had me take some tests. After a few days of being on pills, my blood sugar numbers were not improving so I went back to the doctor a week later. The test results came back which is why the meds weren't working - it was Type 1. Meaning insulin four times a day.

For those that don't really know the difference of Type 1 or 2 (like I didn't know before my diagnosis)- Type 1 is an autoimmune disease - meaning your body attacks itself - in this case it is your pancreas. So my body attacked my pancreas and it is no longer working (or on its way to not working anymore). Essentially, I have to be a pancreas now and check my blood sugar before every meal and give myself enough insulin to cover the carbs I just ate and more insulin if my number is not in the target range. This is the kind of diabetes that kids get (juvenile) and contrary to what people may think, I did not get it because of what I ate or being unhealthy. There is no cure for Type 1 but it can be managed.
Type 2 is the type of diabetes you hear about alot. This is where your pancreas does not work correctly because of factors like age, weight and family history. Usually medication, diet and exercise makes it work better but sometimes insulin is needed and sometimes it can go away.

The essentials - two kinds of insulin - gray at night, orange for meals,  meter to measure blood sugar, finger prick. 

This has been a huge life change for me.  I am supposed to wait 4 hours between meals to eat carbs. So snack time is rough but I can have meat, cheese and vegetables between meal (yippie... can you sense my sarcasm?) and Diet Coke. I drink a lot of diet pop now. Once in a while, I break down and have a snack with carbs and just give myself insulin but I find my numbers are better if I just don't have a snack. Carb counting is hard. Whenever I sit down to eat I am supposed to know EXACTLY how many carbs I am eating and give myself enough insulin to cover it. It is a fine line. Too little of insulin and I "get high" (blood sugar that is ;) ) and too much I get "a low" which is way more dangerous. If your blood sugar gets too low you can pass out and ultimately die so when a low happens you will find me stuffing my face with sugar to get the number back up. It is such an up and down game since how much insulin you need at every meal can change whenever and you are constantly having to adjust your levels. And don't even get me started on how expensive insulin and supplies are. Pricking my finger and giving myself shots 4 or more times a day isn't as bad as it used to me - I am starting to get used to it.

For me, although Diabetes is a physical disease, it is such a mental and emotional battle. It is such an emotional roller coaster trying to get used to this new normal. The thought of having this for the rest of my life is overwhelming, the constant high or low numbers can be discouraging and the thoughts of all the risks and complications from diabetes can be worrisome. Some days I am just used to it and other days I break down - mourning the old "easier" life I had just several months ago and the dead organ floating around in my body. I feel like people just think I should have it all together. But I don't. I feel like everyone probably thinks "It's just diabetes - get over it." Yes, there are many worst health problems out there, but diabetes still affects me in so many ways. Sometimes I feel like it consumes me. I have to think and plan WAY too much about food. All I want to do is sit down and eat something, not have to count and strategize how much insulin to give myself and not have to worry if I have a bad low. It is so ridiculously mental and it can be so draining since there is never a day off from this. I don't know if it will get any easier but it will get to be more of a normal thing in my life.

I know the Lord gave me this situation for a reason. Although I have no idea what it is and wish that I was not given this "gift", it is a battle for me to fight. I know this can be used for good and for His glory but most moments I just to want to whine and have a good cry. Todd had a good little pep talk to me when I had a throw-in-the-towel kind of morning. He inspired me in the way he does that I am going to win this battle and not let diabetes win. It's all mental and having a "I'm gonna kick diabetes' butt today" mentality will  help me emotionally instead of letting it control me. I'm pretty sure I might need a pep talk most days but hopefully I can continue on the road to winning over diabetes. So there it is. My story in a nutshell so far... I have learned a lot on this journey and will constantly learn more and more about myself through this process.

Diabetes does not define me, but it is part of me and part of my story...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

15 & 16 months

This girl turns 17 months tomorrow and I am terrible at updating it every month. But here is a quick update on her lately (and so I can remember later what she was like at this age)

Likes/Learning to do: Basically lately her life could be summed up with babies and Frozen - her two favorite things. She loves her baby dolls and walks around with them, puts them in the stroller, pulls them back out and does this all day. Her obsession with Frozen has started early if you ask me. She is mesmerized by the movie, knows which songs are Frozen and carries around her little dolls and book. 

She is super girly-girl and wants me to put lip gloss on her several times when I get ready in the morning- she won't leave me alone. The other day I had to get out my cup full of bracelets to keep her occupied, which did work for about 10 minutes. She loves to have her nails painted and likes to put on bracelets, a princess gown and crown. We call her princess quite a bit. :) Lately I have found her sitting with Brecken trying to build legos. She likes to color - although she did bite off the top of a marker the other day-oops. Her hair has been getting longer and more curly - it is fun to be able to do different things with it like ponytails and little clips. 

Words: I absolutely love hearing her learn to talk with her sweet little voice. Oh my goodness. 
Her words right now: Mommy, Daddy, hi, bye, baby, stinky (while holding her nose, my favorite), Baba (Bauer- the dog), ma (more), lala (elsa), naanaa (Anna),  nigh night, eyes, and she has the funniest growl she does when she sees a picture of a lion, monster or dinosaur. I'm sure there are more I forgetting...

Here are a few different expressions from the last couple month shoots...

Friday, January 2, 2015

12, 13, & 14

Oh man, I have been so behind on blogging! So I am doing a recap of her last few months of photos and what she has been doing lately. Blogging is my way to document her milestones so I feel like I need to continue it until she is 2 since that is what I did for Brecken. 

Here are some details about her right now:

*This girl is a squeezable little honey with an amazing sweet smile that can melt your heart with a bit of spice. I love seeing her little personality come out but Todd and I both agree that we are in for it with this one. :)
*She has been walking for a while, now she is almost running at times.
* She can smile on cue sometimes giving her extremely cheesy smile. I just love it.
* She is starting to say a few words: Mama, Dada, Baba (for Bauer, our dog), hi, and she learned some sign language when she eats - more, please, and food.
* She LOVES her dolls and pushing them around their strollers and throws a fit when she runs into things and can't move the stroller.
*She really LOVES cell phones as well. She will pick mine up whenever she sees it laying around and say "hi." 
*She loves food and will get super excited when she sees me getting her a treat. She gives me a special smile for when I bring her chocolate. A girl after my own heart!
*She also has started a habit of squealing when she wants more food or when she wants something. I do not like this habit! :/
*Some times Brecken and Sienna get along great and the next minute fighting. He is taking away a toy and she is screaming. Oh sibling rivalry...
* Right now this girl is still sleeping well - through the night and still taking two naps a day - most of the time. She seems like she is grumpy when she only gets one nap in... I'm sure soon I will transition her to only one nap.
*Lately she has been teething - getting her "fang" teeth - they have been brutal on her at times. Poor babe.
*Christmas was more fun for her this year with her trying to open gifts and getting excited with the stuff that she got.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

11 months

Oh man, we are just a week from being 1. That is so crazy! I can't believe that my sweet little teeny, tiny baby is walking and super active. I just love this goofy girl! 

Loves/Learning to do: Walking! She is off. Just last week it was a walk/crawl combo. Now is it mostly  just walking, but she still crawls a bit. She is getting faster and better every day. She still falls alot but is confident. 

Sienna loves to splash alot in the bathtub, loves playing with all her brother's toys, and throwing every cup out of the kid dish drawer. She loves eating her snacks at the little table and looks so grown up sitting there eating. Three new teeth are making an appearance which makes 11. She babbles and isn't really saying "momma" very much anymore, but when she drops her cup she tries to say "uh oh." Her little personality is starting to come out and I think she is gonna be a little feisty and funny. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

10 months

Oh this little love... just growing up so fast! 10 months already! Her goofy little personality is starting to come out. I just love it and my absolute favorite is hearing both of the kiddos laugh at each other.

Learning to do/Loves: She hasn't started walking yet but is getting more confident standing and walking around things and has taken a few tiny steps. Sienna learned how to clap last month. She has learned a little two handed wave but sometimes does just a one handed cracks me up everytime I see it.

Eats: Loves hardboiled eggs, yogurt, cheerios, cheese, sweet potatoes, watermelon, strawberries and always has a cracker in each hand.