Considering how easy and comfortable my pregnancy has been up to this point, I have no room to complain. But, these past two weeks were probably the most difficult of my whole experience so far!
1. I got my first clogged milk duct. Yes, this can happen before you even start breast feeding–> it happened to me right at the 28-week mark. (My doctor says that’s pretty early for this to occur, so lucky me.) It’s also especially difficult to resolve without a baby to help nurse the clog out! Luckily, I received some great advice from my doula and the following helped resolve the issue within 48 hours:
- Lots of warm compresses and hot showers (cloth diapers work well as a compress to maintain heat!)
- Lots of self-massage of the area (this hurts like CRAZY)
- Lecithin (<– this was a suggestion from my sister in law. According to KellyMom.com, lecithin can help thin the milk and will prevent clogs from happening in the future. I now take one pill daily to prevent this from happening again before baby arrives!)
Thank goodness the problem resolved itself, because if it hadn’t, clogged milk ducts can lead to a much more serious condition that requires antibiotics. That was even more motivation for me to deal with the pain and do whatever was necessary to fix the problem naturally.
I am still SHOCKED at how painful clogged milk ducts are! I suppose this might be a sneak-peek at potential breast feeding pain in my future, though I’m still hoping for the best.
2. I had to get tested for Gestational Diabetes.
Which involves drinking this neon-orange, artificially flavored drink that’s bursting with sugar. Sorry, baby.
I am really disappointed that this is the normal protocol for testing blood sugar, since I don’t think any person should be required to consume an artificially dyed or flavored drink in a hospital– especially pregnant women! I tried to talk my doctor into ANY other options, but he’s very “by the book” and insisted on this test. Since we don’t have the financial freedom to use a midwife and have home birth, I’ve made peace with this situation for now… but I still hate it.
3. I failed my 1-hour glucose test.
When I heard this, I thought there must be a mistake. With everything I’ve done to maintain a healthy pregnancy, I was shocked to think that I could have possibly developed gestational diabetes! Of course, I’ve known some pretty healthy people who have developed it during their own pregnancies, so nothing surprises me anymore. Gestational diabetes is determined by how the pancreas reacts to the extra hormones produced by the placenta (a genetic factor), so anyone can be vulnerable, despite a healthy lifestyle.
It also turns out that it’s common to get a false-positive on the 1-hour glucose test, which is why many doctors insist on a longer test in the first place. When I failed my first test, my doctor ordered that I take the 3-hour glucose tolerance test to see if I really had gestational diabetes or not.
The 3-hour test involves drinking even more of that horrid drink pictured above, and getting 4 blood draws over a period of 3 hours. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? This test is much more accurate because it begins with the patient fasting overnight, and then taking a fasting blood draw as a comparison before drinking the sugary beverage. You have to sit quietly in a waiting room for the whole 3 hours, so I had lots of time on my hands for reading! (On the positive side, I finished my investment book!)
As it turns out, I’m not even close to having gestational diabetes. My blood sugar levels are perfect! So, who knows what happened with that first test…
4. I’ve noticed that everything is starting to get a little more difficult.
I’m not used to letting people do things for me, like lift boxes or move furniture, so the past two weeks of “nesting” have been a wake-up call for me! Austin and I rearranged all the furniture in our small home to make room for a crib and baby dresser, and I was surprised to find myself panting after doing what seemed like small tasks. My body is definitely pumping more blood and working harder than usual!
Which means that re-organizing our home has become a workout in itself. I’ve found a new project to work on almost daily, and by the time I’m done, I’m sweating!
5. I almost fainted in our most recent birth preparation class.
To top off my 29th week, we attended a class detailing all of the possible complications and interventions that can occur during labor and delivery. Our instructor is fantastic, but seeing and holding the tools that they might use to monitor my baby’s head (it screws into his little scalp!) and the crochet-like needle they use to rupture membranes was a little overwhelming. And it only got worse when they showed us a video of all the interventions, including the insertion of an epidural– showing the needle and all!
I’ve fainted at the sight of needles since I was a baby (don’t ask me why), so this was what did me in. I briefly lost my vision and hearing, and broke out into a cold sweat–> causing Austin to quickly escort me out of the class. This is exactly why I’m hoping for a natural birth, since I obviously can’t handle even the idea of interventions very well.
Reader Feedback: I know many of you out there are pregnant as well, so please feel free to share your experiences from the past few weeks!