Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Update on Pregnancy - 20 Weeks

As of today I am 20 weeks pregnant! Half way there! Eek!

Due to my weight and age I was tested early for Gestational Diabetes. I went in a took my first "one hour" test and a few days later I got a call from a nurse informing me that I failed my test. I was devastated. I was confused. I just didn't understand. The nurse then asked me if I knew what a BMI was. "Um, yes, of course I do." She then told me that I need to consider "a serious life-style change."

I asked her what I should do and she told me that I needed to "eat healthier". I told her what my diet was like (high protein and very little sugar and carbs) and she said I should not be eating ANY sugar (including dairy and fruit). Done and done.

I went back into the office a week later and did the dreaded "3 hour" glucose test. This involves fasting (no food OR water for 10 hours), drawing blood, drinking a super sugary drink, and then getting your blood drawn every hour for the next three hours.

About 15 minutes after drinking the drink I felt like I was going to pass out. I told the nurse and they took me into an exam room so I could lay down. 

Every hour after that another nurse came in and took my blood. 

After the three hours I left and went home. I was so sick for the rest of the day. That test was pretty cruel.

A few days later I went back to the doctors for my monthly appointment with my Midwife. After being weighed (I had lost 6 pounds), I was brought into an exam room by a nurse. The nurse then informed me that I had failed my "3 hour" test. I asked her what that means and she told me that I had Gestational Diabetes.

Again, I was devastated. I was confused. I just didn't understand.

I started to cry. 

Then my Midwife walks in a ask me what's wrong. I told her that I had diabetes and that I didn't know what to do!

She then explained to me what was going on.

In my "one hour" test I had failed to get a blood glucose reading under 129 in the allotted hour. My reading was in the 130s. I barely failed.

The same thing happened during my "3 hour" test. I wasn't able to get my blood glucose reading under 129 in the first hour, BUT in the second and third hours my glucose readings were low and fine. What this means is that my insulin works, but it is a little slow to respond.

At this time they ordered me a blood glucose reader and told me that I would have to go to the hospital in Peoria (1.5 hours away) to meet with an expert and a Dietitian. 

My Midwife also told me that I shouldn't be losing weight and to make sure I wasn't starving myself. I was a little angry when she said this to me because I was just doing what I was told. I didn't know what to eat or how much to eat. So I was eating 1300 to 1500 calories a day (I keep a food journal), which consists mostly of protein.

I was excited to talk to the expert and the Dietitian so I could get back on the right track.

I spent the next week continuing to eating super healthy and pricking my finger four times a day.

On Monday (March 27th) I drove to the Hospital in Peoria to meet with all these different people. I ended up being in the hospital for FOUR HOURS! I met with a the dietitian nurse, then I had a high risk sonogram, and then I met with two Dietitians!

I was taken by the dietitian nurse to her office where I was weighed (I lost weight again) and then she went through my medical history before we started talking about my diet and my glucose readings. 

[My goal for the first three columns is 100-129 and my goal for the last column is 60-99. I was WELL under my goals for every reading except one. I wanted to test the meter so I ate a bunch of cookies and then immediately took my reading. I guess it works since my reading was 133!]

I showed her my food journal and my readings and she was very impressed. She told me that I have "manageable" Gestational Diabetes, which means I shouldn't have to take medication and that I should be able to keep it under control with just diet and exercise. She then told me that I should be eating 2200 CALORIES A DAY and that I need to gain a little weight! My jaw dropped! 

Never in my life have I EVER been told I need to eat more and gain weight! I didn't even know how to comprehend this!

I then went in for my sonogram.

[It's a BOY... still]

[Super cute right foot]

[Left foot] 

[My favorite picture! Baby feet!]

[Right hand - Fist bump!]
[Baby! He is facing my spine so we couldn't get a good picture of his face. Maybe next time!] 

Baby boy was VERY active during the sonogram. He kept kicking his feet and moving around. The technician had a hard time getting a few pictures but we managed in the end :-)

After my sonogram, the Doctor came in and talked to me about the size of the baby. She informed me that he is looking good and that he weighs 12 oz, which is average for this age. Everything she saw looks good and the baby is developing well!

I then went and met with the Dietitians. They first told me that my food journal was one of the best they have seen (thank you Weight Watchers for teaching me what a serving size is) and that my blood glucose numbers are looking good. We then went through a diet plan and they told me I need to eat more smart carbs and I have to eat 2200 calories a day. They informed me that carbs are essential for the baby's growth and brain development.

In the end they told me that what I was eating was great, BUT I need to add in more dairy, fruit and smart carbs. 

Done and done!

[Breakfast: two eggs, a large apple, 1 cup of skim milk, string cheese and a soy sausage patty]

I know it's going to be hard to prick my finger and record my blood glucose readings four times a day for the rest of my pregnancy, BUT I am 100% on board with the program. I will do anything to make sure that I deliver a healthy and happy baby. Since I have GD I have a higher chance of developing Type II Diabetes in the future, BUT if I can manage it now and learn from all of this, then maybe I won't develop it in the future.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gender Reveal

On March 6th I went to my monthly appointment with my Midwife in Ottawa. At the appointment I asked her when we would be able to do an ultrasound to find out the gender of the baby (since I was already 17 weeks), and she said that since their ultrasound machine isn't very good, we would have to wait until I was 20-22 weeks along! I didn't want to wait another 3-5 weeks, so we made an appointment for March 8th at a little Boutique in Chicago called Peek A Belly!

I met Josh in Chicago after work and we went to the Boutique.

We were taken into this cute room that had a nice comfortable seat for Josh and a large bed for me to lay on. The lady asked us what we wanted and I said, "A girl! But I know it's probably a boy."

She started the ultrasound and our first view of the baby was his back. She said, "Oh! He's got a really nice spine!"

[The baby was sleeping on his tummy]

She spent the next few seconds trying to get a better view and then she turned and looked at me with a sad face. "Well, it's a boy!"

I knew it! I knew it! I cried a little, but I had prepared myself for this moment. My parents will have 6 grandkids by the end of the summer and they are ALL boys! My family just has boys, I guess! 

The lady then had me turn on my side so we could get a good shot of his face but he wasn't having it. Baby boy had both of his hands up on his face so we couldn't get a clear view of him BUT we were able to confirm that he had ten fingers! So he's shy and sleeps with his hand by his face, totally his father's son!

After the ultrasound was over the lady gave us a blue balloon, a small gift basket, and a CD with a bunch of pictures.

We then drove home where we called and told my family what we were having! Everyone was so excited for us!

Monday, March 27, 2017

EF3 Tornado

I written about tornados before (here, here and here), but I had another tornado experience that I need to document. 

On February 28th, I was watching TV and the news cut in with alerts of extreme weather. There were a few alerts of possible tornados to the north of me, so I called Josh, who was at work, to let him know that there was a possibility of tornados heading towards Chicago.

While that was going on the news reported a "confirmed touchdown" (of a large tornado) about 30 miles to my immediate west. They projected that the tornado would be hitting Ottawa (the town 10 miles away from me where I do my grocery shopping and go to the gym) within the next 20 minutes and then will be getting to Marseilles at 5:15 PM. 

I was terrified! I called Josh and told him that I was getting a few things together (documents, wedding rings, my papyrus paintings from Egypt, and other irreplaceable items) and I was going to leave the Raptor and head south. While I was telling him this the tornado sirens where he was started going off, which caused me to panic even more!

So I gathered a few things, downloaded the ABC 7 Weather app on my phone, and headed south into the corn fields. I found a place to park about 15 miles south of town where I had a clear 360 degree view of the area. While I was parked I checked my phone to see where the storm was. 

At about 5:00 PM I got an alert that a large tornado had hit the tiny town of Naplate, jumped the Illinois River, and then hit downtown Ottawa. The reports said that at least one person had been killed and that downtown was "destroyed". 

I continued to wait it out and at 5:15 I started heading back to the campground. As I got closer and closer I noticed that the sky was a strange color, it started hailing, and I had NEVER seen clouds like that before. I said, "OH HELL NO!" Turned my truck around and headed south again.

At about 5:30 I checked my app again and saw that the storms had passed the area and were continuing east. I drove back to the campground, fully expecting to not find the Raptor in one piece, and found that the campground was fine. Phew! Once I got inside it started raining and hailing again, but according to the news, the tornado threat here was over.

Shortly after I got home I called Josh to see where he was. He said he was heading home and he wanted to check and see if there were any more tornados to watch out for. 

As he drove, we stayed on the phone so I could tell him if anything was coming at him. A few minutes later the news reported that there was another touchdown in a town called Morris, which is about 20 miles to my east. I knew I was safe because the storms were heading east BUT that is right where Josh was heading! I told him to wait until the storm passed before he continued home. Luckily, the tornado stayed to the south of the freeway and Josh was able to get home safely. But as he was getting close to the campground he was stopped by a police roadblock. They told him that there was a barn in the road up ahead and that the road was closed. 

We watched the news for the rest of the night. They kept showing video of the tornado that had hit Ottawa and the destruction it had caused. They also confirmed that two people were killed and that the tornado like likely an EF3!

A few days later, as I was driving to see my Midwife, I saw this:

Apparently after the tornado hit Naplate and Ottawa it jumped the river AGAIN and hit this farm house! The scary thing is that this house is only a mile north of the campground! I'm pretty sure the crazy clouds I was seeing when I first tried to come home was the EF3 that hit this poor mans house!

There was a crumpled phone tower, debris in the trees, and multiple overturned trailers. The house was destroyed as was anything else on the property. So sad!

I know it's not safe to be in a car during a tornado BUT I felt like it was the only option I had. Since it was still light outside and I had my weather app, I felt like that was the best option for me. We did talk to the owners here at the campground and they informed us that if there is a really bad storm we could got to the Club House/General Store and take shelter.

It was a cold December here in the Chicago area, but we didn't have ANY measurable snow in January or February (a 146 year record). The weather has been super wacky and I am nervous for what the Spring and Summer will bring. Getting large tornados like these this early in the year is really scary! 

It looks like we may be in for a rough few months!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Rest in Peace Clay Stilley

On the morning of February 20th, Josh received a call from his mother, Suzi, informing him that her husband, Clay, had a heart attack and was being life flighted to Bismarck, North Dakota, from Watford City. 

Josh came home from work, we packed, and started the 12.5 hour drive to Bismarck. Around midnight we arrived in Minneapolis, MN, checked into a hotel and went to sleep. At 3:30 AM Josh got a call from his mother informing us that they had taken Clay off of life support and he had passed away.

We then continued our drive and made it to Bismarck around noon. We called the family and told them that we were going to lunch. The whole family (minus Grandma Judy who was not able to travel) met us at the restaurant where they filled us in on what had happened.

Clay had, most likely, started having small heart attacks a few days earlier, but had thought it was just heartburn or COPD. He went to work on Monday and had a massive heart attack so he was life flighted to Bismarck. They put him on dialysis (due to kidney failure) and life support. Suzi was able to be with him when they took him off of life support.

We spent the rest of the day with our family and then the next day a few of us drove to Watford City to help Suzi pack up all of her and Clay's things. Then we all drove back to Superior, Wisconsin.

We spent the next few days with the family while Clay's Celebration of Life was being planned.

On March 10th, Josh and I flew down to New Orleans, Louisiana. We rented a car and drove up to Tickfaw to meet up with the rest of the family at Clay and Suzi's house.

The next morning we all gathered at the Old Zion Hill Baptist Church to Celebrate Clays life. The service was beautiful and some very kind words were spoken. Clay was also in the Navy so there was an Honor Guard and a flag was presented to Suzi.

After some remarks by Clay's friend (mostly about Clay's heroic efforts during the recent flooding) and the church's Pastor, everyone gathered back at Clay and Suzi's place for a BBQ. 

Clay LOVED to cook! Anytime there was a family gathering, an event, or just a Sunday night, Clay was always cooking. And he always cooked WAY too much delicious food. And that's exactly what we did!

The family also lowered a flag to half mast while a bagpiper played Amazing Grace.

Later that night some of the pipeliners went out and bought 20 lbs of crawfish. 

The next day Josh and I flew home. We were sad to leave the family, but Josh had to get back to work.

Clay was such a loving and generous man who could put a smile on anyone's face. He loved to cook, was a proud veteran, cared deeply for his family, and was a man of faith. Clay, you will not be forgotten.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Family Trip to Orlando - Part III: Harry Potter World

Wednesday, February 15th

Today was a day of rest! My dad took Wade, Karen, and Brady to the Kennedy Space Center while the rest of us stayed home to relax. After two LONG days at the parks I was grateful for a break!

Thursday, February 16th

Wade, Karen, Missy and I got up early and headed to the Universal Orlando Resort so that we could go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! EEK!!

The Harry Potter stuff is divided between the two Universal Parks. Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade is in Universal's Islands of Adventure. So we had to buy a two-park-one-day-park-hopper pass so that we could do all the Harry Potter stuff in one day. It was a little expensive, but TOTALLY worth it!

We started our day by entering Universal Studios Florida and zig-zagging our way to the back of the park where we found The Knight Bus and 12 Grimmauld Place!

[Of course I had to get a picture of Optimus Prime!]

[The Knight Bus]

[12 Grimmauld Place]

We then walked through this building, 

and through this wall, 


The candy shops were so fun because they had all the same candy that they have in the books and the movies! 

 [Ollivanders wand shop]

After exploring the first few shops we decided to walk all the way to the end of Diagon Alley to the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride. 

I was not able to ride this ride so I offered to hold the backpacks again. A few minutes after Wade, Karen, and Missy went inside I got a text from Missy that said I had to get in there! So I asked the ride attendant if I could wait in line with my family and just not ride the ride and he said that was fine! So I went inside and found this:

The inside looked EXACTLY like the movies! It was so amazing! I stayed with the others until they got on the ride.

While they were on the ride I went and got some butterbeer! 

It was so delicious but was WAY too sweet for me! I had a few sips (and took a few pictures) before passing it off to Missy once they exited the ride.

She took a few sips and deemed it too sweet to drink so she passed it to Wade and Karen who LOVED it!

After drinking the butterbeer we continued exploring Diagon Alley!

We went to a wand shop where Missy bought Ryan a wand.

We then went to a reading from the Tales of Beedle the Bard where the performers acted out the Deathly Hallows tale.

After the show we walked over to Knockturn Alley and explored that area before heading to the Leaky Cauldron for lunch.

[Leaky Cauldron]

After a delicious lunch (and a nice break), we exited Diagon Alley and walked into Kings Cross so we could take the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade!

[Missy getting onto Platform 9 3/4]

Missy and I were seriously giddy when we saw the Hogwarts Express! I was jumping up and down and clapping!

We then boarded the train and watched a super cute scene unfold out our window. It was such a fun ride!

We exited the train and entered Hogsmeade!


We went through all the different shops and then found ourselves in the busy Three Broomsticks.


[Three Broomsticks] 

We then continued our walk through Hogsmeade towards Hogwarts!


We then all went inside the castle so that Wade, Karen, and Missy could ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. The inside of the castle looked just like the movie! Even the pictures were moving and talking!

I exited the line just as the others were getting on the ride. Since I was not able to ride the rides I figured I should buy the baby a gift (since he was the reason).

So I bought the baby a Harry Potter onesie! SO CUTE!

After taking a few pictures with the onesie, we decided to walk back though Hogsmeade and then take the Hogwarts Express back to Diagon Alley so we could get some ice cream at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour.

[On the Hogwarts Express] 

We made our way to Florean's, bought our ice cream, and then sat on some steps by Gringotts by enjoy our treat.

After eating our ice cream we all decided that it was time to go home. Even though there is so much to do in the two parks, we were there just to see the Harry Potter stuff and that is what we did!

On our way back to our car we stopped by the Chocolate Factory, in the Universal City Walk, but didn't buy anything.

The next day my parents, Wade, and Karen flew to Cancun (lucky!) while Missy, the boys, and I flew back to Cincinnati. 

Thanks to Missy for taking control and planning out our days at the Parks and thanks to my parents for watching the kids while we ran around Harry Potter World and Epcot!

And yes, we are already planning on going back in 2020 after the new Star Wars Land opens in Hollywood Studios!