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Aug 23 / Caro

My Big Baby

Today’s 28 week growth scan brought mixed news.

The Good: Flangelina has turned. The belly rumbling and rolling that I felt this weekend was obviously the outward manifestation of their internal gymnastics, because Flangelina is now hanging out upside down like a bat, and pretty low down in there. This is a big relief as it’s one hurdle that would reduce the chances of a natural delivery out of the way. So long as they stay that way of course. But I’m keeping up with birth ball bouncing and swimming to encourage that, and I feel much more confident about them not being breech than I did before.

So, yay!

But…

The Not So Good: Flangelina is beefing up in there.

It’s not catastrophic. In fact, the sonographer commented on how well I must be controlling my blood sugars as she was writing up the data. She said I was doing really well and the baby looked great. She then casually, as if it was no big deal, added that the baby’s abdominal circumference had jumped up to the 80th centile.

And I lost it. Started crying big, fat silly tears. Because last time everything was measuring right around the 50th centile. And when a baby gets big because of diabetes, it is invariably the abdominal circumference that enlarges ahead of the curve since that is where the extra fat gets laid down. In other words I’m not simply growing a larger than average baby. I’m growing a little fat baby.

Instantly I felt like a failure.

But I also felt frustrated. Because I don’t know what else I can realistically do. I’m wearing the DexCom full time and testing 10 or more times per day in addition. I’m carb counting like a pro and pre-bolusing where I can. I’m getting as much physical activity as I can and generally working hard. For the most part, I’m seeing excellent results. The DexCom tells me that I’m inside my tight target range of 3.9 – 6.8 more than 70% of the time. And a large chunk of the remaining time I’m actually spending too low, which whilst not ideal for me, won’t be packing the pounds on Flangelina. These are numbers that are nearer to normal than I’ve even been since I was diagnosed as a small child, and it’s frustrating to think that they still aren’t good enough.

Both my obstetrician and diabetes specialist nurse did their best to reassure me. Scans are not that accurate. The numbers say that I am doing fine. Big babies are not unhealthy, they just may be a bit more difficult to deliver, and all the evidence points towards higher birth weights actually being healthier in the long run. They were at pains to point out how much more seriously I take this than the majority of their patients, and how the results really reflect that. HbA1c’s of less than 5 aren’t common, apparently.

I don’t really care how much better I’m doing than other people though, if it still isn’t good enough. If others choose not to take it seriously, that is their problem and it doesn’t mean that I can justify doing the same. My health and my baby are what matters to me. And I’m still worried. I can’t help but think it’s just a sign that I’m not as on top of things as I thought. I’m afraid that it means failure of the placenta is more likely. And that caesarean delivery is more likely. I feel like my body is failing my baby. I’m failing my baby by not being successful enough at keeping my body in check. I’m not minimising the risk of problems.

Flangelina will have their whole life to hate me for the things I do (or don’t do) to embarrass them. But I don’t want them to have reason to resent me already. And, if I’m honest, I don’t want other people to have reason to point the finger at me and say that I couldn’t keep my baby safe in the womb.

I suppose I need to re-focus. I need to avoid the tendency to complacency that such a low A1c and steady CGM graphs have given me. Nothing can be taken for granted.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though….

The Fun: We told the sonographer that we’d been for a private 4d scan. Not to be outdone she exclaimed “Oh yes, we can do that with this machine”. In an instant the grainy 2d image on the screen had flipped to a moving three dimensional picture and we enjoyed several minutes of indulgent baby-gazing.

Flangelina is beautiful, that’s for sure. Every chunky inch of him or her.

I’m sorry, baby, that I’m feeding you a diet of sweeties. I promise to make it up to you when you’re born.

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