I’ve been MIA! The month of September was filled with travel and fun.
I fell off the blog wagon sometime near Labor Day. My husband and I were really trying to enjoy the last that summer had to offer in early September. My sister and my dad came to visit us with their significant others over Labor Day weekend. We were boating at the lake all weekend. Good thing too, because we didn’t get the boat out once again this year and it’s been snowing here for several weeks!
On the weekend of September 7th, Marshall and I traveled to Jackson, Wyoming for a friend’s wedding. We decided to take an extra day off work to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and camped in Wyoming’s beautiful Sunlight Basin. Our last camping trip of the year too!
On September 12th, we traveled down to Cheyenne to see my OB for the anatomy ultrasound and found out the gender of the baby!! During this ultrasound, the baby was head down and turned towards my spine making some measurements (like the heart) difficult for the tech. Here are some pics from my ultrasound!
Baby gender. It’s a BOY!
20w Baby Profile
Finding out fetal gender was super fun. All of my husband’s siblings have girls (we have 4 nieces), so everyone is excited that we are having a boy. I had no preference on gender. I’m happy the baby is measuring on target and everything looks good!
After the anatomy ultrasound appointment, I needed to start preparing for my 2 week trip to Asia. I also received my new insulin pump in that timeframe. Just in time for my trip! Check out my new pump – The Green Ping! I love the color.
The Green Ping.
On September 24th, I started my two week trip to Hong Kong and Vietnam with some friends from my doctoral program. My friend, Gabriela, was meeting me in Hong Kong (flying from Kentucky) and we were staying with another friend, Cecilia, an expat who lives in Hong Kong. I had 28 hours of airline travel to get to Hong Kong – 4 flights. I flew from Casper to Salt Lake City to Seattle to Seoul to Hong Kong. I’ve never flown that much in my life! I was worried about being diabetic and pregnant and being on the plane that long. On my longest flight (Seattle to Seoul – 10 hours), I was stuck in a window seat in the very back of the airplane. Keep in mind that I’m 6’1” and pregnant. Oy.
Gabriela and I both arrived in Hong Kong as planned – amazing that everything worked out so well considering we were both flying for different parts of the US on different routes, different airlines, etc. But, we made it! Cecilia showed us a wonderful time for our 1.5 days in Hong Kong.
Cecilia, Gabriela, and Kelly at Stanley Beach, Hong Kong, SAR
Panoramic view of Hong Kong Bay from Victoria Peak.
On September 27th, Gabriela and I flew from Hong Kong to Hanoi, Vietnam. I lost one of my credit cards within 5 minutes of being in Hanoi (accidentally left it in an ATM in the airport). Hanoi was completely overwhelming to my senses – first of all, the traffic! Oh my, the traffic is crazy! The smells, the noise, the air pollution – this Wyoming girl had culture shock. Two other friends (Stephanie and Jen) also met us in Hanoi that day. Everyone arrived safely from their corners of the world!
On our 2nd day in Hong Kong, I had started to develop what I thought was heat rash on my ankles. It was a hot, itchy, rash along my sock and sandal lines. Hong Kong was hot 85-90F and humid (compared to where I live), so I had been sweating and red the whole time I was there (and basically for the rest of the trip). I just do not handle heat and humidity well. By the 2nd day in Hanoi and after walking 10-12 hours per day each day, the rash had gotten much worse and I was having major ankle swelling. After a few days of all of that walking, I was having ankle pain when walking and I was concerned that something was really wrong. I literally thought that I was going to have to end the trip early. Luckily, my travel companions encouraged me to be seen at an SOS International clinic in Hanoi – to have the baby checked out and to help me make an educated decision on whether or not I needed to come home early or if I could continue my trip! I was especially concerned about preeclampsia, so I was especially wanting my BP to be checked.
On the 29th, I went to the health clinic in Hanoi. My BP was 112/75. 🙂 Absolutely no problems with the baby! What a relief! The rash was identified as a streptococcal infection (streptococcus cellulitis) and the swelling was a function of all of the flying, hours of walking, loss of circulation from pregnancy and to a lesser extent poor circulation from diabetes. The doctor encouraged me to continue walking as much as I could, but to elevate my feet when resting. I received an oral antibiotic (Augmentin), a topical antibiotic, and an antiseptic for the skin rash. One dose of the oral antibiotic and an application of the cream that evening and the rash was greatly improved by the next morning. I also decided to rest and relax for two extra days in Hanoi before moving on. The others went to Halong Bay. I was sad to not go, but it was a good decision for me to rest in the hotel in Hanoi, get extra sleep to make up for the time change, and rest my legs. Jen could only join us for the weekend in Hanoi (she lives in Bangkok). Gabriela and Stephanie went on an overnight excursion to Halong Bay and met me back in Hanoi. While they were gone, I went to the spa and went shopping.
On the 30th, we flew from Hanoi to the coastal city of Da Nang and then moved on to the beach town of Hoi An. We stayed at a quaint little resort with bungalows. The resort hosts made the 10 resort guests a traditional Vietnamese dinner one night – so we met some folks from Australia, Belgium, and Germany. Hoi An was a nice change in pace from Hanoi. Hoi An is a bit more rural (rice fields surround town), the town is much smaller, and it has a thriving artist community. It is touristy, but there was plenty of real life Vietnam going on all around us. Much of our trip was focused on eating the incredible Vietnamese food everywhere we went. Most of the food was familiar to me – pho nooddle soup, chicken and rice, spring rolls, grilled meats and veggies, lots of fresh fruit. I did have the ability to try some new foods that I had never seen or tried before: morning glory greens (one of my favorite finds), pomelo, mangosteen, rambutan, banana flower. Gabriela was also on a mission to try weasel poop coffee (ca phe chon – similar to kopi luwak). It was selling for $47.50 per 8.8oz! We were able to purchase a cup to share for $6 USD at a cafe in Da Nang. I found it to be bitter… I’m not a huge coffee drinker.
Before I had left on my trip, I was using about 65-70 units of Apidra per day (a substantial increase over my pre-pregnancy total daily dose). In Asia, however, my total daily insulin dose was as low as 35 units per day (lower than pre-pregnancy), and I was 23-25 weeks pregnant! I had amazing insulin sensitivity during my entire trip. I had to cut back my basal rate by 40% most days and sometimes to 0% when we were walking and site seeing. I do think the walking explains part of the drop in insulin needs, but I don’t think it explains all of it. When I hike for hours on end at home, I never had to cut it back by that much! I thought it was interesting that processed food was completely absent from my diet during my entire trip. I was eating many more carbs than I normally would – but they were all clean carbs – white rice, rice noodles, springroll wrappers, and fruit. Everything else was veggie and herb. The food was delicious, super healthy, and almost entirely made from scratch. Also, dairy was almost completely non-existent from my diet over there. The fact that my geographic tongue and other autoimmune symptoms went away completely during my trip has made me pause over my dairy eating while home.
Here are some pictures of food porn!
Banana flower salad with beef and assorted pickled veggie (and pickled starfruit)- This dish was SO beautiful!
Bitter melon with egg
duck spring rolls
Plate of fruit – we had for breakfast every morning!
Green curry chicken
Tumeric chicken with pickled veggies
My first ever foie gras with a balsamic demi glaze and fresh mango,
Green papaya salad marinated in fish sauce, lime juice with herbs and peanuts.
Grilled chicken and morning glory greens
Ground beef in lott leaf.
Fresh shredded coconut wrapped with grilled beef.
Iced ginger tea.
Morning glory greens braised in fish sauce, garlic with chiles and peanuts.
Clearly, food was a major focus of our trip!
In terms of site seeing, we saw a lot! In Hanoi with saw the Hoa Lo prison (Hanoi Hilton – now a museum – it was very strange), Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem lake, lots of pagodas/temples, Museum of Ethnology, Museum of Women, and took in the Old Quarter charm/cacophony. In Hue, we saw the Citadel and what is left of the Imperial Palace. I wish we had more time in Hue. In Da Nang, we saw the new Vietnam – shiny, new construction of resorts, dragon bridges, and an attempt to draw in foreign tourists and investors. The Crown Plaza has a beach resort on China Beach right across the street from an old US air base. My father is a Vietnam War vet and was a green beret. I struggled with some of the juxtaposition of the Vietnam I’ve seen in his pictures versus what I saw as a tourist 30 years later. As I traveled via private car from Hoi An to Da Nang to Hue over the Monkey Mountains – some parts are still cratered from war – I thought a lot about my dad and the war and the people that died. It was a beautiful place – rugged, jungled mountains, rice fields in the low lands, fog, water buffalo, people going about their daily lives. I had a hard time imagining the horrible things that too place there, but they were constantly in the back of my mind. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to reconcile the two pictures that I have in my mind (then and now) of Vietnam. I need to do some more reading about the country’s history.
Despite some minor lows, I really had NO problems with my diabetes during my travels. I had no problems with traveling with all of my supplies either. I love pumping and I truly believe it makes most things in life with diabetes, including travel, easier.
After spending about 4 nights in Hoi An, we headed back to Hanoi for two more days in Vietnam and then we headed home. I had another 36 hours of airline travel home – 4 flights again – Hanoi to Seoul to Seattle to Salt Lake to Casper. I had a wonderful time, but I was ready to be home! While I was away, it had snowed in Casper twice! One of the storms dumped almost two feet of snow and caused major tree and property damage around town! It was hard to imagine since I had spent two weeks overheated, red, swollen, rashy, and sticky. I was so happy to have clean, fresh air and to see my husband and doggies!
Being back home meant I was back to the daily grind and trying to get over my jet lag while six months pregnant. I had a much harder time adjusting upon returning home than I did when I got to Asia. On top of the jet lag, the three of us had all developed some mild gastrointestinal symptoms on the third to last day in Vietnam. I believe it was a mild parasitic bug that we picked up from some of the fresh produce. The predominant symptom and annoying thing was the stomach cramping that I would get after eating. After about 10 days, it finally went away.
On October 14th, I had a routine visit with my endocrinologist. How about that for accountability?! See the endo <7 days after returning from a two week vacation in Asia where I ate my way through every place that I had been?! I had very decent blood sugar while I was traveling and the reduction in my total insulin doses was a surprise. However, as soon as I returned to the states, my pregnancy-related insulin resistance came right back! And I was having some higher than normal BGs that entire week before seeing the endo. I was worried about my A1c…Luckily, my A1c at 26 weeks was 5.7%!!! I’m so happy!
On the 15th, I had a fetal echocardiogram and also a routine OB visit. The fetal echocardiogram was completely normal! They look very closely at the baby’s heart – check all 4 chambers, look at the vessels going in and out. Again, baby was head down and turned towards my spine. He was being very wiggly and the tech was having a hard time getting some measurements, but he finally settled down and we got to see the details. His heart rate has been consistently where it needs to be. My check up with the OB was great – no glucose, protein, or ketones in my urine. I was up 10lbs from my pre-pregnancy baseline (not bad for being 26 weeks!). My bp was normal. I’m feeling good and I hope everything with my pregnancy continues to be this easy!
Here’s a pic of me at 26, almost 27 weeks.
Me at 26w6d pregnant!