Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Truth about Gestational Diabetes

I realize that probably 95% of you really don't care that much about Gestational Diabetes.  BUT, I figure somewhere along the way there will be another 5% that encounter it somehow in their lives, and I hope to speak some truth about it based on my own experiences.  (Disclaimer: I realize that my experience will be different from others; I'm not saying everyone's will look like this.  Also, this will probably be another long post, so feel free to skip around - or skip it all together - if you are in the 95%.)

First, if you want a little background, click here.

Ok, here goes...

It has been exactly two weeks since I attended my diabetes education class, received my meter, and started watching my diet/ pricking my finger four times a day for a blood glucose readings. My feelings and emotions have been ALL over the spectrum in those 14 days.  When I have a really good day with low numbers and can easily stick to my "diet," I feel positive about the changes I am making, confident about the health of my baby, and sometimes even a little excited to see "how good" I can do on my next reading.  Then, there are other days where I feel like I'm doing everything right, and I still get numbers higher than I'd like (the goal for me is stay below 95 in the morning - before eating anything; and below 120 two hours after every meal).  On these days, I am frustrated, anxious, and disappointed.  Still, there are other days, when my self-control is weak and I eat three cookies or a slice of cake only to see the numbers (not surprisingly) sky rocket.  I feel the worst after those kinds of days.  I am angry at myself for not doing better for my little boy, and I am angry at God/my body/my doctor/whoever for making me get GD and stick to any kind of eating plan.  I HATE that I can't have a donut in the teacher's lounge, eat icecream whenever I want, or cheetos with my lunch - Afterall, I'm pregnant.  I should be able to eat whatever I want. 

So that's the basic roller coaster this has been so far... Along with it, here are a few of the pros and cons I've discovered in my journey so far:

Pros:

- The diet really isn't that bad.  I CAN still eat carbs.  In fact, I can eat kind-of a lot of carbs (30 for breakfast and three snacks, 45 - 60 for lunch and dinner).  I am NOT on the Atkins Diet, thank goodness!

- Every time I eat a healthy meal or forgo dessert, I feel better about myself and know that I am already caring selflessly for my little boy. This is the best feeling.

- Weight.  As you know, I've gained a good bit of weight throughout this pregnancy so far.  In fact, up to this point, I had gained about a pound a week consistently.  Well, at today's appointment I had gained only 1/2 a pound in the last TWO weeks.  This is a small victory, but it was good news to me!

- I truly believe that I am developing and changing some eating habits that I NEEDED to adjust anyway in my life - diabetes or not.  In the last two weeks, I have exercised more, drank more water, and practiced more self-control with my eating than I probably ever have in my life.  (This is a little sad to be honest.)  I also have become genuinely more educated about the eating choices I make every day - some times I am amazed to think of what I would be eating if I wasn't paying such careful attention.

Cons:

- I just want to eat icecream, cookies, cake, bagels, thick bread, etc. etc. etc.  (And sometimes, truth be told, I feel like I deserve it because I'm eight months pregnant.)

- The eating plan that I am following (which is basically just sticking to the specific number of carbs I am allowed per meal/snack & obeying a few other "rules) requires A LOT of planning.  It takes me twice (maybe three) times as long to pack my "lunch" in the morning, because I have to count carbs, write everything down, and pack all my snacks for the day too.  Sometimes dinner is even harder, especially when I am busy.  I can't just run in a sandwich shop or pick up something quick - I need to either make something healthy at home or take the time before hand to research online nutritional facts at restaurants etc. 

- The plan really doesn't allow for spontaneity AT ALL.  When it is Teacher Appreciation Week and there are chocolate desserts EVERYWHERE in the teacher's lounge, I can't just decide to forgo my regularly scheduled snack for a piece of oreo pie.  Likewise, I can't munch endlessly on chips and salsa with friends (and you KNOW how much I love chips and salsa) or randomly decide that I am more in the mood for a chicken sandwich than a salad at lunch time.  I hate this.  (As a side note: I am learning that drinking water and exercising will make up for a lot of "cheats."  This is a good lesson because it gives me some freedom; but it is dangerous too.)

- I can't eat fruit until after noon, and I really miss my morning banana.  (This is one of those weird rules.  Apparently, women with GD have a hard time processing sugars from fruit early in the morning. ??)

- I'm really not supposed to eat "sweets" EVER.  Even if they fit into my carb count.  I wish I could say I had done perfectly with this, but I have not.

- Sometimes I do everything right and still have a high reading; or everything wrong and turn out ok.

- I have to prick my finger four times a day.

- Despite constant little kicks and wiggles, I still worry about my baby a lot. When this is all said and done, I just want to know that I've done everything I possibly can for him to be healthy and happy.  I am so envious of my friends that have already had their babies.

Ok, that about sums things up so far... I do want to report that my doctor said that I am doing very well.  He has no extra concerns about me at this point.  I will just keep doing what I'm doing and try to reduce the number of "mistakes."  I WILL make it eight more weeks. :)  Thanks for your support and for taking the time to read all of this if you've made it this far.

1 comment:

  1. hi there! i found your blog through jen's and came over to check out a little more about you :-) after i read a few posts (about your getting GB and swollen, gaining more during pregnancy, etc) i wanted to give you a little hope with all that. i ended up on bed rest my 5 weeks of pregnancy because of being pre-preeclamptic to where i pretty much couldn't do ANYTHING but go to the restroom. i immediately associated this with weight gain (which they told me it had nothing to do with) and felt guilty that i'd not eaten healthy and been this perfect, adorable, fit pregnant person that a lot of my friends seemed to pull off without even trying. my weight gain went from 30 lbs to 60 lbs over that last 5 weeks and i ended up at 215 (EEK!) i HATED being confined to a bed but knowing i was doing it for my sweet boy was worth it AND (here's your encouragement part ;-) 2 weeks after i was home from the hospital with our little guy i had lost 30 lbs, without doing a thing (except breastfeeding). now (he's almost 8 months) i'm 7 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight and am going to try and keep going to get an extra 10-15 lbs off after that. this is all to say you're doing great, don't feel guilty about feeling a little sorry for yourself, not everyone has to go through this stuff and it's not easy! i hope you're feeling great these last few weeks, our guy was born at 37 wks, 2 days at 6 lbs 14 oz so it could be any day for you!!! little boys are the BEST!!! i hope this encouraged you a bit :)

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