Monday, June 18, 2012

Sugar baby!

As many of you know now, I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant. I was so embarassed by my diagnosis I told almost no one. I found out about my diagnosis right before Thanksgiving {... it was so tragic} I was shocked, I couldn't believe I got diagnosed. I've always been very conscious of my diet, I did yoga through my entire pregnancy, and walked regularly... How could   I   be getting diagnosed with gestational diabetes? Surely, this had to be a mistake. Since I was a child, my blood sugar had always tested high. I did what I always do, I started researching... TONS of research. I was determined to fight this, I was not going to give up my goal of a natural birth.

Me a few weeks before my diagnosis!
The more research I did the more I found that there just wasn't enough evidence to suggest that the 1 hour test I failed could be an accurate judge of gestational diabetes. I'd also read that doing a test off a 50g glucose drink just wasn't realistic since we don't often go around in daily life drinking glucose drinks. {The suggestion was to give mom something she would actually come in contact with... such as bread, pancakes, etc.} I was scheduled to go into diet training with a nutritionist and I called my doctor and fought my diagnosis and since I was getting the run around, I threatened to skip the diet training until I talked to my doctor. They compromised with me and said to come right over to their office after the diet training and they would fit me in with my doctor.

I went to the diet training and was relieved to see I wasn't actually doing much wrong. I was eating too many carbs at the wrong time and there were foods that I didn't know counted as carbs. I got my blood glucose meter and was TERRIFIED of the needle stick... turns out it wasn't too bad. The anticipation was actually worse than the stick! I had gotten myself all worked up and was shaking before that first try at pricking... I'm not fond of needles at all. That was a big driving force behind the natural birth... no epidural needle for me!

When I met with my doctor, I was doomed so lucky to meet the resident training with my doc. {Read my birth story to understand this epic resident saga...} He was very defensive when I questioned the diagnosis, asked how it was going to affect my natural birth plan, and asked if I could do a 3 hr test instead. I was even asked, "What exactly do you mean by 'natural birth'?" and had the awful vocabularly of "induction", "c-section" and "fetal mortality" used in that conversation. {Really? Was that necessary??} When my ACTUAL doctor finally came in I posed the exact same questions to him. He was SO much more chill. {That's why I loved him!!} He said that because my results were so high from the 1 hr test, that's why I was diagnosed. He didn't feel it was necessary to do a 3-hr test. He said, even if I didn't have GD, it wasn't going to hurt me to test my blood sugar and keep it level... He asked me to test my blood sugar for the next two weeks until our next appointment and then based on the results, he'd decide then whether we could cut down the testing from 4 times a day to only twice. He said that as long as my blood sugar stayed level and that the baby did not all of a sudden change her growing pattern there was no reason we couldn't have a natural birth and as long as everything went well, there was no reason I couldn't go till 41 weeks.
Me a few days before giving birth!

So when I started the diet, Dave was prepared from my cleanse I had done the previous year for the carb withdrawl... oh, it was awful. The carb withdrawl is awful to start with... but add in pregnancy hormones and NO ONE is happy! Thanksgiving was tough... I didn't realize how many carbs you have to dodge with the traditional Thanksgiving feast!! I'm happy to say all parties survived. After the initial week, I was feeling much better. I wasn't getting the flushed face, head throbbing, heart palpations I was getting after I ate... I was in a better mood on a daily basis. I started stopped gaining weight. I was very concerned about this, but the baby was still growing just fine, according to my doc. I started finding out ways to have dessert with my meals {Hello! Lettuce wraps!!} and the carb counting was actually not bad. I learned how to get nutrition info for most restaurants and how to estimate cups by sight... Oh, and I walked, walked, walked like crazy as soon as I got diagnosed! I knew that exercise along with a balanced diet helps control blood sugar long term. I was doing yoga, but I needed to do more cardio, so even though it was the dead of winter, Dave and I walked... and walked... and walked... every night, since it was too dark and cold to walk outdoors, we took it indoors--walking loops around the mall, Walmart, Target, Meijer... any large indoor space that we could spend about an hour walking around in. When we went to visit Dave's family in Eastern Kentucky for the holidays, I found myself so antsy from having no where to walk. So we even took a 30 mins drive to the nearest Walmart a couple times just to walk a few loops!

In the end, I only tested my blood sugar 4 times a day for the first month, and after that I was down to only twice a day. We had a 36 week ultrasound that I was very, very anxious about, as I know that they can be very inaccurate. My sister-in-law had GD too and her son was measured over 9 lbs at the ultrasound, so she got induced, he was born around 7.5 lbs!! I was so nervous, I had to mentally prepare myself for anything to happen {more like going over how I was going to fight any results that would go against my natural birthing wishes...} When they finally did my scan the tech said my fluid levels were "fine"... I quickly jumped in, "What's the number?" While I waiting impatiently and uncomfortably, she finished doing the measurements and said that the baby was measuring at 6 lbs 3 oz and estimated that the baby would be about 7.5 lbs at birth... I let out a HUGE sigh of relief. Prayers were answered!! Again, super important to have an awesome care provider, when we went over the results with my doc, he said to us, "Oh, those late pregnancy scans aren't very accurate..." {Seriously, how awesome is he?} At birth, Gabriella weighed in at 6 lbs 11.8 oz. The attending at our birth said that the ultrasound was way off, there was no way she could have been 6.3 at the 36 week scan.

My pregnancy weight ended up capping at 17 lbs. After I had the baby, I was 10 lbs under my prepregnancy weight and with nursing I went crazy for 4.5 months a little bit and am back up to my prepregnancy weight {boo...} So am now working on getting back on my GD diet and testing my blood sugar occasionally to see where we are. I've noticed when I go a little overboard on the sweets and goodies, I end up with those awful head throbbing, heart palpations and face flushing... I think I may be at high risk for developing type II Diabetes. I'm not okay with that. I love my family too much to end my life early with something I can prevent. What I choose to consume is just that, a choice.

I found during pregnancy I could eat a larger quantity of carbs if I was careful about choosing what kind: legumes, berries, fruits, nuts... vs. 1 inch squares of brownies or cookies. Eating the larger quantity was just more satisfying! So, in the next couple of weeks, I will share some of our favorite "low carb" meals... don't worry, they're super easy, after all, we do have a baby we're juggling too! :)

For those of you that are coming from Rebecca's blog you can read my birth story here. Enjoy!

8 comments :

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It's truly a blessing!

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    1. Thanks, Lyndsey! (Sorry, I never realized this post got this many comments!!) :) It was really hard for me to share because I took the diagnosis very personally, but it's amazing how it's helped others!

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  2. Good to read. I had to take the 3 hr test with my first son, and I'm scheduled to take it again (yay...) with #2 in a few days. I'm not one to be unusually suspicious of medical tests, but doing some research on this one I'd found something saying out of 100 positives on the 1-hr test, 25% are wrong! My first had no side-effects that can accompany GD (although I passed the 3 hr anyway, so I technically didn't have it), so I'm thinking my sugar just runs slightly higher than the definite safe zone from the 1-hr. Hopefully if they insist on screening for it they'll keep working to find a way to make it more accurate and not throw everyone who's in the "slightly high" (the Dr's office's words) buffer zone to automatically do the 3 hr or be diagnosed with GD.

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    1. Hey Jordan! Sorry, I'm following up so late!! How did everything go? I was suspicious of the tests too, but I figure, if I can control it with diet and exercise, how can that hurt anyone? I'm eating healthier, and it's really just inconvenient for mommy and uncomfortable for mommy. ;) I hope you are doing well!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your story!

    I am in the same frame of mind with wanting to fight my GDM diagnosis (which is based around an elevated fasting blood glucose level between 5.1 and 5.8mmol - all other readings are fine). I am in Australia, and know that mere months ago, I would not have been diagnosed with GDM because the criteria has recently become much more stringent.

    Would you mind telling us what your 4 x daily blood glucose readings were, please? I am facing potentially having to go on insulin (which I will be fighting), and feel my fasting blood glucose levels are not high enough to have to do this.

    Thanks again.
    Holly

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    1. Holly! I am so sorry I am so late following up with you!! How did everything turn out for you?

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  4. Thank you for sharing, i was diagnosed with GD at 28 weeks, and was automatically booked in for induction at 40 weeks, but i refused, i refused to go through any induction at all, baby comes when baby is ready. I controlled with Diet and exercise, it was mostly ethnicity and too much carbohydrates in my diet, The scans show that baby weight is fine and head circumference is normal, and my amniotic fluid is fine, so i see no reason in the induction, also i have researched a lot and i consider myself low risk. The only disadvantage is having less and less carbs in my diet, no fruit but a helluva more proteins and vegetables

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    1. haha, that's the right attitude! So what was the final result? Were you induced? I ended up being induced for my second (finally getting ready to post his birth story here in a little bit...)

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