Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How I survived Gestational Diabetes

So, you failed your 3 hour glucose test and the docs are saying you have gestational diabetes. Big hugs to you mommas- I’ve been there. I know how this can seem sorta like the end of the world- especially when you’re emotional, pregnant, and if you were like me- immediately became a starving crazy person the second they told me I couldn’t just eat whatever the hell I wanted.

First things first, you probably were recommended to do the following:

  1. Meet with a Nutritionist
  2. Go to a Diabetic Center meeting
  3. Meet with a perinatologist 
  4. Schedule another followup ultrasound. 
  5. Down the road, you’ll probably have to also undergo Fetal Non-Stress Tests too (1 or 2 times a week- usually starting around 32 weeks). 
If you can, I totally suggest meeting the nutritionist FIRST. I couldn’t get in to see mine till after my Diabetic Center meeting, and I had a lot of questions that the center couldn’t answer but the nutritionist did. It’s easier to learn what you can eat and how to change your diet BEFORE you’re forced to track your glucose and receive a glucose meter.

Once you find out a suggested diet and figure out how to take your existing meal plan/diet and make it more diabetic friendly, you’ll have to start tracking your glucose. I was suggested to take mine 4 times a day- once when I woke up (fasting reading) and then 2 hours after each meal (breakfast, lunch & dinner). My doc suggested you take the glucose reading 2 hours after you START the meal- aka. I start to eat lunch at noon, so I take my glucose at 2pm. Forewarning though, if you’re a slow eater or you graze, your glucose might be a little off depending on what all you eat.
I found the hardest thing ever was having to go to parties/holiday get-togethers where you graze throughout the night. For me, I had my last 3-hr glucose test on Halloween and then I found out I had GD the week of my baby shower, followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. It was a rough time for me.

When you do find a good regime- stick to it. I found I packed basically the same meal for breakfast and all my snacks (only really changing my lunch & dinners) so this helped keep my glucose in track. Because I work quite early, I would make my breakfast while packing my lunch and snacks and eat in the car or right when I got to work. But because I had the same thing for breakfast most days (once I figured what worked) my glucose readings were wonderful every breakfast reading.

Don’t be afraid to write notes on your glucose readings when they are high or low. This is a biggie. Many times we try to “trick the system” so when you’re bad and you know you ate something you shouldn't, you conveniently “forgot” to take your glucose or you took it a LOT later then you should of (I know the tricks people- again, I’ve been there). I found that when I fessed up and wrote what I ate or did that caused the high or low reading on my tracker sheet, the doctors were much more grateful and happy with the results- it also keeps you more in line/more accountable.
Also, I guess my little “notes” were funny, because every time I’d turn them into the doctors/nurses, they’d chuckle and comment how much they liked my little notes. I’d often write things like “guess I can’t have perogies with dinner” or “1 slice of pizza I can do, 2 slices- guess not.” It helps being aware of what caused you to have highs.
homemade pretzels ruined my Glucose Reading that day
My glucose was good all week one week- so I rewarded myself by making homemade soft pretzels for the first time while stuck in the house during the day after #blizzard2016. They were so worth it. All were enjoyed by hubs, me and baby A who was still relaxin inside the belly. My glucose after said pretzels- not so good.

Now if you have lows (like I generally would have when I woke up) figure out how to keep your glucose up while you sleep- I was suggested to have graham crackers with PB or a skinny cow ice cream sandwich right before bed to keep my glucose going while I slept (I guess I processed glucose a lot better when I slept). Figure out what works for you and stick to it- don’t try to push the system too much- otherwise you’ll have the heartache of finding out things not working or giving you bad readings. I know it sucks, but it will be over soon.
I was lucky when it came to the gestational diabetes train- I had been able to keep tabs on it 100% via diet- no pills, no insulin. Not all moms are so lucky (well in all reality- the moms who don’t have gestational diabetes at all are the luckiest ones!). Your doctor will be able to determine where you fall on the scale of GD. The big thing to remember- its all about the carbs! I always thought diabetes was a sugar thing (sugar is a biggie, but Carbs are the big thing you need to watch when on a GD diet). Exercise is key too if you can do even a little bit of it. I would walk when on break at work and it would help a lot- sadly once I got to my 3rd trimester, exercise just became way too tiresome- so I stuck to basic light exercise.

Here’s some ideas of foods that worked for me:
·         1 cup no- pulp low acid orange juice
·         1 Morning Star sausage, egg, and cheese flatbread sandwich
Morning Snack:
·         1 greek yogurt
·         1 package of Nature Valley bars (2 bars in the pack)
·         ½ banana
·         Chicken quesadilla from Wawa
·         1 package of apple slices from Wawa
·         Sugar free jello
·         Diet Peach Snapple (my only non-water drink of the day)
Afternoon Snack:        
·         ½ banana
·         10 carrots with 1 tbsp hummus
·         (sometimes) 1 cheesestick
·         1 chicken breast
·         ½-1 cup green beans
·         ½ cup rice or potatoes
Evening Snack:
·         Graham crackers with Peanut Butter
·         1 skinny cow ice cream sandwich
·         (Sometimes) some form of fruit cup if I’m really starving

I know this isn’t 100% what all the books say, but honestly- this is a basic lowdown of what I ate and had successful glucose for my entire GD time.

Another thing you’ll come across once you get through all the initial adjustment- once you hit 32 weeks, many doctors suggest you go to fetal non-stress tests. These are nothing to be scared of- actually they’re not bad at all (the best of all the test you have to do). Basically what happens is you sit in a recliner chair while nurses take a sensor and put a strap to hold it in place across the top and another across the bottom of your stomach. This sensor is to check that your baby’s heart rate goes up when he kicks. If your baby isn’t a big kicker- try drinking ice cold water (our nurses would always offer if we want anything- I always say water- they give me ice cold water- this has always made baby A kick up a storm). I heard that the cold water wakes up the baby in case they’re sleeping.
If your kiddo is doing good on their kicks, you only sit there for about 20 minutes or so. Then they take your blood pressure and you’re done! Easy peasy.

Now, my doctor also suggested getting Amniotic fluid checks with my fetal non-stress tests, so they usually do that after the FNST. Basically this like a super-quick ultrasound that only checks that your amniotic fluid is on track. Also easy peasy. My biggest complaint with the fetal non-stress tests is a) having to pay $40 copay EVERY SINGLE APPOINTMENT and b) the long wait in the waiting room- basically I’m waiting for a chair to open up- since they only had 3 chairs at my hospital testing center. If a mama before me was having issues and the kiddo didn’t cooperate (or they couldn’t get all the kicks within the 20 minutes or so, they start to get behind). Often times I’d wait in the waiting room 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how early my appointment is. The actual test itself isn’t bad at least.

It’s going to be tough, not going to lie to you. You WILL have really rough days and days that just down right suck- and you want to eat everything in sight. There will also be days where your significant other decides to make/order pizza and you already had your healthy meal and the smell becomes so overwhelming that you have to hide in your bedroom to get away from it (just speaking from experience…). I know its already rough being pregnant, not having that beloved glass of wine, and carrying around a giant bowling ball on your stomach for 9 months- but I promise, you’re a super awesome mom- you can do it!

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