Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Finding the Positive in Gestational Diabetes...

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have officially been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. It's VERY likely that I also had it in my last two pregnancies, but that it went undiagnosed because of later onset. Given this, when I failed my 1-hour glucose tolerance test (by just 4 points) this time, I chose to forgo 3 hour testing and just proceed with diet/blood sugar monitoring. Sure enough, my sugars were beautifully controlled for about the first 7 days (which means I probably would have passed that 3 hour test anyway), but at that point, my fasting blood sugars started getting out of whack (which according to my doc means that I definitely have GD...if I didn't, my sugars would ALWAYS be in range REGARDLESS of what I ate). Fasting sugars should be 95 or lower and even ON THE DIET, I was getting readings of around 107-112. So, I started taking 3 units of insulin at bedtime. Since then, the insulin has been increased every few days. I'm now getting fasting numbers between 97 and 102 so we're getting close (though I'm now up to 25 units nightly).

Everyone seems to think a gestational diabetes diagnosis is terrible, but I'm happy to report that it's not all that bad. In the grand scheme of pregnancy complications, it's one of the few that I can actually do something about. So, here's the positive spin...

1) The injections REALLY AREN'T THAT BAD. This is coming from a total needle-phobe. I hate shots and anything related, so if I can give myself a shot every evening, it CAN'T be that bad. Now, the blood sugar checking lancets are a tiny bit bad, but I keep reminding myself...this is a short term thing!

2) The diet isn't THAT restricting and is "forcing me" to give Miss Sophia a good start. Are there things I miss? You betcha! I've told Aaron that once this baby girl is delivered, I expect him to be at Krispy Kreme as soon as the "Hot 'n Now" sign is turned on to pick me up a soft, warm, piece 'o Heaven. It's a funny thing because despite living in Krispy Kreme's hometown, I probably eat the doughnuts maybe twice a year tops, but knowing they are on the bad list has made them incredibly attractive. And yeah, there are other high carb/low nutrient foods that I'm avoiding, but there are still plenty of yummy things that I CAN eat and I am definitely not starving! Most fruits and vegetables are safe foods and I'm eating them more than I normally would.

3) The pregnancy weight gain (or lack thereof) ROCKS! For background, I gained 45 lbs with Tyler, 58 lbs with Grace, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 lbs with Noah (I honestly stopped looking at the scale!) This pregnancy, I was +14 lbs at 26 weeks (which was about 20 lbs less than previous pregnancies at that point) and since starting the GD diet, I've lost 2 lbs and held there for 6 weeks. So, I'm +12 at 32 weeks. Ultrasound tomorrow will confirm this, but I KNOW the baby is growing just fine (she was already 3 lbs at 28 weeks), so this is a good thing. My doctors told me early on that gaining less weight could help delay (though not prevent) pre-eclampsia and could lessen the side effects (i.e. pulmonary edema) after delivery if I DO develop Pre-E again. So, I've been a lot more careful with my diet throughout this pregnancy and the GD diagnosis has just made me MORE careful. In previous pregnancies, my ankles and feet have rivaled Fred Flinstone by the half-way point. This time, despite being in the middle of a hot, humid NC summer, I'm experiencing almost no swelling!

4) It's the third trimester and I feel incredibly not bad! For fun, I was looking back at blogs from my pregnancy with Noah and realized that I'm not nearly as miserable this late in the game this time around. Now, admittedly earlier in the pregnancy, I felt pretty bad. I had daily headaches for the first two-thirds of pregnancy and was so exhausted in the second trimester I could barely function. However, since I started "the diet" I've felt much more like a human being.

So, there you have it. Why, to me, Gestational Diabetes really isn't THAT bad. Sure, it's inconvenient and takes some getting used to, but there are some definite benefits of getting diagnosed and getting it under control! I'm really thankful that my doctors allowed me to take control of this situation (and didn't insist that I go through "standard procedure") and grateful for the overall positive impact the diagnosis has had on me.


Cortney said...

I'm loving all your updates....keeping me busy these last few weeks!