Tuesday, December 3, 2013

GD Diaries Part 7: I'm learning

This post is part of a series on Gestational Diabetes. The posts were written in August - October, but are just now being published. While I was too upset and conflicted about this situation when I was first dealing with it, I want to share my experiences with other moms that may go through something similar. Check back for another installment every Tuesday! You can catch up here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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There are days when I break down about my situation. Maybe that makes me ridiculous, but I get so tired of the 2 hour schedule...eat something, wait 2 hours, test, eat something, wait 2 hours, test. Ya know, I'm pregnant, and sometimes I just want to nibble on something, and I can't. It's hard to watch everyone around me snack to their heart's content, when that's all I want to do right now. I usually don't struggle with this in every day life, but when I'm pregnant? All bets are off. I'm sure many of you know what I mean!

It's not just about the food, though. This diet is rigid and strict and very precisely timed, and I don't operate well that way. I don't watch the clock. It makes me anxious when I do. Some would argue that I have to adjust with a newborn anyway, might as well start now. But that's not me. I watch my baby for cues. I watched the clock for the first three months with Lukas and we were both beyond miserable. As soon as I watched HIM instead, our lives changed. I watched Henry instead of the clock from day 1, and he was an angel baby (and I was much more sane!). It just works for us. I can excel with a lose schedule - an outline, an adjustable timeline - but this rigid every two hour nonsense is making me a little crazy.

But despite these hard moments - the ones where I get overly emotional and feel like I can't handle doing this for one more moment - I'm learning. A lot.

I've learned how to keep my blood sugar stable. My blood sugar numbers are absolutely fabulous. Not just good for someone with GD, but for someone healthy without any glucose issues at all. It took some practice, but now my numbers rarely go above 105 after a meal, and my fasting sugars are typically in the 70's and 80's. Sorry if that means nothing to you, but it's been music to my ears! Or, beautiful artwork for my eyes! All of this means that I'm not only handling this with diet alone (thank everything for that!), but that I even have some room to move. Which is important, because as pregnancy goes on and the hormone factory known as the placenta floods my body with increasing levels of hormones, it gets harder and harder for my pancreas to do its job. So I'm far enough from the limit to have confidence that I can do this on my own until the end!

I've learned that apples (no matter how much of them I have!) send my levels into a tailspin for the rest of the day. I've learned that my body does better with 1/2 pieces of bread rather than full ones. I've learned that cherries are the sweetest thing I can have that still seem to digest smoothly enough to keep my sugars from spiking (and I adore them for it and eat them daily - too bad they are so expensive and going out of season soon, pout face). I've learned that banana slices with little blobs of peanut butter on them taste like the most sinful of desserts after not having refined sugar for 3 weeks+ . And unsweetened iced tea with a shot of lemon juice is like a fancy cocktail after having endless glasses of water. I've learned that decaf coffee really isn't so bad with unsweetened nondairy creamer and a splash of agave nectar (though I sometimes daydream about my beloved French vanilla).

I've learned that there are crazy amounts of sugar in the things people eat every day, and I am now hyper-aware of that. How do people go through life ingesting THAT much sugar on a daily basis, and not develop diabetes normally? I'm not even talking about sweets every day. Even if you limit your desserts and treats, your diet is likely FILLED with sugar and sugar-based substances. It's in everything! Which of course, is making my life difficult right now. But I have to wonder about that. How normal it is to settle into an "easy" diet with the type of lives we lead, filled with convenient foods (which, I admit, I found myself mourning the loss of for a while there!), and it's all chock-full of sugar. Avoiding high fructose corn syrup just isn't enough! How do we not all have diabetes in our every day lives? It's just crazy. We are headed somewhere ugly.

I have been on successful Weight Watchers plans twice in my life so far, lived a vegetarian lifestyle for a year, and attempted a clean diet just before I got pregnant (and nausea made me give it up...but I'm basically living it again now!), but nothing I have done in the past has ever taught me as much about nutrition, sugar, and healthy living. As hard as this has been, and as much as I've hated it, I can't help but feel like this has shown me something big - something life changing.

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