SoOoOo, I promise I will write about something else other than this stupid diagnosis, but it’s the thing that’s in the forefront of my mind right now. I also get a ton of questions about it and have realized that not a lot of people know what goes on and what it means for me and baby ‘Box’.. (called this after my husband’s nickname… until we find out gender FRIDAY!)
Without further adieu, welcome to this GD crash course where you will learn:
- What the hell happens in GD?
- Fasting blood sugar- the GD mind- fuck
- The risks of GD
- My meal plan
What the Hell Happens in GD?
Good friggin’ question. If you know anything about regular diabetes, you know a little bit about it already, but it’s a little different. Basically it’s this-
Your body normally produces insulin to break down the sugar in foods you eat into burnable energy. When you become pregnant, your body produces tons of hormones (as if we needed more of those) to help you and your growing embryo function. The placenta that grows to feed your baby uses up lots of your energy, including your insulin, to keep baby’s sugar levels and growth normal. Sometimes, your body, like mine, can’t keep up with the levels of hormones happening or produce enough insulin for you AND baby. This results in the sugar that was consumed to not be broken down like it should be and just sits in your blood stream instead, not serving any other purpose than to get you diagnosed with the ‘beetus. So, MY ridiculous body is just so hormonally charged and my baby is already so selfish with my insulin, that I just don’t have enough insulin for MYSELF to continue to eat whatever I want… AKA- I have to limit my sugar intake so my body can burn lower amounts more easily. Right now, I am only diet controlled and do not need to take insulin. This could change, however, as my pregnancy progresses- my hormone levels will change and I could produce even less insulin. But, right now, diet changes and exercise seem to be helping.
Fasting Blood Sugar- the GD Mind-fuck
Then there’s fasting blood sugar… the absolute mind-fuck of GD. As I have mentioned in previous posts, my blood sugar levels are supposed to be under these targets;
1. Under 95-90 when I wake up
2. Under 120 two hours after meals
As diabetics know, these numbers are SUPER LOW targets, but the numbers have to be low to make sure baby isn’t affected by too much sugar in his/her blood stream. I will talk about the risks in a minute…. let me just tell you how frustrating meters and checking my numbers are…
MANY things can play into a high fasting number and this is the most frustrating part. What I eat throughout the day, if I exercise, what I eat for a bedtime snack, what time I eat the snack, stress and how long I’m fasting for are all contributors to a good or “bad” number. Oh, then also “milking” your fingers for blood can affect the number, as well as not having clean enough or warm enough hands, touching the strip too much… calling your meter an asshole, sitting criss-cross, wiping your ass wrong and breathing too heavily can all make your fasting number too high…
…sarcasm about those last 4, literal readers. But seriously, the amount of things that can affect it are just ridiculous.
So, I usually wake up around 8am every day. I peel my ass out of bed, pee, wash my hands and sit back in bed to take my reading. I put in the test strip and prep the needle, pump some blood to my fingers by opening and closing my hand, pick a finger and poke. The little strip sucks up the drop of blood like a little vacuum.. the only kinda “cool” part to watch. Lately, my frustration has been getting a number over 100 on the first draw. I know this cannot be possible right now with what I’m doing/eating, so I test twice, which they don’t really want you to do but… how can I not when my next reading is fucking 86!!!? MIND. FUCKERY. Why?! It makes ZERO sense to me. How do I trust my meter? How do I not try for a better number if I know the 2nd or 3rd will be better? Oh.. that’s right, I used to only get enough strips for a month (100 strips at 4 times a day) with a $30 copay, but “the fiscal year just restarted on July 1st with Fallon so you have to hit your $100 deductible” … AKA my last visit to the pharmacy was $75… so I can’t waste too many. Thankfully, I just met with my Endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) and she was able to prescribe 400 test strips at a time under the $30 copay. This shit is gee-dee pricey.
I was also able to meet with a dietician finally. She said I am doing/eating great and we came up with a game plan for fasting numbers. Come to find out, I was fasting too long (9-10 hours) and not eating ENOUGH. She wants me to eat more! HAHA OKAY, SOLD! I eat my meals at weird times because I work from home and eating is just an inconvenience when I’m busy doing shit so I hardly ever eat snacks. Well, that’s effecting my fasting numbers and I need to start having a 15-20g carb + protein snack way more often and I need to eat about 30g of carbs + protein RIGHT before bed.
You might be wondering ‘Why is the bedtime snack important, though? I thought general rule of human living is to not eat right before you go to sleep?’ Lemme explain- when you sleep, your body still burns the energy left within your body throughout the night. If you have nothing for your body to burn, your liver will dump glucose into your blood stream so it has stuff to burn. Well, my body can’t handle the glucose dump that happens if I don’t eat enough before bed (due to lack of insulin), so that can send my number soaring in the AM. I was having so much trouble with this number because it’s just so friggin’ confusing and it truly is the hardest to control. Depending on the rest of my pregnancy and what happens in this body of mine, I may need nighttime insulin to help control my fasting number if the snacks just aren’t working how they need to. But now that I have all this new guidance from the dietician on it, I hope to control it as long as possible without it.
The Risks of GD
“So, like, what can happen to you or the baby if you have Gestational Diabetes?”
Look, I KNOW it’s not the WORST diagnosis. In fact, it’s pretty common… about 3-5 out of 100 pregnant women develop GD. I just happen to be the only freakin’ one I know in my vicinity who has it… naturally. But the fact that it’s common doesn’t make it any less frustrating and stressful. According to the booklet I was given- “Gestational Diabetes and You” by Gayle L. Sherman, R.D., L.D., these are the most common risks of GD if not properly controlled (I’m paraphrasing);
- Your baby can suffer from Macrosomia, which basically means you can have a big ass baby.
- At birth, your baby can have very low blood sugar, which means they will be whisked away upon leaving your body for testing and help to get that number higher.
- Baby could have trouble breathing at birth. If your numbers are frequently high, baby’s lungs may develop more slowly, causing the breathing problems at time of delivery.
- Baby could be born too early.
- Delivery could be difficult due to the size of your potential gargantuan baby. However, GD does NOT cause birth defects and your fat baby will not be born with diabetes, just warm, buttery rolls.
- You and baby have a higher chance of developing Diabetes later in life, but you will go back to normal once baby is born!
Not that I want to be THAT person and fear-monger, but I think it’s important to know some of the more severe risks that can occur-
- Fetal “demise”… AKA a nicer way of saying Stillborn
- Preeclampsia- causes high blood pressure, blurred vision and protein in urine. It can limit the amount of blood to the placenta, meaning less oxygen & food to baby, causing low birth weight. If not treated properly, preeclampsia can lead to liver or renal failure in the mother.
- Spontaneous abortion
- Retinal malformation (eyeball issues)
- Hypoglycemia (from low blood sugar)
- Hyperbilirubin (causes jaundice)
- Brachical plexus injury/ shoulder dystocia during vaginal birth
Luckily, as long as I can keep my numbers within range, stay healthy and move my body, I should be able to have a pretty normal delivery and baby! Fingers crossed for an under-10-pounder! My vagina legit cringes at the thought.
My Meal Plan
I thought this might be helpful for anyone who has GD and is completely annoyed and lost lost like I was, or for anyone looking to eat a lower carb, well balanced diet- pregnant or not! My meals are pretty healthy AND I’ve been able to enjoy treats, too! Here’s a couple days straight out of my daily log that have given me great numbers, a happy stomach and a satisfied sweet tooth! I’ll share what a typical day at home is like and one while I’m away…
-2 slices bacon
-1 whole egg + 1 egg white scrambled
-1 slice American Cheese
-Dave’s Killer Bread organic english muffin (SOOO good/ has protein!)
-1 1/2 TBSP. butter
-1 medium peach
*after breakfast #- 109
-3 slices Thin & Trim Homestyle Turkey (umm… sometimes I microwave it, then refridge to cool it off for “potential listeria”, other times I say fuck it)
-2 slices American Cheese
-1 TBSP. Mayo
-Calise wheat bulkie roll
-Reduced fat Cape Cod chips
*after lunch #- 101
-Handful Prana dark chocolate trail mix
-Roasted garlic parm asparagus
-3/4 C. Four cheese Rice-a-roni
*after dinner #- 114
-1/2 C. Enlightened chocolate PB ice cream
-1 TBSP. Peanut butter
*AM #- 94
-Bacon, egg & cheese on cinnamon raisin bagel from DD (yasss… sweet and salty, babaayy!)
*after breakfast #- 113
-Turkey & cheese on wheat bulkie
-Reduced fat Cape Cod chips
*walked for 45 mins. on the beach
*after lunch #- 93
-Babybell & medium peach
-Lazy Lobster casserole
-Corn on the cob
-Roll w/ butter
*15 mins exercise- random AF… small jump squats, lunges, walking around the room
*after dinner #- 115
-Small twist from DQ
*AM #- 93
So, there’s that. I also drink about 80- 128oz of water a day… depending on how much I fill my giant, purple 64oz water bottle (that I never leave the house without. It has become my accessory and I get pissed if I forget it). I try to walk daily and hike weekly with my Griff. I hope now that I know what to try with my fasting number, I can get those AM #’s down to under 90… but I’m pretty happy about having them under 95 and my Endo THANKFULLY says between 90-95 is fine for now since it’s so early on. They will become more strict about it as pregnancy progresses.
It’s definitely been complicated and frustrating but I hope this helps someone feel a little more informed, regardless if you’re growing humans, planning it or not…
and holy shit that’s a lot of information I just gave you. If you are still reading this, thanks for being this interested in my pregnancy bullshit. You’re the shit and I like you, a lot.
Tune in soon for the gender reveal!! TOMORROW TOMORROW TOMORROW!! Can’t wait.