Gestational Diabetes Lessons to learn
Gestational Diabetes happens in 10% of all US pregnancies. It’s not a large number but certainly large enough for it to be an experience many women will face. I will also tell you that no matter what the diagnosis affects us all the same emotionally. We all feel like a failure. That has a lot to do with the way women approach Motherhood. It is serious business making babies and raising children. We know that to expect nothing less than the absolute best of ourselves in every situation can in our minds be a disadvantage to our children. It is our natural instinct to pursue “perfection” in mothering. (That can be a whole other post!) Because of this so many women feel disappointed, sad, ashamed or like an absolute failure when they learn that they have Gestational Diabetes. I was officially diagnosed as having Gestational Diabetes. The doctors suspected it and I had hoped it wouldn't be true.
We have a lot to learn about GD and most of what we need to learn is to abandon all the negative stereotypes. We first hear the word "Diabetes" and immediately many pictures come to mind. I assure you those are not flattering pictures. Most people will presume the worst in you if you share your GD diagnosis. I am here to tell you to cast those negative pictures aside. GD can affect even the most fit Olympic level athlete with the “perfect” nutritional diet. Why? Because GD has more to do with pregnancy hormones and your placenta than you think. As we all know hormones often win regardless of what we do on the outside to change the inside.
I have been experimenting with food for three weeks. Three LONG weeks. Each meal has been an adventure in how it impacts my blood sugar levels (BSL). I’m still learning! I just want to be able to eat a meal for breakfast and not worry myself sick about the affect it has on my blood sugars. Breakfast is the hardest meal for me and the one I need to eat well at to get my day in the right motion. You see I was diagnosed with GD because my overnight blood sugar fasting numbers were consistently too high. (PS that’s why they want you to do the glucose test in the morning to catch those of us who have this problem.) During the day I can manage the BSL with diet. The nutritionist and Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor said my diet is phenomenal and that my GD is a result of the placental hormones. No matter what I do with diet the fasting numbers are unlikely to be managed without help. Since I have been unable to lower my fasting BSL I am on insulin at night. While I was deeply disappointed that I couldn’t manage my fasting BSL and have to take insulin I know that there was nothing I could do to counteract the hormones. So far the insulin is not working and it has been making me so frustrated. I expect my dose will go up even more. Still every morning I wake up knowing I have a challenge to meet. At this point I assume my FSL are too high which means having to think hard about what I can eat. Eggs are the best thing for me to eat for controlling my BSL however this little Tumbleweed has given me an egg intolerance. I can eat them 1-2 times a week at most, but I prefer not to as the consequences are not pleasant. I like eggs and really wish that my body could tolerate them because that would immediately solve my breakfast challenge. As a result of this egg problem I am faced with trying to find the proper meal each morning.
Trial and error. That sums up what it means to have Gestational Diabetes. Every meal is trial and error. What works for me this week may not be good next week. All I can do is continue to experiment. I will admit that I am growing more tired each week. As I am finishing up this last trimester I am eager to get this GD figured out, particularly for my breakfast.