Warning! Warning! Warning! I just finished writing this point and I realize it’s a little whiny. You might want to just skip reading it. You’ve been warned.
The last time I was pregnant, I developed gestational diabetes. This time, early on, my doctor had the lab test my blood to check on my A1C levels and it came back borderline, which means they are considering me to be a diabetic. This means I’m following a program where I check my blood sugars four times a day and follow a meal plan that helps me safely gain pregnancy weight heathily while keeping my blood sugar low enough to keep the baby safe.
The problem with elevated blood sugars is that it puts the baby at risk for macrosomia (big baby), which increases the risk for complications during birth, which also can be associated with anxiety overall for that little baby. Also, since the baby is used to having a higher blood sugar as a result of its mother’s elevated blood sugars, its blood sugar will drop down really low after birth when it’s regulating on its own and this is no bueno.
During my first pregnancy, I was shocked that I had gestational diabetes. I always had awesome bloodwork and I had very few of the most common risk factors. This time, I kind of was hoping the first time was a fluke but it’s different. It’s not just gestational, it’s full blown diabetes, meaning it’s not going away once the baby is born. I can’t lie. I’m kind of pissed about this. It’s not supposed to happen to me – I’m “healthy.”
One of the things that’s super frustrating is that one of the joys of pregnancy for me has been eating. I REALLY enjoy certain foods when I am pregnant and when you have gestational diabetes, you’re restricted from all kinds of things. Mostly carbs, which I really love. I just want to eat garlic bread all day. And pancakes. And fried rice. With some nachos. And fritos. Or even better, frito pie. And maybe some more garlic bread with a donut for dessert. But I can’t because it will spike my blood sugar and that’s not good for my babe. Ok seriously, I wouldn’t want to eat all of that all the time – I don’t really want junk exclusively but an occasional guilt free treat would be nice. The other night, I ordered General Tsao’s chicken. I ate it by itself. High in both fat and protein, which helps keep my blood sugar low. But it was breaded and had some sort of sweetish sauce on it. I didn’t have any rice (though I wanted it), I had half of a small spring roll (and scooped out the inside of the other half and threw away the outside) and yet my blood sugar was past the threshold I’m looking for. Sucks. I thought I was being pretty good.
One thing that’s different about having gestational vs. full blown diabetes is that last time, my first-thing-in-the-morning fasting numbers were good but sometimes my post-meal numbers would be high. This meant that it was mostly my diet that I needed to maintain. This time, I’m finding that my fasting number is high, which is more indicative of my personal physiology. Does this mean I suck and my body is unable to regulate my insulin levels? Kind of, ya. This also means that unless my numbers come down, my perinatologist will likely put me on medication. Not happy about this either. I don’t want to expose my baby to chemicals. When I was pregnant with Miss K, I did not take a single medication of any sort, not even a pain killer until labor. This time I’ve already had to take an antibiotic and it looks like I’m going to have to take this other drug to keep my glucose levels in check. Sucks. Sigh.
So I’m going to do my best to behave when it comes to my diet. And I’m going to try to start getting some exercise. And I’m going to try to keep my stress levels low. But I really would love to just enjoy food without constantly having to think about what I’m going to eat and what I can’t have. It’s just no fun.