Gestational Diabetes: The First Month
Alternate title: What It’s Like Making Myself Bleed Four Times a Day
I’ve always been scared of heights; I feel light-headed, super shaky, and I almost start hyperventilating if I’m up too high—whether I’m on a tall step stool/ladder or a huge cliff. I know it’s all anxiety, and despite the fact that I’m 99% of the time holding onto something stable (for dear life), that doesn’t help me mentally come down from the anxiety attack.
So when I had the opportunity to go up in a hot air balloon several years ago, I almost said no. I do fine in airplanes, but I could just imagine being up in the air in nothing but a tiny shoe box keeping me afloat. But at the same time…how many people have the opportunity to go up in a hot air balloon for free? I decided to go for it, and it was the opposite of scary. It felt completely different even though I was extremely high up. I never got that vertigo feeling, and I always felt in control and safe.
Not Being Afraid of Gestational Diabetes
My fear of gestational diabetes is something like that hot air balloon ride. The thought of pricking my finger with a needle, and intentionally making myself bleed four times a day, something you do with gestational diabetes, brought back all of those scared-of-heights feelings. You have to check your glucose levels often throughout the day, and the only way to do that is to draw your own blood. The problem (I thought) was that I hate needles and blood. So the fact that this is how I had to check my levels really freaked me out.
Thankfully, it hasn’t been bad at all. Maybe it’s because I’m in control and I get to literally press the trigger, but with the exception of it stinging a teeny tiny bit for like three seconds after, it’s been perfectly fine. I haven’t even been queasy looking at the tiny droplet of blood I have to sometimes squeeze out.
Pricking My Finger Four Times a Day
I mentioned in my first post about gestational diabetes that I wasn’t sure what was in store for me since I hadn’t met with a dietician yet. Since that post I’ve met with a dietician and a nutritionist, and I have a plan. It actually includes eating more carbs than I’m used to. Each meal has a set number of carbs I need to stick to, combined with veggies, protein, fat, and dairy, so I’m following that, and doing well.
I test my numbers four times a day: as soon as I wake up (that’s considered your “fasting” number), then one hour after I eat in the morning (preferably within an hour after waking up), one hour after lunch, and finally one hour after dinner.
In order to make sure I test at the hour mark, I set my alarm for 60 minutes after I take my first bite of food, which means my phone’s alarm is going off pretty much all day. In between all of the testings I also eat snacks, because it’s important to not go too long without eating, so you can keep your sugars level.
Since I was doing “low carb” and even a version of Paleo before the diagnosis, I wasn’t actually eating very many carbs. It turns out that good carbohydrates are actually pretty essential, especially when you’re pregnant and cooking a baby, and when combined with protein and fat, it helps keep your sugar levels level. I know a lot of people say to go “low” carb, but my plan is to eat around 180-200 grams of carbs a day, spread throughout the day.
A Typical Day Dealing with Gestational Diabetes
5:30-5:45 — wake up and test
6:30ish — (15g) first breakfast (no milk, no fruit; typically: whole wheat toast, avocado on top with salsa, and a hard boiled egg.)
7:30ish — test
9:30 am — (30g) snack (oatmeal with peanut butter and berries; almonds and string cheese, etc.)
Noon — (30-45g) lunch
1 pm — test
3:30 pm — (30g) snack
5:30ish — (45-60g)dinner
6:30ish — test
9:30 — (30g) snack
wake up, and repeat
So far I’m staying within the ranges my dietician, nutritionist, and OB recommend, and I’m in touch with them weekly. I keep logs of everything I eat, and my numbers, and they see them and assess from there. Things—right now—are good. I’m eating foods I’ve typically had on my “forbidden” list (brown rice, whole grain pasta, etc.), and I don’t really feel hungry ever, which is nice. However, I know that can all suddenly change.
When you’re pregnant you get a surge of hormones around week 32 (give or take a week), and a lot of times, even if you’re doing the exact same thing as the day before, those hormones just take over and make the placenta work overtime, which means even though I’m getting great numbers now, that all could change in the blink of an eye. And that’s okay. If I can’t control this by dieting and exercising and I need medicine to control it, that’s okay.
As of right now I’m just taking everything one meal, one snack, one finger prick, and one glucose reading at a time.
I have absolutely no medical knowledge outside of what the professionals tell me. This is not medical advice, and I highly recommend you do not treat this as such; this is my plan and what my physicians have put in place for me. Please speak with your doctor if you have questions about your own condition.
My husband has diabetes now it was brought on by cancer and radiation treatments. He has to prick his fingers several times a day and take shots now. Now the end of the world. Just a life style change we are all involved in.