May 16, 2016

My Experience with Gestational Diabetes

Several weeks ago I received a call from one of the OB nurses that I had failed two out of the three glucose tests (for the three-hour), so I was considered to have gestational diabetes.

Yeah, I did not take the news well. When Tim came home that day he found me in a puddle of tears, blubbering about the information the nurse had relayed to me.

There's a scene in "The Office" where one of the characters returns from extended time off work- he opens the office door and upon witnessing the antics of his kooky co-workers says, "Too soon." and promptly leaves. That's exactly how I felt about jumping into OB appointments again.
I've been thinking a lot about this lately and I've come to realize that I prefer to compartmentalize my life- I feel more sane when I'm not in (what feels like) frequent contact with the OB office, and long story short it hasn't been that way for me this pregnancy. As silly as it sounds I was starting to feel like my life was being usurped by that office and then on top of it all I was told I needed to schedule a consult with a dietitian regarding the diabetes...that just tipped the scale. When you have kids it's not simple to "just make another appointment" for yourself!
Gestational diabetes

When I first spoke with the Wellness office (dietitian, etc.) I was told I'd have to sign up for a two-hour class. THANKFULLY I was the only one signed up for that day, so it ended up being a one-on-one session and took about an hour. I've taken care of many diabetic patients and was dreading the thought of having to sit through a two-hour session going over things I already knew! Not that I'm claiming to know everything about diabetes by any means but from a medical standpoint I was definitely not starting from square one. I kept praying that God would cut me a break somehow with this class because I was feeling very much on edge! (Filling out the initial paperwork I was so tempted to write "these annoying appointments" when it asked what current stressors were in my life- because maturity.)

At first the initial plan the dietitian and nurse educator laid out left me stressed and frustrated: talk of more meetings/ follow-ups, extra work on my end recording everything I ate + adding up every carb consumed and then scanning all of the sheets and emailing them...but blessedly things have since evened out, and there's only been one follow-up phone call instead of additional appointments.

Regarding the "treatment" aspect of my gestational diabetes- I initially had to check my blood sugar four times a day (for now I'm down to twice/ day since my results have mostly been within range), eat three meals and three snacks, and record every morsel I ate, adding up all the carbohydrates. The most stressful part at the beginning for me was finding more glucose test strips for my meter (and they can be so expensive!)- there are probably hundreds of blood glucose meters out on the market and each one needs a specific type of strips (naturally, each pharmacy only carries certain brands, so it can turn in to a wild goose chase to find THE ONE). That's something I really wish I had been alerted to beforehand!

After my follow-up call with the dietitian one week in she asked me to continue recording my food for a few more days. Once I didn't need to record anymore that simplified things a lot (good gracious- it's tough enough finding time to eat my food when I'm trying to feed my girls too without having to write everything down!).

As for that tiny little matter of food...

It's been both easier and trickier than I thought. The provided manuals with general info on how many carbs are in most foods help a lot, plus food labels help a lot- but if I bake something from scratch (which I haven't been doing much of) or make, say, a sauce for dinner I usually go without because I just find it too much guesswork to really know the carb count/ serving.
Also, I initially decided I'd just curb the carbs altogether and make it easy but, nope, I'm supposed to have a certain amount (not over, not under!) with each snack and meal. Things like tortillas, rice, and pizza use up a hefty portion of my meal carbohydrate count, and sadly I've had to cut back on fruit and almost cut out chocolate entirely *sob*. I have honestly never, ever eaten this controlled during pregnancy.
However (silver lining), I've found things I haven't had to cut back on, for instance, with my morning coffee I've been drinking coconut creamer + agave for a while and I haven't had to change that . And I can enjoy THE most delicious coconut PB with no added sugar (thanks to my sister!)!
Gestational diabetes snacks
TJs has come through in the snack department!
I think my most pathetic moment has been literally measuring out my allotted two-inch square of cake from the cake that I won at our parish festival.

Suffice it to say after this baby's arrival I *hope* to enjoy a good dark beer and a large slice of chocolate cake!


  1. I'm sorry, that seems so stressful, Lisa!

  2. Ugh. That stinks!! But think about how easy (ha, yeah right!) life will be once the baby's born and there's no more worrying about carbs!! ��

  3. Oh bummer! I've never had it so far (knock on wood) but I know it always is stressful, at least at the beginning when you're worried if something will spike your blood sugar and trying to figure out what to eat. I have my test this Friday (I think) so hopefully all will look good so I don't have to take the 3 hr.
    Not too many more weeks for you, right? Until that beer and chocolate cake!?! ;)

  4. Oh Lisa what a PAIN! and those ladies in the office are such sticklers for every letter of a rule it is enough to drive someone batty. I laughed when you wanted to write "these annoying appointments" under stressors: SO TRUE. And I had no idea about the different strips. Anyway, great job! So impressive that you had just a two in h square of cake, seriously hats off to you, you have some amazing self control!!

  5. Amen! You said it PERFECTLY! The extra appointments, the phone calls, etc. It's so tough when you have so many young children! And it's just "one more thing." SOLIDARITY! I hear you! You are so blessed to be able to take your blood sugar less during the day. I was not as good, especially with Lucy. I stopped calling the doctor at one point (since I was tracking since 12 weeks) and got a very stern phone call, which of course resulted in tears. I am not super medical, but I am happy to share in your frustrations and diabetes sympathy! Hugs!

  6. GDM is awful. Haven't experienced it but my sis keeps me posted with her experience. She tries with her diet and really controls her portions but it's still not enough. Of course meds is next.

    You're doing well! This little sacrifice is not for nothing :)

    I'll have to try that agave + coconut creamer. Can I get that at my regular grocery store or target? Or do I have to go to traders joes?


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