Saturday, February 26, 2011

And The Pregnancy Made Of Cake Comes To An Abrupt Close

So this Gestational Diabetes thing. Where to begin?

The beginning? Probably.

I am prone to exaggerate sometimes. But when I wrote that I'd been spending this entire pregnancy eating sugary foods and starchy foods and starchy foods covered with sugar, I was not exaggerating. This isn't to say I haven't been eating any proteins or veggies, but carbs have been FRONT AND CENTER of just about every meal and snack I've eaten, especially since the holidays. And because I hardly ever allow myself "sweet" foods when I'm not pregnant, I'd forgotten: the more sugar I consume, the more I want.

Somehow, for no reason that is actually justifiable in any way, I decided to ignore EVERYTHING I know about nutrition --
CAN WE JUST REMIND OURSELVES THAT I KNOW A LIFETIME'S WORTH OF NUTRITION?
on the idea that "it's okay because I'm pregnant."

Two giant desserts a day? Not a good idea.

But if we're going to start from the beginning, let's talk for a moment about my pregnancy with Eve.

I spent the entirety of my first pregnancy, as so many women do, absolutely freaked out about everything. I went into the pregnancy terrified it wouldn't take. I also went into it terrified because I was significantly overweight and, despite being completely healthy otherwise, the books/guides/ internet seemed to suggest that I was doomed. DOOMED. I was going to have Gestational Diabetes and high blood pressure and preeclampsia and be miserable and everything was going to suck and be horrible.

It wasn't until after I gave birth that I got mad about that. Because my first pregnancy was the kind of pregnancy every woman wants. It was smooth, and healthy, and happy. And by all accounts? Easy. It turns out that sometimes, being overweight does not HAVE to mean that your body doesn't work right. It doesn't mean that you're a monster.

So! HAHA! I thought. I will NOT spend this second pregnancy terrified of everything! I thought. I will be CHILL. Especially because -- as I wrote about like 2 entries ago -- I started this pregnancy 30 pounds LIGHTER than I was the last time!

Um. But I really, really, really pushed it.

And so by my second GD test, my numbers were "elevated." Not terrifyingly high, but elevated. Enough to be in the Gestational Diabetes range.

Oh, crap.

The first thing I felt upon hearing the diagnosis: shame. Deep, aching shame. There is NO question as to how this came about. My body has gotten less efficient at processing sugar because I have absolutely overloaded it with pasta and waffles and Sour Patch Kids. I took being cavalier about sugar to an extreme.

So after the shock and shame and the perhaps somewhat irrational I HAVE RUINED OUR BABY I *AM* A MONSTER! crying jags, I had to face the reality of what GD actually is, and what I need to do to fix it.

I got a grasp on my diagnosis.


Hi, I am not a medical professional. Do not listen to me. But what I understand of GD is that it means your body has become less efficient about processing sugars. This can usually be rectified by adjusting your diet. GD ends when you give birth and the placenta (which is calling the shots while your pregnant) leaves your body. Aside from the fact that your pancreas has gotten a little "sluggish," it also means that the inefficiently processed sugars -- the ones that aren't leaving your body? -- are going to your baby. So, you're essentially overfeeding your baby. This can lead to oversized babies, which can lead to stressful birth situations. There is also a link between women having GD developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life, but that's correlative.


And THEN I got the message that I had to begin counseling sessions with a nutritionist.

And THEN? Then I got really mad.

3 comments:

  1. hah- I LOOOOOOOOVED talking to the nutritionist when I got GD... she started by making me feel like a complete jerk for "ruining my baby". There seems to be this assumption that when you're overweight you are a fat pig who eats crap all the time and it's your own fault you got diabetes (especially of the gestational kind)... because it couldn't POSSIBLY be the insulin resistance I got from PCOS right?

    good luck- GD is not the end of the world and it's surprisingly easier to manage than most people think. And despite what you may believe about the junk food- avoiding it doesn't always prevent GD; every pregnancy is different, it could just be that this pregnancy is more taxing to your body than the last one. Take care!

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  2. part 2??? I need the rest!!!

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  3. As I said on Twitter, dude. I can't wait to hear about the nutritional counseling.

    I went through the I am a monster thing too. I have battled my weight my whole life, and now (according to the correlative studies, which I don't even think should be mentioned because it makes pregnant ladies cry) she'll be at a higher risk for developing T2 diabetes. I am a HORRIBLE PERSON.

    And then I got over it. Sure, at age 2.5 she defaults to eating an all fruit diet, since ahem, she had a lot of sugar in utero, but oh well. She's not mainlining ho-hos (yet), so I feel like I'm ahead.

    As I mentioned on the Twitter, I kept it to one carb per meal and about 4 meals a day. They said 2 carbs per meal but they also said Yoplait Light, chock full of HFCS, was a "good choice." Um???

    I gained 65 lbs with my daughter and looked like jabba the hut. I am not exaggerating. I'm nearly 5'3 and can tell you with certainty that that much weight on my frame was awful.

    BUT. I've taken almost all of it off doing the low-carb thing, Which you already know, yadda yadda. I keep wanting to go back to my 20s when all I ate was snow cones and quesadillas and didn't have to worry about what I ate. But my metabolism has changed since the pregnancy, and now it really only responds to low-carb.

    I hope it's going well for you !

    Heather (runhlrun2 on Twitter)

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