Sep 17, 2012

That Pesky Glucose Thing, Part Four

I talked about my experience with just getting through the glucose test in part one. I talked about finding out I actually had gestational diabetes and all the thoughts that just about any woman (especially first time moms) experience in part two. I then talked facts about gestational diabetes and facts specific to my case in part three. And now as I sit here and eat my sugar-free jello pretending I love it, it's time to reveal how I am really handling this whole situation.

I wish I could tell you have handled this whole thing with ease and grace, but that simply wouldn't be true. I have spent a good chuck of my time since finding out either angry, sad, frustrated, or discouraged. There has been nothing easy about this road that I am now traveling down.

How could this have happened? How did I end up being the woman with gestational diabetes? This isn't fair. I have tried to do the best I can taking care of myself and taking care of Addison. I've only gained ten pounds and somehow I'm the woman who ends up with the crazy hormones that gives me gestational diabetes.

I get angry a lot. I get angry that this is happening to me. I get angry that I can't have that brownie I so desperately want. I get angry that I can't just eat and not think about it. I get angry that I have to prick my fingers four times a day and it really does hurt a little bit. I get angry that I have to plan my day around my meal times and make sure I walk every night even though sometimes I am exhausted and I feel like I can barely drag myself up the stairs. I get angry that this is just one more thing that has happened in this pregnancy.

I don't regret my decision to get pregnant. In fact the way I squash that anger is to remember that this is all worth it. That Addison Sophia is worth it. Then she gives me a little kick or I feel her get the hiccups and I know that she is worth every counted carb and even finger prick.

And slowly as the days have gone by, that anger I first felt has melted away and I spend less time angry about what is happening. Not to say I don't get my random bouts of anger that creep in and take control, but those moments are less and less. I just keep telling myself that in six weeks, I'll have a beautiful baby girl and she is worth all this and she deserve to have a mom, who does everything in her power to make sure we are both healthy.

Much like the anger, the sadness sneaks up on me and suddenly all I want to do is cry. Which honestly isn't that different than just regular pregnancy hormones and how every other pregnant woman is feeling, but my waves of sadness usually come in association with the GD.

The questions that lead to my sadness are much the same as those when I get angry, I just sometimes get angry and sometimes I get sad. I have trouble understanding what I did wrong. I have trouble understanding why this is happening to me. I have trouble understanding how this is fair.

My first real moment of sadness (and with it, lots of tears) came the first day with my solo testing after lunch. Even though I was completely overwhelmed by everything, I was sure I could do that. I had to believe I could do this and handle everything. But when it came time to make my blood for the first time, I took me several tries to actually be successful. I know it was only my first time of doing it, so I definitely was not going to be perfect right out of the gate. But in my head, I needed to be. I needed this first time and the first day of eating to go well, so I would really believe I could do this. But I wasn't successful, which led to a tearful call to the hubs (who later confessed he thought I was just overreacting and it was all the pregnancy hormones but after helping me later and not being successful figured out that it's not as easy as it looks). I finally did get my level taken and luckily the number was good (I don't know how I would have handled it had my number been bad the first time out of the gate), then I proceeded to lay crying across the bed. When Rob did finally get home, he found me in that same position and joked that he wondered when this was going to happen. Honestly, I did too. I had handled it all too well, but what I really needed was to just let it all out. And after finally doing that, I felt better. I still felt that overwhelming sadness at times, but finally I got out all those pent-up feelings that I had been holding in from when I first found out.

On one hand I am limited. I can't have those things I really want to have. I can't give into those cravings. The brownie, the chocolate malt, fried chicken, popcorn, Baked Beans, heck even the fruit just has to wait until after this little girl is born. I am no different than any other pregnant woman: I get cravings. The problem is that I can't give in to them. And if it is something I can give into, I have to carefully plan or get the sugar-free version of it. But let's just say pretending that my celery is a brownie isn't really working for me.

Trying to figure out what is okay to eat and what isn't has been a frustrating battle. One that I probably will never truly get down in the next six weeks and one that I hope I don't have to try to fight the next time we get pregnant (yes, after everything that has happened I still want more kids down the line). One of the most frustrating parts for me has been separating carbohydrates from calories in my mind. I seem to get them confused, which leads me to think that I can't eat as much. But I do have free foods. I can eat vegetables, cottage cheese, string cheese, meats sugar-free jello, and all those things with little or no carbohydrates in them without having to count them, but still get all the calories I need. Plus in addition, I have had to make sure I have protein with every meal and snack I eat, which is not an easy feat for me.

We did learn that I could go out to eat, but I had to plan what I was going to eat before I got there so I could look up the nutritional facts and plan out my meals. No spontaneous ordering for me. Having to figure out each meal before I'm allowed to take a break to make sure I'm not going over the amount of carbohydrates is frustrating. Who really wants to spend their time thinking about what they are allowed to eat and how much, and then measure out amounts.

I would give anything for something other than water. I have learn to start planning milk into my meals, just for the change of pace. But of course, depending on the meal I have to measure out the amount of milk I can drink depending on how many carbohydrates I have left with that meal. All that means between meals I can drink as much water as I want, but no milk unless it is with a meal and has been planned out because that would mess up my levels and my carbohydrate count. And the most frustrating drink to be cut out: orange juice. I am an orange juice drinker every morning, but that is no more.

As if all those other feelings weren't enough, it is so easy to get discouraged. The anger and sadness has passed as I get further along and just remind myself that I'm doing this for my daughter. I still get frustrated, especially when I really want something I can't have or I just can't figure out what to eat. But this discouraged feeling comes every single time I see a high number come across the screen of my little meter.

I don't want to be doing this. That's why I get angry and sad. I don't think this is fair and I just don't want to worry about this. But I have to. And for my daughter I do what I have to do. Like I said, she deserves a mom who will do everything in her power to make sure the two of us are healthy. So I do this. I plan my meals. I eat food I don't care for. I prick my finger four times a day. I cut out my orange juice and limit my milk. I make those sacrifices and go along with the restrictions. I try my hardest to eat all that I'm supposed to eat, including all that extra protein that I probably wouldn't get otherwise.

And then after going through all of that, you test your blood and you still get a high number. At that point, you want to just curl up in a ball and just stop trying. What's the point in trying if I'm still going to get high numbers anyway? Which I know is no way to think and I don't just give up and eat whatever I want and drink whatever I want. That's definitely not going to make matters better. But after trying so hard, all you want is for what you did and what you gave up to be shown. To have paid off. But when it doesn't, it's easy to get discouraged. And that feeling doesn't go away. It could be your first high number or your tenth, you still feel like you failed somehow. You feel like you failed that little baby inside you who is relying on you. You feel like this really was your fault. You could have done something different.

Of course, it isn't really your fault. My body is going to do what my body is going to do, and the only thing I can do is to keep fighting back. I just have to keep trying things. So much of this is trial and error, figuring out which foods you can eat and which drive your numbers up every time and figuring out that maybe you need to walk after lunch and dinner. Rationally that all makes sense, but doesn't stop the discouragement from creeping in. With every high number there is a certain amount of discouragement, especially after trying so hard.

For six more weeks I have to keep myself on this crazy carbohydrates diet. I have to limit my intake and make sure I walk at least 30 minutes a day. I have to ignore those cravings. I have to eat lots of protein. I have to keep fighting that desire to get a glass of orange juice every morning. And every day of these next six weeks I will need to remind myself that I do this for my daughter. I do this for my long-term health. I do this because she is worth it. That doesn't always make it easy, but it helps. It helps to remember that in six weeks I'll have that little girl in my arms and all of this will be a distant memory.

So I want to say for any woman out there who just recently found out that you have gestational diabetes, remember that this isn't your fault. You're going to feel that way and honestly that's okay, but pick yourself back up and remember that little baby inside of you is relying on you to do everything you can. And those days that you have a high number, it's okay to feel discouraged too but then you brush yourself off and pick yourself back up and you figure out what to do differently. You figure out that maybe it was the choice of food you ate or maybe you need to take a short walk after that meal. You just try and you keep trying. It's hard and it's frustrating, and honestly no one is really going to understand. But you didn't fail your baby. You only fail if you don't try at all. So all you can do is try and do the best you can do (it also helps to have a support system for those days when you just can't do it or figure it out - I don't know how I could be doing this without my husband). Just keep thinking ahead to when that baby is born and this is all behind you, and all you can think is: "Gestational diabetes? What's that?"


  1. Hey Becca,
    Hang in there kid. You're doing good.
    If I'm not mistaken, your aunt Terri also had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with Hannah and Brad.
    (And I guess you know this isn't the last sacrifice you'll be making as a mother!!)
    Aunt Linda

    1. It's definitely frustrating, but one day at a time. One meal at a time. I have a list of food I plan to eat after she's born too. Six more weeks and it will all be worth it.



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