Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gestational Diabetes: Dealing with Another Diagnosis

As I mentioned in my TGIF post from last week, I failed my glucose test (a test where they make you drink a super sugary drink and then test your blood sugar after an hour). After-the-fact, I learned that prednisone, which I take to keep my flares bearable, raises your blood sugar so I basically had no chance of passing. I decided to skip the 3 hour test because I would have had to go off prednisone for a week and that is just not possible with how bad my RA has been. Instead, I just had them give me a referral to an endocrinologist. Who knows if I technically have gestational diabetes or whether my sugars are artificially high due to the prednisone use. Either way, high blood sugar isn't good for me or the baby so getting them under control is important.

I met with a registered dietitian at the endocrinologist office on Tuesday morning and learned all about the diet. I have to say it was pretty overwhelming.

One of the pages of the meal planning book which helps you count your carbs
The biggest surprise to me was HOW MANY carbs they want you to eat each day. In my mind, I was thinking I'd be eating less carbs, not more. But perhaps I am the outlier in my carb consumption compared to the average person. With my gluten intolerance and dietary habits, I just don't eat a lot of carbs. Yes, I have fruit which is a carb but besides that, I'm not eating a lot of bread, potatoes, rice, etc. So I'm kind of confused about how this diet is going to help me when it would result in me eating MORE carbs. For instance, at lunch and dinner I am supposed to be eating 3-4 carbs at each meal. I usually eat maybe 1-2 carbs or sometimes no carbs at all, besides the trace amounts that are in vegetables that I put on my salad. I honestly don't even know how I would physically eat as much as they are prescribing as it just seems like soooo much food (you are supposed to eat 3 meals a day and 3 small snacks a day). So I am just going to eat what I can and hope that it all works out. I am sure that eating more protein and fats will help as those help your body break down carbohydrates (you eat a fat and/or protein with every snack and meal which is a big change for me as well).

In addition to following the diet, I also need to test my urine every morning and test my blood sugar 4 times a time: when I wake up before eating anything and an hour after breakfast, lunch and dinner. So far, my blood sugar results haven't been great as about 3/4 of the time it's too high, even though I'm eating exactly what I'm supposed to eat.

All this has left me feeling pretty defeated. I feel like a failure for not being able to get my blood sugars in a healthy range but then I also feel like maybe it's completely out of my control due to the prednisone use. Whatever the cause, there have been a lot of tears since Tuesday morning. I meet with the endocrinologist next Thursday to review my blood sugars and then we will go from there. I am just really worried that I am going to have to go on insulin. I HATE the thought of having to put something else in my body on top of all the drugs I am taking for my RA.  :(  But if that is what it takes to keep my blood sugar under control, then so be it.

So right now I have quite the case of the sads. Phil has reminded me that we are lucky to have a healthy baby that is developing on track (as far as we know) - and for that I am grateful. But having gestational diabetes introduces all these other risks like the respiratory system not developing properly. And even though I know this is completely out of my control, I still feel responsible. I already feel bad about exposing the baby to steroids, which also carry risks, and now there's another batch of risks that are being introduced. Plus moms with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life, which would really suck.

With time, I am sure I will get the hang of this. And one upside is that I'll have more ultrasounds to track the baby's growth so we'll get to see Baby S. more than we would have otherwise. But right now I'm just sort of having a down week. Which is ok and to be expected. Hopefully the excitement of Christmas will give me a bit of a pick-me-up. For now I'm giving myself permission to feel a little bit blue and frustrated.

This should go without saying, but I feel like I need to emphasize that we are SO VERY GRATEFUL to be pregnant. But you can be grateful to be pregnant and also dislike being pregnant at the same time.

And that's my real talk for today.


Jeanie said...

Oh Lisa, I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. Between pregnancy, RA, work, holidays and now this, your plate has been pretty full. I know you must be terribly concerned about adding meds and such because of the baby, but it sounds like you have very good care, very wise physicians, so listen and do your best to keep upbeat. I know you've got the sads -- who wouldn't. But as Julian of Norwch said, "All shall be well." Just keep remembering that mantra, my friend.

Marlys said...

Jeanie's mantra quote is so fitting! In spite of all the problems, the end result will be "very well"! You have the right to feel down but don't blame yourself as you have done nothing to create these problems. I hope you work out a diet that works for you, and talking to others who have gone through this will also help.
And I am sure the Christmas spirit will grab on to you and lift you up!
I was reading about Mary in the days before giving birth to our Savior, and how she traveled on the back of a donkey for 3 or 4 days in the winter months where it rained and was very windy, to Bethlehem where she didn't even know where she would give birth. It made me feel very anxious to think about it, but I know she had such total trust in God and that all would be well, and it was, even though she gave birth in a stable for animals. Having that kind of trust is super human, but know "All shall be well"!

Carolina John said...

I'm so sorry you're having to adjust to this now too. How long did it take you to get used to being gluten free? Give it this same amount of time to adjust to this new dietary change as well. Remember it's only a temporary adjustment. This is when it gets difficult to trust in the process, but when you're holding a healthy baby it will all be worth it.

Stephany said...

Ugh, Lisa. I'm so sorry that you have ANOTHER thing to monitor with this pregnancy. I think you're going about this the right way, though: taking time to be upset about this newest diagnosis and doing your research. I know it can feel like your body is failing you, but it's not because it's doing the most magical thing: it's growing a human. A baby! A person! It sucks that you have to deal with all these terrible side effects, though, and you are totally allowed to feel all your feelings about this: happiness about your baby, sadness about your diagnosis, rage at your RA. All of it is valid. <3

Unknown said...

I don't have RA but I have had gestational diabetes with all three of my pregnancies. I cried and was so mad with my first baby. I got through it and had a healthy baby with just diet and exercise control. I knew what was coming with baby number two and he was a healthy 36 week baby with no nicu time. With baby 3 I struggled with my numbers and had to use insulin and although not ideal it took a lot of the stress away because it didn't matter what I ate or how much walking/exercise I did my numbers were high. Adding the insulin took that stress away and I could just focus on my diet. Baby 3 was healthy too. Try to enjoy the extra ultrasounds and whatever is causing the gd it's not your fault. GD is a very strange thing but all my babies were healthy and my oldest was my biggest baby at 7lbs 10 oz so no need to worry about that either 😉
Not sure with your gluten restrictions but nature valley has a really good protein bar that is a quick easy snack to carry around. Also cheese was my best friend 😀

katielookingforward said...

You are going to be a wonderful mother no matter what. I hope this time passes quickly and that phil continues to be a wonderful support for you. There is no possible way that you could be considered a failure, so tell that pesky inner voice to shush.

Gracie said...

Lisa, I'm sorry you're facing another challenge! But you have successfully navigated all the challenges you've faced so far, and have a healthy baby to boot, so you're already doing a stellar job. I don't blame you for feeling sad: that's overwhelming. Just try to pamper yourself a little more now, and by all means don't feel as if you are somehow at fault or to blame. Our bodies do strange and unpredictable things, and they rebel against our hard work and efforts. So much is really not up to us and our lifestyles at all, really. Continuing handling this pregnancy with grace and patience like you have been, and you've already done more than many others would have in the same circumstances.

Charbelle said...

Oh my friend, as I've watched you navigate this chapter I'm truly inspired by you! I'm excited for this new little one who will be an amazing mix of both parents! I like what Grace said, sometimes our bodies rebel against us out of nothing that we have done and we have no control over it. You have been handed more than your share of health challenges to navigate even before pregnancy and you move through them and learn and then you share your knowledge with others. I've learned so much from you over the years. I wish that this would just all go away but that's the romantic in me, the one I have to mostly keep in check because that side is most of the time crazy unrealistic... However, as you finish strong over these next few weeks I know you will bring your tribe in around you and find the encouragement that you need in those moments. Sending hugs!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Lisa, I am so sorry to hear about all the tests you have to do every day, and how you have to follow a special diet. What a pain in the butt!

Two more months ... two more months ... you can do it!

Amber said...

This sucks so much but you are handling it like a champ! And you totally get to be down about it, you've dealt with ALOT this pregnancy!! Thinking of you1

San said...

I am so sorry you have to deal with gestational diabetes. That's no fun, especially when you're already dealing with other health flares during this pregnancy. I truly hope that all of these issues will resolve itself when the baby is here... until then, keep on moving forward. I won't be much longer.