Gestational Diabetes: The Diagnosis
November 23, 2011
Pregnancy is such a glorious time. For me anyways. I always feel healthy and beautiful and…sexy. But both times I’ve been pregnant I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The first time I was under the care of a midwife who didn’t push me to go for further testing (except for the 1-hr glucose test) as I insisted that finding out I really had diabetes would be really upsetting (never make a pregnant woman unhappy, right? Wrong in this case, but it all worked out). I promised I’d act as if I had gotten the gestational diabetes diagnosis and keep a food diary, not eat any sugar and even watch my intake of super sweet fruits. Thankfully that was enough because my daughter was born at home, without any complications in a planned homebirth, with a normal birth weight of 7bls 9.5 ozs!
During that pregnancy I had gained a total of 22 pounds and lost all of that exactly one week after I gave birth to my daughter. Throughout the pregnancy I was very careful about what I ate, but I didn’t start watching my sugar intake until I got a spot at my midwife’s clinic when I was 7 months pregnant. I had gained almost 20lbs by that point. I’m guessing that the very low sugar diet actually caused me to lose weight because she was born very healthy and at a normal birth weight, while I only gained 2 more pounds the last 2.5 months of my pregnancy. I want to note that in both pregnancies it was never my intention nor was I instructed by my midwife and/or my naturopath to try and lose weight. Losing weight was just a pleasant side effect of a healthier sugar-free diet.
Since having my first daughter, I’ve been under the care of my naturopath (who is amazing, by the way). We see her as our regular family doctor but she was also our midwife and delivered my last daughter. Over the years we’d talked about weight loss many times — I’ve really needed to lose a whole bunch of weight, but I never got really dedicated to the job so hadn’t seen results.
Well this last pregnancy changed all that. At around 5 months pregnant, my doctor did the standard gestational diabetes test that most pregnant women get, and the results weren’t good. During my first pregnancy I was just on the cusp of being required to go for the secondary test to confirm gestational diabetes, this time around I was firmly, unequivocally, diabetic. No need to go for any more testing.
My doctor/midwife, actually called me at home to give me the news. It was the week before Christmas and the clinic was closing for the holidays, but she didn’t want to wait the two weeks to see me before I started on her prescription. Her prescription was a diet/life-changing wake-up call.
I had to admit that I was frightened and unsure that I would be able to do it. Which only struck home harder when I got off the phone with her and had to find something to eat before I left the house. Hubby was actually outside, with the car running, waiting for me. So I grabbed the first “safe” thing I could see — a mandrain orange and a handful of almonds.
I was shaking when I got in the car and I started to cry. Hubby assured me that I would be able to do what was required and everything would be fine. I knew that I would do what I had to for the baby, but the tears were for me. It was abundantly clear that I had been putting myself last for years. It took only a hint of danger to my unborn child to completely drop the bad eating habits I’d indulged in for years. The change was instantaneous. From the moment I got off the phone with my midwife to the day she was born, I did not do put anything in my mouth that I shouldn’t have. I had a few “cheat bites” maybe 2 or 3 times in 128 days, but not enough to get a reaction out of my blood sugar. And still, I only cheated 2 or 3 times. I was so discplined that the moment my midwife weighted and examined my daughter she knew how discplined I had been. Further proof was in the weigh in. Exactly one week after the birth of my daughter I weighed in at 33lbs lighter.
I realized then that I could lose weight. But without that motivation to protect that unborn child inside of me I fell off the bandwagon. It took a while to revert to old habits, but I did. And now, 19 months later I am ashamed to admit that I have gained almost every one of those pounds I lost, back. I now struggle everyday to matter as much as my daughter did. It is much harder to love myself than it was to love my unborn child.
But that’s why I’m bearing my soul here. I find great inspiration and motivation in sharing my heart with you all and hearing your stories and experiences! So I hope to get back on track and take you guys on my journey. If you want to join me, please let me know by leaving a comment if you’re so inclined! My goal is to post my weekly update every Wednesday in a special Operation Weight-Off feature.
Next week will be the actual gestational diabetes diet that I followed while pregnant and am currently adhering to! Hope to see you guys next Wednesday! Healthy eating and exercising to all!