Gestational Diabetes – The One Thing I Didn’t Expect To Get While Pregnant

Gestational Diabetes - The one thing I didn't expect to get while pregnant

This has not been a good week in pregnancy land. I found out on Friday that I have gestational diabetes – Scary Stuff!

I wasn’t supposed to get Diabetes – I’m one of the healthy ones:

  • I eat mostly healthy foods
  • I’ve only gained 13-15 pounds since getting pregnant.
  • I have been exercising fairly consistently and have felt pretty decent, particularly in the last couple of weeks.

I’ve had my pregnancy moments, but overall have been able to maintain my previous energy levels and felt like I was doing pretty good for 29 weeks.

Hearing I had gestational diabetes was a huge shock.

I’ve got a brother who is Type I Diabetic, so I have a good idea of how scary diabetes can be. I’ve watched him have a diabetic low in the middle of a caving trip and at the onset of a canyoneering route.  Watching him crash was really terrifying, particularly since both times we were in the middle of nowhere.

Diabetes isn’t something that you mess around with.

It is crazy how life always seems to throw up road blocks, just when you start to think that everything is going well.

I’ve been trying not to stress about the whole thing, but until I’m able to meet with the dietician and start working out a plan it is hard not to think about worst-case scenarios.

For me, this stress always translates into sleeping issues, which obviously makes the whole cycle worse.

I smile and act like everything is okay, but inside I’m constantly questioning myself and second-guessing every decision I’m making.

I try not to let myself fall into that trap, but it is really hard when you are dealing with what could end up bring a major health issue.

My whole life I’ve struggled with the unknown. I like to have a plan and have never dealt well with a lot of uncertainty.

In this case, my plans have been thrown completely out the window.

I know I need to cut my carbs but don’t know the exact details.

I got home from the grocery store on Saturday morning and like the hormonal pregnant women I am started tearing up when telling Aaron about my hunt for low carb, high protein food.

I felt paralyzed with fear that I would eat the wrong thing and potentially hurt my baby.

I knew I was being irrational, but uncertainty and the fear that comes with the unknown makes me behave in slightly irrational ways at times.

Letting myself by ruled by fear and anxiety isn’t something I can allow in my life right now.

I know that a lot of my questions will be answered later this week by the dietician, but in the meantime, I spent a lot of time on the internet.

I lost count of how many articles I’ve read on gestational diabetes. At this point, I’m suffering from too much information and am feeling a bit paralyzed in the other direction now.

I’ve learned a few things that have helped calm my fears:

  • Gestational Diabetes isn’t about how “healthy” you are, it is about the placenta’s reaction to insulin.  I could have been eating perfect and still would have gotten gestational diabetes.  It isn’t my fault I have this condition.
  • It isn’t a life sentence.  Yes, some women do end up developing diabetes later and I’ve got a higher chance of getting it later.  However, I know now I’m prone to diabetes which means I can prepare and hopefully prevent by incorporating the new eating skills I’m learning.
  • Exercise is one of the best things I can do for my body right now.  Being active really, really helps with gestational diabetes.  I like to stay active, so this just gives me one more reason to get out of bed.
  • Diabetes isn’t about cutting out all carbs, it is about decreasing carbs and pairing them with protein.  It is about eating lots and lot of veggies.  I can do healthy eating.  **Check out my one-year anniversary post – Healthy Eating Habits: How Gestational Diabetes Changed My Diet.
  • If I control my sugar levels, my baby won’t even know she was in danger.  Lack of control can be a serious issue and lead to high birth weights and potential sugar issues for the baby.  However, for most women, they can control their diabetes through diet and exercise.  My goal is to be one of those women.

So at this point, I’ve calmed down a little bit. I’m still nervous and scared for my baby, but I don’t have the same sense of crushing fear that came with the initial diagnosis.

I’m not looking forward to some of the eating changes I’ll need to make – I really like chocolate, but overall I’ve always eaten fairly healthy, so I’m hoping a few small adjustments will be sufficient to keep my blood sugar level intact.

On a side note, if anyone has ideas on good foods to eat or websites to research I’d love to hear your suggestions.

***Editorial Note****

I’m now 9 months post baby and gestational diabetes wasn’t the horrible monster I thought originally.  Because of my experience with diabetes, I’ve revamped my eating habits completely.

I thought I was healthy before, but now know that I was very deficient in protein.  I loved my carbs just a bit too much!

Because of my gestational diabetes, I ate healthier, exercised more and listened to my body during my pregnancy.  Although it was a hassle at times to eat the balanced meals, I personally feel that it was a blessing in disguise.

I know that most of you reading this post are stressed to the max, you are scared for your baby and worried about how you will handle your new diet.  I want to offer you my encouragement and love.

You can do this!

Listen to your doctors, do you research, find alternative foods that will help you manage your sugar levels, exercise and stay active.

More than anything don’t give into depression or anger.  This isn’t your fault, sometimes our bodies just respond differently to pregnancy.

Trust me when I say that all of the sacrifices will be worth it when you hold your little baby in your arms.  You can do this!

New Baby - After Gestational DiabetesElla and I a few hours after she was born.  She was 6.9, born one day before her due date with perfect sugar levels.

New Baby - After Gestational DiabetesElla at one week.  I know I’m biased, but I think she is the most beautiful baby ever!

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