My Sugar Baby

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Everyone knows about the awful sugary liquid that you are forced to drink around the 28-week check-up. Most, however, do not understand the purpose of the drink other than it tells you if you have Gestational Diabetes. I can say that if you are positive for this test, I know the feelings you are going through. If you are first time mom or this is your first time testing positive, know that you did not FAIL. Let me first explain the process.

Testing Process

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When you arrive to the lab, you will drink this sugary drink that either taste like flat orange soda, lemon lime Gatorade, or fruit punch with double the sugar and a little thicker consistency. Don’t go in thinking it will taste horrible or it really will. Honestly, for me it wasn’t as bad as I expected but it definitely wasn’t something I would ever want to drink again. Chug it and then drink some water – most doctors let you but double check to make sure. Then you sit for an hour and get your blood drawn. Your doctor will phone you and let you know if you pass. They are checking your blood sugars to make sure your insulin is working to bring down your sugars. If you do not pass, they will have you come in for a three-hour test. Here you will fast for the night then drink the mixture one more time. You will sit for three hours and get your blood tested every hour. If you are here for this test, bring your phone with Netflix, a good book, or something to keep you busy. You will be at the lab for a while, unfortunately. After they take these test results, you will go home and wait for the results. Most people will get the all clear and go on the merry way, but for some of us the results might not be in our favor.

Feelings

I was working and missed the call from my OB doctor. She left a voicemail with all my data and ending the call with “I have put in a prescription for your blood testing kit and will set up an appointment with a nutritionist. Unfortunately, you have Gestational Diabetes.” My stomach was in knots and I am pretty sure I listened to the voicemail like 20 times.
Did I hear it right? I cannot have GD. I eat healthy; besides the one thing of ice cream I ate two weeks ago and I did eat chicken nuggets three days ago. Can I really be this unhealthy?

This was going through my thoughts. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I had a diagnosis. I failed the first test I had taken while pregnant and I was at fault for my baby’s health. At least, that’s what I thought. I did all this research about the risks of GD. First things first, do NOT google health risks. You might see things like obese baby, still birth, etc. The research was daunting, my heart was clenching, tears were flowing, and I was a failure. I honestly could not stop researching GD or shake the worries that we’re in my head. It was just a dark cloud looming over me. I had never been pregnant before and all my mommy friends told me how awful it was to be diagnosed. Why was this happening to me? I was also embarrassed. All my friends passed and here I was failing this test. They were all waiting to hear the results and I just wanted to avoid the conversation.

Coping

I am not going to lie. I laid on the couch in my husbands lap and just cried, a long and good cry. He sat there and didn’t say a word. The silence was needed so I could just let it out and find solitude and strength. I finally voiced my concerns with him, we wrote down questions for the doctors to find answers, and we prayed.

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Dealing with it during pregnancy.

After I met with my OBGYN and my dietician, I routinely had to check my blood sugars four times a day: in the morning when I first woke up (fasting), after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This was a lot but it was worth it for my little one! I also had a few extra check ups to make sure things were good. I was diet controlled, meaning I could keep my sugars in check by being mindful of my diet. I ate specific carbs that were low on the glycemic index scale and I was good. Others have a much harder time and have to turn to medicines or insulin. I wish I could help more if you are put on medicine, but that was not something I went through. For the last couple months I was tracking my meals, eating lower carbs- high protein (DEFINITLY FIND A WAY TO ADD FIBER TO YOUR DIET), and just staying positive. The doctors were mainly concerned with making sure my placenta looked good and Marleigh has good sugars after birth. I will say I didn’t gain a ton of weight during my pregnancy because I was being super healthy and exercising. I did get creative with my diet. I would make milkshakes with protein shakes and ice or make pizza with cauliflower and loads of protein. The food was all just me playing around and seeing what worked for my sugars. Some days I could eat a small apple and other times I was stuck with veggies and meat.

Birth

The only difference with my labor is that Marleigh had to get some extra pricks to check her blood sugars! It was definitely rough for a mama to watch!

Overall

I had a mild case of GD! That doesn’t mean I was special or misdiagnosed, I just had an easier time regulating my sugars! I had many friends that their story is very different. They are some of the most spectacular mamas making sacrifices so early on. All of us mamas just tried to do the best we could for our babies to be healthy.

Misconceptions

You only get GD if you are overweight. Sorry, but super fit and super health conscious woman also get it. Its all about the placenta! There have been correlations with obesity and GD, but it is not a cause and effect.

You can’t have any yummy food.

It might not be the French fries, pasta, and gummy bears you were craving but if you get creative you can have some yummy things! Also, you may possibly still be able to go to your favorite restaurant or Starbucks (Any tea- with heavy cream and nonsugared vanilla syrup or coffee with heavy cream - No carbs!)! Also, one bite of cheesecake was fine for me! I splurged on my baby shower day!

No sugar added cheesecake!

No sugar added cheesecake!

 You are just like a regular diabetic.

This is so false. A GD diet is all trial and error. Everyone’s body reacts differently and although we have to be careful of our sugars, we aren’t like a regular diabetic. Some of the woman I met in my GD group could eat apples and peanut butter or have a few fries with their steak and others couldn’t even think about carbs or their sugars spiked. I was a mild case of GD so I didn’t have to change what I ate too much. I wasn’t on insulin, so I was different than a regular diabetic. I just had to check my numbers!

If you are diagnosed, remember . . . .

  • It is not your fault.

  • You will get through this.

  • The diet will help you keep energy, possibly lose weight, and make the days go by.

Every GD diet is different. It is a trial and error. If you get a high number, don’t stress. Make a change to your diet and try again. If you constantly get high numbers, talk to your dietician. They are on your team!

Join a Facebook group for GD. Those ladies will give recipes, provide emotional support, and show that you are not alone.

Also, some people might not understand GD. I have had plenty of people that said things that made me uncomfortable, but they simply didn’t understand GD. Don’t hide behind your diagnosis and try your best to educate others so they have a better understanding. Explain to people your diet restrictions and why they are necessary, explain what causes GD, and when people respond rudely - smile and stay focused on your baby. You are strong!

If you are diagnosed with GD, do not hesitate to reach out to me.

God Bless our Sugar Babies!

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xoxo,

Jeana

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