Saturday, November 27, 2010


Thank you guys for the support regarding the gestational diabetes diagnosis. That first day I was pretty funked about it. Part of that was fear of being required to enter the 'medicalized pregnancy' system if my body requires insulin to control blood sugars. I can picture myself in an OB's office, dead baby scare tactics and heavy duty pressure to induce or cut coming from them and heavy duty self defense tactics coming from me...Aside from the fear of another unnecessary cesarean, I'm afraid of having the empowering aspect of this birth being taken from me. To fight an obstetrical system that wants to reduce my choices (with the best of intentions, but not always the best of research to back their methods up) as is the medical culture of today like it or not, is NOT what I want to experience. It will be empowering only because I fight to keep it so, not because my right to choose or research or control any part of the process is upheld by others.

But aren't I getting four hundred steps ahead of myself here? First of all, I might not need insulin. So then I can stay low risk, and I don't need to see an OB. Second of all, I might have a nice OB who believes in womens' right to choose and is willing to work with me instead of direct me. Third of all, even if I did have a nasty OB and a requisite for insulin, nobody is going to bully me into anything. My body, my baby, MY CHOICE. Period.

Part of my disappointment was a hidden desire to be one of those women who just have big babies but not gestational diabetes. Big babies can be within the parameters of normal, and their deliveries can remain low risk, despite everyone's fear to the contrary. Nobody likes being placed in an automatic box with everyone else and big baby mommas are no different. Some of us have gestational diabetes, and some of us have capable pelvises and roomy uteri and strong expulsion muscles and genetics for big babies. I wanted to be an example of the latter, for the sake of winning one for the Trust Womens' Bodies line of philosophy. You know? Instead I get to be an example of pathology. Nice.
One of the women I met at the breastfeeding counsellor's course I took last year had six children and was a huge natural birth and breastfeeding advocate, and she expressed several times how she wished so badly she could have given birth at home, but has a blood disorder that places her at higher risk for hemorrhage, so she's one of those rare examples of pathology too. Part of me wants to stomp my foot and yell, IT'S NOT FAIR!! So many women don't CARE how they give birth or whether they are low risk enough to deliver at home or have an empowering experience versus a hand-over-decision-making type of experience, and here I care muchos and my body fails me.

I know it's a bit hysterical and a bit narcissistic. I'm not saying it's rational, I'm explaining what was ringing in my head that first day I found out. It does seem a bit like a nasty trick from the universe, but on the other hand I wasn't all that surprised. I had a 9 and 10 lb baby the last 2 times. I'm only 5'1" and small, I have hypoglycemia, and my fasting sugars were high last winter before I got pregnant. It was the length of time between the test and notification of the results that led me to believe I didn't have it, so it took me a bit to wrap my mind BACK around having it.

Yesterday and today I feel a lot more calm and capable of tackling this. I talked to my cousin who also had it, and whose genetics and birth and parenting philosophies I share, and she had a bunch of advice for me that I was really grateful for. It is helpful for me emotionally to know someone who had it and delivered naturally, which is so important to me. And you know, she pointed out that as far as obstetrical complications go, this is a fairly minor one. It can be controlled, it's not premature labor, eclampsia, Cholestasis, and etc., and outcomes are excellent for babies born from GD moms whose blood sugars are well controlled. So the pathology is manageable.

Any and all advice from people with experience or education about GD is welcome. I do know the basics: 6 meals per day, pair carbohydrates with protein, eliminate refined carbohydrates and sugar, reduce fruit consumption, and avoid too much time passing between meals. And exercise.
I already eat well. Very little processed food, mostly homemade, whole grains, natural, plain, unadulterated whenever possible. But I add sugar to that. Or I did, until Thursday.
A complicating factor is those contractions. They like to come on when I exercise. Sigh.


tamie said...

I always feel super inadequate when commenting on anything related to pregnancy b/c everything I know about pregnancy I've learned from you!

But...I was wondering if you think there's any kind of excercise that won't give contractions? Do you think it's the faster-ticking heart that brings on contractions, or might it be the pounding of, say, running? I'm just wondering, for example, if swimming might not be a good option.

Also, someone pointed out on the last blog post that you may have had GD last pregnancy. And that one went fine. You know?

Oh, also, as I'm learning, another great way to get the ol' heart pumping without any harsh impact is to climb something very steep. YOu can climb it slowly and your heart still goes fast!

That's all I got, but keep keeping us posted, okay?

melissa said...

Thanks Tamie, I don't think you're inadequate at all! I think it IS something about the effort exerted with exercise: slow walking doesn't give me contractions but fast walking does. I bought a bathing suit (finding a maternity bathing suit in the middle of a blizzard took some doing, and set me back $80!) and I plan to go on Monday after my midwife appointment, just to do a half hour of laps to see how I do. I'm also going to try water aerobics with my friend Jenny, but can't go this week til Thursday.

I figure I'll keep up the walks to and from school, and try to add swimming, but I'm not optimistic that my body can handle swimming, since fast walking is a no go.


melissa said...

But I did think that walking up and down my stairs after each meal for about 10 minutes might do the trick, since I'm supposed to walk after every meal but getting all three kids out the door for a walk three times a day is ridunkulus. When Brent is home I can do it but that is only 50% of the time so I need a plan for days when it's just me. I'll keep you posted!

nancy said...

when you decide to tackle something, you are one of the most self disciplined people I know - take after your dad, not me! So I know you'll succeed in what ever plan you need to implement to keep those blood sugars down.
Good point that Riley was just fine despite your most probable GD with him

Caryn Ouwehand said...

I swam laps for the last half of my pregnancy as excersize after I was told I had GD. I did some Aquasize classes too... they were great.

SANDRA said...

I am happy to read that you feel more calm now and that you have a cousin who gave you some good advice and could share her experiences. It is so helpful to have someone who knows to talk with. You are right, GD is manageable and it can be controlled. If I remember right, you said that you were anemic. When I was pregnant with Leo I was anemic and my blood sugar was a little elevated during the first test. I remember reading that low iron can cause an increase in blood glucose. I am not sure if it is true, but it makes sense to me. If your body is in stress your blood sugar will raise to help your body dealing with the stress. To follow a GD diet is still a good idea.

I am sending big hugs to you! Take care! ♥

Stefanie said...

Hi! I'm Tamie's friend. You may already know about this, but I thought I would mention it just in case - have you heard of the Brewer pregnancy diet? It is supposed to be great for any pregnancy but especially for GD moms. I tried to adhere to it as close as I could during my pregnancies, but never could follow completely through since I couldn't eat the two eggs recommended each day - it is the ONE thing that I can't eat while pregnant, eggs.