Close To The End

I can’t believe that I am almost 35 weeks pregnant.  I only have about a month left and if this little girl is as impatient as her brother then I only have three weeks.  Looking back over the past eight months it’s hard to imagine how much our little family has changed in such a short amount of time.  We’ve been able to get so much accomplished in preparing for this little girl’s arrival.  What was once a room full of boxes and military gear is now a freshly painted nursery with all the baby furniture that has been in storage.  The walls are decorated with shelves, pictures and vinyl cherry blossoms.  I’m almost finished painting the letters of her name to hang over the crib.  I’m buying a new canvass today to complete a painting.  All her bedding has been made.  The curtains are up and the valance has been sewn to match her quilt.  I have a stack of receiving blankets to surge, burp clothes to prepare and cloth diapers to sew.  I need to shampoo her carpet.  I have a few baby things left to launder and I’m still waiting on a couple diapers to come in the mail so I can wash and prep those.

 

For awhile my To Do list was getting shorter but now as the time is running out I’m finding more and more things that I have to do.  I don’t see how I’m going to get this all done in 3-4 weeks.  Not with my parents coming up and Thanksgiving and my son’s 4th birthday to plan and throw.  I still need to dig out the pack and play and the baby swing.  The carseat needs to be washed and installed.  Some of my son’s old toys need to be moved to the attic for storage until this baby is old enough to use them.  A box needs to come out of the attic and the linens washed for the new baby.  I’d do the things in the attic myself if I wasn’t terrified of falling down the ladder with the boxes.  I’m clumsy enough while not pregnant.  Pregnancy turns me into a total train wreck.

 

And on top of all the personal things that need to be done I have FRG obligations that I need to meet as well.  I need to get the holiday party planned.  I need to find someone to cover the leadership position despite not having any active volunteers.  Somehow I need to still be available to people despite having given birth.  And now a fundraiser is thrown in my lap that needs to be pulled of THIS WEEK despite planning my sons party for this Saturday, having three doctor appointments and Friday being a day off plus a coffee social to attend Wednesday.  At some point, despite swollen ankles and a sore back, I need to shop and bake for this. I was told about this last night.  Today I have two doctor appointments so I won’t be doing much baking.  Which leaves me with Wed or Thursday to throw this fundraiser.

 

And I’d almost forgot about it until I wrote this blog.  My stress level just went way up.

Advice For Those With GD (GDM)

*Note*  This is all personal view.  In no way should this be used instead of the advice given to you by a medical professional.

It has happened a few times now that someone has asked me for advice on how to deal with gestational diabetes.  I’ve done so much research now and I have an entire folder of recipes and diet plans that I’ve actually had people contact me asking for tips and tricks.  I belong to a few support groups online and I’m happy to be an active member.  I also have a wonderful chat group that I belong to spanning two different websites with other mothers due in December of 2011.  These women have probably been the best support (other than my own family).  Some have faced similar situations, some have faced things different and things far worse or concerning.  Regardless of  the circumstances we each face I’d like to think that there is a bond within the group and that we’ve all been able to help one another at some point.  I know that, at times, just being able to log on and complain/vent/gripe or rave about something fantastic or bring up a topic that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with discussing with someone NOT pregnant, has been a sanity saver.

So while there is no magic wand or special tip that I can start off with, my best advice would be to FIND A GOOD SUPPORT SYSTEM.  That goes for anything in life.  We all need someone to talk to at some point.  Find people that are in a similar situation or people that have gone through it.  It makes dealing with a difficult situation far easier.

When a lot of people hear the word “diabetes” they automatically assume that sugar is the enemy.  They think that if you just cut out extra sugar from your diet that you’ll be fine.  This, in fact, is not the case – at all.  Sure, excess sugar is a no no but the real glucose killer is the beloved and dreaded refined carbohydrate.  White breads.  White pasta.  Potato.  Corn.  Rice.  So many of the things that we love really aren’t that great for you especially when you are a diabetic.  Carbohydrates break down into sugar and it is these sugars that spike the blood glucose.  Awhile ago I found this site and it broke down information so it was easy to understand.  The section on Impaired Blood Sugar Regulation should be a good read for anyone that is starting out and dealing with GDM.  Of course, your dietitian or diabetic counselor should be telling you all this anyway but if you are like me, it helps to see something in writing as well.

So based on that I learned that NOT ALL CARBS ARE CREATED EQUAL.  When I’m meal planing I try to incorporate a lot of protein and fiber into a meal or into a snack.  It takes longer for the body to digest these things and in essence this “exercises” our bodies and we metabolize the carbohydrates and sugars better.  This results in lower glucose levels in the blood stream.  I’ve seen on carb counting sites something called Net Carbs.  These are the carbs ‘left over’ after protein and fiber is taken into account.  This isn’t a tool I’d personally recommend for GDM.  A serving of carbs (15 grams) is still a serving of carbs no matter how many grams of protein and fiber is in something.  Your body may process things better when loaded with protein but you’ve still eaten the carbohydrate to begin with.

People often ask me what my day is like and if the sudden diagnosis of GDM messed up that daily life.  I won’t lie – when I was told that I had gestational diabetes I felt like there was a noose around my neck.  I knew that I had a chance of developing this in my pregnancy so I had taken steps to try and avoid this.  I ate well.  I exercised.  I didn’t pack on pregnancy weight.  So when I took my glucose test and it came back positive I felt like I had failed.  I felt like I had failed for my baby.  But that isn’t the case.  There honestly wasn’t much that I could have done to avoid this.  I meet almost ALL the risk factors for GDM and it isn’t that I did something wrong or ate bad things while pregnant, it’s just that my body is reacting in a way to the pregnancy hormones that I’m not creating enough insulin.  The American Diabetes Association has a nice explanation of this condition and they also go into the risk factors toward the baby.  But that’s not what this blog is about.

When people ask me if the diagnosis messed up my daily life, the answer is simply no.  Am I faced with challenges? Yes!! Absolutely!!  It’s difficult to go out to a restaurant and just order something off the menu.  I’d be lost without my iPhone.  I’m able to get on Safari and look up the restaurant’s nutrition information and then make a better meal choice.  Most places are very willing to cater to a special diet.  I’ve had to ask a couple times for an extra side of vegetables instead of potatoes because I’m diabetic.  I’ve asked servers not to bring bread before a meal – rather to bring it with my husband’s so I’m not tempted to eat it.  I have no problem saying no to eating a slice of bread but why deal with the temptation?

Another thing that can get a little tiresome is having to check my glucose two hours after every meal.  When I’m home this isn’t a problem but when I’m running errands it can be a bit of a nuisance.  I actually set an alarm to remind myself to check my glucose when I’m out and about.  So when the alarm goes off I just make my way to the restroom and pull out my glucometer.  I’ve gotten funny looks from people but I just smile and wiggle my wrist with the bracelet that says “Diabetic” on it.  Then the light goes on… and usually they look at my stomach and just sake their head sadly.  A lot of people don’t understand.  The area I live in is poor and education is lacking.  I can only imagine the looks I’d get if I had to pull out my insulin supplies in the restroom to give myself an injection!

Basically my day goes like this:

0600: Wake up

0610: Fasting glucose check (should be under 95)

0615: Injection of insulin.  (NOTE: I didn’t start on insulin, only doing glucose checks and many women don’t ever need to use insulin)

0630: Breakfast.  15-30 grams carbs

0830: Glucose Check (should be under 120)

0930: Snack of 15-30 grams of carbs

1200: Lunch. 30-45 grams of carbs

1400: Glucose Check (should be under 120)

1500: Snack of 15-30 grams carbs

1745: Glucose Check and Insulin Dose

1800: Dinner of 30-45 grams of carbs

2000: Glucose Check (should be under 120)

2200: Insulin Dose and Bedtime Snack of 15-30 grams carbs

I do most of my errand running in the morning since I have a good few hours where I don’t need to check my glucose.  I have “free hours” as I call them where I don’t need to worry about that but I do need to remind myself to have a snack.  Snacks are important to maintain a steady glucose level.  Drastic highs and lows can be dangerous.  I always have something to snack on in my bag.  Nuts are easy to bag up or the little packs of presliced apples.  That’s actually what I usually grab for my ‘on the go’ snack.

Some things that have become a staple in my diet are: nuts, cheese, eggs, turkey bacon, chicken sandwich meat, sugar free jello (zero carbs – great for something sweet or put 2 Tbsp of cool whip on top for an extra treat and minimal carbs).  I always have a carton of hard boiled eggs.  I buy two dozen eggs at the store when I go and automatically boil one of them and stick them back in the fridge.  It’s an easy way to get some extra protein during the day.  Mayo has no carbs so deviled eggs are a quick snack, egg salad is a great lunch on a low carb wrap, and hard eggs are great on salads.  Meals do take a fair amount of planning but SparkRecipes.com has a fantastic tool that you can enter all your ingredients and adjust the serving size to get a nutritional breakdown.  But remember to include EVERYTHING.  Some carbs are hidden.  I never knew there were carbs in garlic!

Once you get used to the new diet you’ll figure out where you have a little fudge room.  The other night I made my husband a pumpkin pie.  Now, one slice of pie depending on how you make it can be 20-29 grams of carbs!  And mostly this is loaded with BAD carbs!  I could have made his pie more ‘diabetic friendly’ and used splenda but this was for his birthday and I wanted to make it “right”.  Pumpkin pie is my favorite… and the pie had been calling my name for two nights.  So, last night I allowed myself a TINY sliver of the pie with a scoop of cool whip after my dinner (which was fish and green beans).  It was just enough of something sweet that I felt satisfied and two hours later my glucose came  back well within my normal range.  But I’ve been following this diet and cutting sugar and bad carbs for a few weeks now.  Had I done this when I was first diagnosed I would have felt sorry for myself that I couldn’t eat a bigger slice or I would have given into temptation and eaten too much.  But now, a little bit of sweets go a long way!  Yes, I miss treats.  I miss making cookies for my family and being able to sit with them and have a huge glass of milk and a big cookie.  But is that worth risking my developing baby’s healthy?  Not at all.  And really, that’s what it all comes down to.  Can I change my lifestyle to help ensure that my baby will be born healthy?  Absolutely!  Is it worth pricking my finger five times a day and giving myself three injections?  YES!  I know that in a few weeks weeks I’ll be able to cuddle with my baby.  I know that in a few weeks the gestational diabetes will be gone (unless I actually developed type two diabetes during this pregnancy).

Really, the pricks and pokes are small potatoes compared to the end result of creating a new life.

Hmmm, potatoes are bad carbs.  Maybe that shouldn’t be a saying for this blog.  Small… cucumbers?

Review: Dixie Carb Counter Pizza Crust

Furthering my search for carb friendly meals I found the Dixie Carb Counter Pizza Crust.  My almost four year old son LOVES pizza so I thought this would be a nice treat that I could share with the family so that pizza isn’t totally off the menu for the next two months.  By far, I have to say that he is probably more of a critic than I am so getting his approval is always my final test.

 

Pizza

There are two packs in this bag so it made it a little easier for me to justify spending the money on something that’s basically a ‘luxury’ item.  I’m sure I could have searched on the internet to find something low carb that could compare to this… but a mix seemed handy for days when I don’t have the time to make a pizza crust in advance.

Each crust makes an eight serving pizza (at 12 inches for the crust).  It sounded great to me.  And at 7g of carbs I could have two slices even after factoring in the toppings I wanted to add.

Dietary information:

  • Calories 29
  • Calories from Fat 1
  • Total Fat 0g
  • Saturated Fat 0g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 169mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 7g
  • Dietary fiber 4g
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 4g.

It was simple to mix up.  Egg. Water.  Oil.  Spread onto a greased cookie sheet.

 

Okay, it isn't perfect but who cares... right?

And yes… there are green flakes in this crust.  I was kinda shocked.  I didn’t think it would have seasoning.

So, ever careful with my carb intake, I calculated the carbs in my pizza sauce, cheese and topping (ham) and it came out to a whopping 3 carbs for the entire pizza.  Divided by eight…  I just ended up counting one carb for my two slices of pizza.

18 Minutes Later...

And hubby ate three slices, our son had a whole slice and I ate two for dinner… then had the leftovers for lunch today!!  It tasted alright.  It wasn’t perfect or really crusty like what you’d get from a pizza shop but it was good.  Parts were a bit dry but I could have added more pizza sauce and it would have fixed that issue.  Hubby said it was like an actual pizza ‘pie’ and not just a pizza.  So I guess that’s a rave review from him.  And the fact that my son ate it all says enough.

New Finds

I was so excited when my order of Dixie Carb Counter muffins and pizza mix came in the mail!  This morning I went out to the store and got everything I needed to mix these up. And I’m also enjoying a muffin while I type out this quick blog post.

 

When I first found out that I had GD I thought it was going to be the end of the world.  Well, after a week of doing finger sticks and carb counting – I FEEL FANTASTIC.  I have more energy than I have through the entire pregnancy and I’m eating loads of protein which is great for the pipsqueak growing in my belly.  Did I pout when hubby and the offspring went out for ice cream and I was home folding laundry?  You bet I did… but there are way worse things that could happen. 

 

So I have done a lot of research and looking around on the web for things that I can make as a treat and things that my family can enjoy with me so I’m not alone in this thing.  I’ve heard things about low carb recipes and they aren’t always friendly… and that was intimidating.  And, frankly, by the end of these next eight/nine weeks I’d probably be really sick of eating nuts, meat and cheese for snacks every day.  So with that in mind I decided to try these low carb muffins and the reviews on Amazon were actually pretty good.  And I’ve got to say… the Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins are really REALLY good.  *Now if only I could have some milk with it…*

 

Low Carb chocolate goodness!!!

I’m not exactly sure about this whole net carb thing but the GD diet looks at the total carbs in a serving of whatever item you are eating.  You need a good balance of protein and fiber in that food as well to make it a “good” carb – and good carbs don’t spike the blood sugar as much.  Which is what we are aiming for – a nice stead blood sugar level.  So at 7 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein – that isn’t to bad for “chocolate”.  And each package makes twelve muffins.  I can freeze them for up to two months and just thaw them one at a time as a snack during the day. 

Twelve Muffins.  Yum!

The one downfall is that they aren’t huge – but I think that is mostly the Super Size Me mentality that we’ve all become accustomed to.  They are still fluffy and cake like… and I think I could even spread a little peanut butter on them and it would be like a peanut butter cup. 

Now I can’t wait to make the apple cinnamon muffins and try them as well! 

Dealing

After having a couple bad days I think I’m finally getting out of my “poor me, I have GD” funk. 

This morning my fasting sugar was in the normal range (FINALLY).  I had my sugar come back high at lunch but I had a inkling that was going to happen when I counted how many carbs I ate. 39 is too much for me without exercising.  So after that I had a high protein snack and I hope that evened things out.  I plan on walking after dinner so my fingers are crossed that my sugar is normal again.  Not sure what I’ll have for a bed time snack tonight.  I should try the same thing as last night since it seemed to work.

I was pretty paranoid when I saw that since starting this diet I’ve lost close to five pounds.  But after a little research and thought I realized that this was probably a lot of excess sugar and salt in my body that the diabetes was holding on to.  I’m getting rid of waste.  It seems strange since I’m enjoying things like heavy whipping cream in my coffee every morning and full fat salad dressings.  I cannot believe how good some things taste on this meal plan.  I love my coffee in the morning.  Having the flavored coffee with some heavy cream, splenda and cinnamon really is a nice way to start the morning, especially since I wake up half an hour before I wake my son now so I can check my sugar and cook myself a good breakfast.

I’ve spent the past few days looking at recipes online and making myself a folder for information.  Maybe it is obsessive but it’s helping me get things on track.  I have to go into things all or nothing or I’ll fail at them.  And in this I cannot fail – the health of my baby depends on it.  And that is motivation enough to be obsessive about this and to force myself to succeed. 

So I found some recipes that my entire family can enjoy and I found some muffin mixes and even a pizza crust mix that is low in carb and high in protein.  I’m not going to share my muffins with them though… I’ll make them their own if they want them.  These ones are going in the freezer for quick snacks during the day. :)

Eventually I’ll get this all figured out.  I’ll probably have moments during each day when I’m miserable and hate that I have to do this.  Like today – hubby messaged me to say he was taking our son out for ice cream before coming home.  I pouted for a few moments.  I love ice cream.  Too bad it is off my diet for now.  Maybe someone will bring me a scoop in the hospital?

Minor Setbacks

So now I’m faced with gestational diabetes for the remainder of my pregnancy. Really, it isn’t as life altering as I would have expected. Already I avoid a lot of refined sugars… but carbs are a problem for me. I love my pasta. And I know I can still have it but it’s all in moderation and I have to watch the carb intake.

Today I did my first glucose check. When I was a child I remember having to be held down so the nurse could do a finger stick or take blood, so I was terrified of having to do this to myself. Seriously. It kept me up part of the night and when I did sleep I woke up with one word on my mind. Diabetes.

I can’t complain, really. I only have to deal with this for a limited amount of time. Once I have the baby the diabetes should go away. There are a lot of people that deal with this their entire lives. My baby cousin Johnny is one of these people. (Sorry kiddo but when you are 30 you will consider preteen as ‘baby’ too)

Anyway – I did my first sugar check. I was terrified! I calibrated the machine. I set up my lancet. Washed my hands. Put the test strip in the machine… I was good to go. I could do it, right? Ha… I pulled the lancet away from my finger four time before I finally closed my eyes and pushed the button… First thought? “That was it?”

I have to say, this machine is pretty awesome. It uses so little blood to get a reading!!! The torture devices we used in the nursing home needed a lot more blood that this one. I was prepared for that. Even still – I was squeezing my finger until I had a good little droplet of blood… but the machine didn’t even take in half of it. (What a waste!)

My fasting sugar was 97 and my doctor said normal is 95… I didn’t think that was too shabby!!!

So today I learn about diet changes and how to balance my carbs and proteins. I have an education class with the OB nurse and she will walk me through the basics. If I need to I can call a nutritionist. I have a lot of resources at my disposal. So I can do this. Only 78 (SEVENTY-EIGHT!!!!) more days until my due date and my doctor is already planning on a c-section a week before that (SEVENTY-ONE DAYS!!!). Two and a half months?? Oh my.

I’ve suddenly just thought of a million things I still need to do before the baby arrives. But first, coffee.

Absence

Probably not making the heart grow fonder in this case. I really need to get back into blogging. I’m considering a change of pace here… I might go more child oriented and craft/cooking oriented. We shall see. Either way – please keep checking back because I WILL be posting again.

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