Well, I am in the homestretch of this pregnancy and I honestly cannot even believe it! Where did all of the time go!? I am currently sitting at 33 weeks and A LOT has happened since I last updated y’all at 28 weeks.
I went through my three hour glucose test and failed, which means I got the phone call that I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Cue a whole host of emotions from anger to disbelieve to sadness to concern and everything in between. It was a rough, emotional couple of days sitting in the unknown before I saw the diabetic specialist.
I am one of the lucky ten percent of pregnant women to carry this diagnosis. And what I have learned in this journey is that gestational diabetes is rarely discussed in the public sphere, therefore it is mostly an unknown condition to most. There is a lot of misinformation and myths out there that are tied to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, but gestational diabetes isn’t either of those. It is a completely different animal. So why does gestational diabetes happen?
When you eat, your digestive system breaks down most of the food into a sugar called glucose. Glucose enters your bloodstream so your cells can use it as fuel. With the help of insulin (a hormone made by your pancreas), muscle, fat, and other cells absorb glucose from your blood.
If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or if the cells have a problem responding to it, too much glucose remains in your blood instead of moving into cells and getting converted to energy. When a woman is pregnant, her body naturally becomes more resistant to insulin so that more glucose is available to nourish baby. For most moms-to-be, this isn’t a problem: When the body needs additional insulin to process excess glucose in blood, the pancreas secretes more.
But if the pancreas can’t keep up with the increased demand for insulin during pregnancy due to increased hormone production by the placenta, blood sugar levels rise too high because the cells aren’t using the glucose. This results in gestational diabetes. Unlike other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes isn’t permanent. Once a baby is born, blood sugar will most likely return to normal quickly.
Once a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, she is typically sent to a diabetic specialist for education on how to test and monitor her blood sugars as well as education on how to effectively eat a gestational diabetes friendly diet. Most people believe this means a pregnant woman has to go low carb, that isn’t necessarily the case. In most cases, pregnant women simply have to break up the amount (and sometimes types) of carbohydrates eaten in a day. Monitoring gestational diabetes is important because unregulated gestational diabetes can cause a host of risks when it comes to mom and baby towards the end of the pregnancy and birth.
There is also a lot of stigma attached to it for pregnant women who are diagnosed, from blame to fear to thoughts of “if only I had…” are realities for many once they receive a diagnosis. The important thing to note is that a. this isn’t your fault and b. you didn’t fail by anything you did or didn’t do. It just happens! And amazingly, all of my providers have been great about reminding me of these two things as well as giving me the emotional and mental support I need during this time.
So how has gestational diabetes been going for me?
In all honesty, not too awful bad. I am currently in week three of monitoring and making this new way of living a habit.
The eating part isn’t hard. My diabetic specialist has me on an allowance of PLENTY of carbs a day and plenty per snack and meal (anywhere from 30-60 g carbs). The testing/monitoring part is a hard habit to get used to having to be permanently attached to your glucose meter. Right now, I am required to test 4x a day. Fasting (first thing when I get up), 2 hours after breakfast, 2 hours after lunch, and 2 hours after supper. I am also required to meet a set limit for each of these levels.
So far my diet-related blood sugars have remained good and have remained consistent. My fasting numbers have been consistently going up. Both my diabetic specialist and my OB gave me a week and a half to try and manage them myself before taking the next step. I tried varying the time I fasted (slept), tried various nighttime snacks, and also added an evening walk in after supper. Unfortunately, no matter what I tried, my fasting numbers have still been higher than they would like. Both my OB and diabetic specialist reminded me that this is no fault of mine. It is fairly common as women progress in pregnancy as does their insulin resistance. So this week, I will start a nighttime dose of insulin to help keep those numbers within range. I have had time to process through all of it. Acceptance has come and reminding myself that I need to do whatever it takes to get this little man out alive and in good health is top priority right now.
I will also start weekly growth scans (ultrasounds) at 36 weeks in order to monitor little man’s size as rapid growth during gestational diabetes is a concern. The plus side to that is we will get to see our little man every week before he joins us. I will also not be allowed to go beyond my due date (standard protocol for women with gestational diabetes), so come September 8th, he will need to be here one way or another! That makes me part excited and part overwhelmed!!
Even though it felt like it at once (as silly as it sounds) gestational diabetes isn’t the end of the world. It is, however, sometimes an emotional struggle, still. But thanks to the outpouring of love and support from my online community, my amazing OB and diabetic counselor, and my husband, we are going to make it through whatever it takes these last few weeks feeling confident and empowered, or at least that is what I keep telling myself! 😉
If any of y’all are interested in a separate post regarding my gestational diabetes, let me know!! Either leave me a comment here or find me on Facebook, etc. There is so much misinformation and fear out there, it makes it so hard to navigate sometimes!
How far along? 33 weeks! In the home stretch!!
How big is baby? He is between 17-19 inches (fun fact: he is the length he will be once he is born, now he will continue to fill out) and weighing anywhere from 4-6 lbs. I will know more the beginning of August once we start growth scans!
Maternity clothes? Undeniably yes. I actually shared my Maternity Fashion Favorites here on the blog because y’all, it is hard to find cute and fashionable maternity clothes!!
Sleep: Sleep has been CONTINUED to pretty consistent which I am forever grateful for. I have started sleeping with a pillow between my legs in order to take the pressure I feel off my hips. I wasn’t a huge fan of any pregnancy pillow, but just adding one pillow to my sleeping routine has been working really well. Most nights, bathroom wake ups have started to become a two time a night thing instead of one. Some nights if I am lucky, I can get away with one. It IS getting harder to get out of bed and shift from side to side when I am in bed. I just tend to grunt a lot while doing it, that helps right!?
Best moment this week: Spending a weekend Babymoon getaway with my husband. I CANNOT believe that soon there will be three of us!!! It was amazing to spend time just the two of us together before our little miracle joins us and completely shakes up our world as we know it.
Movement: Feeling our little man thrashing around in there is an all day, every day deal. He doesn’t just kick, he thrashes. I can now visibly see feet pop out of the top of my belly. Some days it literally feels like he is going to rip my belly in half with his punches and kicks. I can undeniably feel the WEIGHT of him in there as I get up and walk around. It is still such a weird and amazing sensation! Watching my belly, talking to him, and poking at him in there has become a nightly game between our little man and the hubby.
Food cravings: Honestly, this hasn’t been a thing for me while pregnant. I haven’t felt this intense need to eat anything specific let alone the fact that I need to eat a whole bunch. Gestational diabetes has, however, kept me on a pretty strict snacking and meal schedule.
Food Aversions: Still none. It is just if something doesn’t sound good, I don’t eat it.
Physically: Heartburn and indigestion has continued to be a constant. I am living off of Tums and Zantac, which still work! It doesn’t matter WHAT I eat, I will get indigestion. It has just become a constant to life right now. Walking, getting in and out of bed, and some other small tasks like putting your shoes on have become increasingly difficult at times. Mark giggles at my huffing and puffing at times. Pelvic pain has been a new thing that I’ve been experiencing almost constantly. It is an odd sensation, but I am told, is completely normal as my body prepares for little man to join us. I joke with Mark that my “vagina bone” hurts, sorry for TMI, but I find it inappropriately funny. Just keeping it real folks! Swelling of my ankles, if I am on my feet too long or it is ridiculously hot, happens. I am thankful it doesn’t happen often and could be much worse. Just the joys of pregnancy in the summer!
Mentally: Mentally I have been feeling pretty good. I got over the fears/concerns I had regarding birth and I know God has gone to work on helping me feel at peace with the process however it comes at us. I have been reading several WONDERFUL books on birth that have helped inform me without putting me in a place where I set constraints that may be broken and eventually will leave me feeling like a failure. I have just been sucking up as much knowledge as I can in hopes of being informed no matter what course we take come birth. Other than that, I have been on and off nesting and preparing for little man to join us.
What I am looking forward to: The more he moves around in there and the more I watch my hubby interact with him while still in there, the more excited I get to meet him! I have to make some finishing touches on his nursery, which I will eventually share on here! It is coming together AMAZINGLY! I love it!! I am also looking forward to my parents coming to visit in mid August for my baby shower as well as taking maternity photos (hopefully) with our sunflowers in bloom!
Weekly Wisdom: I haven’t hit the “over it” moment of being pregnant yet, but I AM looking forward to getting my body back, eventually. Accepting the many changes (physically and mentally) that pregnant takes on your body is a journey in and of itself. Week after week, I keep reminding myself to enjoy every moment. Accept every change. And just enjoy this remaining time, every little bit of it. Before we know it, it’ll all be wildly different.
Milestones: In the homestretch! Needing to start packing our hospital bags as well as preparing for the BIG day! I cannot even believe that time is already here!!
P.S. I also elected to do a for fun 3D ultrasound a couple weeks ago… best decision EVER!! It was truly AMAZING to get to see his little face!! He is without a doubt, his Daddy’s son! Those cheeks and that nose!! Be still my heart!!