Roller coaster really is the best way to describe this pregnancy. I envy the woman who have had pregnancies with little to no issues because this has been one of the most challenging times in my life thus far. Also, is it normal to feel like you are ALWAYS complaining about being pregnant? I guess this is just my place to vent and get things off my chest…
Just when I get past one seemingly “annoying” pregnancy symptom and am able to have a couple of good days, or dare I say, good weeks, something else tends to pop up in its place and I have struggled to live my normal day-to-day life, let alone get prepared for the arrival of this little peanut.
I found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks and was so excited when I had nearly no symptoms in the first trimester. I got to the 2nd trimester and thought…this is going to be a breeze! Mistake #1.
By week 14 I had developed intense daily headaches. I have always struggled with migraines triggered by hormones and my cycle and the pregnancy hormones magnified that 10X. These headaches were around when I woke up, would lessen just a bit when I ate breakfast but by the end of the day would ramp up and I’d be lucky to just get home from work and make it into a hot shower or bath than off to bed. I did my best to stay super hydrated, I took Tylenol a few times but that usually didn’t do much to lessen the pain. Looking back, had I done a better job of snacking consistently throughout the day, that may have made a difference in keeping my blood sugar consistent. Eventually, the headaches subsided and by week 19 I was feeling pretty good.
Almost immediately after, around week 21, I started to have bad Sciatic nerve pain as well as general pain in my hip joints. Well, this sure is magical. The Sciatic pain was tough to deal with and not much would alleviate it. I did a lot of stretching and yoga poses that lessened the hip joint pain and rolling on a tennis ball did help with some of the nerve pain but I couldn’t get it to go away completely, and there were a couple of days I could barely even walk. Being that I’m on my feet and moving around all day at work, this was a bit of an issue. Eventually the stretching began to have an effect and doing the stretches every night before bed was the key. If I missed 1 day, I could tell a difference the next. The pain finally subsided by week 26.
Enter my last blog post, at week 28, sitting in the waiting room of the hospital lab, having my glucose test done. First of all…gross! I HATE orange soda and the glucose drink is like chugging the most sugary version of orange soda in a matter of minutes. Wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep that down. Right after my glucose test, I had my 28 week check-up and because I have everything done at one hospital, my doctor was able to see my results right away. My glucose test was a 2-hr test, blood draw before the drink, then a blood draw 1 hour and then 2 hours after the drink to see how your body is processing the sugar. Apparently, mine was not. As the doctor is looking at her computer screen she says “Oh, we have some of your glucose results already. It looks like you DID NOT pass the fasting or 1 hour blood draw.” (She didn’t say ‘DID NOT’ in a way that warrants my putting it in all caps, that’s just how it sounds in my mind when I replay the scene).
I’m sorry…what? How did I not pass? What does that mean? Can I take another test? Am I diabetic? I had SO many things racing through my mind in that moment. The doctor seemed a bit shocked as well and mentioned we’d wait for the third blood draw result to come back and then talk again that afternoon. She left the room and I lost it. How could this be? I eat relatively healthy? Stay away from bad carbs for the most part. Sure I have dessert now and then but who doesn’t? This can’t be right. I felt like I had failed my first test of motherhood. And my poor husband, I don’t think he even know what to do with me, sitting on the exam table, wanting to let the tears flow but trying to hold it in because the nurse still had to come in to give me my Pertussis vaccine.
For the next couple of days, I just walked around in shock. I went from upset to embarrassed (how could I have let this happen? I grew up around diabetes, I know the affects it can have. I eat well. I haven’t changed my diet since being pregnant or if anything it’s gotten better! Have I been diabetic this whole time and just not known?) to angry (again, I eat well! no fast food, no soda, little to no starchy carbs). I just really didn’t understand. My doctor said she felt confident that I could control my gestational diabetes with diet but wanted me to go talk to a diabetes nutritionist…I reluctantly said ok (again, I was in the angry phase and didn’t think a nutritionist was going to tell me anything I didn’t already know).
Talking to the nutritionist was actually a great thing and I learned quite a bit, not only about gestational diabetes but about my diet in particular.
First of all, they had me write down what I eat on a daily basis. Because of this, the nutritionist said my gestational diabetes has little to do with what I’m eating and more to do with how the pregnancy hormones have affected my body and how it processes sugar. The hormones have caused my body to slow down in how it processes and on top of that, my metabolism has changed because I went from being highly active before pregnancy to little to no working out during pregnancy due to all the different sicknesses and pains I’ve experienced.
Next, she talked about the actual foods I was eating. My breakfast generally consisted of fruit, granola and yogurt. That’s healthy, right? Well, I was using yogurt with honey…sugar. And, for someone whose body doesn’t process sugar well, dairy and fruit are not the best options for your first meal when your metabolism hasn’t gotten it’s kick start for the day. Her suggestion was to eat eggs and veggies first thing in the morning and have my fruit/yogurt/granola as my morning snack. She also told me to make sure I had a veggie, a protein and a carb (good carb) in every meal or snack. Umm…you want me to have a carb with EVERY meal or snack? The carb is what is going to keep you full for more than an hour, just have to make a good carb choice and keep the portion limited to the correct size. Finally, she addressed my love of Jamba Juice…I work at a mall and am always busy. When I eat out, I try to make good food choices. Smoothies and energy bowls are good choices! Aren’t they? She asked what I usually ordered and looked them both up on the Jamba Juice menu 🙁 Turns out, my daily smoothie and energy bowl of choice each had over 90 carbs!!!!! You’re kidding me?!?! The smoothie listed its ingredients as Kale, Lemon, Peaches and Pumpkin Seeds. Seems ok to me. Actually…they use lemonade and peach juice with sugar, not frozen lemons and peaches. (insert annoyed look here).
The last thing we talked about was portion control. She went through a chart with good carbs, and what portion size of each was acceptable. Above all, she said one of the biggest things that would help me would be eating 6 small snacks and meals throughout the day to keep my blood sugar consistent as opposed to eating 3 large meals which would create spikes and drops in my blood sugar. This means making food at home and taking it to work with me, but if it means keeping me and baby healthy, I’m in. And, I don’t have to “stay away” from desserts, I just have to be smart about them and the sugar content. If it’s a traditional dessert with a lot of sugar, portion size needs to be about half of the usual portion.
By the end of the appointment, I felt much better about my diagnosis, what it meant for my pregnancy and my baby and how I was going to control it for the next 12 weeks.
It’s the middle of summer, it’s hot out, and more often than not, my only craving is dessert. Which is why I decided to make these 3 ingredient popsicles! These are easy and healthy and I have no fear of eating them every night…if I wanted to 🙂
Blueberry Coconut Popsicles
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup vanilla coconut milk
1. Put blueberries in a blender and blend until smooth, leave some chunks so they are not completely liquid
2. Mix yogurt and coconut milk in a bowl, stir well
3. Fold blueberries into the yogurt mixture
4. Pour mixture into popsicle molds
5. Freeze popsicles for 30 minutes, insert popsicle sticks, continue to freeze for 4 hours