Well, I got the results from that horrific 3 hour ordeal. They were not what I hoped. I am considered “borderline” gestational diabetic. Basically what that means is that I am now on a doctor supervised meal plan for the duration of the pregnancy and have to go in for a blood draw every other week to make sure my blood sugar is where it’s supposed to be. On the plus side, since I’m only borderline, I don’t have to measure my own blood sugar multiple times a day and I don’t have to take any medication.
I was talking to my grandparents the other night, and they had never heard of gestational diabetes. So for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a brief overview: gestational diabetes (GD) affects about 18%of pregnancies. No one knows what causes it, but the key risk factors are women who: are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, previously had a large baby (9 lbs) or more, had gestational diabetes in the past, had a baby who died before birth, or are Latina, African American, South or East Asian or Pacific Islander. (For what it’s worth, I have none of those risk factors.) The main risks associated with GD are that the baby can grow too large and have to be born early via c-section, The baby’s blood sugar can be low. The baby’s organs might not be fully developed. Risks to the mother may include preeclampsia, shortness of breath and risk of infection. Fortunately, for the vast majority of women, the condition goes away after the baby is born.
My blood draw results were a little odd. Only one of the four draws was above the normal range. The weird part is that my blood sugar spiked in the middle of the test, even though I hadn’t eaten anything. When I questioned whether that could be a real result or whether the lab may have accidentally mixed up my vials of blood, they actually went back and re-tested everything. They verified that weird spike was there. Due to that abnormality, they are treating me as “pre-diabetic/borderline.” Apparently Kaiser is super conservative when it comes to gestational diabetes. My nurse case manager told me that at many other doctors’ offices, I would have passed the test and wouldn’t have to watch my diet.
What does this diet consist of, you ask? No sweets, and a good balance of protein, veggies, carbs and fats. It’s not really that far off from my regular diet. (Though I will admit to eating a little more chocolate in February than normal . . .hey, it was Valentine’s Day). I have to eat every 2-3 hours, which is probably more often than I normally eat. I will say this about Kaiser, they are very into taking preventive measures! I had to take a class with a dietician to go over this new meal plan. The other two women in class with me also had only one abnormal blood draw during the 3-hour test. It was nice to be in there with other borderline people. Neither of them fell into any of the high risk categories either, so the dietician said, sometimes it just happens and we don’t know why and assured us that we didn’t do anything wrong.
One of my friends had GD with her first kid and she said something that comforted me a little. She said the hardest part of the whole thing is the ego blow that comes with a diagnosis like this. She and I are both fit, active people. Diabetes is one of those diseases you only really hear about in relation to obesity. You wonder constantly if you did something to cause it. So it’s nice to know that other fit people get it too (or in my case, have something wacky about their blood sugar levels, not quite rising to the level of GD, but still requiring careful scrutiny of everything that goes into my mouth for the next 2 ½ months).
The biggest challenge in this diet will be breakfast. All cereals, oatmeal and bagels are off limits (as well as all fruit juice, but I don’t drink a lot of juice anyway), and I can’t have any milk or fruit at breakfast (though I am supposed to be drinking milk and eating fruit during the rest of the day, just not breakfast). When they told me what I couldn’t have for breakfast, my jaw dropped . . . they basically described my breakfast every day and now I can’t have it at all. Which essentially means I have to eat eggs for breakfast. Those of you who know me know that I am not an egg person. So for the past few days, I have been experimenting with eggs and figuring out ways to make them more palatable. I am allowed to have cheese in the morning, which helps immensely with the whole egg thing. So far, I’ve made myself a breakfast burrito, a couple of different types of breakfast sandwiches, and an omelet.
I also have pregnancy anemia, so I bought myself a ginormous thing of fresh spinach and have started adding a bit of spinach to almost every meal. I did a spinach and egg omelet this morning, which was ok. I think I need to add more spices next time. (I also got other vegetables that have iron, but spinach is the one most people think of when they know they need more iron). I added spinach instead of lettuce to my sandwich for lunch today. I think I’ll mix it into my salad for tomorrows lunch. If you have any good spinach recipes, ways to make eggs palatable to a non-egg person, or any other low-sugar, GD safe recipes, send them my way!