Pregnancy and GDM
It has only been 2 weeks.
I've just learned that I've been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My glucose readings for the blood test was over the roof to put it simply and I cannot pretend that I'm not shocked, or affected. At the Gynecologist's appointment, we didn't even talk about the baby's development at 26 weeks, she just checked the baby's heartbeat and moved on to deal with the more serious issue at hand.
I've been reading a lot on GDM (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus). According to most sources I have a few if not all of the risk factors of the 3-10% of women who are affected with this. These are some of the factors :
- Age above 35
- Previous pregnancy baby's weight was 4000g and above (K was abt 4kg)
- Non-white women (typically asian, hispanic, black, etc)
I checked on all of the above, making me very much a candidate of GDM, but if I only knew. Since being diagnosed, weekly I've spent time at the Endocrinologist to help manage my glucose levels. At the first meeting, we wanted to try to see if the sugar levels can be managed by changing diet alone. If this works, I will be spared the insulin injections that diabetic patients sometimes have to take. He gave me around 4 days.
During that 4 days, I religiously took down every meal I've eaten, noting that I am to avoid at all costs, carbs. Yes, the white rice, bread, flour – my staple meals. Taking all these away instantly seems somewhat a brutal cold turkey, but something I must do, for the sake of the little one growing in me. The Endocrinologist suggested fruits I can take, fruits I should avoid, vegetables I should see more of, and less of; that would be the root vegetables. He was flexible to allow me 1 cup of rice or pasta, but my readings for the next few days shows that it's not a good idea. I quickly introduced myself to the wholewheat wholegrain sections at the supermarket and bagged a whole lot of new foodie goodies I will be getting accustomed to. I also checked the cold section isle and allowed myself to try some fancy schmancy imported wholegrain low-fat yogurt that was on sale (only because they are expiring soon!). Damn these are expensive. After 2 hours of every meal (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner), I am instructed to do a blood test to determine how those food was reacting to my body.
The blood test itself wasn't an easy feat. Note that I'm all squirmy when it comes to needles or blood. Imagine doing this 4 times a day (once more before breakfast). On the first day, my husband helped me as I didn't know how to change the needles. When he had to travel the next day I panicked and forced myself to learn it when he gets back that night. It was not pleasant to say the least. Pricking your finger for blood then squeezing enough of it so that the glucose meter can read soak it up to read it. I dread to think of more needles if Insulin is prescribed to me. I shared my fears with some of my close friends, and the most soothing answer or advise I got was this :
Narrated 'Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) Allah's Apostle said, "No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even though it were the prick he receives from a thorn."
(Alhamdulillah, Praises be to Allah)
I started to get creative with the food I eat, as opposed to falling on the comfort food as my regular intakes. I actually found that whole wheat pasta is a lot like normal pasta, no difference in taste! That was a relief – I can do this, I thought! More salads on the sides please. Raw vegetables are not my friends to tell you the truth. I've grown up eating soaked cooked vegetables in gravy and munching on raw carrots, tomatoes, lettuces are not my idea of a great meal. Perhaps if I ever devoured salads on rare occasions in some restaurants, I believe they were disguised under the lovely tangy creamy taste of dressings. Earlier this year when I was in Turkey, I somehow got used to eating tomatoes and cucumbers for breakfast. As there were no other choice, I stomached it. I kinda liked it (after a few days) dressed lightly with olive oil and thyme. My husband, the wise one has this to say, “If you can't eat what you like, LIKE what you eat”.
Alas, after so much effort and changes, the results I recorded were still disappointing. I went back to the doctor mentally ready to accept my fate. There were also other factors that contribute to the poor readings. For one, the kids were on their last leg of summer break and our sleeping patterns then were a lot topsy-turvy. I would be eating breakfast at 11am and then lunch at 2pm. Dinner will be around 7 or 8pm as I don't want to be waiting up too late for the blood test (after 2 hours, remember?). I also did not do much movements between meals as the hot weather prevented me to be interested in walks or outdoorsy activities. All that is about to change.
GDM is no one's fault. It is one of the most common problem in pregnancy. My friends can vouch that I'm not a sweet tooth person. Savoury dishes, yes. This can happen to any women (especially with the risk factors indicated above) during pregnancy, most commonly at the last trimester. But unfortunately I also found out that my natural mother has diabetes, and truth be told, I do worry that this could be hereditary and will not leave after giving birth. However, all I could do now is learn how to manage it.
And the rest, I'll leave it up to Him.
May He keep me and the baby safe.
Learn more about GDM