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Read about Lacey's Story
I’ve gone through two pregnancies with gestational diabetes. Pregnancy can already be a time full of worries, difficulties, and challenges. These are the 5 things I wish someone would have told me as I started my journey.
It is not your fault.
The initial diagnosis of gestational diabetes can often feel like a failure on your part. You’re going to think about all of the different things you did that could have cause this. Maybe you are considered “overweight” by medical professionals, or maybe you didn’t take the test seriously enough and you can’t help but think if you just didn’t eat that regular yogurt it wouldn’t have turned out that way. It is so easy to blame yourself, but it is not your fault. It is the fault of the extra organ you’re growing (looking at you placenta) and no one seems to know why. You’re too busy growing an organ and another life, you don’t have time to worry about it being your fault. You also only have so much control in this diagnosis, which is why it is important to remember…
You’re allowed to still consider yourself.
It is so easy to feel like an incubator when you’re pregnant. Adding additional complications, like gestational diabetes, can make you feel even more like an incubator. It is all about what goes into your body and how that is affecting the baby. The problem is, even if you do everything right, something happens between you putting in the food, and the baby’s well being. No one, including doctors, know exactly what is going on in that in-between. As I stated before, you can do everything right, and still end up with high blood sugars. I had morning sickness throughout my pregnancy which was challenging on its own, but it ended up making my blood sugars higher as well. Stress and sickness, affect blood sugar, and even though I couldn’t eat much of anything, my blood sugars still skyrocketed on the days I would get sick. My well being was important here, I needed to consider myself, and not only did I need to consider myself, I needed to hear that…
You’re allowed to advocate for yourself.
I had two gestational diabetes pregnancies. When I was diagnosed with my second child, I broke down crying in from of my OB. All I could see in front of me was all of the work, doctors visits, and working with another doctor that I frankly wasn’t a fan of. My OB heard me and encouraged me to speak up when times were hard and really get clear about what I needed. Luckily, I didn’t have much interaction with that doctor again, and I took her advice to heart. When I was going through a particular bout of morning sickness, and had to take my blood sugar, I told the team I was working with for my gestational diabetes, that I was not going to take my blood sugar at that time. I was already going through so much with you know, vomiting, that I didn’t want to poke myself with a needle as well. They agreed, and even encouraged me to try not to worry too much about my food choices during that time because keeping something down, was more important. I could not take on one more thing, so I stood up and told them and we came up with an outcome I could live with. There is so much that goes into taking care of yourself when you have gestational diabetes…
It is going to feel like a full time job.
I’m sure that every practice handles gestational diabetes differently, so that is going to make your experience different. Additionally, different pregnancies require different interventions. For my first pregnancy I did not need to take insulin but with my second, I almost immediately went on insulin. For me, I had to take my blood sugar before and after every meal (lets start a poke count - that starts us off at 6 times a day), and record those to report back to my team. I also had to record my food intake during the day so we could see what did and didn’t affect my sugar levels. With my first pregnancy I only had to take pills, but with my second I had to to a shot of long lasting insulin with each meal (that gets the poke count at 9), and a fast acting insulin with each meal as well (total poke count of 12). So just to recap, I had to poke myself with a needle 12 times a day, record all of my blood sugars and food intake, and plan meals and snack that fit the prescribed diet. That doesn’t even take into account the hours I spent working with pharmacies, insurance companies, and my doctors offices to get prescription refills on time so I didn’t miss any doses or the administration of how to keep track of all of this while living life with a toddler at the time. It’s not easy. So never ever forget that you…
Doing your best is awesome and enough.
As mentioned previously, you are growing a human and an extra organ. That is already hard work. On top of that, you are adding so much more. Gestational diabetes was a real challenge for a perfectionist and people pleaser like me. I desperately wanted to do all the right things and have the desired outcomes. I wanted to hear good job and your baby is perfect from the lovely nurse practitioner I worked with closely and grew fond of. I could only control what I put in, I couldn’t control the outcomes. Sometimes, I couldn’t put the right things in my body because of other factors. And for me, it ended up being ok, even if it wasn’t exactly perfect. They often had to remind me that they weren’t worried about me because I was monitoring my care and doing what was needed. They worried about the folks that didn’t come in consistently and didn’t get help. I personally worry about the mom’s without access to support. I had friends, family, and an active Sub-Reddit to cheer me on and give me ideas. So even if I am the only person who tells you, please remember gestational diabetes is hard, but working with medical professionals on how to monitor it, and doing the best you can in the situation, is enough, and you can do it.
Meet Lacey Tomlinson
Lacey is a pretty average 30-something lady from the mid-west. She has two amazing kids, an awesome husband, and a sweet dog. Her love of learning and school led her to have 2 masters degrees (that mostly only she cares about) and work in education, learning, and development. Outside of her day to day work, Lacey has found herself as a writer, exploring the concept of the middle - whether that is the middle of life, stages, problems, or rankings. You can join her on this journey at themddl.com and on various social media platforms.
She is an avid audiobook reader, podcast listener, exclamation mark enthusiast, and napper.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes. Every year, 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes.
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