Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gestational Diabetes, yay.... (late onset)

I know I am sensitive to sugar. Some may call it insulin resistant, though I haven't been diagnosed. I just know if I eat too much (read: any) sugar I don't feel great, so for the most part I try to avoid it. Also eating sugar makes me crave sugar more, which is usually an indication of mild addiction, which usually also indicates a sensitivity.

I passed my 3 hour Glucose test with flying colors over a month ago, but because my 1 hour test was slightly high, my midwife had me test my blood sugar at home (4 times per day, for a few days) about a month after the lab test. They do this so they can catch any late-onset gestational diabetics. Those who may not develop symptoms until later, but can still be helped by a modified diet. I am very glad that they do this. I think it should be standard practice with borderline patients.

Having worked in a lab, I knew before I even brought my home test results in to be evaluated that I was going to be over the cutoff. I wasn't surprised when the midwife told me I had "crossed over to the dark side" and needed diabetic education. She prescribed a glucose monitor and had me come back in for a gestational diabetes consult.

She said that since my fasting tests were high, but my after-meals tests were mostly pretty good, that she believes I probably have what is called Dawn Syndrome. After night fasting the liver dumps a bunch of glucose into the bloodstream in the early morning. Due to hormones that are produced by the placenta causing some insulin resistance, it causes blood sugar levels to spike because the body is unable to regulate the blood sugar levels.

Gestational diabetes is different than Type I or Type II in that in most cases it usually goes away after delivery of the baby and placenta. As my midwife explained (she is also a certified diabetic educator), the diet prescribed is different also because of the unique dietary restrictions and increased protein (and other nutrient) needs of a pregnant woman.

The midwife told me that my post-meal levels would have been bad too if I ate poorly, but she knows I don't. She has hope that with some tweaking of my diet, I can regulate it without needing medication. She also said I have a week to get my fasting levels under 95 and my post-meals under 130. As if I needed more motivation...

There are a few complications that can arise from gestational diabetes. It is important to regulate blood sugars during pregnancy because it can cause the baby to gain too much weight. It can cause too much amniotic fluid, which then becomes dilute and slows the maturing of the lungs in the baby. It can put the mother at a higher risk for pre-eclampsia as well as pre-term labor and other complications.

While I was waiting to turn in my results, knowing that they were going to tell me they were too high, I began to research gestational diabetes. One of the best layperson's descriptions can be found on this blog. I am trying to take it in stride. I am glad to be prescribed a glucose monitor so I have one for future use since I will probably be needing to eat right to prevent type II diabetes.

Last night I came home and ate my prescribed dinner and pre-bedtime snack. This morning my fasting glucose was down to 97 (it was averaging around 110 two weeks ago). That already gave me hope that given a few more days of this plan I can get it under 95. After breakfast it was 109, already within great range. My post prandial (after meal) levels were not horrible before. The average was under the cutoff but some did go over. I hope that my commitment to this will pay off. The ultimate goal is to avoid medication, have a healthy baby and be a healthy mom.

It was reassuring to see results so soon, as I have been concentrating more on what I eat and eating more regularly since doing my first at-home testing. It looks like I don't have to change much to get on track and I can't tell you how relieved I am. I am so thankful of my wonderfully supportive husband who decided he wanted to eat healthier too and help me prepare his lunches for the week while also prepping food for me to eat more vegetables during the day. Not only is he taking much healthier lunches but we cut the cost of his food for work down by 30%. Healthier and cheaper, who knew??

His support inspires me and I am glad I can inspire him too. We make a great team. There is not much time left and soon we will be welcoming a new little member of our family.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Our Sweet Harlie

RIP Sweet Grandma Harlie Dog 1/25/2002-12/1/2012

The first time I met Harlie I bonded with her. We met three of the Bittner's dogs and only intended to take one home. Even though she was older, she was the sweetest and softest dog I had ever met. We decided that even though she may not have many years left that we would love her and give her a home as well as Kaci.

She was the calm one of the two and it was great to see how different their personalities were. At the same time when it was time to play, she could run and jump after the stick or frisbee as well as any dog half her age. She could get really rowdy with David when there was something to chase.

When I was pregnant the first time I noticed that she started acting differently when I took her to the dog park. She would not wander away when off the leash and while not aggressive, she would watch over me and stay close. If anyone came close to me to talk to me she was on alert. She knew something was different and she was protecting me. I am glad we never had to test it out, but I was confident that both Harlie and Kaci would fight to protect anyone in our family.

We could not have asked for better dogs to be around children. Harlie took it upon herself to patrol the house every night and would check in on our daughter before settling in to sleep on her doggie bed. We called her "grandma doggie" because she seemed to watch over everyone in the family. She was so tolerant of our nieces and nephew when they dressed her up or hung on her. If there was a stranger in the house or at the door she would position herself between them and the children in a protective stance. Not threatening, just watchful.

She had the softest fur of any dog I have ever met. I loved petting her. She loved walks and going to the dog park. Even though we always had two chewies for the dogs, if she wanted the one Kaci had she would either lick her face until Kaci got tired of it or sit on her. That always made us laugh! While she was possessive of chewies with Kaci, if a child picked up the chewie she would just stare at us as if to say “uhm... she has my chewie... help...” but would hardly move if the child offered it back to her, not wanting to take it from the child.

Through her adoption we were also able to get to know a special family that we may not have gotten to know otherwise. Our prayers go out to the Bittners too.

Harlie passed peacefully Saturday December 1st, 2012 and will be fondly remembered by our family. She was a brave and sweet dog until the end. We love you Harlie!