I often talk about having gestation diabetes with my first son, however I never really go into to much detail of the whole experience and how it truly impacted me personally since then. To be honest, I didn’t even know that gestational diabetes was a thing until I was pregnant for the first time in 2013. I was just told to go take this glucose test, so I did. I was instructed to not eat before I went in so I didn’t.
I remember clear as day the moment I took that orange drink for the first time. Moments later I started feeling nauseous, lightheaded, shaking and sweating. Something did not feel right. I went outside to take some breaths in the fresh air and after a while it started wearing off. Was this normal? Is all I can remember asking myself. The next day I received a call from my OB letting me know that my sugar levels were out the roof and they rushed me to get in with a nutritionist and a perenatel doctor who would be my specialist for the remainder of my pregnancy. Confused of what was going on, I did what I was told.
I remember going into my nutritionist office days later. She was very kind, but to the point. She kindly educated me on what was going on that my pancreas wasn’t working properly and not producing enough insulin for both me and the baby. She continued to tell me that according to my pre pregnancy weight and my height (BMI) I was borderline obese and that if I didn’t take action right away, I would continue to be diabetic even after my pregnancy which would mean pricking myself every single day with needles and putting my body through other health complications. Most people are told it will go away after the baby was born and don’t worry about it but in my case? It was different I had to make the changes. I didn’t want to live my life like this is all I could think of. It was incredibly overwhelming to have to make all these changes so fast, but I knew I needed to do it.
My nutritionist set me up with my glucose meter and showed me how it worked. I remember I had to use it for the first time right then and there and it sucked and it hurt. I cried on my way home but I knew I had to do this for my baby too so I sucked it up.
I had my first appointment with the specialist and the best thing of it all was I got more pictures of Ethan! However, he told me that I had excess fluid because of the diabetes that could cause some problems long term if it wasn’t monitored. All these things were being thrown at me like a ton of bricks…wasn’t I supposed to be enjoying this? No. This whole pregnancy was about being at risk and told that this or that could go wrong.
At this point it was non stop trips to the doctors and pricking myself in the fingers three times a day to the point you could see holes in my skin, injecting myself nightly in my pregnant belly with insulin and going in twice a week for an hour strapped to a monitor praying that Ethan would move throughout the hour so the test would be normal. I remember telling my unborn child in the bath tub we got this. I’d wake up every morning going up and down the stairs a couple times or doing squats after dinner before I pricked myself to check my blood in hopes I could manipulate the numbers a bit to be a normal number since I had to log them in a book every time I pricked myself. Maybe not what I’m supposed to do but I did (with my second pregnancy I learned and went into the bathroom and did a 100 squats to burn through the drink faster… okay I cheated a little).
Although Ethan was born safely into this world through an unplanned c-section, the complications continued for both of us. I blood so much after surgery, I ended with a blood transfusion 4 days later… which should have been right away but it wasn’t. I was laying in a hospital bed weak to the bones incoherent to the world un able to move and not understanding what was going on while my baby was in NICU do to complications that happened after birth. Nurses would tell me I was too weak to see my child so they wouldn’t take me down to see him.
I am not sure if these things happened from the diabetes, but it adds to the whole overwhelm of the pregnancy experience.
Through this experience, I was humbled. It truly was a blessing in disguise. It taught me to love my body that much more and to take care of it. When I saw myself at 197 pounds at birth and 160 pounds eight weeks later, it motivated me to take action. From this day even though I am done having kids, I still work on my health every single day because I got a glimpse of what it would be like to live a life with diabetes and I knew I DID NOT want live my life like that again because it scared the pants off me. Some may go through this experience not letting it impact them, but growing up with parents both over weight and seeing the issues they had because of it, I had every single reason in the book to change for me and my family.
I look back and know that there would have been some things I would have changed and some advice I’d give to a new, expecting mom is don’t be afraid to ask questions and educate yourself. I didn’t think I needed to but I should have! If I was more aware of the glucose test they they did during pregnancy , I would have taken more action in the beginning instead of using pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. I later learned that diabetes can be genetic with weight issues, do some research before a pregnancy and see if it’s something you should consider. You should eat healthy anyways but is always a good idea to know your family history.
I took this lesson in my life and learned from it. It was one of the most scariest moments in my life that made me realize that our bodies are precious and can do great things for us when we take care of them. It made me realize that I wanted to be all there for my kids and be the best mom I can be and not have the health complications that come along with being overweight.
I struggled with my oldest son Ethan being a picky eater for pretty much since they day he was born. We had unexpected circumstances when he was born as he ended up in NICU and he was bottle fed. Once we were home, I tried everything I could to get hime to latch to breast feed him, we even went to a lactation consultant and that didn’t even work. As a new mom, I had that mom guilt but I kept trying to feed him the milk I though he needed most. I ended up breastfeeding him for 3 months as a supplement to his bottle.
As we progressed into solids the battle continued. We couldn’t get him to try new foods. All he wanted was pretzels and surgery yogurt fruit pouches. As he being the first child, we did all the things that we were suggested to try: starve him out, make him sit at the table until he eats, etc. his stubbornness still wins every time.. However, we have gotten him to at least eat a few healthier options like, kale, carrots, some proteins, and a few fruits but even then he will give us a little fight.
As a side note: For a picky eater, we were told at his 4 year old check up that he was over weight and we needed to lay off the junk food… what junk food? What food? I was confused and annoyed. It wasn’t even our own doctor that told us this!
I recently took a nutrition certification course that had a whole section on eating for kids. It gave me a glimmer of hope that perhaps we can make eating a fun thing and not a constant world war iii. I’ve been implementing a couple things already I have learned and Ethan seems to be a little more susceptible to the idea of eating a little more.
I’ll be sharing with you some the ideas I learned that we will be working with Ethan with and perhaps will give you some ideas too!
1. Get them involved. Go to the grocery store and get them involved! Have them pick out a new healthy food to try. Get them excited to pick something out. Let them help you grab the groceries you need to get. Ethan loves to hold the list for me.
2. Have a fun reward tracker. I printed a fun food tracker for Ethan. I explained what her needs to to do throughout the week and he will earn a reward if he collects enough points by eating all the food groups and trying something new three times a week. He chose to go to his favorite trampoline park. A reward shouldn’t be food, but something that the child loves. Could be a coloring book, new crayons, a trip to their favorite place like a trampoline park, etc. but it should be a tangible, non food reward as we are working on staying healthy!
3. Let your child help in the kitchen. Make them feel involved in the process. Ethan loves being involved in the kitchen. Make it fun and reference back to the tracker throughout the day as you are in the kitchen prepping meals.
4. Lead by example. Your kids are watching your every step. They learn habits from us as their parents.
5. Prep their lunches. If they are in preschool or grade school, prepping and putting together lunches for them helps give them those boundaries for the day. Yes it can be easy to let them eat hot lunch or packing the same easy thing over and over, but they may not be getting a variety or the nutrients they really need to sustain them throughout the day . Through this program, I was able to be educated on some really great healthy lunch ideas. I will be trying a few out like Mac and cheese cups, pasta with pasta sauce, a chocolate smoothie made for kids, and finding lower sugar fruit roll ups while finding new ways to get protein in there too.
These were some of the tips that I really loved that made sense and I believe are doable for my 5 year old.
Kids at each stage of their childhood have a general range of nutrition to follow and I loved that I learned this through this program. It’s not about loosing weight for kids like it is for adults, but getting well rounded nutrition in them so they stay healthy wither they are sedentary (active less than fair hours a week) or active ( four or more active hours a week). If you would like to know more about the general guidelines and plans for children contact me today.
eating should be a good experience for our kids. It is the foundation of habits they will carry out through adult hood and their life. It’s going to be trial and error and kids will have their own views on food, but we can do our best to find ways that can make it a bit more easier for them and for us!