Being unexpectedly pregnant is one of the biggest and best news we had at the start of this year. At age 33 then, I was told it would be hard for us to conceive another child because of PCOS, thyroid problems, and of course - age. But God have amazing plans for our growing family, 2 weeks later after my routine OB GYN check, I found out I was pregnant with baby #2. We could not think of any other answer for this but completely God's work. Imagine being told the bad news then finding out the exact opposite 2 weeks later - we can only say God is indeed powerful.
If you ask me, joyful is an understatement but I'd have to be honest that I was a lot more scared than happy. Scared not for anything but my health concerns that may affect a growing life in me. I'm sure like any other mom, it is a valid concern.
As expected, the first trimester was a good mix of returning pregnancy symptoms and new ones I had not experienced during my first pregnancy - from subschorionic hemorrhage to nausea, vomiting, food aversions, weight loss, and a lot more - all were said to be normal and part of my body's adjustment (for the second time) to being pregnant again. Keep in mind that I'm also managing my thyroid concern alongside all these pregnancy symptoms.
Then as I stepped into my second trimester, I was told to have Diabetes for pregnancy or what is commonly called as Gestational Diabetes - a concern in a woman's blood sugar that typically manifests during pregnancy. For some women, its onset is during the last trimester of pregnancy but for some, like me, it was as early as second trimester. And honestly if you ask me, I would never expect getting diagnosed of such because 1) I'm pretty much active pre pregnancy (working out diligently) and 2) I'm relatively a healthy eater especially when it comes to my sugar intake. So this news came as a shocker for me.
Three things - I was lost, I felt overwhelmed, and needing comfort - whether through articles, people who had it before me, Youtube videos - where I could practically have my questions answered. But by God's grace, I have a team of professionals working with me on this concern - my OB GYN, Endocrinologist, Family Doctor, and Nutritionist. I don't think I'd ever be able get past my questions, fears, and the usual pregnant mama concerns if not for them.
To date, I'm 21 weeks far along and like a lot of GDM moms, there are good days and not-so-good ones. Some days you'd feel like your on top of things if your blood sugar falls within the range, but some days you just ask yourself too many questions all because your sugar levels are fluctuating. And on top of that, getting pregnant amid a pandemic has a whole lot of other challenges on its own. So to get past each day safely and healthily is truly all by God's grace.
And because I know how grueling the whole pregnancy season at this time brings, I'd love to share some helpful reminders for fellow pregnant GDM moms like me. Just a quick note thought that I am not a professional when it comes to these things, I would highly suggest that you work with professionals like your OB GYN, Endorcrinologist, Nutritionist, and other medical professionals who can help you deal with gestational diabetes with more wisdom. These are all purely based on my personal experience which I hope will virtually send other moms in the same boat as I am that much needed encouragement.
1. Pray the moment you get the results, each time your result don't make seem to make sense, or just whenever you feel like things are too complex to deal with and understand. There are times I would wake up in the middle of the night praying for my next day's blood sugar levels just because I feel bothered about it. Praying has been a way for me to reaffirm my trust in the Lord's sovereign control that no matter what next day's result would be, I am sure and hopeful that He will protect my baby and I.
2. Get strong support from the people within your family/household. This matters because you are with them 24/7 and the significant changes in your food and lifestyle habits and all the monitoring you need to do for this matter will all be visible to them. So having them aware of your situation with their fullest of support can help you make the adjustments more bearable.
3. Work with your trusted team of healthcare professionals - it's hard to keep guessing the weird things that happen to our body as pregnant women, much more asking Google and posting in different mom forums. For a more straightforward answer, it's best to have a team of experts who will guide you through this journey. I'm blessed to be led to people I can trust about my situation and genuinely care about my concerns - My OB GYN, Endocrinologist, and my care team from Life Science - Functional Medicine Doctor and a nutritionist. If you ever need a referral, just hit us a message so we can forward their contact details. I'd love to share it with you, mama!
4. Eat healthily BUT moderation - pre pregnancy, I'd consider myself relatively a healthy eater. I stay away from junk food and sweets for personal health goals. I'm more of a vegetable + fruits, home cooked meals, some meat here and there kind of foodie. Although these are my favorites, I'd say I eat more than the usual just because I reason out that I'm breastfeeding for the longest time. But oh boy, this time - my food portions had to significantly change. My nutritionist's advice is to eat more healthy protein and fat more than carbohydrates just so I can avoid blood sugar spikes from time to time. For a carb lover like me, this is definitely a struggle but yes - all for the baby - portions lessened that is. But bottomline, ask your doctors and your nutritionist for the best diet for you in this season. They're definitely the best people to get information like these from. Huge help!
5. Be easy on yourself - there have been times when my sugar levels are a bit on the high level, I'd beat myself emotionally checking which food in my diet caused it to spike. I'd be stressed about my next glucose test, the result, and all the WHY has it been on the high side but to date, I learned that as I move through this journey, it's a lot of trial and error - trying which foods suit me well and which ones cause my sugar level to skyrocket. And from those results, I learn my lesson and get back up. There's no use throwing a pity party for myself - I realize that I have to help myself tackle each day trusting God while doing the best I can to take care of myself and the little bubba inside me. So yes, it may feel at times shocking, overwhelming, and disheartening like you've done all you can but it just seems not enough, but go easy with yourself, mama. It's not all your fault. Remember, you are pregnant and your body goes through a lot of changes right now. Give your worries a rest for now and just be relaxed and healthy.
6. Exercise/move - I think more than my pre-pregnancy life, this has been my most physically active season of all time. Like I have not been as diligent to squeezing in a workout 7x a day no matter how short or long it may seem. And don't worry because I only do light workouts that I'm used to doing. Here's the thing, mama. If you're the type who works out pre-pregnancy, don't just jump in any kind of workout. Make sure you consult your doctors / care team before doing any exercise that you fancy trying. I have been on bed rest during my first trimester so I had to ease into working out very very gradually.
I honestly can go on with more and more advise but I think it would be a longer post than this. For now, just take it easy mama. The situation as it is is already challenging so try to take things easy but make sure you don't hesitate to ask help when needed specifically from people whom you know can be of great help in your situation. If anything, you have us your #MomTeam in Mamacademy PH. We're always here to support you, cheer you on, and most of all, pray with and for you.
Enjoy this new season! It's a blessing!
P.S. If you loved this blog, let's keep in touch and exchange some preggy mama notes. Feel free to drop me a message over at our Facebook or Instagram pages. -Kaye