Pregnancy Tracker: 33 weeks
Size of the Baby: Over 4 ½ pounds!
Biggest Obstacle: Lots of Braxton Hicks contractions!
We all know that a diabetic's relationship with food is highly complex. Within the vast American diet, there are "good" foods and "bad" foods. Often, we take on these labels when we eat certain foods, as in, "I was bad today, I ate pizza." Or, "I was so good; I had a salad with grilled chicken for lunch."
Somehow the foods we eat begin to define us. This is, in part, because of the consequences we have to endure after eating something "bad," or high in carbohydrates. High blood sugars are not-so-subtle reminders that we strayed from our plan and made a poor decision about what to eat.
Once you add pregnancy to the mix, the feelings of remorse for indulging in something deliciously high carb are intensified. The guilt eats at you because it's not just your body that's involved. Of course, it's not that serious if your blood sugar is slightly elevated for a few hours; you're not really doing any long-term damage to your baby. Still, I tend to be a perfectionist and let those momentary spikes bug me for hours!
Generally, my eating habits during the majority of my pregnancy have been great! I've stuck to having less than 20 grams of carbohydrate at breakfast at least six mornings a week. My snacks have been apples, cheese sticks, bell peppers with hummus, celery with peanut butter, low carb protein bars, almonds, and carrot sticks. I've kept to my carbohydrate limit of 45 grams at both lunch and dinner for several months. My beverage of choice has been water, and lots of it! When I maintain all the healthy habits I've set out for myself, I'm rewarded with days where my blood sugar doesn't dip below 70 mg/dl or rise above 110 mg/dl. Those days rock!
During the workweek, when I sit in an office all day, it's quite easy to stick to my scheduled eating. I bring my food to work, have my snacks and my low carb lunch and go about my day. I'm rarely tempted to join my coworkers for lunch out or grab any junk food from the vending machine. For five glorious days each week, managing my diabetic pregnancy is perfectly routine.
Then, the weekend arrives...
Like everyone, I look forward to the weekend immensely. I get to hang out with my husband, go for walks, watch lots of football, and just generally relax. Unfortunately, that relaxation also extends to my eating habits. Suddenly, one slice of high fiber bread doesn't seem like enough at breakfast. Surely, I'll need two slices to go with my two poached eggs!
Now that the weather has turned cooler (I live in San Diego, so honestly it's still in the mid-60s) Dennis and I have been enjoying hot coffee during our walks around the neighborhood. Dennis has a real weakness for the Peppermint Mochas that recently made their seasonal debut. I enjoy specialty coffee drinks, but never seem to be able to finish even the smallest size! At a coffee shop, my real temptation, my Achilles heel of food choices if you will, are baked goods: scones, muffins, croissants, coffee cakes! If it's made with sugar, flour, and lots of butter, I love it!
Over the past several months I have cut several foods from my diet, including: pizza, tortilla chips, white rice, white bread, french fries, and donuts. It wasn't as if I ate these things on a regular basis previously, but I'd found them to raise my blood sugar or be difficult for me to estimate the serving size (as with tortilla chips!) so I decided to abstain from them completely for the duration of my pregnancy.
The one little indulgence I kept for myself: baked goods. Last week, after my fetal ultrasound on Wednesday, my mom, Dennis and I stopped for coffee where I promptly ordered a blueberry scone. I tried to wait awhile after bolusing before digging into my treat, but I apparently didn't wait long enough. My blood sugar spiked to 212 mg/dl and took several units of insulin to get it back down before lunch. I didn't even finish the scone and I barely had a quarter of my decaf latte! What a waste!
Not having learned my lesson, this past Sunday Dennis and I went to a local brewery to watch a football game. We're sad Miami Dolphins fans, but we're loyal!
We didn't want to spend a great deal of money on food, so we chose a trio of mini muffins to go with our coffee. The server brought the little muffins over very quickly, and the insulin hadn't been in my system very long. I told Dennis to enjoy the muffins while they were warm and I proceeded to order my own set about 15 minutes later. I ended up eating less than two whole mini muffins; one raisin bran and one chocolate! Still, my blood sugar was up to 195 mg/dl within the hour.
The weird thing was, I felt incredibly sluggish and foggy-headed when my blood sugar was rising. I gave myself an aggressive correction bolus that kept my blood sugar from spiking further, but still, I felt so out of it. I assume that feeling hit me because I'm now so unaccustomed to being high that even a moderate high brought on those typical symptoms. To correct my blood sugar, Dennis and I went for a long walk, at least 90 minutes, during which my blood sugar dropped steadily and I had to chomp on a few pieces of dried fruit.
All in all, these highs brought on my delicious baked treats don't rise too high and don't last for that long. However, when you're pregnant and thinking about your baby, even a high that lasts a couple hours feels like an eternity!
So, I have a decision to make... do I add baked goods to my list of forbidden foods? Should I be more highly vigilant about my diet during the weekends, when I tend to give into my temptations? Or, should I just bolus like crazy and enjoy the occasional treat?!