Sugar and Spice…Not Always So Nice

Tanya Dodd-Hise

By: Tanya Dodd-Hise

So life as we know it is changing all the time, and it has been no different with a pregnancy and the knowledge of a daughter on the way.  It’s happening way faster than I anticipated!  Doctors’ appointments have been good, and ultrasounds have been plentiful – which is awesome!

Fairly early on, Erikka did the glucose tolerance test, and failed it miserably, thus earning a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.  For those of you who aren’t in the know about these things, this is a form of diabetes that occurs solely during pregnancy and goes away after the birth.  When a woman has this type, however, it increases her chances of having regular diabetes later on.  So needless to say, we have been taking the diagnosis seriously, and I have been supporting her by changing my diet as well.  Diabetes runs prevalent in my own family, and I have been borderline for several years myself. (Did I mention that I had gestational diabetes with BOTH of my boys?)  At first we began to adjust our diets in small ways, eating less sugar and only slightly less carbs.  We visited a dietician, and they allowed her about a week or two to attempt to bring her sugar levels down with diet; when that didn’t happen, they put her on meds.  After about a week or so, they doubled her dose; and after another week or so, they doubled her dose again.  I argued that they really weren’t giving her much time to correct the situation, and got a polite lecture about the necessity and urgency to get her sugars under control for the sake of the baby.  They were soon threatening insulin, which I thought was pretty drastic.  After all, I had had gestational diabetes, TWICE, and there was not so much panic going on as there is now.  I was told to eat better – that was pretty much it.  I didn’t have to prick my finger and check my blood fifteen times a day, and I didn’t have to worry about every morsel that passed through my lips.  Now granted, I was 21 when I had Nicholas and 29 when I had Noah; Erikka is 35 and in the medical world considered “advanced maternal age”.  But come on people, really?

Meanwhile, I, too, had a doctor’s appointment with a new doctor to start handling my blood pressure.  She wanted to run some tests to check my basic levels, including my glucose.  I had been asked by my other doctor previously (like, two years ago) to take a glucose tolerance test, but had refused because I did not want a possible diagnosis of diabetes or even pre-diabetes.  Needless to say, this time around, my levels were high and indicated the inevitable:  diabetes.  Sheesh.  I am trying to support my wife and go through this pregnancy with her as much as I can, but THIS is getting ridiculous!  So I was also put on medication, the same as Erikka–awwww, how sweet.  We’re both pricking our fingers four or more times per day, depending on how the numbers are.  We’re eating a thousand times better, having discovered that carbs are our enemy. We are eating virtually carb-free and are actually losing weight.  Anything that we have to do to avoid the dreaded insulin!  I think that the hardest part for me is giving up Coke.  I have been a hardcore addict since I was in elementary school, and as an adult I drank them daily.  This has been harder than giving up smoking or drinking!  But, unfortunately for me, this condition isn’t going to go away when the baby is born like it will for Erikka.  Hopefully I can reverse it with huge, permanent changes in my diet; my goal is to do so and be off meds by this time next year.

So we’re trucking along, watching our carbs and sugar and trying to be two good mommies.  Erikka is going to the OB/GYN every week, and to the specialist every third week.  Today’s visit to the specialist wasn’t as fun as they usually are; baby hid her face from us during all of the sonograms, and the doctor said that the time has come and insulin is now needed.  That’s a little scary and we are definitely apprehensive, but we feel like we must do it for the sake of our baby girl.  She is measuring long, with big feet and big head, and even some little chubby rolls on her back that showed up on the ultrasound!  (We also saw that she has hair!)  This afternoon, Erikka will pick up her insulin and syringes, and tonight she will begin a daily ritual of shots.  We hope that it will slow down baby’s growth a bit so that she’s not a giant baby that doesn’t fit into any of the adorably cute newborn outfits that we have been receiving!  But seriously, we don’t want there to be any stress on baby due to high glucose levels; and I don’t want any more stress on my wife’s body than she already has in housing and delivering our baby.  And it’s getting closer – less than nine weeks now!  The time has gone by very quickly, and we still have so much to do!  And for those baby showers?  The OB/GYN said to eat the cake and enjoy the food…just don’t test our sugar right away!

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