Saturday, June 2, 2012

This Fat Girl's Pregnancy & Gestational Diabetes: Part 1

Today I completed a survey for a doctor's visit that I had back in April.  It has been sitting on my desk for quite some time.  I've been trying to be thoughtful with how to answer the survey; wanting to provide honest yet pungent feedback on the care that I received. Most importantly, in hopes of providing some closure to this difficult phase of my pregnancy.

A part of this story begins before that appointment and is important for understanding the whole story.  Obviously the beginning part starts with getting pregnant, of course.  But more importantly where I was at spiritually, emotionally, and physically when I became pregnant, and mostly those things related to my health (I prefer to not use the describer of "body image" as I feel there is so much more to it then just "body image", it's the health of you, the complete you, not just the physical manifestation of your body....I digress, but leave you with this thought, why do new clothes make you feel as good as if someone comments on your heart?).  When I became pregnant I was certainly not the healthiest me, I wasn't making the best food choices, I wasn't exercising regularly, and I certainly wasn't the smallest me ever.

So when I became pregnant I knew that this very easily could become a downward spiral for my health but I also understood that this could be an opportunity.  Would I choose to make healthier decisions for me and my child or would I continue to glide through the next 9 months as a passenger to my declining health.  I certainly chose the first.  But the surprising thing to me was that I didn't just choose the first, I embraced it.  Which was quite a surprise to me.  I had a lot of really good support, mostly from one really great Osteopathic Doctor.  It was her hands off approach to commenting on my weight and encouragement that really helped.  I'm sure the biweekly appointments and checking in with the scale had something to do with it  as well.  But the first thing that I did when I found out I was pregnant was make an appointment with a nutritionist, Terry.

The real reason that I made an appointment with the nutritionist was because I was scared.  I was so scared of being pregnant, of what changes my life was spiraling towards; of how out of control I felt.  When I feel that way I take action, that's how I cope.  So I made an appointment with Terry.  The secondary reason was that I don't like healthy food, I don't enjoy it, and I don't crave it.  I crave the bad things, like bread, and sugar, and chocolate.  And to be completely honest, the third reason was because I worried of the impact my eating choices would have on the formation of my child and I didn't want to be responsible for brain damage because I didn't eat my broccoli.

Terry is a little frantic.  But that was ok.  The best part of meeting with her was that she didn't weigh me (I have these horrid memories of a nutritionist in North Carolina that started out our session with a scale and lecture using words like morbid and death...and I was a much smaller me then!).  We spent a lot of time discussing what I like to eat and when I like to eat.  She gave me some really great advice that was super helpful and more then anything she helped alleviate some of the guilt that I was feeling; it was something in the form of "you aren't doing so bad, let's just make some adjustments".  I left feeling empowered and with a reassuring goal, you don't need to gain any weight and it's all going to be ok.

From conception (ok the double pink line on the stick), I knew that my goal was to not gain any weight during this pregnancy.  I was already within 3 pounds of a weight that I said I would check myself into an over-eaters anonymous program.  So I did a lot of research and found that a woman of my size, and surprisingly women a LOT smaller then me, it was safe and encouraged, in most gynecological circles, to not gain any weight.  And if you were to gain weight to keep it under 15 pounds. 

I really did begin this pregnancy with a good perspective on being healthy, now it may have been for reasons of distraction, but I was in a good mind set.

I began seeing Dr. Lim (D.O.) at 8 weeks for manipulation.  She worked on my body biweekly through my pregnancy, pulling and stretching, and forcing it into submission so that I could stay off pain meds and survive.  When I first saw Dr. Lim I would say I was at a constant 5 or 6 on the pain scale and certainly was weary from the chronic pain (keep reading, today I'm at a 0 or 1).  Most times when I see a doctor about my chronic back pain stemming from a herniated L4/L5 and L5/S1 the first thing they chide me about is my weight.  Something along the lines of "all your problems will be solved if you loose some weight".  Now I can't say if it's because I was pregnant and generally loosing weight and dieting while pregnant is discouraged that Dr. Lim didn't mention loosing weight as a way to relief, but I do have to say she didn't even chide me about exercising and movement that much.  And that was a complete relief.  Previously I'd always go into those appointments prepared for a fight. 

I had another follow up appointment with Terry at 12 weeks and on-going appointments with Dr. Lim.  My health was improving!  I was eating better and getting more movement into my day and I wasn't gaining any weight.  I even lost a little (Note:  I have serious opinions about the unhealthiness of dieting while pregnant and the release of ketones into the mother's system freaks me out.  I was certainly not trying to loose weight). 

Things were great, and I was feeling a little better about this pregnancy.  My fears and emotional stunting had not yet resided (not sure they have yet at 34 weeks).  But it was at my appointment with a new doctor on April 23 that in some ways changed the outlook of the rest of my pregnancy.

Note:  I did a lot of doctor hunting, checking out, changing, and going back during this pregnancy.  I document some of that and some things I learned along the way here.

{Read Part 2 Here}


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