diabetes

The Weight Gain

pregweightdiagram
I wanted to write a post about how I’m feeling because, after all, this was a blog about gaining and losing weight and addressing body image is important to me. Read these two recent posts about the topic of weight gain and pregnancy:

Let’s Talk About Weight

Body Changes During Pregnancy

For the last few months I’ve been handling the weight gain pretty well. It was slow in the first trimester, most of the second trimester it was steady but not extreme. Then around 26 weeks I had a big jump. Even though everything I read said this was normal around that time period, it was kind of devastating. I was shocked to see an 8 pound difference from last doctor appointment. 8 pounds in one month?!

After talking to some friends that had had babies and reading that this jump was normal, I was able to talk myself down a bit and not beat myself up about the weight gain. After all, I had been staying consistent with my fitness (working out 5 days a week) and I was still counting my calories and 85% of the time I was staying within the range my doctor suggested.

Then at 27 weeks the bump POPPED. It wasn’t a cute little bump anymore, it was a “wow there’s definitely a baby in there” bump. It’s crazy to see a drastic change in just one week. Where did that big bump come from?!?

Once I was in the third trimester and the weight was consistently climbing and the baby was getting bigger, I was struggling. A lot. I’d have good days and I’d have bad days. It was hard to see my body changing in such a major way. It was HARD not to compare those changes to the OLD body I used to have. I kept trying to remind myself that this is pregnancy, I was gaining weight for a healthy baby, not because I was obese.

Those old memories were hard to shake, though.

It was hard not to focus on the number.  It was hard not to feel like I was back at my 25 year old self when I was obese. At my highest weight I was 255 pounds or so.

What’s hard to ignore is just HOW HARD I WORKED to lose that 110 pounds. It took nearly 2 years of hard work, daily effort, diligence and focus to lose the weight. So seeing the number on the scale tick up and up felt like a failure to that success.

It’s difficult to articulate just how it feels. Because logically I know it’s ok. My doctor isn’t concerned with my rate of weight gain. Everything has come back normal, right on target, baby is healthy. I’m happy I am able to stay active and workout, even if I am modifying a lot of activities. That has definitely helped my body image, self-esteem and just general mood. Working out gives me a boost of happy feelings and that’s good. So if I can still workout, feel good and I know logically that things are normal and ok, why do I get bummed out when I see my body getting bigger??

comparison

It’s been said before many times but it’s really true. Comparison is the thief of joy. It is SO HARD not to compare yourself to other pregnant ladies. I’ll see them at the gym and it looks like they are further along then I am, yet they are all stick thin with a basketball belly. You know the type. They don’t seem to be gaining weight in other parts of their bodies…like I am…and I compare myself. Then I feel badly and then I shame myself for comparing myself and it’s a vicious cycle.

Baby_46_color_Retouched-683x1024

It’s weird not having ANY control over your body changes. Something that happened when I lost 110 pounds was that I realized I was in control of my body and I COULD lose weight. Then when I spent 6+ years maintaining that weight loss, I was still in control. I could make decisions on what I ate and I made good decisions most of the time and was successful. Then all of a sudden, I was no longer in control of what happened to my body, even though I was still TRYING to be in control of it. Letting that go has been a struggle for me — I am not good at giving up control.

What sucks is the comments I get from other people. People who either think they are being charming or funny, but are not. Just don’t. Never make judgmental comments, even “joking” about a pregnant woman’s body.

I was looking through some Facebook posts recently and saw some photos of myself from last year and the year before–when I was feeling down about having gained 10 pounds or so. My first thought was, Damn, I was so much skinnier! Then I thought, why didn’t I realize it at the time? PERSPECTIVE.

Baby_17_color-1024x683

I came across this article: The Dirty Little Secret About Pregnancy Weight Gain and was a little uneasy…expecting it to be gimmicky or a waste of time but reading through it, it really spoke to me. It was more about finding perspective, and not the judge-y article I was expecting. Here is a tidbit from that article:

“According to experts, these are the main concerns:

  1. You’ll be more uncomfortable with all that extra weight to haul around.
  2. You could develop gestational diabetes.
  3. You might have high blood pressure, which can lead to scary complications.
  4. Your baby could be big, making labor more difficult and possibly leading to a C-section.
  5. You’ll have your work cut out for you to lose more weight after the baby’s born.

For me personally, I have no signs of gestational diabetes, my blood pressure is consistently low, and my baby’s growth is right on track.

Leaving only concerns number 1 and 5, which are really just about my own convenience. After talking to my midwife and reading up on the risks, I’m not concerned about my “high” pregnancy weight gain.”

It was kind of an eye-opening DUH moment for me. Perspective. I do not have gestational diabetes. My baby is not measuring extra large, my blood pressure is normal and I’m not having any other issues. On top of that, I am counting my calories per my doctor’s instructions and I’ve been exercising pretty much the same throughout. Those are all positives! So what if my body is gaining a little bit more than I was hoping? All signs are pointing to healthy–isn’t that the most important part?

I have no idea how much I weigh at this moment. Once I got to the middle of the third trimester I stopped looking at the doctor’s office. I didn’t need to know how much weight I was gaining because really…this pregnancy has shown me that it’s out of my control and feeling badly about myself isn’t going to be a positive thing at this stage in the game. Besides, I’m almost to the end. Why do I need to know right now? Maybe my focus needs to be on other things for these last few weeks.

So I’m not weighing myself, I’m still working out when I can, doing what I can, counting my calories and eating healthy, and LETTING IT GO. My mind is now focused on the baby and not the weight, even if I do have a “bad” day. I can’t wait for him to be here and I’m happy my body is doing so well as he grows.

How am I feeling now?

At 35 weeks I am finding that I care less about the weight gain. Maybe that’s because I haven’t been to the doctor in a few weeks and I don’t know how much I weigh…ignorance is bliss? But I’m honestly feeling pretty good about my body right now. I feel like I’m in the homestretch and just generally feeling happy with my body these days!

If you’ve had kids, how did you feel about the weight gain?

Feeling Cheated

This post will probably sound rambling, and angry, and hurt and…the list goes on and on. So, forewarning.

Recently I went to the doctor because I was having dizzy spells that were becoming increasingly worrisome. I thought high blood pressure, inner ear infection, brain tumor, low blood sugar, dehydration, side effects of my acne medication…I had been taking sudafed on and off for months because I kept having issues with my ears feeling like there was liquid it in them (popping, crackling, etc). He did a bunch of tests, examined me, came up with nothing conclusive. He did a test where he took my blood pressure with me in different positions (laying down, sitting, standing). Thankfully my blood pressure was almost back to normal. (A few months ago it was super high when I went to the doctor.)

My doctor had me get an EKG to check my heart and then ordered a bunch of blood work. The results came back and I was pretty surprised by the results. I have to get my blood tested twice a year to check my kidney functions/potassium levels due to the acne medication I take. That test was ok. The platelet count reflected that there was some inflammation in my body or I was fighting off an infection (yay) but I don’t feel like I’m sick or anything.

The test also said I was anemic. I was anemic as a teenager and when I was a vegetarian. I’m really surprised that I’m anemic again considering the fact that I eat meat now and I have a pretty healthy/balanced diet with lots of veggies. My iron levels were 82 and I guess the normal range is 50-212, my saturation was 22% with a range of 20-50%. Eeek that’s a little low. Ok I can fix that. Iron supplements it is.

The glucose levels should be 70-200 mg/dL and I’m at 85. I guess that’s ok? He then said: 

“Your hemoglobin A1c is normal at 5.6, but this is very close to prediabetic range. An A1c between 5.7 and 6.4 indicates pre-diabetes, while an A1c equal to or greater than 6.5 would indicate diabetes. This makes it even more important for you to find ways to get active and moving again. Eating a healthier diet and trying to lose 5-10% of your current body weight over the next year or two would also help drastically reduce your risk of developing diabetes in the future.”

Um, what?!

My heart fell when I read that. Then I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I was hurt, I was scared, I was angry. Mostly angry. I felt cheated. The wake-up call I had 8 years ago that scared me straight was that I was pre-diabetic. Those words had terrified me beyond belief. I didn’t want diabetes. I didn’t want to have to test my blood all the time and take insulin pills or injections. It scared me enough that I realized it was time to lose the weight.

I worked SO HARD to lose over 100 pounds and I successfully lowered my blood pressure and avoided diabetes. I’ve kept my weight off for 6 years now and I exercise 5 days a week. I’m very active, I eat healthy, I count my calories, I log my food. So HOW is this happening again???

“For people without diabetes, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c test is between 4% and 5.6%. Hemoglobin A1c levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate increased risk of diabetes, and levels of 6.5% or higher indicate diabetes. (source)”

So I am just at the border. I don’t know what my levels were 8 years ago when I was scared straight so I don’t have anything to compare this to.  The article goes on to say this:

“Patients with diseases affecting hemoglobin such as anemia may get abnormal results with this test. Other abnormalities that can affect the results of the hemoglobin A1c include supplements such as vitamins C and E and high cholesterol levels. Kidney disease and liver disease may also affect the result of the hemoglobin A1c test.”

I emailed my doctor to find out what was going on, why this was happening, and what I could do. I told him everything I’m currently doing and since I am ALREADY very active and eating right, what ELSE could I do? Seeing that above fact about things that can effect levels made me feel a little bit better I guess. If I was anemic, maybe that was effecting the test? I don’t have kidney disease but my acne medication can effect my kidneys…so maybe that is contributing to something? These were questions that I had and wanted answers to. Unfortunately I think the only real answer is to check my blood again in a few months after taking an iron supplement to see if things have changed.

Diabetes wordcloud

I’m not naive and thinking that just because I’m skinnier doesn’t mean I can’t get diabetes. I know that thin people can have it too. Sometimes it’s just genetic. My grandfather was diabetic. It could just be my family history. But I tell you, it’s a difficult pill to swallow to think that after all that work I did to lose the weight and how hard I’ve worked to keep it off…it could all be for naught. How could that be??

A friend of mine who is diabetic said I shouldn’t be worried. My levels weren’t alarming and the blood test wasn’t a fasting blood test. So perhaps she is right and it’s just a fluke. I decided to consciously cut out processed sugars the best I can, take iron, and ask my doc to do a fasting blood test to see what it says.

Anyways, I don’t have much else to share other than I feel stressed and unhappy about all of this. Time will tell. Perhaps this stress will be for nothing…