Saturday, May 22, 2010

How sweet it is!

Since becoming a parent, I've had a lot of practice in thinking for myself, doing my own research, and coming to my own conclusions. The truth is, though, that I am an approval-junkie. Even when the rational side of me is convinced that I have made the correct choice, if anyone in a position of authority disapproves, I get a little stressed.

I was under the care of an OB/GYN for my first three pregnancies, and had a wonderful doctor. There was mutual respect between us, and he treated me like an adult. I was also pleased as I did my own learning to see that we matched up pretty well. He encouraged me to keep breastfeeding through pregnancy as long as my children and I wanted. When I failed the one-hour glucose test all three times, he didn't panic. His nurse, however, was a different story.

Her expression when she found out I was still nursing was priceless, and provided me with a great deal of inner amusement. Her response to the glucose test was a lot stronger, though, and not nearly as much fun for me. The first time around, I took the three hour test and passed, but she warned me strongly that since I had failed the one-hour, I still needed to do everything that a mom with gestational diabetes would do, except take insulin. I diligently followed all the advice, and stressed out constantly about every bite I took. I dreamed about food every night, and battled cravings every day.

Ariana was born weighing 7lbs even, with no sugar issues whatsoever. When I became pregnant with Joel, and failed the one hour test again, I asked my doc if I could just go straight to the diet, etc, and skip the three hour test. It had taken more than nine needle-pokes to get blood the first time and I had felt sick all day from the nasty syrup. I really didn't want to go through all that in a three hour test (What? 27 tries with the needle???) *with* a toddler! He said that it would be perfectly fine. The nurse gave me a long list of all the possible complications and some dire warnings again, and once again I went through the tension and cravings, feeling hungry every minute. Joel was 6 lbs 12 oz, and no sugar issues, either.

When I failed the one hour test with Elena, I asked again to bypass the three hour test. Again, my OB was unconcerned, the nurse was not. I got regular A1C checks, which were always normal. I had done enough reading at this point to have a better idea of the true value (or lack thereof) of the typical US version of the tolerance tests, and I knew I had the support of my doctor. Still, all the warnings would echo in my head. If you have taken a lot of pictures, you probably are well aware that whatever object you are looking at most closely is usually in the center of the frame. Constantly focusing on carbs kept them prominently in my mind, and the nagging worry that the nurse might be right didn't help.

This time around, I was a little nervous about the sugar issue, knowing what an ordeal it has been in the past. The hospital midwife that we had considered in the beginning made it clear that she sided with the former nurse and that this time around there would be no option on the three hour test. I knew my homebirth midwife was more up-to-date on current research and thought she would take a different approach, but nervous habits are hard to break.

What a difference the right midwife makes! She moniters our measurements at each appointment, but there was none of the stress or dire warnings from previous pregnancies. Rather than drinking the horrible sugar concoction on an empty stomach, she gave me a glucometer and had me take my readings following my normal routine. There was competence and security, but no anxiety-provoking, stern lecture on endangering my baby.

Guess what? The glucose levels were perfectly normal! No problems at all. I can't explain what a relief it is. Even though I knew I had research on my side before, there was always that niggling doubt in the back of my mind that maybe my sugar levels were out of whack. It is so nice to know that I have "proof" this time around that doing what I normally do is OK. And I suspect that the peace and lack of stress about my glucose levels can only be good for both me and the baby. Of course, I don't plan to go crazy with junk food and sugar snacks--that certainly wouldn't be good for us, either!--it is so much more peaceful not to try to make calculations over every single bite I take.

Blessings on you, Heather! You have made this pregnancy very sweet, indeed!

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