Thursday, February 24, 2011

GD eating plan

In my last post I wrote about a number of surprises which came from Baby Theo's delivery. One surprise I neglected to mention was the little gift which manifested over the course of the entire pregnancy. In short, this gift was a dark cloud with a monstrous silver lining. Or so I believe now.

During my third trimester, I got the dreaded gestational diabetes (GD) diagnosis. Ugh. In some ways this was more challenging on a day-to-day basis than the pre-eclampsia had been with the previous pregnancy, as it required constant vigilance. And, it required some interesting eating since, remarkably, I had not gained more than 2 pounds over the course of the pregnancy when I received this diagnosis. I wasn't interest in eating much at all throughout the pregnancy, so I had to work with the nutritionist to eat enough calories, and the right calories. It's a pain to force yourself to eat when you don't want to.

Initially I lost weight. You can imagine how nervous this made me when you're suppose to put on weight during the 3rd trimester, not lose it. I went down 4-5 pounds in the first few weeks following the diagnosis. Then I got the hang of eating extra of certain foods to put the weight back on. All told, when Theo was born, I probably was about 2 pounds over where I was in my first months of pregnancy and before.

Alarming? For some, yes. Because I had been carrying extra weight before the pregnancy, I wanted to gain no more than 20 pounds total. When it was clear I wasn't gaining any weight, my doctor scheduled a few extra ultrasounds to make sure baby was on track. Since he was gaining weight and length appropriately, my doctor wasn't too concerned (though kept an eye on me).

Flash forward to the course of a morning I lost 15 pounds. Two weeks later, I was down another 10. My pre-pregnancy jeans needed to go to Goodwill as they were too baggy. What the hell?! Can this be healthy?

Of course, now that fully accept what the doctor has told me, I am ecstatic about this little gift that came with Baby. And I don't want to squander it. In fact, along with the "free" weight loss, I also received a potentially powerful tool in getting rid of the rest of the excess weight: the Gestational Diabetes eating plan. I seriously think this could be the key for me.

Here's the deal -- the recommended eating plan given to pregnant women with GD is all about consuming a limited number of carb grams, spread out evenly throughout the day. If you are someone who eats pretty healthy -- i.e. sufficient fiber, veg, fruit, good fat/lean protein and little to no processed foods -- there is really no need to count anything other than grams of carbs.

Recommended grams of carbs per meal/day:
Breakfast -- 15-30
AM Snack (2 hours after breakfast) -- 15-30
Lunch -- 30-60
PM Snack (2 hours after lunch) -- 15-30
Dinner -- 30-60
Evening Snack (2 hours after dinner) -- 15-30

1. I was told that I should eat at least 175 grams of carbs for the day, but that wasn't always doable. Ultimately, I tried to eat at least 150, and I had a few occasions of eating up to 200. The way the carbs are spread out over the day forced me to make good and thoughtful choices (and since we stock our kitchen with 'good choices' anyway, this wasn't that hard). As a result, I think my diet was more balanced and healthy than what's typical for me.

2. I had to eat a meal all at once...meaning I couldn't eat a little bit, then go back 30 minutes later for a little bit more. This is because I had to take a reading of my blood glucose 2 hours after starting a meal, so I didn't want to get a high reading just because I finally finished my breakfast an hour or more after I started. Basically, this means I would make myself eat the entire meal within 15-20 minutes.

This was probably the most challenging aspect of this regimen, as I realized I rarely sit down and actually "eat a meal." With the exception of dinner, my meals are usually larger snacks spread out over an hour or two. While this may work for some, I think it probably leads me to eat more than I need. Forcing me to figure out the entirety of what I want to consume in one sitting, and then eat nothing for the following 2 hours was really weird, and difficult. But as a result, I ate more mindfully, and therefore less.

ANYWAY, without making this post a magnum opus, I am going to do a month of this eating plan now that I am not pregnant and see what happens. I want to see how I feel and see if I lose an appropriate amount of weight during the month of March. As part of this process, I'm thinking I'll spend some time blogging about the experience, what I've learned and am learning, mostly for my own use and motivation. And, as usual, writing about it and putting it out in the universe makes it so.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baby Theo

Now that it's been four weeks since his arrival, I am finally realizing I need to write up a few things about newborn Baby Theo before it's all a distant memory.

Baby Theo's arrival was thankfully a really smooth operation. Compared to August's birth, there was no pre-eclampsia, no hospital bedrest, no induced labor, no baby-in-distress delivery. In fact, there was much less physical trauma than I expected, even though major surgery was involved to get this baby out.

However, smooth does not mean it was a surprise-free birth.

Surprise 1: They had me walk into the operating room and climb up on the table myself. Quite different from being wheeled around the hospital for a week prior to a rush into the operating room.

Surprise 2: Theo did NOT arrive with a shock of black hair like his sister. Ray and I spent a few days after the birth in bewilderment over our "generic white baby." We had counted on nothing being the same between the two kids...except lots of dark hair.

Surprise 3: Recovery from surgery was incredibly fast...less than half the pain, discomfort and general side effects following surgery than I experienced last time. All I needed was some ibuprofen for a few days once home, and then even that wasn't necessary. I felt ready to do stairs after about day 2 at home as well. Amazing.

Surprise 4: (Not for the faint-hearted) I asked my doctor to walk me through the tubal ligation while I was on the operating table, which she did, followed by showing me the removed portion of tube. "It looks like penne!" she said. And it did. A flattened, smallish piece of penne pasta. Wow--I was expecting something more like spaghetti!

All in all, it was an incredibly positive birth experience for someone who had so much go wonky the first time around. I'm grateful. And I'm super pleased with our very hungry and vocal little guy, who has already gained about a pound in his first month with us. He not only eats well, but he also sleeps well, and I'm crossing my fingers that this trend continues!