Friday, January 27, 2012

Week 20: Back on Track

You may have noticed that I took a break from my weekly pregnancy updates for a while. The reason for this was twofold. First, we flew across the country to visit my husband's family, which left little time for thinking about all the witty things that I would write to you about my pregnancy (that was a joke). Second, things became so difficult to manage while we were gone and after we got back that it was actually painful to write about. I don't always do it well, but I try not to think out loud while I'm blogging (with more or less success, especially when I am trying to write something down every week), and I also try not to get really angry or really pitiful when I'm preparing a post (again, with more or less success). Jenn has also been struggling with the emotional toll of having to find a new doctor, and you'll notice she's been a little quiet lately. Um, she also went on a Caribbean cruise, so I imagine she's probably still feeling too relaxed and groovy to sit in front of the computer for hours. :)

So, I've spent a lot of time trying to think about my blood sugars over the last few weeks. Think, not simply react. Think, not freak out. Think, not cry. Think, not assume that this pregnancy is just going to go badly and give up. Think, not just cave to pressure from my interior emotional turmoil.

After thinking, I decided that one thing I needed to do was to restore the pre-Christmas discipline that I had with respect to my eating habits. I avoided excessive a lot of weight gain during the first trimester thanks to those habits, and I do believe my blood sugars were so solid for the first trimester as a result also. For me, a huge part of discipline involves not overreacting to lows: finding the perfect amount of juice to raise my blood sugar, instead of slamming down a tall glass of juice, a banana, AND some toast to raise it up. I'm so accustomed to continuing to eat until I feel better (over the course of, say, 20 or 30 minutes), rather than eating something small and trusting that my blood sugar will rise. I had been doing that quite well during the first trimester, and got off track when we traveled and I had to get used to new foods.

The second part is eating smaller portions. I was talking to my sister-in-law about eating habits, and she mentioned that at some point, she realized that any time from 11:00a until she went to bed, she just could not eat enough to fill her up. She was having to just draw the line with her portions, even though it meant that she wasn't fully satisfied at the end of her meal. During my first two pregnancies, I satisfied my hunger fully almost every meal and snack, and justified it saying that it was probably best for the baby. I also gained 50 pounds both times. So this time, I took an approach similar to my sister-in-law's. I gauge my portions based on what my husband eats, and try to eat a similar or smaller amount at most meals. The result, I believe, is more modest ups and downs with my blood sugars, since my average carb count is lower for each meal.

The third is limiting snacks. Putting a small amount of food on a small plate in between meals, and having that just be it - peanuts, fruit, crackers, cheese, whatever - but just enough to revive my spirits until the next meal. It helps that my children have regular snacks, also, so I have a little time to think about it, and sit down and eat it before I get up and go. The reality is I usually ending eating two large-ish snacks or smallish during the middle of the day (early lunch, late lunch) that correspond to pre- and post-nap time meals.

There were three great rewards to this discipline. The first I noticed was, after about 6 weeks, I actually did begin to feel satisfied with a small dinner. I guess my stomach shrank. The second was that I really feel like Sunday can be a feast for me. I don't have to be stuffed to enjoy myself at a meal - but I may have an extra helping that I wouldn't take during the week. Or I might have dessert, when ordinarily I would decline. Or I might have a late morning snack, a normal lunch, and a late afternoon snack. You get the idea. The third reward is that I have gained half as much weight as I gained during my first two pregnancies.

So maybe I did come up with some New Year's resolutions, after all. :) Things have improved considerably since we got home and after the stomach bug. I'm having a funny afternoon spike (not very high), and still a little trouble with post-breakfast lows, but all-in-all, they are pretty manageable and not keeping me awake at night.

In other news, I AM anemic. I knew it. I am off to go make some meat for dinner.

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