My birthday happened in Week 30, so this week gets two posts.
Exactly one week ago, I got the automated email letting me know I had failed the second gestational diabetes test. We were watching Euphoria, the new HBO show that is compelling but terrifying if you’re a parent of a teenager, I think. Anyway, the next day David got the call from the nutritionist, but he did not pick up. For some reason our doctor’s office has his number – the emergency contact number – listed as the primary number to call. I’ve tried to correct this at least 12 times. Even though I know it’s not David’s fault, I got mad at him for missing the call and forcing me to call essentially an answering machine multiple times a day to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist. I thought every minute I was not speaking to a specialist was threatening our baby’s life. “What a luxury to be a man and able to not pick up the phone!” my eyes said via my glares at him.
Anyway, as you know, I finally became less angry when the nutritionist scheduler called me back and I signed up for a 1pm class on Tuesday. I showed up later to the class than was recommended because a work meeting ran late. I checked in, near tears (this is my general disposition now), and I heard someone say my name. It turned out Katie, an old friend, was one of the instructors! She said I wasn’t late, and in my head I thought, “The lord has blessed me with Katie in this moment of anguish.” But to Katie I just quivered, “I’m so happy to see you here.”
The class was super informative. Here’s what I learned:
1) A carb is bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, peas, corn, fruits, cereal, granola, yogurt, all sorts of things with sugars. You might be thinking, “Duh…” Well I didn’t really know fruits were carbs, and I eat a lot of fruits.
2) Proteins and fats are not carbs, except for beans. Beans are carbs and protein.
3) Gestational diabetes is not the same as diabetes. You need carbs for your baby when you are pregnant, so you cannot cut carbs out of your diet. You have to have a mix of foods.
4) For the diet plan, carbs are assigned points or choices based on approximate grams of carbs. A banana is 2 choices, because it has around 30 grams of carbs. A large apple is 2 choices!
5) You need to test your blood sugar two hours after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You need to snack two hours after meals as well. And you can only take in as many carb choices as allotted on your worksheet. The choices allotted are based on your pre-pregnancy weight.
In the class, the instructor gave an example of breakfast:
Instructor: Okay, so you have a piece of toast, an egg, and a cup of milk. How many carb choices is that?
Instructor: Okay, great, so you are allotted two carb choices for breakfast, but you are still hungry. What do you do?
Instructor: The correct answer is to add more protein…from the allowed proteins list.
7:30am – Urinate on keytone strip (to make sure not in ketosis); Prick finger, test blood sugar
8:30am – Breakfast: 2 carbs (26-35 grams)
10:30am – Prick finger, test blood sugar
10:35am – Snack: 2 carbs (26-35 grams)
1:00pm – Mid-day meal: 3 carbs (41-50 grams)
3:00pm – Prick finger, test blood sugar
Between 3 and 5:00pm – Afternoon snack: 2 carbs (26-35 grams)
8:00pm – Evening meal: 3 carbs (41-50 grams)
10:00pm – Prick finger, test blood sugar
10:30pm Evening snack: 1 carb (11-20 grams)
For a total of 13 carbs per day or 199 grams of carbs.
After class we were provided a glucose meter and some strips. We were instructed to call our insurance companies to see which kits they cover, and once we know that, ask our doctors to put in orders for those kits. Well I did that, and this process is ridiculous. Here’s how the call went:
Me: (Calling company, annoucing I have gestational diabetes, asking about meter)
Insurance company: Let me connect you to our partner who provides that.
Partner: Hello, yes, your insurance covers the Accu-check Guide Me Meter, Accu-check Aviva Plus, and Accu-check Performa. Which one do you want?
Me: What is the difference?
Partner: (Rattles off a list of features, none of which seem related to blood sugar, all of which could have applied to a smart phone)
Me: Which one do you recommend?
Partner: Ms. I don’t know, you have to decide.
Me: Which one is the cheapest?
David: (overhearing question) NO. THAT IS NOT HOW YOU CHOOSE THIS!
Me: Which is the easiest? You mentioned one has blue tooth – I do not need that. I just need it to tell me the blood sugar.
Partner: You can look up the differences while I wait.
Me: (Trying to speed read about the devices. I pick the one that seems most straightforward.)
Partner: Okay we will send you a free kit so you can try it, it will arrive in 8-10 business days.
I’m not one to waive off free, but WHAT IF I DID NOT HAVE A STARTER KIT AND I NEEDED THIS DEVICE RIGHT AWAY? Insurance is insane. Politicians say people want to research and pick their devices and procedures, but I don’t know who these people are that are interested in undertaking research projects in the midst of an ailment. I don’t want to research procedures and devices. This was a nuisance. I’m still unclear on the differences, and I ended up walking over to CVS after the call and just buying extra lancets and test strips for the starter device the nutrionist gave me, which I’m going to keep using.
Anyway, the same evening as the class, I happened to be meeting my college friend Kim for dinner, who also had GD. She gave me pointers on how to use the needle and dispose of the needle. I hadn’t seen Kim IN YEARS. When I saw her, I thought, “The lord has blessed me with Kim in this moment of anguish.” But to Kim I just quivered, “I’m so happy to see you,” and gave her an uncomfortably long hug to stop from relief-crying.
The day after the class was Wednesday, my birthday. We spent this day eating healthily, testing for blood sugars, and ending it with a movie. David made salmon and rice and he did all the dishes. Thursday was America’s birthday, and we went to two barbecues, where I ate poorly and had a high reading. The readings have been good since then. I’m back to biking and continue to take longer walks. I also lost some weight, which you’re not supposed to do in the third trimester. Hopefully it is okay because I’m controlling the blood sugar. She has been kicking, so I think she’s okay so far.
In other news, the U.S. women’s team won the World Cup today, so that was super nice. My mom was excited too. I also read this piece, which is the best love letter I think I’ve ever read.
Here’s my favorite passage – it’s in the section where she talks about Megan-goggles:
I swear, it was like the most amazing thing happened: It was like the entire country, all at once, for this so improbable but also somehow very very very possible moment….. PUT ON MEGAN GOGGLES.
It was like the entire country, all at once, said — Soccer? YES. Women’s soccer? YES. An openly gay superstar swagging out with two goals and batsh*t celebrations and leading us to a huge-ass win in women’s soccer? YES. That same openly gay superstar not just taking some preapproved level of pride in her sexuality, but actually being the world’s biggest most kissable goofball queen and literally crediting her sexuality for those two goals and her batsh*t celebrations and our huge-ass win in women’s soccer? YES.
This is the American flag now, someone tweeted — and it’s a photo of my girlfriend, BEAMING ear to ear, smiling her BOOBS off on a football field, mugging for the camera, weirdo dye job and all — just totally and completely over-goddamn-flowing with excellence? YES.
After the game, I went out to lunch with my parents. It was a nice way to end Week 30.