I found out last week that I had failed my 3-hour glucose tolerance test, which means I have Gestational Diabetes. This week, I was given the bad news that my diet changes alone weren't enough to keep my blood sugar at a good level, so now I'm on insulin. While I am super excited to be pregnant and I can't wait to meet my little girl in April, this pregnancy has sucked balls. With numerous other health concerns that I don't feel like getting into at the moment, this has been a rough pregnancy and a repeat cesarean section will be my only option come go time. I had been waffling about whether this would be my last pregnancy, but my recent diabetes diagnosis put that decision to rest. Honestly, I'm fine with it. I have one awesome little boy and I'll have a baby girl in a couple months, so my cup runneth over already. No need to get greedy.
The lifestyle changes I've had to make the last couple weeks haven't been as bad as I thought they would be. I took a diabetes course on an appropriate diet plan and all the nurses and my doctor have been so helpful in giving me all the information I need and showed me how to prick my finger to test blood sugar levels and how to give myself insulin injections. I actually have a blood phobia and I thought that would be a bit of a problem considering I have to prick my finger 4 times a day. I was woozy the first couple times, but now I'm fine with it. I'm still getting used to the injections since I just started last night, but it'll probably be no big deal after a week or two. I think my problem is that I'm putting the needle in way too slow. Nurses just kind of stab it in, but I'm doing it cautiously and it hurts.
I thought I would post about how I'm keeping all my diabetic supplies stored. I love to organize and this has been a new challenge.
The diet plan has been the biggest change. No more Cokes, sweets, white bread, or Cap'n Crunch cereal. Some of my favorite things. Luckily, some of my other cravings have been good, like peanut butter, green olives, and Seeduction whole grain bread from Whole Foods. I basically have to eat three small meals a day, no skipping, and have a snack between each meal and one before bedtime. It sounds like a lot of food, but keep in mind I'm very pregnant and the meals and snacks aren't that big. Before every meal, I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to test my blood sugar after two hours. I keep the meal plan on the fridge, along with the papers that break down foods for me (what's a carb, protein, fat, etc.) and the serving size for each one.
Some of the foods have been surprises. Sunchips made my blood sugar jump, but Doritos are okay (yes, I still squeeze in a little junk food here and there). I had some stir fry for dinner one night and the jasmine rice made my levels jump up to the highest number yet, even higher than when I had a Starbucks mocha last weekend. I'm a big hater of any kind of artificial sweetener, but my husband convinced me to try stevia and I actually like it. It's perfect for taking a bit of the bitterness out of my morning coffee and I sprinkle it on my Cheerios.
I have to check my blood sugar first thing in the morning (fasting level) and two hours after every meal (postprandial level). I was given this giant bag during my diabetes class that contained my glucose meter and a month of supplies needed to use it. My next month's supply will come automatically in the mail, so that is pretty convenient.
I keep all of my diabetic supplies in that gaudy bag and just put it in the back of my bathroom cabinet. For my daily items, I keep them all in a cute makeup bag from Anthropologie. All of my stuff is kept together and I can easily toss it in my purse as I head out the door.
Anthropologie makeup bag
Inside my bag, I have the free bag that holds the glucose meter, my log book and a pen for writing down my levels and what I ate that day, alcohol pads to clean my finger if I can't wash it and for cleaning the insulin bottles, stevia for tea/coffee at a restaurant (less likely to explode in there, I figure), and a sharps disposal container that I fashioned out of an old pill bottle and some scrapbooking supplies. Not shown are a well-used napkin used to blot up blood (gross, I know), a couple used test strips, and two hand wipes I swiped from Chick Fil A. Also, I'm going to add some hard candies to the bag once I get to the grocery store. Taking insulin means that I can get dangerously low blood sugar levels, so I need something like candy or juice to have on hand, just in case.
Glucose meter bag
The mesh portion holds lancets, then there is the finger pricker (technical term), a canister of expensive test strips, and the meter. It's simple to use. Load a fresh lancet into the pricker, put a test strip into the meter, which turns it on and gets it ready, prick finger, put blood on the test strip. I had a little trouble at the beginning about getting enough blood. At one point, I had to prick my finger three times and went through as many test strips before there was finally enough blood to register. Now I can usually get a good punch the first time and then I squeeze the hell out of it to get a decent-sized drop of blood. (Editor's Note: After bragging about my finger pricking skillz, I had to prick my finger twice the very next testing time and I wasted a testing strip.)
I've read that a lot of diabetics never change their lancet. I guess it's a little inconvenient to change it every time, but they give you hundreds and I get skeeved out thinking of used needles. I use a fresh one every time and toss the old one in my travel sharps container.
My log book is just a moleskine cahier journal. I wrote my goals on the front cover and paperclipped on my insulin dosage card and when to take it. As you can see, my levels are not great. I used to keep the log book in my planner, but then I realized I had to keep track of my bag and my planner every time I needed to check my blood sugar, so now it lives with everything else.
Of course, once I get a good system down, now I have to add insulin to the mix.
I have to take two types of insulin with two different injection methods. The vial holds a long-acting insulin which I take first thing in the morning and before bedtime. The pen holds a short-acting insulin that I take before breakfast and before dinner. I love the pen. Even as a noob, I can inject this one with minimal pain and I just click the dosage I need into place without having to carefully load a syringe and get all the bubbles out. Luckily, the pen one holds the short-acting insulin, so if I'm going out for breakfast or dinner, I can just chuck the pen and a pen needle into my Anthro bag and head out.
I keep the insulin that I'm currently using in a high cabinet that my son can't reach. They are kept in the box they came in and I write on the box the day I opened it and the date I need to throw it out. Opened insulin has to be discarded after 28 days.
Syringes and Pen Needles
I keep the sterile syringes and pen needles in a tupperware container on top of the fridge to keep little hands safe. I should probably store them next to my insulin, but there is currently no room in the cabinet. I will probably remedy that soon. I'm keeping the used syringes in a ziploc bag at the moment because I don't have a large sharps disposal container. You're supposed to use a thick plastic bottle, like a liquid laundry detergent or bleach bottle, and when 2/3 full, take it shut, label it appropriately, and throw it out. We use powder laundry detergent and I'm not about to put my bleach in a non-child-safe bottle, so I'm still in need of one. If any local friends have one handy, I would be grateful.
I only have the free samples of insulin supplies that my doctor gave me so far since my pharmacy is taking their sweet ass time filling my prescription. When I do finally get them, the extra syringes will go in that pink bag with my other diabetic supplies and the unopened insulin will need to be stored in the fridge. I'll probably clear out one of the door shelves for insulin so that it doesn't get lost in the depths of the fridge.
So, that's all the changes I've had to make recently. It's something I have to stay on top of and I feel like this change has kind of taken over my life right now, but it's worth it. I will do whatever it takes to keep my girl healthy, even if it means giving up Coke and having to poke myself with various needles everyday. My blood sugar should normalize soon after giving birth. Once the doctors give the okay, Jimmy will have to leave the hospital and get me some Shipley's donuts and a giant soda from Sonic.
The only upside to this whole thing is that, given my pregnancy has to be monitored much more closely now, I get weekly ultrasounds to see my baby. I only have to do this for 8 more weeks and then I can meet her. Worth it.