Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anemia, Gestational Diabetes, and the blame game

I went to refill my prenatal prescription and found out my doctor called in an order of iron supplements for me. Huh? After a phone call to the OB I learned I'm also anemic. I guess with all the hooplah about having GD they forgot to tell me that minor detail. I've been told anemia makes you feel really tired and that makes me feel better because lately I feel like a three toed sloth forced to live like the humans. Still- I wish they had mentioned it. I just happened to have been a few days late filling my prenatal and the prescription was called in today. Had I not gone in, I'd not have known until perhaps much later.

Thank you SO much for your advice about GD and calling my doctor's office. Some people mentioned pushing for the three-hour. I would do that except that my insurance ends Friday and I'm afraid of going in for the test and getting positive results during my insurance lapse when I can't do anything about it. I'm signed up for a half day nutrition session tomorrow and hopefully the nurse can order my testing strips before the end of the week so insurance will pay for that too.

One positive of having been married almost 8 years before having a child is you have worked through a lot of your ish before the baby arrives. We used to argue and get dramatic quite frequently in the first few years of marriage but in the past two years I can count on one hand the number of serious arguments we've had. For this reason I was a bit dumbfounded by the argument we almost had last night. I was sitting in bed when I realized I had not eaten something before bedtime. I usually have a glass of milk with nuts per the GD diet. As I got up he said you're just so chill about this whole diagnosis. I looked at him confused. You knew you were going to have GD based on your history and you chose to eat pizza and other bad things for you. If you had been healthier you could have prevented this.

In the first year of marriage I would have started yelling at him but instead, I just took a deep breath and went downstairs to get my snack and cool down. I understand he's frustrated. He gets to be on the outside while I bake the baby and he's very health conscious and its true- I did eat more unhealthy than I ever had while pregnant. This isn't to say I was sitting there eating pints of ice cream but I was eating what I wanted when I wanted. I ate things that have been on my no-no list for years like Pizza Hut. Considering I have a history of diabetes and GD in my family and I had PCOS I should have been more vigilant. But at the same time I don't know if all the vigilance in the world would have prevented this. He was apologetic when I came back upstairs, but his apology feels hollow to me because I know he meant what he said.

Since getting pregnant I've been able to push aside all the emotions that come with having PCOS but now with the GD diagnosis its all coming back to me. My doctor told me I could cure PCOS by losing weight. I was ten pounds over my ideal BMI. Jack was at that appointment and he's reminded me ever since that I have PCOS because of my weight though research also shows you can have weight issues because of PCOS. I tried for years to lose those ten pounds, and let me tell you staying ten pounds overweight (and not more) was a struggle. Metformin helped a lot. I suddenly could see the results of my hard work and through diet and exercise my weight did start going down like normal people's do when they eat right and work out- ofcourse I got pregnant and lost pregnancies for the duration of that year so I never fully lost those ten pounds but with Metformin I saw it was possible to finally lose the weight.

This whole GD thing is taking me back there. To the place of guilt. To the place of: its my fault and I may have caused this to happen. I'm fighting the guilt because guilt does me no good but I'm tired of my family, my doctor, my husband pointing fingers at me. And- I'm also tired of me sometimes also, pointing fingers at me. I can only do what I can now that I know- blaming helps no one.


  1. I am sorry - that sucks - um, I usually do not comment about this kind of stuff but your man could be a bit nicer in the way that he says things...that being said, we could all do things to be healthier and to relieve scary stress - like did I really need that reuben I ate that convinced me I had listeria - NO! Did I need the six chocolate covered pretzels that I had today - NO!

    You did not set out to get GD - it happened - and you are doing everything you can to manage it - you go girl - you are a great mother already.

  2. Man, I've been 10 pounds heavier than I'd like to be for a while, and I thought I was doing pretty well. :)

    I don't have much to say but to agree with the part of you that is fighting the guilt. You have been trying. You are human. You are pregnant. This is hard. The guilt gets you NOWHERE. You are following the diet, taking care of your baby, and that makes you an awesome mommy-to-be. Everyone else can BACK OFF, it's so easy to judge when you don't have PCOS.

  3. Hey sweetie,

    Sorry that you're feeling down and overwhelmed. :(

    I haven't had any personal experience with GD but friends and fam who have, have had great success with controling it through diet and gone on to have healthy pregnancies and children. iA you will too! :)

    As for anemia - this is a very common issue in pregnancy and I was anemic from very early on until just recently.

    It takes about 6 weeks of food/vitamin supplementing for iron levels to come up. In my case it took almost my whole 3rd trimester because I was really sick for awhile & on a liquid diet.

    The easiest way for the body to absorb iron is through food - red meat, dark greens (kale, broccoli, etc.), dried fruit/nuts, etc. Try adding a splash of lemon juice to the meat or veggies when you finish cooking them as Vit C helps enhance absorption of the iron. Avoid milk or calcium supplements during your iron-rich meal(s) of the day.

    My midwife also recommended Hemaplex iron pills and Ferro-tone liquid iron supplement as they are easier to absorb than most prescription supplements and are non-constipating.

    Increase your food-based iron and don't depend solely on the supplements. Hopefully you'll start feeling better soon and your levels will come up well before your delivery! :)

    Don't blame yourself sweetheart, and don't think Jack or anyone else is either. Just focus on it as another opportunity to welcome your baby as the healthy, conscientious mama that you are!


  4. Don't blame yourself for GD and don't let anyone else blame you either. Be gentle with yourself. You're doing what you need to do to bake a healthy baby, and that's what's important.

    Anemia sucks, I'm glad you're getting onto iron supplements because it's just a miserable feeling, being so exhausted all the time. My doc told me that cooking acidic food - like tomato sauce - in a cast iron pan is one of the best ways to trick your body into absorbing extra iron. Something about it being easier to absorb than just pills? I've never been averse to a few more tomatoey meals, so it was an easy thing for me to incorporate into my diet.

    Thinking of you and hoping tomorrow's a bit easier.

  5. Even if you hadn't eaten some of the crappy stuff, you'd still have GD, I think. Your body can't handle the sugar load properly, which is what they test with the lovely sugary drink. OK, maybe they could have caught it earlier, but that's not your fault! So even if you'd been eating as if you had GD, the sugar load of the test would still have caught you out.
    What is important is that now you know you have it, and you're going to be able to get the glucose levels under control, whether with diet alone or with some insulin added in. That will help your little sunflower stay safe.
    Guilt is something we're probably going to be getting used to a lot more in the future as parents. Too much time at work, not patient enough with baby, ignoring DH too much...
    I can understand how easy it is to be hard on yourself about this though. Hope the session with the nurse is good and you get the strips and monitor all sorted out before the insurance change.

  6. Not so sure you can "cause" GD. If you had eaten healthier, maybe you would have had it under control, but I'm not confident your fasting results would have been different. Granted, I'm not a doctor, and I have no experience. I'm just sayin'.

    Try not to be so hard on yourself. I understand Jack's frustration at not being able to control anything (I'm sure that's where this stems from), and I'm sorry that he said what he did. Even he thought it, he should have kept it to himself. And you should know where it's coming from. He loves you and he knows you love and want that baby just as much as he does.

    You're all going to be just fine. I'm sure it's frustrating, but try, if you can, to not let it get to you. :)

  7. Hey there sweet Kate,
    be gentle with yourself. people have acne it is not their fault, pituitary tumor, whatever, to be blamed, to take blame, to feel worthy of blame, all suck rocks and eat energy better spent elsewhere. Maybe what Jack is trying to say is that he feels powerless, not that you chose not to use your power wisely....

    that being said, be kind to your wonderful self, know that you are doing all you can. And that no one causes themselves PCOS or GD. these are medical conditions to be managed and worked around and often medictated, but not caused by you.

    take care of you,
    you matter so much
    with love,

  8. oh no I hope you're not blaming yourself! That's the last thing we PCOS'ers need- we've been put through enough.

    And just like our husbands (or atleast mine) puts up with all my pregnancy moodswings like a sport, I try to let some of his comments slip because I know at heart he doesn't mean anything by it. It's hard though...

  9. oh this is so hard...so many feelings swirling around between you and your jack...i loved what mekate said about the powerlessness our spouses feel in the whole pregnancy gig. whatever the case...i'm thinking of you and hoping you are able to get the things in order insurance-wise that you're hoping to this week before your coverage switches.
    p.s. about the anemia...i hope your docs told you that around 29 wks our blood volume doubles and it takes a couple of weeks for our red blood cells and such to catch up to the increased volume...hence the "anemia". this is in fact why they test us around 29 wks for iron deficiancies. i, too, was low in iron, which i took as a great sign that my body is doing exactly what it is meant to do. i've also heard much of what your friend baracka wrote about getting iron from food sources over supplements...actually, there's a bit about anemia in pregnancy in the book i mentioned before...real food for mother and baby. keep us posted on how you're doing...you're on the home stretch now...!

  10. Ugh. I do not believe you can "cause GD" as it is a matter of whether your body can process the sugar, or not. Yes you might have been healthier but you would still have GD!

    And 10lbs over your ideal BMI is not bad. I am about that far over mine, I believe the BMI is crap anyway.

    I think it is hard for our partners because they do feel like they have control, and I think a small part of it is because they think they could "do it better" if it was them (ROFL can you imagine??)

    Please dont blame yourself, its nothing you can cause or create. By sticking on your diet now you will give your baby the best shot, dont look at what you did in the past, look at what you are doing now.


  11. Just stopping by from ICLW and wanted to wish you good luck! Playing the blame game is never a good idea but is too easy to do :)

  12. Fight the guilt with all of your heart - you didn't cause your GD. Try not to let the guilty feelings cloud your prgnancy experience - regardless of what he says (whether he means it or not!). I'm with Suzy - don't look at what was, rather, look at what is.


  13. Everyone has given you such great advice, and I agree that you shouldn't beat yourself up over this. Instead just focus on staying well within your new GD diet and baking that little sunflower. Take care.