Saturday, October 15, 2011

Of birth and insulin

I read a post this morning by Navelgazing Midwife about diabetes (DM), insulin/insulin resistance, and gestational diabetes (GDM) that was thought-provoking and made me reflect back on my own past.  Especially considering how my body reacted in the smoothie incident.

I was about 180 at Deklan's conception, and about 200 at both Gavin's and Connor's conceptions.  I gained modestly with all of my kids, with about 35 lbs being my highest gain.  I've never had GDM or sugar in my urine during pregnancy.  My kids were 8 lbs 6 oz, 10 lbs 1 oz, and 9 lbs 10 oz at birth.

Between her blog post and my knowledge as a nurse, I can guarantee that, while I may not have had GDM, insulin resistance played a big part in my kid's birthweight.  I was never even aware of the affect that sugar and insulin resistance was having on my body.  I knew it was probably happening, and when I started my Whole30 I knew I'd go through sugar withdraw and that I wouldn't miss it after a while.  But the smoothie incident really sealed the deal for me.  It wasn't that I went and binged on candy bars, or had a 4-pump latte at Starbucks.  I had a smoothie, made of fruits and vegetable juice.  "Health food" caused such a tremendous spike that I'm still flabbergasted.  Now that my body has had a chance to regain some sensitivity to glucose, I can see how much of an impact it was having on me...and my babies.

I have some Type II DM on my mom's side, and she had GDM with her last baby.  These are risk factors for me developing GDM with my babies or DM in the future.  This is one fact that scared me straight as far as my health, activity, and weight go.  I don't want diabetes.  I've seen diabetes in action for years as a nurse.  I've seen the patients on dialysis, blind, needing amputations, having heart attacks and strokes...their common diagnosis in probably 90% of cases?  Diabetes.  I don't want that to happen to me. I don't want that to happen to my family.

Back to the birth side of's pretty amazing to see how the weights of my babies corresponded to my weight at the time.  With Connor I really made a conscious effort to eat well, much better than I did with Gavin.  As a result I didn't gain as much weight during my pregnancy and he weighed (slightly) less than Gavin did.  My goal was just for a baby under 10 lbs.  Oh, and did I mention that I had a hard time conceiving Connor?  I had to chart, temp, and take herbs just to get my luteal phase long enough to enable me to get pregnant (infertility is another complication of DM/insulin resistance...PCOS is also much more prevalent in overweight women and women with DM).

As I work toward better health...toward diet changes, weight loss, and physical fitness, I'm interested to see how my next pregnancy will play out.  Will I conceive easily?  Will my baby be more toward the 8-9 lb range than the 9-10 lb range?

By the by, I'm almost to Day 30 of my Whole 30.  I shopped yesterday, buying the same healthy food, another half-dozen cans of coconut milk, etc.  I don't plan on stopping.  This works for me.  I know it seems restrictive from the outside, but I feel more liberated than I ever have as far as eating habits.  When insulin-spiking and inflammation-causing foods are just plain GONE from my diet, there's no worry about moderation or "just one bite".  It's so much easier to just say "No, thank you" and eat a green pepper instead.  Sweet potatoes are like dessert, and apples have never tasted so sweet.  I love the food that I eat now, because I know that it's not just filling my body, but truly nourishing it in an amazing way.  It's not full of junk or preservatives or chemicals.  It's just good, tasty, real food.

No comments: