Thursday, June 19, 2014

Labels

What's with America's obsession with labeling people. It starts with little things like "short" or "fat" and grows into other things like "middle class" and "upper class".  Or it can be something seen in schools - the "jocks", the "punk" kids, the "popular" ones.  It can be something as small as calling someone "crunchy" for being into eating naturally and not using products that contain harmful GMOs or for products tested on animals.  

Is seems to me that we are getting out of control with being too much into other people's business.  Too much into their private lives.  Blame Facebook. Blame Instagram.  Blame society in general.  But life is becoming far too complicated because we are all too worried what others will think of us after we share a photo on social networking or when we post a status on Facebook that leaves people scratching their heads.  

So why this post? Well, as all pregnant women do at the start of their third trimester, take the "dreaded" glucose test.  Yes, that delicious beverage that we are forced to chug in 5 minutes and then wait around for an hour to have our blood drawn.  The end result? Either hearing "you're fine" or "you'll need to come in for the three hour test, after you've fasted for 12 hours".  I recently took my one hour test and I was convinced that I was fine. I have such healthy eating habits, I work out almost every day, and my pregnancy weight gain has been totally acceptable (per guidelines of my doctor. To me, 18.5 lbs is a lot, but there is a human growing inside of me).  So when I called my doctor on Tuesday morning and the nurse told me that I failed, I was shocked.  No, shocked isn't even the word. I can't even think of the word to describe how I felt.  After she explained that I would need to come in for the three hours, my voice got shaky and luckily I was able to finish the conversation with her.

My next step?  Texting my husband two words.  I failed.  

Immediately my phone rang (it was my husband) and I was able to maintain composure until the end of the conversation.  I sobbed.  I asked why.  I asked what did I do.  I asked how could this have happened.  I met up with my husband for lunch and I cried the second he got to my car.  And I cried. And cried. And cried.  (Pregnancy hormones much!?!?!)

Me? Gestational Diabetes? No way.  No way in the world could healthy me have "THAT" disease.  

Over the next two days I cried more than I've ever cried in my life.  I sat on the couch, googling "glucose test", "gestational diabetes", and probably a million other things.  After I got done googling, I cried some more.  I laid in bed trying to nap.  But I cried.  My husband came home from work and guess what?  CRYING again. 

I continually asked myself why this was happening to me.  How it could be possible that after eating healthy and working out for the first 28 weeks of this pregnancy, how could I possibly be one of "those" people with "gestational diabetes".  Sure, I have a pretty good sweet tooth thanks for my precious baby jelly bean (my love for chocolate has grown exponentially since becoming pregnant), but really? Could this cause it?

I was convinced that I was a "bad" mom and that I had already had my first FAIL as a new mom.  How could I do this to my baby? What kind of mother am I? What will happen to my baby if I don't get this under control? What will my friends think of me?

My thoughts were driving me crazy.  I was asking every person I know who recently had a baby about this test.  And I cried.  I continued to google things.  All while asking more and more people about their experiences.  Oh, and I cried some more. 

Tuesday night, I cried myself to sleep.  And when I woke up Wednesday morning, guess what?  CRYING! Finally I dragged myself out of bed and tried to put on a happy, chipper, "Lauren" smile.  

I made a healthy breakfast of scrambled eggs and a small bowl of fruit.  I nervously ate, thinking "should I be eating this"? Then I sat there thinking, will eating this fruit mess up my three hour test on Thursday morning? 

Luckily I had things to do on Wednesday to keep me busy, but then lunch time rolled around and I was lost.  Should I have carbs? Should I eat a salad? What about fruit? I decided on a PB sandwich on multi-grain bread and some cucumber slices with ranch dip.  The entire time I ate, I kept thinking "jelly bean needs more than this".  But, I ate what was on my plate and walked away. 

I googled "what to eat" the night before a glucose tolerance test.  I couldn't believe the crap that I saw about people wanting to cheat the system.  Why.  Why on earth would you want to potentially put your baby and yourself in harms way?

LABELS. That's why.  No one wants to be labeled with "gestational diabetes".  Think about it.  One of the first things that may come to your mind is "poor eating habits", "lack of exercise", or "doesn't care about her baby".  

NOT TRUE AT ALL. 

I couldn't be further from that.  I have good eating habits, I exercise almost every day and I care more about my baby than I do anything in my life right now. She is my world.  She is a precious gift from God to my husband and I. We struggled getting pregnant and I'm not about to let something happen to her.

After I walked away from the computer, I went to lay down - jelly bean is a little stinker and only moves sometimes when I'm laying down.  As I laid there, we had a good conversation.  I told her that we needed to be in this together.  I'll be there for me, she'll be there for me.  I told her we're a team. I told her that I'll always be there. Without a doubt.  But I told her that we had an important job to do and that is to be calm and just deal with it. After this little pep talk, I got up, went to the gym, and decided that there can no longer be tears about this.

Why no tears? Well, it's not even definite that I have gestational diabetes.  I won't find out until sometime next week.  I looked up some eating plans for women who have been diagnosed and it seems to me to be totally manageable - watch the carbs and sugar. Exercise.  Get sleep. And don't stress.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy for me. Well, all but that last one.  Don't stress.  For anyone who knows me personally, I don't know how to NOT stress.  I'm a ball of stress.  But just like I told my little jelly bean, we need to just deal with it.  So, I decided to just start limiting carbs even if the test results come back that I'm fine.  It's better for jelly bean and I anyways.  Plus, the diet I would need to follow if the results were positive for GD is very close to what I did to lose over 100lbs a few years ago.  No carbs and limit sugar.  

I know gestational diabetes has a negative connotation as well as a label that equates to the notion that the mom is a slacker who doesn't care about her health.  Not true.  This is something that can't be prevented, sometimes it's genetic.  Other times it's due to the hormones in the mom's body that causes it.  Either way, I've learned to look past the label.  I've learned that I didn't do anything wrong.  I've learned to not be ashamed or feel embarrassed.  

If anything, I'll prevent myself from putting on too much weight these last 10 weeks of my pregnancy and I'll avoid putting crap into my body and into my baby's body.  No one should really be eating too many carbs anyways or that third scoop of ice cream in your bowl.

So, the next time you think of labeling a person.... try to think of how you've felt when you were once labeled.  

No one that I know made me feel bad for possibly having this condition, but I know there are people out there who hear one word and automatically throw a label on it.  Remember, you never know the circumstances behind someone's situation, so choose your thoughts and words wisely.  You just might never know the true story.  

I'll be sure to keep you posted on the results of my test.  It's ridiculous for me to be ashamed if it comes back positive for GD.  So I will be sure to share the next steps I'll be taking.

But let me leave you with one thing... 
This was my dinner tonight. Sauteed shrimp and veggies with a very small amount of whole grain spaghetti (I promise, it's under there somewhere.)  Somehow, if I do have GD, I think I'll manage since this meal doesn't look all that terrible to you, does it?

Simply Blessed,
Lauren

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