Mia’s Mom-alogue Chapter 3: The dreaded diabetes and more from past 20 weeks

Well if this isn’t where things start to get exciting during a pregnancy. In fact this chapter of my mom-alogue involves a bear encounter, a fight with a pair of socks, and a leaky lady part. Here we go 20 weeks and beyond, and by beyond I mean when somehow despite your stomach being the size of a small planet it just keeps expanding.

The dreaded Gestational Diabetes test 

I remember going into my gestational diabetes test with extreme confidence. I am a former pro athlete, I lead an extremely healthy lifestyle, there is no diabetes in my family. I chugged that disgusting orange drink like a champ and left with a skip in my step. But alas I got the call from the doctor just a few hours later – I had gestational diabetes and oh my iron levels were very very low ( I guess that explains the extreme fatigue). I remember sitting on the couch yelling at my poor unborn child that I really hated him at this point ( I feel very guilty of that now) but at the time where I had yet to enjoy much of my pregnancy this was just icing on the cake (cake I wasn’t allowed to eat). This is hard for me to admit,  and looking back at it I actually had a really easy pregnancy, one without too many complications and issues, but I wasn’t able to see that in this moment of disappointment – and guess what momma’s, it is ok to feel all the feels when you are pregnant.

I got the news just as I was about to leave on my baby-moon, and by baby-moon I mean the trip my husband had to cancel and I was now travelling on a few close friends. I remember showing up to the airport with my new meter and lancets on hand pricking my finger to test my sugar levels.

We were traveling to the Yukon in October, which meant beautiful fall colours but a crisp air, early darkness, oh and grizzly bears getting ready for hibernation. And so while all my friends were eating their homemade dessert I had to go out in the dark with two bear sprays in hand to get my 15 minute walk in post dinner and avoid the sugars that I wasn’t supposed to eat. After a night of singing to myself at the top of my lungs to hopefully scare of the grizzlies I decided to instead walk around the dinner table for 15 minutes watching my friends eat dessert. It was the ultimate form of torture. In fact if you ever need to get information out of someone – just make them watch their friends eat warm apple pie while they have to smell it and look at it but can’t eat it and on top of that they have to walk in the room with the pie for 15 minutes.

Alas I did not run into any grizzlies in the Yukon – but once I returned home to Squamish on a very cold, very dark, very wet post dinner walk with my dog Huey he started growling at something and when I looked up there was a giant black bear no more than 10 feet from me. Thankfully the black bear was nose deep in a garbage can and I ddi what you are never ever supposed to do if you do encounter a bear… I ran.

The GD brought on a whole other medical issue for me – one that I found out is called white coat syndrome. Every time I stepped into a doctor’s office from this point on I was so afraid I was going to get more bad news that my blood pressure would escalate. I was told to go into the room early before each appointment and meditate, the most tranquil setting let me tell you. Needless to say that did not work and I was sent off three times to check my urine for preeclampsia. They officially knew me by name there. Oh here is Mia back again for a urine sample let’s just try and keep her as cool as a cucumber.

Because of my GD I was scheduled in for two extra ultrasounds at 34 and 37 where I found out my baby was measuring large and I mean I was on pace to have an 11 pounder. Oh and also my water was normal but low – don’t ask me what that means. I was now petrified of what my body was going to have to do. I kept begging my doctor to induce me early, while he was still a manageable size, but she just kept telling me I was able to control my GD so I was creating a baby the right size for my body – I tend to disagree – no one’s body is supposed to deliver an 11 pound baby.

I decided I would take things into my own hands. I did every old wives tale in the book – spicy food, raspberry leaf tea, acupuncture, alas nothing worked and I ended up delivering 3 days late, on Christmas, a 9 pound 9.6 ounce baby but that story is for another day.

A fight… with a sock 

I was lucky that for most of my pregnancy my actual body felt great (aside from the acid reflux I have spoken often about). I was working out daily, spinning, hiking, I had a lot of energy (most days in my second trimester at least). And I was carrying pretty well if I do say so myself. But then that all changed once I hit 30 weeks.

It seemed that every single morning my belly grew. It was like the poor girl who turns into a blueberry in the chocolate factory. I thought I was literally about to pop – but somehow it just kept expanding and expanding.

Then it happened, I could no longer reach over my belly to my feet. It happened on a cold November day when I had to go out for my post dinner GD walk and I was trying to put on my socks, but I could’t reach. I tried everything. Rolling around the bed, kicking my leg high in the air, crawling up in the fetal position on the ground. I eventually had to accept defeat and call in reinforcement, aka my husband. He also then had to tie my shoelace for me before I walked out the door. It was one of the more humbling moments of my pregnancy.

The weird, whacky, and the eww 

What I also learned in the later stages of my pregnancy is all the weird things that happen to your body that no one tells you about and that just don’t make sense. I remember getting on the phone with my doctor when I thought my mucus plug fell out (if you don’t know what that is do not google it). She told me not to worry, it may just grow back.

I also remember one day where I barely felt baby move – unfortunately my husband was a few drinks deep hosting some friends so a girlfriend came to the hospital with me. We didn’t have the heart to tell the sweet nurse that we were not a couple and my deer friend came for moral support since my husband was a little tipsy and couldn’t drive me. We had to finally come clean when she asked my friend how to spell her name to put her on my medical file.

Oh and then there was Christmas eve morning when I was convinced I was leaking amniotic fluid and so another trip to the hospital – only for the results to come back negative for amniotic fluid and so now on my medical file it says, and I quote, I came in for a ‘leaky vagina’. Oh joy. We did do a sweep though and less than 24 hours later my amniotic fluid didn’t leak – it poured. My water broke at 12:01 Christmas morning but again that is a story for another chapter.

But the moral of this story mommas is if you feel like something is off, or wrong, or different trust your instinct. In fact the moment we left after my none stress test the nurse told me if I got to the parking lot and was worried about something else to just come back. It is better to be over cautious and get something checked when the resources are available – especially when you are going through this completely new completely overwhelming  experience. You are not alone and you have a whole team behind you. I am so thankful for not just the team of my friends and family, but the amazing team of nurses, doctors, and hospital staff that helped get me through my white coat syndrome, GD, large baby delivery, pregnancy.

No matter what your pregnancy throws at you momma just remember you are strong as a mother and you can do this.

Next up L&D – the real fun stuff.

xo

Mia

Pain relieving tips you may not have thought of

Pain relief is a complex thing. What works for one person is not necessarily guaranteed to work for another, and that means trial and error is the only real approach to find out what works for you. When I was dealing with pain during my pregnancy I was getting tips and tricks from everyone – but I felt that a lot of them didn’t work specifically for me – so I wanted to share a few pain reliving tips that did work for me that you might not of thought of yet. 

Swimming

I started to get into swimming during my pregnancy since it was one of the exercises that didn’t hurt and actually  helped with your pain.When you’re in the water, it takes your weight and leaves you weightless, meaning that there is less pressure on your body. As well as this, when you swim around properly, you are using all of your muscles and keeping them warm, not allowing them the chance to seize up. Keeping your muscles warm and well used is important to feeling good physically, and swimming is the easiest way to do this without risking any kind of strain. I loved it so much I have actually signed up for a triathlon 

 

Acupuncture

Another form of pain relief that I really got into during my pregnancy. Firstly for nausea but then for other aches and pains. This is the process of sticking tiny needles into your skin to relieve any stresses and pains you have going on. It has been around for thousands of years and has been proven to work for many different customers. If you are wanting to find out more about acupuncture and how it can help you then take a look at https://qitcm.ca/services/acupuncture/

Herbal Remedies

Something else that might be able to relieve you of your aches and pains is herbal remedies. If you are opposed to using painkillers from over-the-counter or your doctor then you can take more natural substances. They work the same way but are much better for your body. It isn’t just pain that herbal remedies can help with. They can also help you to sleep much better at night, you might be struggling to settle down each night. Reach for some camomile tea to help ease your mind and help you sleep soundly. 

 

Sort Yourself Mentally

Lastly I think it is important to realize taking care of your physical health also means taking care of your mental health. A lot of people don’t realize there is a strong link  between the two b, and if you think that nothing is going to work, then it’s likely that you’re going to be right. It might be the case that you need to consider counselling in order to sort your mental health, and get you back on the right track.

Hopefully this will help you on your journey to find pain relief, 

XO
Mia

Why gestational diabetes was a blessing in disguise

I remember hearing from friends how awful the diabetes test was. You would have to drink this disgusting sugary drink and then have your blood taken to see if you had developed gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. I didn’t know much about gestational diabetes, and honestly didn’t think much of it because I didn’t have any of the predispositions. I am extremely active and a normal weight, there is no diabetes in my family, I was under 35 and this was my first child. I thought I would go into the test and be told everything was normal. I was wrong. Soon after my first test I got the call from my doctor saying the first test was inconclusive and I would have to go back for a longer and more intense test.

Then I got the phone call I really didn’t want to hear, I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I was in a store and I just broke down in tears. Fear came over me, what did this mean for the pregnancy? What did this mean for the baby?

My doctor told me the next steps would be meeting with a dietitian to come up with a game plan. I would also have to start monitoring my blood sugar levels.

On the call, there were several other women who were also in the same boat as me. The dietician went over how we wold monitor our sugar levels and gave us some tips on how to eat properly, as well as some GD friendly snacks we could try.

The next week was brutal. I had to test me levels six times a day, poking my finger before and after every meal. Writing down everything that I ate, and making sure I was going on at least a 15 minute walk after every meal. Despite my best efforts, sometimes my sugars would spike and I would feel extremely discouraged. I felt pity, guilt, and overall sadness that what should be one of the happiest times in my life was becoming a time of constant monitoring, worrying, and fear.

As the week went on though I was able to start to make sense of what worked for my body and what didn’t. I was surprised at how small changes made a huge difference: substituting white bread for whole wheat and tropical fruits for local berries. I was luckily able to control my sugar levels through diet.

On top of eating healthier – protein and veggies at every meal with some complex carbs – I was also forcing myself to move daily. On days that I was super tired it would be something as easy as a walk after my meals. But as I started to eat healthier (and I even lost some weight) I had more energy. I continued doing spin and pregnancy safe HITT classes – and to be honest the aches and pains I thought I would have during my pregnancy never came, nor did the third trimester fatigue.

On top of feeling healthy and energized during my pregnancy I also felt like my birth and recovery was a lot easier thanks to all the exercise I was doing ahead of time. When it came to pushing during labour I felt strong and in control. Post birth my body felt really good. I wasn’t in pain and was able to get back to walking and exercise fairly quickly. I was also back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly because of how active I was ahead of time.

Yes, being diagnosed with gestational diabetes was scary and yes it was hard to cut out sweets when I was dealing with endless pregnancy cravings, and yes it was hard to keep moving when I couldn’t even put socks on due to my giant belly, but overall I actually think there were some positive takeaways. So mommas if you get diagnosed with GD, keep your head high, you got this! And here are some tips that I found really helped me navigate GD.

Ways to cope with gestational diabetes 

1. Find alternatives for your favourite food items

I love toast, so it was easy to substitute white bread for whole wheat. Same goes for pasta. I was also enjoying eating yogurt, granola and bananas. So I started buying greek yogurt instead of vanilla and would add berries instead of bananas. Even switching milk for dark chocolate can make a big difference. Oh and I satisfied my ice cream cravings with halo ice cream (a low sugar option but still lots of different and delicious flavours to chose from.)

2. Find some exciting low sugar recipes

Sure it took a little more effort to come up with dinner ideas, but trust me there are some delicious options out there. I am a big fan of the cooking blog pinchofyum and the great thing is they have a whole section dedicated to low sugar meals and snacks. It made dinner time fun.

3. Stay active while also listening to your body

I am a very active person, but when you have been growing a human for 9 months there are days where you don’t even want to get out of bed. So I would try and find activities that fit my energy level for that day, but I would always make time for me to move. 9 months pregnant I would be doing anything from an intense spin class to just a 15 minute walk around the block. To be honest though on the days I didn’t want to do anything, just getting out for some fresh air made me feel more energized.

4. Don’t forget the snacks

Like I said I am quite active and so there were days that I would go out for hour long hikes and my sugar levels would actually drop too low  and so it was really important for me to find some easy GD friendly snacks that I could bring on hikes. Nuts was a great option and hard boiled eggs was another go to.

5. Eat a well balanced meal

When you have gestational diabetes is it is important to still eat carbs, but just make sure they are complex carbs. During your pregnancy it is also important to eat lots of protein (with GD lean protein should be your go to) and iron levels can suffer so you want to make sure you also have some greens.

6. Drink lots of water

I was so surprised one day when I had a high sugar level before a meal and so I went for a walk first and drank some water. The walk was only 10 minutes but the combination of walking and water made my levels go way down. Water helps dilute sugar and bring down your levels. I would mix it up by adding lemon or a glass of sparkling water, but just avoid adding anything too sugary for taste.

7. Treat yourself every once in a while

This is supposed to be the most exciting time in your life – but pregnancy is also hard and you are working very hard to make this little human, so if you are craving a cupcake every once in a while go for it. Safe splurges kept me sane during my pregnancy (like a little piece of cake at my baby shower).

8. Remember you are not alone

Meghan Trainor, Selma Hayek, and even Angelina Jolie are all human and all had gestational diabetes so try not to get too down on yourself (or feel guilty like I sure did). I found that reaching out to other mommas who were diagnosed with GD made me feel a bit better and sharing tips and tricks with them was always helpful. It was also great to share a glass of wine and a sugary treat once our babies arrived.

Good luck mommas you got this!

xo

Mia

 

 

Boosting your calorie restricted diet

I have struggled with my weight for most of my life. Having been a professional athlete fitness has always been a part of my life, but over the years in talking with experts I have realized nutrition is just as if not more important than the fitness side when it comes to being healthy. So recently I have been focused on my eating habits and tracking calories.  You might have gotten used to portion control and meal planning to keep your calories in check, but to work out effectively, you also need to make sure you’re meeting your nutritional needs. So, how do you do that without adding tons of calories to your diet?

Photo by Ovidiu Creanga from Pexels

Do not fast

The very first thing that should be made clear: calorie-restricted diets should not be a term used interchangeably with fasting or with tea cleanses that require you to cut your calories down to extreme lows. Intermittent fasting can help, but you have to make sure that you’re eating a healthy amount of calories a day so you avoid issues like malnutrition because your body simply isn’t getting enough energy. This is all about managing weight but in a healthy manner. 

 

Get your nutrients from the right places

What food you’re eating matters as much as how much you’re eating, of course. You might be within your calorie goals in terms of your diet, but if you’re relying entirely on processed foods, you’re going to be missing out big time when it comes to the nutrients. Fresh food diets are much, much better because whole foods not only have more nutrients in them, but they have a higher bioavailability, meaning that it’s easier for your body to absorb them. Look at some of the fresh food delivery services near you if you have trouble getting your hands on fresh produce.

 

Use supplements to make up

If you’re trying to push for specific exercise goals, then you should make sure that you’re also adjusting your diet to those aims. You might find that even with a well-balanced diet, you still need a few extra nutrients to meet your daily recommendations. To that end, you can take a look at a supplement store for easy ways to slip those nutrients into your diet. Of course, you should talk to your doctor about supplements if you’re on any medication or dealing with any chronic health issues. They’re safe for the majority of people, but it’s worth looking out.

 

Keep track

Simply put, you should make sure you know exactly what your body is getting, instead of doing guesswork. There are some pretty great diet tracking apps out there that look not only at the calories you’re eating, but the macronutrients such as fat, protein, and carbs, and then break it down even deeper into the micronutrients. Using these apps, you can fine-tune your diet and what supplements you’re taking to ensure that you’re meeting all the needs of a healthy body while still maintaining the calorie count that you need to manage your weight.

 

It may be the case that you need to adjust your calorie restrictions, allowing yourself a little more to get the nutrition that you need, as well. You can set standards for yourself, but don’t make them so inflexible that you can’t get the nutrients that you need.

Good luck with those fitness goals friends,

xo

Mia

How to create a healthier home

Image by Denise Husted from Pixabay

I know this might be pretty obvious, but everyone wants to feel healthy and at their best right? I know during this pandemic feeling our best doesn’t come as easy. It has been mentally and emotionally draining on all of us but you are probably still trying to do what you can to wake up feeling good. Some steps you might be taking is easting right, exercising regularly, and making sure you  get enough sleep. Each of these is vital, but there may be one influence on your health you overlook, and that is your home. Your home plays a significant role in your wellbeing and impacts everything from your mood to your physical health. Creating a healthy home is an investment in your wellbeing and can enhance every area of your life. If you want to create a healthier home, here are some things you can do: 

Improve Air Quality

You may not have thought about your home’s air quality, but if indoor air quality is poor, it can cause various problems. Low indoor air quality can cause allergy symptoms and exacerbate conditions such as asthma. A reduction in indoor air quality can occur if your home has inadequate ventilation or if your air conditioning is not functioning correctly. If you spot an issue with your air conditioning unit, it is wise to call an emergency ac repair service to get the problem solved and ensure your air conditioning is working efficiently once again.

Keeping up with maintaining your HVAC system is the best way to keep it working efficiently for longer. 

Another important way to keep your home healthier is to install a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide can pollute your home without you even knowing as it is an odourless gas. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are potentially severe, so it is vital to reduce your exposure.

 

Reduce Excess Moisture

Having excess moisture in your home can lead to mold and mildew forming. Mold and mildew not only look pretty gross, but they also are not great for your health. Depending on your sensitivity to mold spores, they can cause you to have allergy-like symptoms including a runny nose, itchy eyes, and headaches. 

Mold can appear in many forms in the home and could look like patches of black dots on your wall or other surfaces, or even have a ‘furry’ appearance. If you notice mold in your home, you may want to get it removed to prevent it from spreading and get your home looking great again.

To prevent mold from forming in your home, it is essential to keep your moisture levels low. The most crucial step in reducing moisture in your home is to prevent condensation. Condensation often occurs in the bathroom and kitchen. Activities such as taking your daily shower and cooking can create large amounts of condensation, leading to mold developing. Improving ventilation in your home while you are showering or cooking is the best way to keep moisture at bay. The simplest solution is to open the window before you shower or start cooking, as this will prevent condensation. If you hang wet laundry around your home, this can also increase moisture levels. If possible, it is best to let your laundry dry outdoors rather than inside, where it can create condensation.

Here is to a healthier and happier home my friends,

xo

Mia