Feel Good Friday

A few weeks ago, I was going through some post-partum depression. Some of it had to do with my son’s diagnosis, but I think the main culprit was those post-pregnancy and/or breast feeding hormone adjustment. To be honest, I didn’t even realize I was really feeling so down until I felt “up” again. It really wasn’t until my husband noticed I was feeling better and made a comment that he had been worried about me, that it really shed the light on how sad I had been feeling. In hind sight, I realized that I had been more reserved, less motivated, less silly… less the happy little wife and mother that I truly am. I’m still not sure what went sour, nor when or how it went away. But now that I have recognized that sort of mood as a mild depression (in my unprofessional opinion), I can also recognize when I start to feel that way again and do something about it.

I’m unsure whether it’s the gloomy weather today, the trying attitude of my five-year-old (imagine eye-rolling, mocking, back-talking… we’ve had a few privileges taken away and several timeouts recently!), or just the ups and downs of being a mom of an infant with a chronic illness, but I am feeling a little bit funky again. I believe in positive energy and that an optimistic attitude can cure any mood. And to add an extra oomph of happy in my day, I want to share with you a couple of songs to which I simply can not feel bad while listening. I also can’t help but to sing and dance! If something has you down today, please join me on this “Feel Good Friday” by watching these YouTube videos! If something has you down, just don’t let it keep you down for long. Have a great weekend!

 

What are some things that help you to feel good when you’re down?


A Growing Family

Our Close Family just got a little bigger!

Our second son was born yesterday!

Stay tuned for further blog posts, which I promise will become much more regular, as I am also officially now a stay-at-home mom! I have lots of ideas to talk about and share, but I’m currently spending some much needed bonding time with my two little boys and husband!

Please standby! 🙂


The Reason for My Blogging Hiatus: Getting Gestational Diabetes Under Control

It has been over a month since I last published a new post to my blog, and I’m ready to write about the reason for such a long, unplanned break from blogging. On Good Friday, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Before that day, I would have considered myself a fairly healthy person. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been somewhat lazy about exercising during this pregnancy, but I also take care of four infants by myself during the day, (although we just recently enrolled a fifth infant, which means I have an assistant again!) so I’m very active while at work, and then I tend to put my feet up and relax once I get to the comfort of my home. My diet has always been decent, and this pregnancy has been no different. In fact, pregnancy causes me to think about what kinds of food I put into my system even more than usual. I do most of the grocery shopping and cooking for my family, and I love to find new recipes that are both delicious and nutritious. While I do have a sweet tooth, I grew up with a father who was diabetic and a mother who taught me that everything is okay in moderation, so I rarely overindulge on the sugary, fried, or greasy foods. Chocolate and ice cream are my biggest junk food weaknesses, but I satisfy those cravings with an occasional handful of chocolate candy or a small Blizzard from Dairy Queen. I’ve always stayed within the normal weight range for my age and height, and while I don’t count calories or diet often, I keep my weight under control through occasional exercise and portion control. To sum it up best, I took a health questionnaire for our health insurance just a week or two before Good Friday, and after calculating my results, I received an on-screen message to “keep up the good work!”

And then came the phone call from my OB’s nurse, stating that I had failed the three-hour glucose test, which meant that I did in fact have gestational diabetes. I was shocked. I was upset. And as the words sank in, so did all the questions and guilt:

“Why is this happening to me?”

“What did I do wrong?”

“I didn’t do enough to take care of myself and my baby boy.”

When we got home, I cried and cried. I felt like a failure.

And after my one person pity-party was over, the next question came: “What do I need to do now?”

I Googled it, and read about ten different sources worth of information on the subject. I changed my eating habits immediately. This was hard to do, especially over Easter weekend! Filling my five-year-old’s plastic eggs with some of my favorite candy felt like torture! Not being able to talk to the specialist until my appointment the following Thursday meant I was on my own for nearly a week, not knowing exactly what this disease meant for myself and my baby, but I was determined to try my best to fix the problem immediately. So I cut back my carbs. A lot. By the time I got to the doctor’s office for my appointment with the diabetes educator, the dietician, and the specialist doctor, I had lost three pounds, and I was spilling ketones in my urine. Thankfully, I have a great team of medical staff who all set me straight on the best diet, exercise, and blood sugar testing schedule for my situation. Instead of eating three large meals each day like I used to, I now eat six small meals about three hours apart, and I include appropriate amounts of protein and carbohydrates at every meal and snack. I also take my blood sugar by sticking my finger with a nearly painless One Touch, four times per day. I also incorporate a fifteen minute walk every day, usually after supper. And I am very happy to say that the diet change and exercise are working well for me! I may have a high reading here or there (146 has been the highest so far, when it should be 130 or less when I test one hour after eating), but for the most part, my blood sugar is staying very stable, and I do not need to take insulin to control it. Phew! An ultrasound last week showed my baby boy to be developing and growing at a normal rate, which is the main goal of managing gestational diabetes.

According to statistics, both women who have had gestational diabetes and their children are at a high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. Although diabetes is in my genes and therefore also in my children’s genes, all is not lost. By maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program post-pregnancy, I can help my family avoid this disease. I don’t plan to take all sugar away, but I will make sure that all of our diets essentially follow a diabetic meal plan similar to the one I am on now. I will continue to occasionally splurge on a sugary treat, but the visits to Dairy Queen will be less frequent, and adding more protein into our diet is a must. We will also maintain a very active lifestyle, because exercise does wonders for maintaining blood sugar levels, in addition to many other benefits for the body!

I grew up watching my father struggle with diabetes. Watching him take insulin shots. Watching him check his blood sugar. Watching him go through low blood sugar reactions, where he sounded insane. Watching his kidneys fail and have to go on dialysis. Watching him go through two kidney transplants (because the first one was rejected by his body) and one pancreas transplant, two hip replacement surgeries, eye surgery, and countless doctor appointments, lengthy periods of hospitalization, and medications. I am so happy to say that today, he is healthy, and because of the successful transplants, he is diabetes-free. But it took a couple of decades for him to get to that point, and it’s something that I never want my children to have to witness their parent go through, let alone to have to go through themselves.

Throughout this whole situation, my husband and son have been unbelievably supportive. My husband and I explained in an appropriate, easy-to-understand way about diabetes to our son, and he knows the types of foods that I can’t have. We go on evening walks after supper as a family. We buy, prepare, and eat foods that “Mommy can eat.” They remind me to take my blood sugar when I get busy and forget. They clap and cheer for me when I have no-high-blood-sugar-reading days. They have been simply wonderful, and going through this with them and their love and support has made me appreciate the family that I have even more than I already did. And for me, that’s the silver lining behind what I originally thought of as such a dark cloud over my head: that we are learning to be healthier as a family, and that instead of alienating myself with a wall of self-pity, my family and I are getting stronger and closer together through this each day.


Making Those First Connections

My family loves to bond with the baby boy growing inside of me. My husband likes to talk to him, using his big, booming Daddy voice, so the baby will know who is in charge when he makes his arrival! My five-year-old whispers into my abdomen, “Baby… It’s your brother…” And as soon as I remind him that he has to speak loudly for the baby to hear him, he then yells, “Wake up, Baby!!” Silly child! And we all love touching my belly, patiently waiting for a kick or a jab. All of these are some of the fun, wonderful ways that families bond with their unborn children. But we all know that the most significant bond during this stage of a baby’s life is that of the baby and the mother, since their bodies are literally connected!

From the moment I took the pregnancy test that told me there was a tiny little human developing somewhere in my uterus, I have felt a wonderful mixture of love, joy, and concern for the baby’s well-being. I do my best to make sure that I eat properly, take my prenatal vitamin daily, read up on and apply pregnancy knowledge, and simply take care of myself while pregnant. However, the one area I have to admit that I have slacked in is exercise. It’s not that I don’t enjoy exercising, because I’ve honestly always loved that feeling after completing a decent workout. This time of year, with Spring just around the corner and Summer (swimsuit season!) immediately to follow, I typically begin a diet focused on portion control, along with a workout regime based on running outdoors (The Concrete Runner is a great blogging inspiration for you fitness mamas!) and a variety of aerobic workout videos. However, I have to admit that during my pregnancy, I’ve definitely become l-a-z-y.

While recently browsing the What to Expect website, my go-to source for most of my information on pregnancy, I came across several articles on the importance of exercise during pregnancy. The one article that spoke to me the loudest stated that not only will it benefit my own body and make it a bit easier to carry the extra weight, but it is also beneficial for the baby! Research shows that babies of moms who exercised  during pregnancy score higher on general intelligence tests by age five. That was the one piece of information that I needed to motivate myself!

I found a Yoga for Pregnancy workout DVD that I had used during my first pregnancy (and my son is pretty smart, now that I think about it…), and I finally put it to use! At 28 weeks pregnant, it’s better late than never. Typically when I exercise, I tend to do the kind of workout that really kicks my butt. I like to be sweating, breathing hard, lungs burning, and heart-rate soaring post-workout! But when you’re pregnant, this kind of activity is not recommended, so I have to change my mind about what “exercise” means to me. Yoga is a great activity that promotes stretching, good posture, and more efficient breathing. When I finish the DVD program, I feel like I have more room in my body for myself and the baby. But what I really love about it is that it gives me time to really relax and focus completely on my baby. It provides me with a rare opportunity–other than when I can’t sleep at night–that I am alone with my baby and my thoughts, so that I can feel a deeper sense of connection with my little one. Bonding with my children is important, and usually, so is exercise, and yoga for pregnancy helps me fulfill both of those needs at the same time!

I plan to continue doing yoga a couple of times each week, while my husband gets that time to bond with our other son one-on-one (which will also be great practice for post-birth, when I will need time to recover, rest, and nurse with our baby). It’s a win-win situation!

 

What kind of exercise did you or are you enjoying during your pregnancy?