5.20.2012

Sold - Our First House

Our Little Yellow Victorian House

We get the keys today!

As if having a baby wasn't enough we thought we would throw in buying a house and moving into it when I am 8 1/2 months pregnant!

We wanted a fairly small home with three bedrooms and a garage with space for gardening.  This house more than fit the bill with just under 1,500 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths and an over sized two-car garage. Plus a large patch of ground in full sun that will become my vegetable garden.

I always imagined I'd live in a house like my parent's house; a ranch from the 50's-80's.  And that's what we were looking at with the realtor.  At one point I mentioned to her how we really like living in Victorian houses because of all the light.  The last two places we have rented have been units in old turn of the century houses.  Victorians tend to be huge houses which is why they get cut up into apartments so I'd never really considered owning one.  When she suggested we look at this one floor Victorian cottage, I was smitten. I love the tall ceilings, huge windows, wood floors and all the old details like transom windows, glass door knobs and wood trim.  Plus this house was move in ready.  The previous owners have taken really good care of it.

Now I'll give you a quick little tour.  These photos are from our walk through with the Realtor.  So they show how the previous owners were living in it.  Once we are moved in it will look much less put together.  We tend to favor modern light colored wood and furnishing which don't really go with the turn of the century vibe of the house.  It will take some time for us to mesh our styles.

The pictures were mostly taken with my iphone, so they aren't up to my normal quality.  I'll take a second round once we're move in.


There are lots of brightly color walls, which I feel a Victorian era house can handle.  The kitchen is green and  a coppery orange. This is perfect considering this blog is a similar color scheme and many of my food photos are taken in the kitchen.


There is a huge island in the middle with some fancy imported stone that is not granite.  I almost think the island is too big and there isn't enough room around it.  The real test will come the first time I make dinner. If it is too big, we have decided to make a dining room table out of the stone.


The side door enters into the laundry room and that passes through to the kitchen.  We do not get the fancy red washing machines, but we do get the owner's old normal white ones that are living in the garage currently.  No more schlepping clothes from the second floor to the basement for washing!  That will be key once the cloth diapers get into rotation.  We will need a clothes line outside too.  In the mean time I have several folding clothes racks.  


Off the laundry, in what was at one point a one-car garage, is the guest bedroom.  It's the only carpeted room in the house.  The of the rest  of the house has wood or tile.  We've already gotten a guest bed for all the baby visitors in the near future.  


The front door enters into the dining room.  The walls are chartreuse. At first that was scary but now it has grown on me.  I am enchanted with the stain glass transom above the door that has the house number in it.

The dining room is big enough we could easily sit eight to twelve people.  We can now get a dining room table!  Well once our finances settle and we get over the shock of paying a mortgage every month.


The bay window is in the dining room.  It faces south. I am guessing that this will be our cat's favorite spot.


Pass through the French doors off the dining room and there's the living room.  It has two west facing windows. I know some folks don't like ceiling fans, but I don't care about looks; they are wonderful in the summer.


On the north side of the house are the two original bedrooms and bathrooms.  They are both fairly small.  Here's the nursery.  The family that owned the house has a little boy.  I love the blue walls for a boy or a girl.  Our baby will be right at home when he/she arrives.  


I'm pretty thrilled about this room.  The hall bath comes with a claw foot tub!  I can't wait to have a bathtub again.  I also love the slate blue walls and how the underside of the tub matches.


I must not have taken any photos of the master bedroom.  Here's the photo from the realty website.  It is also small, but it's plenty of room for a queen bed.  We get all the curtains with the house. I should have ask for the matching bed spread too!


And this is the master bath.  It is part of an addition (the other part is the laundry room) so it doesn't have the 10 foot ceilings like the rest of the house.  I don't care, I'm just excited to have two bathrooms.  This will be the first time in my life I have lived in a place with a bathroom to people ratio of 1:1.


Here's how you know it is an old house: rock foundation with a brick floor basement.  Not really living space, but it will be a nice for storage.  


I saved the best for last.  This is the east side of the house.  Jeff's excited that there are two windows in the rear of the garage and room for a work bench and tools.  I'm excited that there's a big chunk of turf just waiting to be turned into a vegetable plot.  Probably not this year, but I hope this fall to prepare the beds so we can be ready to plant next spring.  

I have not given up on my dream of building a tiny house.  I think there is room on the edge of the lot to build one.  Perhaps we can rent it to college students or do one on a trailer and travel with it.  

We've got lots on our docket.  If you don't see any new blog posts for a while, you'll know why.  The baby is due June 6th and from now until the birth we plan on using our time to get as comfortable in our new house as possible.  The next time I blog we'll most likely be parents and home owners!

This post was part of the Simple Lives Thursday Blog Hop.  Check it out for more information on consuming less and producing more.

5.17.2012

The Humble Radish for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

Radishes freshly pulled from the earth at the Hawkin's Farm CSA.  
Radishes grow so quickly and easily they are often taken for granted by the gardener.  For the cook, they are often dismissed because they become over grown and are too peppery and woody to enjoy.  However, get them when they are picked young and crunchy and the hint of spice comes just at the end of each bite and you too will be a radish convert. 

A tip for the gardeners out there: stagger your planting of radishes. Plant a couple feet every week or two.  That way you have a staggered harvest as well.  You won't feel overwhelmed with more radishes than you can use.  If you do have a more than you can use harvest them before they get too big and hold them in the refrigerator.

Perhaps your radish aversion runs deep and you need a little more convincing?  Keep reading to learn how radishes are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner all over the world.  

Radishes are for more than just salads. What pairs well with radishes?
  • Creamy dairy like goat cheese, brie, cream cheese, mayo or butter
  • Citrus in salads or with the citrus juice squeezed over to brighten a dish
  • Cucumber and radish sliced thin as a salad
  •  Fava beans, peas or pea shoots
  •  Salt
  •  Smoked or salted fish like smoked salmon, pickled herring or sardines

Ways to Prepare Radish:
  •  Roasted with other veggies or thrown into chilies or stews
  •  Pickled and used as a condiment for sliders, tacos, and salads
  •  Diced fresh into dips or spreads
  •  Julienned into coleslaws
  •  Sliced thin on Tartines (French open faced sandwiches)

Now here are some recipes to get your radish juices flowing: 

Polenta with Roasted Veggies including Radishes from my very own blog.  Click here for a link to the recipe.
Last fall with the second round of radishes coming in, I decided to try roasting them with other veggies to go with Italian polenta.  I was not disappointed.  They become sweeter and softer when given a little time under the broiler.  This recipe is easily tweaked for spring vegetables.  Try leeks, new potatoes, young carrots and asparagus with the radishes.

The American tendency is to add radishes to mayonnaise.  This delicious dip uses the radish for crunch and tempers its pepperiness with mayo and cream cheese plus dill and garlic.  This would make an excellent dip for corn chips or as a sandwich spread; think with roast beef or pork.  

Hoisin Steak Sliders with Marinated Radish from The Cozy Apron.  Click here for a link to the recipe.
BBQ is an other great place to use the radish.  Its crunch will benefit a coleslaw or in this case they are marinated and used as a condiment for Hoisin Steak Sliders.

Pickled Radishes from The Healthy Green Kitchen. Click here for a link to the recipe.
If you like the idea of marinated radishes, you'll probably be interested in the pickled form.  This quick recipe will yield one cup of carrot radish sweet refrigerator pickles.  She recommends putting them on sandwiches or eating them straight out of the jar.  

Miso soup with radishes from Shizuoka Gourmet.  Click here for a link to the recipe.
Japanese miso (fermented soybean paste) soup commonly features dicon radishes, but there is no reason simple red radishes won't also make a great addition.  

French tartines with radish, sunflower sprouts and goat cheese spread from Gourmande in the Kitchen.  Click here for a link to the recipe.
The French are known for their love of thinly sliced radish for breakfast on a hearty bread spread with a herbed butter or soft cheese, sprinkled with fleur de sal.  These open-faced sandwiches are known as tartines.  

Sauteed Radishes with Fava Beans from Gourmande in the Kitchen. Click here for a link to the recipe. 
Europeans are more likely to sautee their radishes with fava beans or spring peas.  

Radish Chips from Simple Comfort Foods.  Click here for a link to the recipe.
I'm not sure who to give this one credit to; probably Americans as we love to fry things.  These are spiced radish chips.  

How do you enjoy your radishes?

This post was part of the Simple Lives Thursday Blog Hop.  Check it out for more information on consuming less and producing more. As well as Scratch Cookin' Tuesdays and Farm Girl Fridays.

5.08.2012

Gestational Diabetes - My Story and Recipes

This is a little bit of a departure from my normal blog posts. However, I thought sharing my experience with gestational diabetes would be good to raise awareness and let other pregnant gals hear a first hand account.  I hope you keep reading and that you learn something.  The recipes, ideas and meal suggestions are healthy for anyone diabetic or not.

Gestational Diabetes Basics - FoyUpdate.blogspot.com

Heading into my third trimester gestational diabetes was not on my radar.  It blindsided me.  I didn't expect to be diagnosed. I've been very proactive about my health. I've focused on eating well, maintaining a good weight and getting exercise. I only had two of the risk factors: I'm over 25 and I do have history of type II diabetes from both my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother.  Although they both were diagnosed  late in life and already had other health problems so it just didn't seem relevant.  When I failed the first 1-hour non-fasting glucose test I figured it was a fluke and I would pass the longer 3-hour fasting glucose test.  I didn't.

Here I am at 30 weeks

For the 1-hour glucose test, anything over 130mg/dL (or 140mg/dL depending on your doctor) is high enough to warrant the three-hour test.  If your blood sugar is over 200mg/dL they don't even bother with the 3-hour test and confirm a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.   Usually pregnant women are tested between 24 and 28 weeks.  At week 28 my blood sugar tested at 138 mg/dL.

What is considered elevated blood glucose levels vary by doctor and practice.   From what I've read, I go to a fairly conservative practice. Below you can see the American Diabetes Association scores to diagnose gestational diabetes verses the practice I go to and then what my scores were.

Gestational Diabetes Basics - FoyUpdate.blogspot.com
Blood Glucose Tolerance Test Results for the 3-hour Fasting Glucose Test
(Information from Spring 2012)

The 3-hour fasting glucose test involves not eating for 12 hours, then having blood drawn.  That's the first fasting score.  Then you drink a very sugary liquid that has a specific amount of glucose in it.  Blood is drawn three more times at one hour intervals to see how your body is metabolizing sugar.  In order to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes you need to test high on two of the four blood draws.  I failed the 1-hour and although I didn't quite fail the 2-hour it was close enough.

At first I was mad, I felt let down by all my carefully planned meals and the changes I had already made to my diet before pregnancy: cutting way back on processed foods, growing and preserving my own vegetables, eating fresh and simple food. And then there were the changes I'd made for pregnancy.  I had increased my protein to over 60 grams a day, added foods high in omega three fatty acids three times a week and only bought hormone free, pastured meat and dairy.  I also felt unjustly diagnosed because only one test was actually high enough to fail.

Then I got over it.  If monitoring and regulating my blood sugar with diet and exercise would equal a healthier baby and a better pregnancy/birth experience than this was good.  It took about a week of reading up on gestational diabetes and several teary appointments with the midwives for me to not feel like I had somehow failed myself and my unborn kid.  I realized all the changes I made were still good and even mitigated some of the problems with having high blood sugar.  It wasn't something I had done, I couldn't have prevented it.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

I started reading about what having gestational diabetes means.  Gestational diabetes (GD) is caused by hormones put into the mother's blood stream by the baby's placenta that create insulin resistance.  As the placenta increases in size so does the amount of hormone produced.  The mother may need up to three times as much insulin to regulate her blood sugar during her last trimester.  If her pancreas can't increase insulin to meet the demands of her body glucose builds up in her blood stream resulting in GD.  Generally the placenta doesn't produce enough hormone to effect insulin levels until the third trimester.  Most testing is done between 24-28 weeks.

Here's a comparison of what a normal pregnant body does verses someone who has gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Chart - FoyUpdate.blogspot.com
This chart is from the pamphlet given to me at the hospital called: Gestational Diabetes Basics Second Edition

Since gestational diabetes becomes an issue in the third trimester it doesn't affect the development of the fetus.  There are no birth defects connected to GD.

A normal pregnant woman's blood glucose levels never go above 120 mg/dL, nor do they dip under 70 mg/dL. With GD blood sugar may go as high as 200-300 mg/dL.  Here's a comparison of how a normal, pre-diabetic and diabetic's blood glucose levels look like after eating.  Gestational diabetes is similar to being diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Gestational Diabetes Insulin Chart - FoyUpdate.blogspot.com

Although insulin does not cross the placenta, glucose does.  The extra blood glucose goes through the placenta, giving the baby high blood sugar levels. This causes the baby's body to make extra insulin to get rid of the excess blood glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat.  This means the baby is bigger.  I've read in a couple places that mother's who have given birth to babies over nine pounds are very likely to have had undiagnosed GD.  Having previous big babies is another one of the GD risk factors.

In extreme cases, untreated, exceptionally high blood sugar can cause still births.

Most women with gestational diabetes won't experience any symptoms, so the only way to know is to get tested.  Anymore it is a standard part of prenatal care. As for the cause, it's mostly genetic.  Partially the genetics of the mother and partially of the father, as the placenta that is producing the hormone is a combination of the parents just like the baby.  The only things that the mother can control to help prevent or minimize GD is to keep her weight, blood pressure and cholesterol in a healthy range.  Also not smoking, but you already knew you weren't supposed to do that while pregnant.

Gestational diabetes is fairly common, the American Diabetes Association reports that 18% of pregnant American women develop GD.  Once you've had GD you have a 20-50% chance of getting type II diabetes within 5-10 years. But you only have a one in three chance of developing GD in a subsequent pregnancy.  I thought that was interesting.  I'm not doomed to have GD the next time around.  Although I will do a yearly diabetes screening since I now have a such a high chance of developing diabetes.

What Happened After Being Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes

After being diagnosed I signed up for the gestational diabetes class at the local hospital.  It was one time deal that took three hours.  A licensed dietitian who specializes in diabetes taught the class.  It was me and two other newly diagnosed pregnant ladies.  The other two were also first time moms.  One poor gal was only there because she couldn't stomach the glucose drink and they couldn't do the blood tests so her doctor figured better safe than sorry.

Our teacher lead us through what GD is and then explained that most GD can be controlled simply by eating carbohydrates in small amounts spaced out over the day.  We got a basic meal plan to follow:
Breakfast: 30g carbohydrates
Snack: 15g carbohydrates
Lunch: 30-25g carbohydrates
Snack: 15g carbohydrates
Dinner: 45g carbohydrates
Snack: 15g carbohydrates
In order to get enough calories through out the day we get to eat every 2-4 hours and at each sitting never more than 45g of carbohydrates.  Also, distributed through out the day should be at least 25g of fiber, 60g of protein and 60g of fat.  Total calorie intake should be around 1,700. This plan varies by practice and your specific needs. This is what I was given.

In addition to eating in this special manner we were also encouraged to exercise by taking a walk for at least a half hour each day.

We were then treated to a long section of the dietitian holding up foods to demonstrate what  a reasonable serving of carbohydrates were in different things from peas to rice to oranges.  Luckily this wasn't surprising to me as I've measured my portions for years.  I could tell it was new to the other moms in the class. I would guess they were going to have to change the way they ate more drastically than I was.

Next we got a Gestational Diabetes Record Book to keep track of what foods we eat each day.  I already had a food diary where I recorded my protein intake.  I adjusted it to also track carbohydrate, fats and fiber.

Gestational Diabetes Blood Meter - FoyUpdate.blogspot.com
My blood glucose meter.  I prick my finger
 with the gray  thing, then insert a blue strip into
the meter and  touch it to the drop of blood.  Ten
seconds later my blood sugar level pops up.  
We then got blood glucose meters and were ask to take readings four times a day; once before eating in the morning and then an hour after each meal.  We were warned if we couldn't keep our blood levels between 70-95 mg/dL in the morning and under 130 mg/dL an hour after meals we would be put on medication.

Then we were let out into the world to figure out how to fit this new "treatment" into our lives.

At first pricking my finger to take blood glucose levels made me a bit queasy, but now it is normal.  And I like getting the instant feed back of how I am doing. Tip: if you get unexpected numbers wash your hands and test again. Sometimes I just didn't get my finger clean enough.  I also found the almond scented soap I was using gave me artificially high readings.  I switched to an unscented and haven't had any further issues.

Eating by this new plan I am almost never hungry.  I have found that I naturally eat just a little more than 1,700 calories.  Before being diagnosed I was gaining about a half pound a week in my second trimester.  I had gained 25 pounds which was the high end of where my midwife suggested I gain for the whole pregnancy.  I was told my weight gain would probably plateau once I started following the GD plan and it did.   In the first week of eating for gestational diabetes I lost about an 8/10ths of a pound and then gained no weight for the next three.  Just in the last couple weeks I have gained a half pound back.  To me that's a sign this is working.  My baby isn't making the extra blood sugar into surplus fat.

What if Diet and Exercise aren't Enough?  Medications for Gestational Diabetes

*Update* I'm adding this section in January 2013 because so many folks have asked about medications.  I didn't need medication so this is just my research on the topic.  If you have personal experience please fill in your knowledge in the comments below.

If you test really high (How high is that?  I'm not sure.) you might be put on medication right away.  Or if diet and exercise don't adequately control your blood sugar.  Some 20-25% of women who have been diagnosed with GD will require medication to control their blood sugar.

Group Health recommends initiation of pharmacological treatment if, during the previous week, the patient’s average readings are:

  • Fasting glucose greater than 90 mg/dL, or 
  • 1-hour post meal glucose greater than 120 mg/dL

Usually the first thing your doctor will try an injection form of insulin called NPH.  NPH stands for Neutral Protamine Hagedorn. Also called N insulin.  On average, NPH insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 6 to 10 hours after injection but keeps working about 10 hours after injection. It is considered a moderate (as opposed to fast or slow) acting insulin.  Hopefully this will bring your fasting levels down to below 90mg/dL consistently.

You will probably be asked to continue monitoring blood sugar as how much insulin your body can make and how much your body needs will change as your baby gets bigger.

There are other non-insulin drugs but as of 2011, the ADA and ACOG do not endorse the use of oral anti-hyperglycemic agents during pregnancy.  Such medication has not been approved by the FDA for treatment of GD. Doctors reserve other non-insulin treatments such as Metformin or Glyburide for women who cannot control blood glucose levels with diet and exercise and cannot or refuse to take insulin. If these meds are used, you should know that these drugs cross the placenta and may have unknown risks to the fetus.   (Here's my reference for this section: Group Health GD Guidelines for Health Providers)

What I am Eating with Gestational Diabetes


Gestational Diabetes Fruit and Cottage Cheese - FoyUpdate.blogspot.com
A half cup of cottage cheese with an
orange or strawberries for breakfast.
I am now 36 weeks pregnant and I am doing well managing my gestational diabetes.  It took me a couple weeks to figure out what works for my body, everyone is a little different.  Luckily the midwives understand that there is a learning curve and gave me a pass on the couple times I have spiked my blood sugar.

Breakfast

Breakfast was the hardest to figure out.  Toast, a cup of milk or one pancake would put my blood sugar 10mg/dL over the limit.  After some experimentation I found I could eat only 15 grams of carbohydrates first thing in the morning.  A half cup cottage cheese with a cup of fruit has been my go to food.  This gets me protein and fiber along with just enough carbs.  My blood sugar is consistently right on target in the 100-110 mg/dL range one hour later.

I've also been eating breakfast cookies, substituting more nuts for the dried fruit.  These are handy to eat when on the go as well.  They have been my take along snacks many times. Each cookie has 26g of carbohydrates.
Gestational Diabetes Breakfast Cookies - FoyUpdate.blogspot.com
Breakfast Cookies

Snacks

My snacking didn't change much from what I was eating before.  Usually it's a protein plus a starch or fruit.

  • Cucumbers or bell peppers with homemade yogurt ranch dip
  • Small apple with string cheese
  • 1/4 cup salsa with 1/4 cup cottage cheese and 10 tortilla chips
  • 10 pretzels with 2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
  • Hard boiled egg
  • 1/4 cup mixed raw nuts
  • 1/4 cup of hummus with veggies
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate
  • 2/3 of a fruit smoothie (I can't eat them first thing in the morning.  They've got too many carbs, but they make a great snack and I freeze the rest for later.)
Lunch

Often I eat leftovers from dinner for lunch.  I also keep Ezekiel wraps (sprouted grain tortillas) on hand and fill them with grilled chicken, veggies, mayo, mustard and some cheese.  I also do a Waldorf salad inspired wrap of chicken, sliced apple, balsamic vinegar mayo, lettuce and toasted pecans.  

Dinner

I am continuing to work on different ideas for dinner.  This is when I am most at risk for eating too many carbs and having a high blood sugar reading.  Things that are working so far:
Gestational Diabetes Burger - FoyUpdate.blogspot.com
Cheese burger with grilled asparagus

Dessert

This is a hard one.  I really don't get to eat dessert anymore.  Luckily I haven't had sugar/ice-cream/doughnut cravings because those foods all have a lot of carbs. I decided I didn't want to use artificial sweeteners which makes options limited.  It seems like all diabetic desserts involve some form of Equal, NutraSweet or other non-saccharide sweetener.  I've been eating half servings of fancy dark chocolate after my evening walk as my dessert.

For the record I thought maybe I could handle a mini-blizzard which has about 45g of carbs.  Nope.  Even after a walk my blood sugar was elevated.

Exercise 

At first I was dubious about how much of a difference exercise would make to gestational diabetes.  But, I am a believer now.  I make sure to get a half-hour walk in each day, even the days my hips hurt or my ankles are swollen.  Walks are particularly useful if I take my blood sugar and it's too high or if I know I ate too much, I can use exercise as a preemptive strike.  

Tonight, after a dinner I didn't measure out particularly well,  my blood sugar was 168 mg/dL.  Yikes!  I'm still learning I guess.  I immediately went for a brisk half-hour walk and when I got back my blood sugar was at a very acceptable 114 mg/dL.  

Exercise works because muscles need extra energy in the form of glucose when active.  With moderate exercise our muscles take up glucose at almost 20 times the normal resting rate which lowers blood sugar levels quickly.  (For more information click here.)

What Does Gestational Diabetes Mean for Labor and Delivery?

This will depend on your doctor or midwife.  I've read that some doctors insist on a Cesarean birth, but I think that's kind of old school these days.  I am going to a birth center and seeing a group of five nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.  The biggest draws for me are they have a very private birth facility where you have one midwife and nurse who stay with you the whole time and there is the option for water birth.  Also there are no drugs available. I think if I know there is no epidural I won't feel tempted when the going gets rough.  If needed, the hospital is five minutes away.  The midwives have admitting privileges and one of the practice's five OBGYNs is on call.  I like that it is all one cohesive unit and if I decide at any point in the next couple of weeks I'd rather be at a hospital for the birth, they will arrange for that.   

Back to the original question.  As long as I control my blood sugar levels I can give birth at the birth center.  Some doctors do extra ultra sounds and non-stress tests to make sure the baby is okay.  These tests check amniotic fluid level (too much can sometimes be a problem with GD and the baby won't go head down), measure fetus size and make sure the baby's heart is responding normally.  The practice I go to doesn't do those tests.  They just asked me to make sure the baby moves well each day.  So far so good.   They also measure the size of the uterus externally and as long as I am within 3 cm of where I am supposed to be they consider all to be well.  Also, so far so good.  

Gestational Diabetes During Labor

Depending on where you go you might be put on an IV drip of glucose to maintain blood sugar.  Where I'm going they will just have me check my blood sugar every two hours.  And if I need to I can eat something to keep my blood sugar up.  They suggest something with protein.  I am thinking mixed nuts, string cheese and fruit smoothies will be my take along snacks.  Although how hungry does one get during labor?  My fasting levels have always been good, so I shouldn't need any intervention.  

What if the baby is too big?

One of the risks of gestational diabetes is a bigger baby that can't be birthed vaginally.  In my case, the midwives consider labor to be the test of whether or not the baby is too big.  If labor doesn't progress, I'll get moved to the hospital and then they can do a Cesarean or whatever is needed.  Hopefully by keeping my blood sugar in the target ranges the baby's weight will be normal.  

What happens after birth?

After it is born the baby is immediately put to the breast.  Breast milk is one of the best ways to make sure the baby does not become hypoglycemic.  Remember the baby wasn't making the extra blood sugar, its mom was.  Once born, the baby may still be over producing insulin and blood sugar levels could drop too low causing hypoglycemia.  Sometime in the first hour the baby gets a heel prick and its blood is tested.  In almost all cases they are fine and their bodies adjust to make the right amount of insulin.  In rare cases, usually if the baby can't or won't be nursed, they give the baby a bottle of glucose water to bring up blood sugar.  

Once the placenta is delivered the mom is no longer getting the hormones that made her insulin resistant.  Within a couple days she will return to her normal non-diabetic state.  Moms should keep checking their blood glucose after birth until their doctor/midwife okays things.  There is the chance that the mother will have developed type II diabetes and not go back to normal.   

Conclusions

I'm looking forward to not pricking my finger four times a day.  Just four more weeks until my due date!

I have a lot more sympathy for folks living with diabetes.  Our industrialized culture eats sugary, refined carbohydrates in large quantities at most meals.  It would be challenging to maintain blood sugar long term without feeling left out.  

I have learned that eating for level blood glucose is very healthy even if you don't have diabetes.  I plan to keep eating small snacks, more protein and smaller quantities of carbohydrates.  However, I won't hold myself to quite such rigid standards.  I'll eat the crusts of my pizza and have ice-cream every now and then.  

Another thing I learned is that I was afraid of fat.  I'd been trained for so long by Weight Watchers and all the other diet preaching out there that low fat and low calorie foods are healthiest.  Fat is healthy too and should make up about 30% of a diet.  Just like protein, fat takes longer to break down (actually even longer than protein) into blood sugar and thus you feel fuller longer and it won't raise blood sugar unduly.  

Gestational Diabetes Carb, Fat and Protein Blood Sugar Chart - FoyUpdate.blogspot.com
This chart shows how carbohydrates, proteins and fats affect blood sugar over time.  Carbohydrates have the most dramatic peak between 30 minutes and an hour, proteins a more moderate peak in 2-4 hours and fats a low peak in 8-12 hours.  This chart is from: http://www.tudiabetes.org/forum/topics/583967:Topic:178783

I've been choosing fats that have been processed very little; namely olive oil, butter, and chicken, beef or pork fat that I render at home.  No more fat-free dressings or skimping on the butter for me.

I'd like to end with a message to any pregnant gals who read this because they have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Being diagnosed is a good thing.  Even though it is extra time and work to control your blood sugar it is worth it for your health and your baby's.  It's alright to be confused and upset by the sudden changes you'll need to make.  Look at it as an opportunity to learn more about how to live a healthy, happy life.

If you've had experiences with diabetes feel free to share your story in the comments.  It's nice to know I'm not alone!

*Update* June 20, 2012  

Our little girl was born on June 3rd, just three days before her due date!  She was born vaginally, weighing in at a  reasonable eight pounds.  I was relieved that I was able to keep her weight under nine pounds by controlling my gestational diabetes with diet and exercise.

The baby had no problems with her blood sugar levels. She was normal right from the start. 

During early labor I ate hummus with veggies, string cheese and a fruit smoothie.   In the last hour I had several cups of cranberry juice and a couple tablespoons of honey because I was so worn down from the long labor and they wanted to give me some quick energy.  

My blood sugar is also back to normal.  I did a couple checks one-hour after eating more than 45 grams of carbs and I was consistently below 120 mg/dL.  I celebrated by eating a bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice-cream.  

*Update* March 24, 2014

I am 28 weeks into my second pregnancy and just got the results for my 1-hour glucose test.  With a score of 138mg/dL I have just barely failed.  The midwives want to schedule a 3-hour test, however I have been self tracking and I have seen my blood sugar spike to 170mg/dL after a dinner of pasta and 160mg/dL after a bowl of cereal.  I need to dig out my old tracking notebook and start the four blood sugar tests a day again.  The new challenge this time will be finding foods my toddler likes and that are low-carb.  It will be good for her too.

Since my first pregnancy Pinterest has come into being.  Here's my Gestational Diabetes Recipe board.  I'll also probably write another GD blog post.  I'll link to it here once it is up.

This post is part of the Simple Lives Thursday Blog Hop