“I can’t eat that.”
It’s a phrase I’ve spent two decades struggling not to have to say.
Yes, I have Type 1 diabetes, but I also have this shit (mostly) under control. So bring on the ice cream, and the marshmallow peeps, and the pizza and the cereal. Just please bring them with an accurate carbohydrate count and a few measuring cups. And maybe a food scale.
But now I’m pregnant (in case you forgot), and I’m finding it hard to maintain my cautiously rebellious relationship with off-limits foods. Which foods are off-limits for a Type 1 diabetic who happens to be harboring a tiny fetal passenger? It might be easier to talk about what’s not forbidden:
- String cheese
It’s possible there are a few additional foods to choose from, but from my experience, the above three seem to be the only safe bets — especially when you consider the dangers posed by high blood sugars, low blood sugars, listeria, mercury, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and any other threats announced by the paranoid sadists at American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
In times of yore (read: six months ago), I’d avoid a post-restaurant-meal high blood sugar by ordering something low in carbohydrates, but high in excitement: an ahi tuna salad with avocado and glass of wine. Perfect. But now the tuna’s out to destroy my unborn child, and the wine’s right there to back it up. It’s the same deal with meat and cheese plates, sushi, caesar dressing, turkey sandwiches, sprouts, brie — even SALAD IN A BAG, people!
Food that’s deemed safe for pregnancy tends to scare me on the diabetes front. After forcing down some quinoa salad or even a cup of yogurt, I can rest easy in the fact that I’m not directly poisoning my child, but the obsession over the blood sugar kicks in. Did I count all the carbohydrates correctly? Will I be under 120 in an hour? Am I dropping too fast? Should I have had more protein? Would a square bolus have worked better? How will all of this look when I upload it and print it out next week?
I’m trying really hard not to spend this entire 40 weeks freaking out, or complaining — or freaking my husband out with all of my complaining. I just want everything to be okay, and at the same time, I’m struggling to hold on to as much of my non-pregnant, semi-normal life as I can.
Only 170-something days left, and then I’ll be welcoming our little Wojcik into the world with a stick of pepperoni, a tub of raw cookie dough, and a big glass of champagne.