My Gestational Diabetes Story

Let’s just begin by putting this out there…I am a wuss! A major wuss. In 2010, I had to get my blood drawn as a normal part of a doctors appointment. This girl (me) made a separate appointment to come back with her husband so that he could hold her hand. Not only did he hold my hand, but I also almost passed out. I had brought a plum and a Capri Sun just in case and I actually needed them! Embarrassing!

Through that blood work, I found out that I have hypothyroidism and later found out that I have Hashimoto’s disease. There are two major problems with this. My thyroid is slow and mostly causes me to be tired and have really cold hands and feet. The second problem is that my body thinks that my thyroid is a foreign object, that it doesn’t belong. Because of this, my body wants to attack my thyroid if I don’t monitor my blood work. All of this background to say, this involves blood work every six weeks if my thyroid levels are not balanced. This puts me at higher risk of having gestational diabetes when I have babies. Which, I didn’t know.

Baby #1
My 28-week appointment rolls around. I drink the nasty, sugary drink, get my blood drawn, and leave thinking that I’m going to be just fine. Gestational diabetes isn’t that common anyways and what is the likelihood that I would actually get it? I got a phone call saying that I failed the one-hour glucose test and had to take the three-hour one. I convinced myself that I for sure don’t have it and that I will pass this next one with flying colors!

The three-hour test is no joke! First, they tell a PREGNANT woman that she cannot eat for a long period of time! Then, I have to drink an even more sugary drink and get my blood drawn four times in a three hour period. Let me remind you that I still HATE needles at this time. Long story short, I had a vein collapse, almost passed out, and snuck a piece of a pita chip (don’t tell!). Not only did I not pass with flying colors, I failed pretty miserably. When I got the phone call, I cried. How could it be true that I now have to prick my finger four times a day and eat healthily?! I was sent to a dietician to get the low down on how to prick my finger and what I needed to do to keep my sugars down. Never in my whole life had I ever had to count my carbs before. I was also too afraid and nervous to practice pricking my finger in front of the dietician. Luckily with baby #1 I was able to control my sugars with the diet and the diabetes went away after I gave birth.

Baby #2
The dreaded 28-week appointment can’t be avoided. This time I knew that the chances of getting gestational diabetes went up, but I still had hopes that I would be the exception to the rule. I won’t drag you along too long with baby #2, but I failed again. I begged and pleaded for my doctor to just let me monitor my sugars by pricking my finger four times a day instead of making me take that horrible three-hour glucose test. She agreed that would be fine. I don’t think I really understood that not only did my chances of getting gestational diabetes go up with another baby, but it also gets worse as the pregnancy progresses and the baby gets bigger. At 36 weeks, I could no longer control my sugars with a diet and started taking Glyburide before dinner so that I wouldn’t be so hungry!! After delivery, my diabetes went away.

Baby #3
You would think that I would learn from the last two pregnancies and I would just concede to thinking that I was definitely going to get gestational diabetes. I asked my doctor what the chances were that I would pass the test and she laughed. I didn’t take that as a good sign. Not only did I fail the one-hour test this time, but I failed it WAY worse than either of my other pregnancies. We just called me diabetic this time again, without taking the three-hour test. This time, my sugars looked a lot different than they should. Why were my sugars high in the morning without even eating anything? That makes absolutely no sense. After monitoring my sugars for a week, this time I was put on insulin. I did all my research before I met with the doctor and came to find out that there is not a pill form of insulin. The only way is through an injection. Yes, that means needles. Yes, that means that I would be giving myself shots. WHAT?!?!

I went to pick up my insulin from Walmart and they didn’t offer for the pharmacist to tell me how to do any of this. My doctor quickly explained to me how to inject the insulin, but it is so different when you have all of the supplies in front of you. I walked around the store for a couple minutes and quickly realized that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I have never given myself a shot before and also have never put medicine in a syringe through a needle. I knew that too much insulin could be really bad if I measured incorrectly. I was so embarrassed, but quickly realized I needed to get over myself and go ask the pharmacy for help. Who likes to admit that they don’t know what they are doing? Not me! Of course, I am perfect, know how to do everything, and I have EVERYTHING together (lies). The pharmacist was so sweet and with great detail explained everything I needed to do. When she said the whole needle needed to be inserted into me, I got a little lightheaded and sweaty. I was NOT going to pass out at Walmart. I was able to get out to my car and I just started sobbing. I am such a wuss! Why can’t I handle this? Guess what! After the first time giving myself a shot, I realized that it isn’t that big of a deal. It doesn’t really hurt and I can actually eat!

Since then, it has been a whirlwind. I’m over the needle thing, but not over how I can eat one thing today and tomorrow it will send my sugars soaring. It’s frustrating that each week my sugars get worse and there is nothing I can do to prevent that from happening. There is nothing that I did to cause any of this. At my last appointment, we added another injection of insulin before dinner to bring those sugars down. It will continue to be harder to control until I deliver. Two injections and four finger pricks a day right now. I’m so thankful that at the end of this process, I get a beautiful baby girl.

I remember watching my grandpa living with diabetes. The only time I ever passed out was when I was six when I watched him prick his finger to check his sugars. I never understood why he always had pineapple juice on hand. Now, I carry around apple juice in case my sugars get too low. I have major respect for those of you who deal with this every day for forever. It is not easy and it’s so frustrating between the food limitations and all of the needles. What I am going through is not even that bad and there are people that have it so much worse than me. Mad props to you guys. I will never fully understand the everyday, lifelong struggle of diabetes.

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove is the first book I have finished this year. I’m sticking with my goal I had for the past few years, to finish 15 books in 2018. I barely succeeded last year and this year I want to do better than that. I want to beat it!

This book is my new favorite book that I have ever read! I was explaining what it was about to Josh and he asked if it was just another version of Up. Uh…good point! Doesn’t everyone love Up though? There is something compelling about a grumpy, old guy that ends up having a big heart (sounds like The Grinch too).

The movie is on Amazon Prime. You need captions because it is definitely not in English. I know lots of people who loved the movie. Honestly, the book was better (isn’t it always?). The movie wasn’t bad at all, I just feel like it missed a lot of important details that led me to love the book so much.

Read it! Let me know what you think…

My Voice Matters

Josh and I moved to Austin in 2009, the weekend after our honeymoon. After building our family and setting a foundation for our marriage, we decided on making a move to Tampa. There are many reasons for this move that we won’t go over now. During our six years in Austin, I was constantly trying to decide on if I wanted to teach or not. My degree is in Elementary Education and during our first six months in Austin, I had made many moves to try and make a career out of teaching. I transferred my Maryland teaching certification to Texas and I was walking to schools handing them my resume. This was the year that there were hundreds of layoffs in the district I wanted to teach in. Not a good start for beginning my teaching career. I ended up finding jobs in other fields, pursuing substitute teaching, and ultimately becoming a stay at home mom.

For all of you stay at home moms out there, it is very difficult on many levels. I didn’t feel significant. I didn’t feel like I was making a difference. Let’s be serious, wiping little butts all day isn’t very glamorous. I was feeling stuck. I didn’t have a voice or an opinion. I lost my identity and didn’t know who I was. There wasn’t anything I was doing for myself that gave me energy. We would hang out with friends, and I wouldn’t have anything to say because that was my entire life. I let Josh do ALL of the talking. I was officially boring!

Fast forward to our first week in Tampa. I had decided, after applying to the district Tampa was in, that I didn’t want to pay the money to transfer my teaching certification again. I didn’t have any experience and being six years after student teaching, I had no clue what I was doing anymore. I was afraid of failure and didn’t even want to try. Somehow I had a teaching job within a week of moving to Florida. What was I getting myself into?

I am so glad I said “yes” to the unexpected/frightening opportunity. I grew so drastically in Florida that I have had people tell me how different I am. Two of the main areas I grew in were confidence and finding my voice. Being a teacher, especially in a Title 1 school, there is no room for second-guessing. I needed to learn confidence. Not just acting like I knew what I was doing, but also confidence in knowing who I am. I may have never been a teacher before, but guess what? I was a mom and that is pretty dang close. Just by having mom experience I knew how to treat kids. I knew discipline strategies and how kids react to certain situations. I knew how to communicate with parents based off of the question: If this were my child, would I want to know? I had way more experience than I thought I did. I could walk in confidence in that alone and practice teachability with the rest (asking a MILLION questions). After gaining confidence, I found my voice. My voice mattered. I had things to say. Not only in my job, but in other areas of my life too. I learned to stand up for myself and the things I thought were right. I couldn’t let people overrun me anymore because it wasn’t fair and I was better than that. I wasn’t boring and there is a lot of life that I’m living. I was doing something for me again. I had a challenge and I like those. It gave me something to talk about and gave me energy and excitement. That job kickstarted so many good things in me. I can be a leader and I matter.

After two years in Tampa, we are back in Austin. I’m not working right now, but I will not regress. I’m going to stay confident and use my voice. My identity will not fade. I am Kari, a daughter of the King, a wife, and a mom. Those are what matter the most. I don’t have to be a teacher to make a difference in peoples lives. I will start with intentionality in my home, teaching and modeling for my little people how to love others and live like Jesus.

Book #9

I haven’t written in a couple months! I have been so busy. I’m trying to learn the balance of home life and work life. It is definitely not easy. I’m learning it’s nearly impossible to do your best as a teacher without staying at the school from 7am-5:30pm. This way of life is exhausting and I can’t do it anymore. I refuse to sacrifice my family and my life, in general, to make copies or do things that can wait another day. My goal this week is to leave by 4 every day. I need to take care of myself. If I’m in a better place personally, that will make me a better teacher, giving me patience, energy, and more love to give to the students.

Leaving my tangent, I finished another book. I forget how much I love reading for pleasure. I just finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette. This book is pretty different than what I usually read. I love reading intense, controversial books. Where’d You Go, Bernadette was fun and creative. The book is mainly written through letters which made it a little confusing, but also kept me on my toes. I would love to explore this author even more. Until then, I’m waiting for Wonder and Goblet of Fire from the library.

Six books to go!

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Couldn’t Put Book #8 Down!

I’m not going to lie, I was afraid to read the book, Room. I only read it because I had some good friends highly recommend it. The idea of reading a book about a girl who was kidnapped in college was terrifying. I am SO glad that I read it! The author is so creative and talented, writing from the perspective of a five year old boy. She wrote as if she were a boy that hadn’t experienced the world yet.There were so many emotions that were sparked while reading (sadness, excitement, fear, happiness, etc.). I loved this book! I just couldn’t put it down.

Next on my list is Wonder. I finally figured out how to get ebooks from the library on Kindle. I put myself on the waitlist for three books and of course I get them all at the same time! I have a ton of reading to do! The third one is Where’d You Go Bernadette.

V for Victor-y

While I wait for my Wawa sandwich, I’m thinking about last night. Victor! What?! I guess he was the best competitor of all the evicted Big Brother house guests. Good for him. I still want Nicole and James to win. Do you think he will have a hard time transitioning back into the house? Who will he create an alliance with now that he is back? Will he be out next week because he already had one chance? So many questions!! I can’t wait until Sunday!

I’m also a HUGE fan of the James and Natalie showmance! So unexpected.

Who is the next one out of the house?

Follow Up to Yesterday

Wow, I guess I didn’t realize that everyone was going to vote for Tiffany yesterday. I thought that it would have been a closer vote. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you should watch Big Brother.

Tonight we get to see who comes back into the house! I can’t wait! Who do you think it will be? Honestly, I don’t think any of them are great competitors. I’m thinking Tiffany or Bronte. Tiffany left with a fight. Where was that before this week? She might still be in the house if she played like that the whole time.

On a personal note, I am so proud of my daughter. At Vacation Bible School this week, the kids were asked to collect coins in their house to help kids who are less fortunate than us. I totally forgot and without prompting she asked if we can give the coins in our coin jar. How generous? She also for the first time had to go to the restroom in the middle of the night, while she was sleeping in underwear. She actually got out of bed and told us she had to go. That is a HUGE step! She is becoming such a big girl!

This is serious…

I will keep it short and sweet. I can’t keep all of these questions inside! Big Brother will have been on three nights in a row this week! It’s on Friday and I am so excited!

  1. Who is going home tonight?! Tiffany or Mama Da’? I seriously think it could go either way. Is Tiffany strong enough like her sister to flip the house towards Da’? I don’t think it will be too difficult, but also the houseguests are pretty adamant on getting Tiffany out. I guess we will just have to see. I’m still a huge fan of James and Nicole.
  2. Don’t forget that this will be the fifth houseguest out of the house and one will fight to come back. Who do you think it will be? We have Glenn, Josea, Victor, Bronte, and whoever this next person ends up being.

I know that my love for reality tv is ridiculous, but if you don’t watch Big Brother you totally should.

Sometimes It’s The Small Things

Honestly, I am writing this instead of working on my ESOL class. Why did I think that I would actually finish this online class early? I’m WAY behind. Paralysis by analysis, my friends.

I have been so excited about things recently. Many are little things, but then there are two big things that are unbelievably exciting for me.

Little Thing #1
Almost nothing is better than 20 wings for $10 at Publix. They are pre-made and I just add either Parmesan Garlic or Buffalo sauce. Even if they aren’t eaten all in one sitting, they are really good as leftovers.


Are your mouths watering yet? This was my afternoon snack. Don’t judge!

Little Thing #2
I went to the store at the library today. Many teachers have told me to go and check it out, but I was totally judging. How will all the “leftover” or donated books be ones that my students will like? Uh, I just bought all of these for $5!


I’m not kidding, I was over the moon excited about this purchase. My students LOVE Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Magic Tree House. I can’t wait to go back next week to see what they have!

Big Thing #1
Our car insurance price is outrageous. When I moved to Florida, the price doubled. They told me that the young people blame the old people, the old people blame the young people, and everyone blames the tourists for the high prices. I just went with it. We had a ton going on at that time. I was starting my first year teaching, Josh was looking for jobs, and we had literally just moved to Florida. I got my new price for the next six months and it went up $10/month! Are you kidding?! I literally was a loyal customer for seven years. Yesterday, I decided to call another company. I was able to add renters insurance to a better car insurance policy and the price ended up being half the price I was paying before. You do the math, but we will be paying $200 less a month!!!! WHAT?! I’m not going to lie, I am so proud of myself!

Big Thing #2
During this journey of my big thing #1, we found out that the owners of our condo want to sell it. No, we aren’t upset. This is actually a really neat situation. Josh and I have really wanted to grow our family for awhile now. We believe that the next step for us is to foster to adopt rather than have more biological children. Recently, it has been really tough because we can’t legally foster children in our two bedroom condo. We have two opposite gendered children and the foster child can only stay in a room of the same sex. Also, we are outgrowing our place in general. I had been talking to Josh about trying to have biological children because it would just be an easier situation. We came to the consensus that I would just be trying to control the situation and that isn’t what we really want to do.

I’ve been completely set on buying a house instead of renting because moving is a pain and I don’t want to have an extra move before we buy. This would put us at least a year from buying, which would put us at least a year from fostering. We get a call yesterday from the owners of the condo we live in telling us that they want to sell our condo. What an answer to prayers. We are being forced to make a decision. Now we have to move, so why not upgrade to a bigger place and get started on our dream?! I am so excited for this process and to give hope to children that are going through difficult times. I’ve opened my mind to renting again, but definitely praying for a miracle that we can buy something!

What are some things that you are excited about?


Book #7 (Ahh, too intense?!)

I’m not home, so I’m writing this post from my phone. I haven’t done this in a long time!

I finished book 7! Don’t be too excited, it is a book that is a third grade reading level. It’s a battle book. These are books that the state and district encourage fourth graders to read for a competition at the end of the year. The book is called Serafina’s Promise. It’s about a girl, Serafina, who lives in Haiti and wants to be a doctor. She has a lot of situations in her life that make this dream very difficult to come true. 

Honestly, I thought this book was super intense and sad! I’ve only taught fourth grade for one year so far, but how much can these kids handle? Even though this book was an easy read, I am a little uncomfortable with the content for a fourth grader. Maybe I’m just an overprotective mom…

When I read this book, I was constantly thinking of a student in my class at the beginning of the year. That student’s family died in the Haiti earthquake. A large part of this story is about the earthquake. What would I have done? The state and district seem to believe it’s okay for the kids to read if they included it on the battle list. Would I have let the student read it with the possibility of triggering trauma? Do I have it in my classroom, but make sure the student doesn’t read it? Do I not even include it in my classroom library? What about the other students? I think fourth graders need to start having deeper conversations, but where is the line?

What would you have done?