When I left the doctor’s office last Wednesday morning, the nurse said, “we only call you if something is wrong.” So, I knew when I saw my doctor’s name pop up on the phone Thursday morning while at the gym, I was in for some bad news. As suspected, he informed me that my initial glucose screen resulted in a very high sugar reading, and I would need to come in as soon as possible to complete the 3 hour test for Gestational Diabetes. I felt instantly deflated.
While a part of me expected that phone call, another part of me was hopeful that my proactive efforts this time around would create different results. When I found out I had Gestational Diabetes with Landon, I was shocked, everyone was. I was young, fit, working out, healthy – it just did not make sense! Thankfully, with that pregnancy, I was able to control the diabetes through dietary changes and did not need to treat it with insulin. I worked with a nutritionist who taught me how to eat the proper amount of carbs, sugars, proteins, fats etc. So, when I found out I was pregnant again, I started watching what I ate early on and made sure to exercise regularly. My rational brain knew I could not prevent Gestational Diabetes, but I tried to stay as positive as possible.
This morning, I was at my doctor’s office for the 3 hour test. My blood was drawn as soon as I came in, I drank a large amount of the sugary drink, and then my blood was tested after 1 hour. At 11:00, I went back for my blood to be drawn again (2nd hour), and the nurses had a hard time finding my veins because I was so dehydrated. After 3 unsuccessful pricks, I felt the room spin, I started sweating, I could not hear out of my left ear, and knew I was about to pass out. Next thing I knew I had a group of nurses around me trying to get me to wake up. Needless to say, I did not complete the 3 hour test. I think asking a pregnant woman to fast for 3 hours, especially one who may have diabetes, is crazy. There has to be a better way to test for this. So, I refused further testing and my doctor and I agreed that from now on, I would be treated as a patient with Gestational Diabetes.
So what does Gestational Diabetes mean? Well, for me, it means a few different things. First, it takes me back to a time when I struggled with my body image and was obsessive over counting calories. Now, instead of calorie counting, I need to track every gram of carbohydrate and sugar that I ingest and ensure each meal is balanced properly. It means constantly worrying about what I eat and making sure I eat all my meals and snacks at the same time every day. It means a lot of doctors visits with regular blood tests, ultrasounds and fetal heart monitoring.
The diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes probably means scheduling a repeat C-section earlier than I am comfortable with. It could mean high blood pressure or preeclampsia, a need for medication and insulin, it usually means the baby puts on extra fat and weight, it could mean the baby will have breathing problems at birth or a higher risk for jaundice. I do not know exactly what it will mean for me; however, Gestational Diabetes is not something to take lightly and needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Gestational Diabetes is fairly common in pregnant women, and in most cases, healthy babies are the typical outcome. While I have been through this before, it is still a bit unsettling. Did you or someone you know have gestational diabetes? What was your/their experience like?