Saturday, January 4, 2014

Gestational Diabetes

When I got the call that my doctor reviewed my one hour glucose test and I failed, I bawled.  I was so scared of possibly having GD that it almost paralyzed me with fear.  This was just one more thing that reinforced the fact that I was "failing at this pregnancy."  GD was the latest in a long line of ailments that this pregnancy has brought with it (including but not limited to morning sickness until week 27, chest palpitations, pica from anemia, varicose veins, blah, blah, blah).  I wish I could say I didn't feel this way, but it is the truth.  I certainly would never think that anyone else who had GD was "failing at their pregnancy."  But the expectations that I have for myself are often ridiculously unfair and absurd.

I scheduled my 3 hour glucose test a week later.  I followed the directions to a T.  I was convinced I had passed, just barely.  Again, the following Monday, I received the call with the devastating news that I, in fact, did NOT pass the 3 hour test and I have GD.  Again, I cried.  Like really ugly cried.  I was embarrassed.  And I didn't want to deal with it.  But 2 days later, I pulled myself together because that is what we moms do.  We step up and do hard things even when we don't want to because it isn't about us, it is about our kids.  Our babies.

I decided that I would use this opportunity as a learning experience.  I can't help the fact that my body failed the glucose tests but I can control how I respond to it.  I made a food journal for 5 days and presented it to the dietician the following week.  I cried during most of that appointment too.  (Did I mention that this pregnancy also has me incredibly emotional???)  I was given a glucometer, strips and lancets.  I now check my blood sugar 4 times per day by finger prick.  I check it first thing in the morning and 2 hours after every meal.  I was educated on how to keep my blood sugars in check by counting my carbs and sugars.  I was also told what foods would NOT affect my blood sugars.  I call these "free foods" and was excited to find out that cheese was on that list:)  Protein and vegetables are also on the list.

I have learned a great deal about the role that protein plays to help keep blood sugars more stable and balanced and I feel incredibly lucky that I have been able to control my blood sugars quite well with a more balanced diet and avoid medications and insulin.

I really want to avoid medications because if I was put on medication, the pregnancy would have to be managed differently.  It would require twice per week Non-stress tests and more ultrasounds to monitor the baby's growth.  I am still trying to work full time so that would mean a lot of time I would have to take off of work and I want to save that for after baby is here!

It has been a humbling experience but it has also filled me with knowledge and compassion for others that have diabetes.  I can really appreciate the lifestyle changes, constant monitoring and continual awareness that accompanies their daily lives.  My GD will go away after the baby is born but not every one is that lucky.  I am also at higher risk for developing type II diabetes later in life because of having had GD.  So the lessons I learn now may come in handy later.  But I assure you, I will do everything in my control to ensure that does not happen!  But if it does anyway, I will be up for the challenge.

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