My Experience with Gestational Diabetes (so far)

My Experience with Gestational Diabetes (so far)

I’m a little over one week in to being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

I can’t say it came as a complete shock. I have three “risk factors” for it- over 25, overweight at conception, and a family history of diabetes.

However, I was hoping my history of being active and eating (somewhat) healthy would override that.

I had my one hour glucose test at 28 weeks. It wasn’t terrible. I was given the bottle of sugar water and was supposed to drink it before I got there.  A friend told me to freeze it partially so it was like a slushie- which worked GREAT. It wasn’t bad at all.  One blood draw and I was on my way. I was told I would be called the following day if there were issues…and I didn’t hear anything for several days, so I thought I was clear.

However, 4 days later, I got the call to come in Monday morning for a 3 hour test. That wasn’t fun. The liquid was TWICE as sweet- and was syrupy and icky. I had to stay at the hospital for 3 hours and get 4 blood draws. The third and fourth ones hurt pretty badly since they were the second in each arm.

Since the other test took several days to get results called to me, I sort of pestered the office. I was told they would have results the following day, so I called twice to check in. But never heard anything.

So I left work on that Tuesday thinking it was fine.

Well, I was at Hobby Lobby in line to check out when the nurse called. It was a short phone call. I’m sure she meant well doling out instructions- “I’m faxing you a glucometer to the pharmacy. Check your sugar 4 times a day. Once before eating in the morning and two hours after every meal.”

I had to stop her because I had nothing to write with on me. I literally grabbed and opened a pack of markers in line at Hobby Lobby to write on a scrap paper in my purse to take notes. (Don’t worry. I bought the markers).

“Your 2 hour numbers should be under 120. Just eat a typical diabetic diet and we’ll see you in August for your next appointment.”

WHAT? I had SO many questions. What does this mean for my baby? What does this mean for me? What is a diabetic diet like? How do you use the glucometer?

I finished up at Hobby Lobby (embarassingly checking out through tears), drove to the pharmacy where I was given a glucose monitor, test strips and lancets. I asked the pharmacist to show me how it works, but was told “The directions inside are easy. You can do it.”  WHAT? No. I need help. I can’t do this. But I left and mom came to the rescue.

I ate my dinner and then two hours later mom showed up to help. She let me practice on her finger, pricking it with the lancets several times. My grandfather was a diabetic, so this isn’t entirely new to us. However, he didn’t use his monitor very often. He was very well diet-controlled.

So I started logging. What I’ve eaten. What my numbers were 2 hours later. The date and time. I’m googling like a mad woman (which isn’t the best idea). I am learning things that sound scary- placental failure. Risk for diabetes in the future. Insulin shots. Huge babies having to be born early via c-section. I want none of those things.

I was also LOST in the food instructions. I would eat, but I was scared to. I was scared what everything I put in my mouth would do to my numbers. I was worried what a bad number would mean for me- if I did the wrong thing, would I end up on insulin simply because I don’t know better?  I mean, I’ll do whatever I need to. But what do I need to do?

The following Monday rolled around and in desperation, I called the clinic. I knew my doctor was out of town, but his nurse was also out of office. I was told she would call me back in a few days, since it wasn’t an emergency. Well, agreed. It wasn’t an emergency, but I needed help.  I called and spoke with the office manager. Asked her if anyone could refer me to a nutritionist or something. Answer some questions. I just couldn’t wait. The anxiety that came with every meal was too much.

She sent me to another doctor, whose nurse- get this-is diabetic! She said “No wonder you’re so confused! There’s a lot to take in! Why don’t you come see us at lunch and we’ll get you set up for a diabetes education class.”

Sigh of relief. That doctor answered a TON of questions. I went yesterday to the 3-hour education class (and bless Tyler, he went with me to make sure we got it all) and learned a lot. I got a mealplan and am excited to see how it works. I hope to stay diet-controlled, but we will do whatever necessary to all stay healthy.

I know there are MUCH worse things to be dealing with. I have friends who have gotten terrible diagnoses about their babies and themselves during pregnancy. If I work hard (and my hormones play nice), we should all be ok.

Yes, it sucks. It sucks to have to prick my finger 4 times a day. To have to set reminders after I eat to check my sugar. To be pregnant and not give into any cravings. To have to watch my carb intake meticulously. But there are worse things. I know that.

I do have worries. But I’m trying to give those over to God.

I was also beating myself up before I saw the doctor. Is there something I could have done differently? Was I eating poorly while pregnant? She assured me that gestational diabetes, while there are some factors that make it more common in certain populations (overweight women, for example), that it’s only a hormonal issue where hormones the placenta is creating make me insulin resistant. I didn’t eat too much sugar or too many burgers. I didn’t “cause” this. It’s a reaction my body is having to the pregnancy hormones.

I couldn’t have prevented it. She said women of all sizes, health levels, ages get gestational diabetes. It just happens.

So for now, I try to figure this thing out. I carry this notebook and this monitor with me EVERYWHERE. I watch every bite. I pray that our baby will grow and thrive, but not get too big. I deal with it.

I’m just sharing this because I literally knew no one who had gestational diabetes. I felt really lost and alone. I had found a friend or two who had it, but I felt pretty lost and alone. I am by no means an expert, but if I can help anyone diagnosed know that you’ll get the hang of pricking your finger and drawing your blood….that you’ll find ways to eat without too many carbs. That you will cry when you want cake REALLY bad and can’t have it. That you’ll dread eating because that means you’ll have to stick yourself later. That it’s tough to be on Facebook because of all the food how-to videos. That it’s going to be ok. That’s why I’m sharing all of this.

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