I’ve been basking lately in the fact that this pregnancy was going much smoother than my last. With my four-year-old daughter’s time in the tummy, I was Kate-Middleton-levels sick without the fancy private hospital. For this pregnancy, I’ve been nauseated, but it’s hardly been a comparison. I’ve even managed to lose weight, with doctor approval of course.
The only niggling worry in the back of my mind was the threat of Gestational Diabetes.
Normally, I wouldn’t have worried, but I did not lose my previous pregnancy’s weight over the past five years. As a result, I’ve been dealing with the precursors of diabetes for nearly a year. Taking my Metformin, I prayed the fact I was being more careful with my food, losing weight, and exercising would help mitigate some of its effects on the pregnancy…it did not.
For those who haven’t reached this point yet in your pregnancy, you will be required to do a glucose test, usually around the 28-week mark, I believe. Mine was held at 21 weeks as I already struggle with sugar issues. As requested, I downed the liquid-sugar-from-hell substance they provided, gave a precious vial of blood, and promptly bombed the one-hour test. I had a strong suspicion the following three-hour test would go no better. Surprise!
It did not go better. Boom! Bang! I was officially diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes.
Since that fateful call a week ago, I’ve been checking my sugars four times a day (first thing in the morning fasting and two hours after breakfast, lunch, and dinner). I would love to say I am one of those people who handle needles with grace; however, I have a finely tuned fight or flight response that I describe as my body playing possum whenever possible. So, the idea of four sticks a day was — and is — difficult. Happily, the testing really doesn’t hurt. Each time is a bit startling and I do have to sort of trick myself into pushing the button; however, sometimes I am lucky and push it on accident. I am logging all the numbers I do not understand to create a smorgasbord of stress and worry for my OBGYN at my next appointment, roughly two weeks from my diagnosis.
For those of you who may find yourselves in a similar position, here are some personal suggestions for what to TO DO or NOT TO DO, once you receive your diagnosis. (Obviously my level of experience is limited, so take what works for you and leave the rest.)
The first day:
DO: Cry a lot. I am definitely a crier and I think, even if you aren’t, you will likely shed a tear or two. I think liquefying some stress and shoving it out your tear ducts is an excellent idea. My theory is you can get rid of whatever stresses you are bottling up and make room. New stress is inevitable and will likely need to be purged occasionally. Try to be ok with this and find your cry buddy early.
DO: Remember that everything we do from now on is for him or her. Getting control of our health is just one more way to protect the little one, or ones, we are so desperately eager to meet.
DO NOT: Whatever you do, do not turn to the internet to find out about complications and other medical facts associated with Gestational Diabetes. Actually, I would suggest hiding your computer, laptop, iPad, and/or phone in a deep dark well until the urge recedes.
I made the mistake of looking. It does not help. It only terrifies.
Day two and beyond:
DO: Find a friendly source of support. Reaching out to family is helpful and fulfilling, but I’d also suggest finding a blog, Facebook group, a great book, or any other source that talks about food, exercise, and helpful ways to avoid stress and make the situation manageable.
DO: Whatever your healthcare professional tells you and try not to worry yourself gray about all the minute details. I am currently failing horribly at this and sincerely hope you will succeed beyond me.
DO NOT: Beat yourself up constantly. I’ve been assured that it doesn’t matter what preconditions you may have, you can still get Gestational Diabetes. Honestly, that doesn’t sound too comforting does it? I didn’t think so either.
But what is helping me is the fact that you and I are not alone. Many women in many different stages of life have been here before us. There will unfortunately be many more following in our footsteps. My goal is to take the rest of my pregnancy one step at a time and to share my experiences in a fashion that might help…or amuse…others struggling as well.