Last Wednesday I had my 1 hour glucose tolerance test. My appointment was at 3:45 and I was told that I didn’t need to fast for it. I went in, drank their really sweet glucoa mixture (the orange flavor really isn’t all that bad – it’s not great, but it’s not bad) and sat around for an hour waiting for my blood to be drawn to test my blood sugar. When the hour was up, my blood sugar was tested and it came back high – as in high enough to fail the test. I don’t remember what the exact number was, but the lab technician drew more blood to double check the results just to make sure (I failed that time too). So, that meant that I had to schedule my 3 hour glucose tolerance test, which was yesterday.
For the 3 hour test, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything (besides water) after midnight. I got to my appointment, I had my blood drawn as soon as I got there, and then was told to drink an even larger amount of glucoa – I downed it as fast as I could, even though I had 5 minutes to drink the stuff, it doesn’t taste so good on an empty stomach. I then had a seat and waited an hour. They took my blood again, and again I waited. It was at this point that I started to feel really bad. Nauseous, light headed, tired, hot – just bad. I told one of the nurses that I was not feeling so good, and she sat me down in a reclining chair and promptly told me not to throw up or I’d have to repeat the test on a different day. My doula who had come with me to the appointment put cold paper towels on my neck and pressed on a pressure point on my wrist to try and help with the nausea. Apparently my color has gone completely away and they checked my blood pressure and pulse to make sure that I was ok. My BP was 100/60, which if you remember is quite low for me as my normal BP is 120/80, and at my previous appointment was 130/80. My pulse was also low for me at 88 bpm. After about the next hour I started to feel better, but I stayed in the reclining chair and munched on ice as my doula and I chatted.
When they were taking my blood for the last time I asked the lab tech how I had been doing so far, and she looked at me and said “not good, you’ve failed them all so far, even the fasting one.” I was stunned, but at the same time my nauseous, light headed, tired and hot spell that I experienced made more sense (I also experienced this with the 1 hour test, but it wasn’t as severe). So, if you haven’t figured it out, I’ve now been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
I’m still coming to terms with this diagnosis, because the more I read about it, the more scared I am. If I can’t get this under control it would mean that my baby is at risk for preterm labor, as well as growing very large in the womb from all the extra sugar, jaundice and he may have difficulty breathing after birth. He’s also at risk for developing type 2 diabetes in later life, and could struggle with obesity. I am also now more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
So, as I’m waiting for the diabetes center at the hospital to call me and make an appointment I’ve been researching and trying to see what I can do now. From what I’ve read, I need to start counting carbs, with each meal having a specific number that I shouldn’t go over. I also need to be more diligent on my exercise. I think the biggest change for me is that breakfast now has to be a really small meal. For instance, this morning I had a piece of whole grain toast, 1 table spoon of crunchy peanut butter and a glass of 1% milk for a total of 29 carbs. I’ve read that I should stay away from fruit in the mornings and if my blood sugar still tends to be high in the morning that I’ll need to cut out the milk. Another thing that will be difficult is that I can’t stand anything with fake sugar in it – I never have. Plus I’m not too keen on ingesting anything that’s been proven to lead to cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s. That means that until this baby is born, I need to stay away from sweets all together. That will be particularly hard as last night I was sitting and pouting as my husband munched blissfully away on peanut M&Ms, and I couldn’t have even 1!
I’m determined to do my very best at this though. I’m going to do what’s best for me and my baby. I don’t want him to arrive early and to have medical complications. I don’t want to have to have a C-Section because he might be too big to deliver vaginally. I’m going to do everything that I can to ensure that he stays at a healthy weight and is also perfectly healthy when he’s born. For purely selfish reasons I also want to keep a water birth as an option, which I should be able to do as long as he isn’t preterm.
A lot of health problems have been thrown at me within the last week and I’m struggling to deal with them all. Anemia, hypothyroidism and now gestational diabetes, it’s a lot of take in and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m completely overwhelmed. I know that I can do this, that I’ll do anything to make sure that my baby is healthy, and that I stay healthy, but I’m scared and stressed about it all.