My pregnancy seemed to have went downhill since, you know, I had a grocery store on top of me. I swelled up to 315 pounds (water weight from my hospital stay), developed hypertension, and struggled with relearning how to walk. I had two big fears during pregnancy: Gestational Diabetes & Pre-Eclampsia. I listened to everything my OBGYN wanted me to do. I watched what I ate, and kept myself as active I was could be. I believe in eating smaller meals to help with my metabolism. I only gained 1 pound from 9 weeks to 23 weeks pregnant. That wasn’t good enough for some family members. I was constantly reminded I shouldn’t eat too much and how I was destined to develop Gestational Diabetes because of my size. If I ate, let’s say, a piece of fruit I had a particular family member who scrutinized me for eating too much sugar. I was constantly reminded how “big” I was. This wasn’t nothing new from this particular person. My entire life I knew this person I was constantly scrutinized – even when I got myself down to 195 pounds. Another family member told me to expect becoming diabetic because of how small my pinky finger is. It hurt my feelings on a daily basis. I didn’t like how big I was and being reminded I was “fat” didn’t help my morale at all. I made it a personal mission to not develop gestational diabetes.
At my 23 week pregnancy check up the worst case scenario happened to me. When I did my urine check for my OBGYN there was sugar which spilled into my urine – a very high amount actually. I had cereal & milk for breakfast. I was immediately sent over to Labor & Delivery to do a glucose test. The glucose test didn’t bother me or make me sick. The flavor of glucose drink I chose tasted like a very flat 7UP. My husband could see how nervous I was and reassured me everything would be alright. I remember waiting for the test praying to not become diabetic.
2 hours the test was over. A nurse came in. I asked her the results and she replied in an oddly chipper voice “Yep. You failed the the test. You failed it really bad, actually. You’ll need to be scheduled with a nutritionist and see your OB next week.”
My heart sunk. I found out my blood sugar on the 1 hour test alone was 237.
I failed myself. I failed my family. I failed son. I can see those family members laughing at me now.
The nurse was nice enough to give me some advice when she saw me crying.
“Don’t cry. You need to stop thinking about only yourself. You NEED to take care of yourself.”
That made me feel so much better about myself. Yeah, I’m overweight, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t doing anything to avoid Gestational Diabetes. To my dismay, the nutritionist was about as nice as the nurse. I received a lecture on how I “probably” going to develop diabetes afterwords. I’m not even going to bother to say what the same people who got on to me about eating said or did. Their smug look on their face was more than enough.
I spent the first week crying over my diagnosis. How was I going to take my blood sugar 4 times a day and follow a rigorous diet of only 45 carbs each meal & only 3 small snacks a day? How were those family members who scrutinized me going to take my diagnosis? Was this another way for them to say “HA HA I TOLD YOU SO?” I was so afraid of the finger pricking I had anxiety attacks. It took 3 days after meeting with my nutritionist before I started testing myself. My secret: I had to manually prick myself. I couldn’t press the button with the finger pricking thingamajig. Friends thought I was crazy but I got the job done – even if it hurt a lot. I then began to keep a food journal.
My head was spinning around having to research each and every food I wanted to put in my mouth. I followed the Gestational Diabetes Diet to a tee. For the first two weeks I was discouraged. My numbers were going down, but not good enough. My OBGYN suggested I take out the snack at night. Now not only was I frustrated with not getting to the where she wanted me to be I was terribly hungry. Around the third week of ensuring I followed the diet strictly, and sticking to meals I KNEW didn’t make my blood sugar jumped I finally got my numbers where they needed to be. As I continued through my pregnancy I was able to get my numbers well below what I was required to be. I didn’t need to take insulin, or medication. I kept my Gestational Diabetes well under control by diet alone. I had my GD more controlled than the family member who constantly scrutinized me for eating. I was pretty damn proud.
I controlled my GD by doing the following: Follow the GD Diet, make sure I eat as low of carbs as possible, and eat the same thing every day. Definitely not exciting as you can see. I got bored with eating. I had to keep telling myself I’m doing this for my son.
I did some research on my own and this is what I found out. It make coping with GD so much better. If you have GD don’t think it’s your fault because:
Gestational Diabetes can happen to ANYONE. Big, small, junk food eater, healthy food eater: it can happen to anyone. Gestational Diabetes happens when your baby’s placenta is making too much glucose for your pancreas to keep up with. It usually goes away after pregnancy but there is the chance of developing full blown diabetes.
The GD with my hypertension made my pregnancy an even higher risk. My OBGYN never really told me how serious the complication can be. I think it was because I had so much going on with being injured in the tornado, and because I was so worried about dying. The only positives which kept me going was the weight loss. I had my GD controlled where I could start eating some foods I haven’t been able to eat since my diagnosis. I do wonder at times if my diagnosis was a fluke because I didn’t get to fast before the test. I left that thought alone. I wanted Leo to be as healthy as possible. When I was first diagnosed with GD my son was two weeks ahead. At the very end he was right where he needed to be.
While I was being induced I had an interesting time. Because I was on the magnesium sulfate and the pitocin at the same time they didn’t want me to eat until after I gave birth. My hospital stay began at 10:00AM May 22nd waiting to see if I was going to be induced or not. At 12:00PM my OBGYN decided to go ahead with the full induction. Then at 1:00PM I was told by her I was beginning to develop Pre-Exclampsia. That’s when the magnesium sulfate started. I only had a quick lunch before the induction began. Every couple hours I had get my blood sugar tested. Saying that was horrid is an understatement. I begged the nurse in the middle of the night between the 22nd & 23rd to let me be able to eat something. She took my blood sugar and it was at 60. After calling my OB I was given sugar free jello. It was the best sugar free jello ever. The next time I was allowed to eat was in the evening of the 23rd.
While I was pushing Leo I was warned that because of the magnesium sulfate & my GD my son might not cry immediately. To everyone’s surprise, he wasn’t sluggish at all! He cried immediately. I was so relieved to see my little guy alive, well, and wiggly around. They set him on my stomach. I got to be the first thing he saw. I wish that moment was longer but the nurses need whisked him away for test. I found out Leo was 6lbs 11oz. He was nowhere near a “large” baby.
I am happy to say I no longer had diabetes after Leo was born. I still check my blood sugar from time to time. To this day I follow the GD diet loosely. When my husband and I decide have another child I want to make sure I am at a healthy weight. For the sake of playing safe I will begin the GD diet as soon as I find out I’m pregnant again. Maybe this time I won’t end up with it.
If I do get GD again I’ll be prepared and kick the complication to the curb like I did with Leo.