I was sitting there 26 weeks pregnant, still in shock, as I left the dietitian’s office and the words kept ringing in my head “You have gestational diabetes”. As a mom who had only gained 10-12 pounds so far in my pregnancy, I was on my feet all day long and ate a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, I kept wondering how I got myself into this situation.
I took my glucose test on Monday, not knowing it was the day I would drink the sugary orange drink. I had a rough start to my day, so I picked up a Starbucks sandwich to brighten my day, knowing I had a tough meeting that morning. As the day progressed, I knew I had my appointments in the afternoon and they were all back-to-back so packing a lunch was out of the question. I figured I’d have time to grab a veggie sandwich or salad at some point. But, as I was 20 minutes away from being late to my first appointment, I grabbed a chicken sandwich and fries from a local fast food joint and quickly scarfed it down in the car so I wouldn’t be late.
So, within the hour, I had forgotten about my poor food choices and told my doctor I would take the glucose screener since I had the time that day. Little did I know, all of these high sugar/carb choices would help seal my fate for the next 13 weeks. Of course, my results came back that I failed the screener, but instead of going to the 3-hour test, my doctor made me go straight to a dietitian to talk about my new diet and teach me how to use the blood sugar monitor.
As I sat there, not only mad at the world that I had to go through this, I sat trying to think about how I was going to manage this diet, while also cooking meals my toddler and husband wouldn’t hurl at the thought of, and not to mention the anxiety of pricking myself 4 times a day to test my levels. I sat down and tried to look at all the resources they gave me to meal plan for the upcoming week. I knew I had to eat 3 meals and at least 2 snacks throughout the day at certain frequencies. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? I figured I’d jump on Pinterest to see some meal plans and recipes options for those with gestational diabetes, but I wasn’t finding the right information that coordinating with my healthcare provider’s information. Then I just started to sob. How was I going to be able to do this and keep my levels where they needed to be? How was I going to be able to go out to dinner or to friend’s houses when I have no idea what I can eat or if there will even be options to eat? How would I do this to make sure my baby was delivered safely? I thought about the option of salad, but according to my chart, it doesn’t have enough carbs present to make my goals for that meal. Talk about being a complete stress ball.
Weeks went by and my blood sugar numbers consistently stayed under the maximum of 120. Really, my numbers would stay under 100, far from the danger zone. I talked with my doctor after a month went by about numbers, diet, lifestyle, etc. She told me because I was doing so well, I could just test my levels three days a week (4 times a day). This was so nice to hear. Although, I have my moments to cheat on those “off days” I still monitor what I am putting in my body to be conscious about what my body could be still going through during this pregnancy. At my next appointment, we discussed the possibility of a false positive, and she thought this could have been the case, but wasn’t certain. She told me I could take the 1-hour glucose test again if I wanted. I opted out, even though the competitive side in me wanted to find out if it really was a false positive. I figured the “forced” healthy diet was good for me to keep following.
Finally, I was in the last month or so of my pregnancy and running low on my meter supplies. I asked my doctor if I needed to purchase another round of supplies. She told me because my numbers were so good and I was continuing on with my healthy diet, I could stop the monitoring of my diagnosed gestational diabetes. It was a sigh of relief.
Overall, it got me thinking about my eating habits, exercise routine, and the lifestyle I lead. There could be a possibility, that even though I exercise, eat well, and keep my BMI in check that I could develop Type 2 Diabetes in the future because my pancreas just doesn’t work the way it should. Luckily, since all of this, I have followed up with my physician and I have no signs of Type 2 diabetes. If you are at risk, please see a doctor, as so many lose loved ones to diabetes. I commend those people who need to watch their blood sugar levels, have to control their diets while eating on a schedule, and have all the pains of using the devices.
For more information on Gestational Diabetes, please use the resources below: