I’m not overweight, I eat and prepare healthy foods, I go for frequent walks, and do not have a family history of diabetes, so imagine my surprise when my doctor called today to say I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I knew the possibility existed when I failed my one hour test, but I figured it was a fluke and that the three hour test would come back fine. I was wrong. After twelve hours of fasting, four blood draws, over four hours in the clinic, and one large sugary drink – I failed…
…and that made me feel like a failure.
My doctor called in my prescription to Walgreen’s and set me up with appointments to see his nurse and a dietician tomorrow. I need to adjust my diet to cut sugars and carbs. Honestly, I don’t even know what carbs are, but apparently white bread, croissants, tortillas, white potatoes, and pasta are out – so basically, my life is ruined now.
Once I got off the phone with my doctor, I immediately texted the three people in my life that I knew would comfort me – my daughter, my mom, and my husband. They were all sympathetic. My next move was to Google “gestational diabetes.” I learned that it wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t a failure (even though I still feel like one.) Being a mother of “advanced maternal age” is a leading risk factor, and at 42 years old, I fall under that category. I also learned that due to the added hormones the placenta creates, my pancreas can’t make enough insulin to convert glucose into energy, so I have all this extra glucose just hanging out in my system. I still don’t even really know what my pancreas is.
My husband is going to stop by the pharmacy to pick up my machine and test strips tonight. I’ll meet with the nurse tomorrow so she can teach me how to do everything. After that, I’ll see the dietician so she can explain what I should and should not be eating. We will monitor it all daily and if there is no improvement, I’ll be put on insulin. Let’s pray it doesn’t come to that.
I must admit, I’m frightened. I’m confused. I’m overwhelmed. I’m trying not to add anxiety for the sake of the baby and my sanity, but this is really difficult to swallow. I never had any issues with my other full term pregnancies and knowing this could be age-related makes it harder because aging sucks anyway. I read that nearly 10% of pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and I am one of them. Apparently I am also at risk for a c-section, though I don’t know why. (DISCLAIMER: I have nothing but respect for mothers who have had c-sections. I do not think any less of them or their birthing method. My concern is that it is a major surgery and that is scary to me.) I have so many questions and concerns. The vast majority of women return to normal blood sugar levels after the birth of their baby and are no longer considered diabetics.
That is a statistic I hope to be part of.