Monday, 23 January 2017

Gestational Diabetes - One Month On

I've actually known I have gestational diabetes for a few days longer, but today marks one month since I had my first appointment and got my bloody sugar testing kit from the hospital, so I thought I'd share with you my experiences and feelings so far, and how I've been getting on with managing the condition.

Being told over the phone that I had gestational diabetes came as a bit of a shock, thought as soon as my phone rang I knew exactly what they were going to tell me. I was told to ring them up myself to get my results, so them phoning me could only mean something bad. The conversation I had with the midwife was all a bit of a blur, I just remember having tears rolling down my face and desperately trying to concentrate to note down all of the many appointment dates & times she was giving me.

As soon as I got off the phone I broke down. My poor colleague, whose eyes were filling up herself, was doing her best to comfort me, but I ended up crying for most of that morning. I instantly blamed myself for it, thinking it must've been something I'd done, despite having a family history of diabetes which put me more at risk. I remember sitting in the office toilets that afternoon, cradling my belly and telling my little boy that "Mummy's so sorry to have done this to you". I was terrified of what this diagnosis would mean for him.

Fast forward two days and I'm back at the hospital for my first diabetes clinic appointment. Again I began to cry, but the nurse was quick to explain to me what gestational diabetes was and why some women get it, and most importantly that it was absolutely not my fault that I had it. She also told me my test results were borderline, so it was likely I was going to be able to manage this by diet alone. That was a relief at least, I didn't fancy having to inject myself with insulin every day - I have to look away from the needle every time I've had blood taken from me at checkups.

She then explained to me the sorts of food I should be eating, it's mainly your basic well balanced diet, with low GI foods to ensure I'm releasing sugar into my body at a slower rate, and showed me how to test my blood sugar levels, which I now have to do four times a day. I was slightly terrified, This was the day before Christmas Eve and I was concerned about just how I was going to manage the festive period without my blood sugar shooting up. It turns out I need not have worried, as my readings on the whole over Christmas were very good. I was even told at my checkup on the 28th that I should be really happy with them.

As well as checking up on me that day, they also checked on our baby boy. Size wise he is still within the normal range, but he is pushing the top boundary. They didn't seem too worried about that though, and he had no other visible problems, so they just booked me in for another scan for four weeks down the line.

The first couple of weeks were really trial and error when it come to finding foods that my body would be happy with. Some so called "best choices", namely porridge, were actually sending my levels up. Luckily though, a lot of the recipes that had become firm favourites whilst following the Slimming World plan were still working for me, I just had to make a few tweaks, such as switching to brown rice & pasta.

A typical day for me now will consist of fruit yoghurt and mini shredded wheat for breakfast, veggie pasta or Slimming World "quiche" with salad for lunch, and something like spag bol, chilli or chicken with veg & rice for dinner. If i get a little peckish between meals I'll snack on a piece of fruit or Philadelphia topped oatcakes, and occasionally I'll have a rich tea biscuit with my cuppa. The changes aren't too bad, and at the end of the day it's worth it to help protect my baby.

On the whole my bloody sugar levels have been stable. I have had the odd result that comes out slightly higher than normal, but when I give my results to the diabetic nurse she's pleased with them, and the odd one in a week isn't a problem. Testing never gets easier though, I dread doing it every time, and it can sometimes sting like hell for a while after. I just have to remember that this is not a permanent thing and that every time I do it, I'm one step closer to not having to do it again. I take my hat off to anyone for whom this is an everyday thing.

We have another scan and check up on Wednesday. Although I am definitely looking forward to seeing our son again, I am still quite scared about the whole thing and just praying everything is still progressing nicely. As your pregnancy progresses, your hormone levels increases, making gestational diabetes more difficult to manage, so there's no guarantee this will always be diet controlled only, but I guess only time will tell. I am still hoping to be able to have a natural birth, and every medical professional I've spoken to is confident this will still happen, so fingers crossed.


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