Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gestational Diabetes

Yep. I have it.

I got the results from my three-hour glucose test. If you are interested in such things, here are the numbers:
Fasting 83 (< 105 is normal)
1 hour 230 (<180 is normal)
2 hour 167 <155 is normal)
3 hour 72 (<145 is normal)

And how did I react?

Well at first my reactions were all over the place. I felt guilty for every sweet thing I've eaten. But mostly I felt angry. Because I've worked really hard for many years to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For a long time, I've watched what I eat. I routinely exercise 2 - 5 times a week. I deal with stress in a healthy manner... and so forth and so on.

So I was angry that I was slapped with this "unfair" and "unhealthy" label.

Then I was worried. Would this mean an induced labor? Would that lead to an epidural? Would that lead to a c-section? Would that lead to a slow recovery? Would this affect breastfeeding? Would I still be diabetic after delivery? And so on.

So I did a very "Wendy" thing. I went to the bookstore and bought three books about diabetes. I wanted to get informed as quickly as possible and research is my way of getting a handle on things. I'm really glad I did.

I now feel prepared (and not pissy, defiant, sulky and rebellious like I was initially) for my meeting with my nutritionist on Tuesday. I'll be issued a meter which I'll use to check my sugar levels throughout the day and I get to start using it on Valentines Day. (I won't even issue a comment about the irony of that!)

So, I'm ready to be even more vigilant about my diet so that I'll stay healthy and hopefully the baby won't gain too much weight. For those of you who don't know, one outcome of gestational diabetes is that the baby gains a lot of weight. Instead of a 7 pound baby, I could end up with a 9, 10, 11, or 12 pound baby. If the baby is bigger, she and I could have a more difficult labor. This sometimes means an induced labor at 39 weeks and many times means a c-section.

I'm committed to sharing my progress with you, my blog family. At first I thought about keeping this diagnosis just among family members. But hell... I haven't done anything wrong so there is no need for me to hide it. And who knows, maybe we will all learn something or be entertained along the way.

If you are reading this long post, please keep this picture in mind. Karen and I are still visualizing a natural childbirth with no complications. We're holding a picture of us laboring at home for quite a while, a good transition at the hospital with no risk factors for me or the baby, and a very healthy Kylie laid immediately on my belly after birth. Wish us luck!



Stef said...

Hi Wendy-

I don't think i have ever posted on here before, but I have been "stalking" your blog.
I hope it all works out for you. But don't let it get you down. Many women get gestational diabetes, even the healthy eaters.

PLease feel free to check out my blog. I have a 3 year old daughter ( my partner gave birth to her) and we will be having another as soon as I am done with my Masters degree.

Again, Take care:)

Melissa said...

I too read your blog and just wanted to give you support and positive vibes. My grandmother had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with my mom and both of them made it through just fine.

Chocolate is overrated anyways ;)

Anonymous said...

gestational diabetes is pretty common, and i don't think it is simply a reflection of your behaviour. i'm thinking positive thoughts, and you and kylie will be just fine!

Ethan Barry's Momma said...

Wendy...I am so sorry about the GD diagnosis. You are completely within your right to feel that it is unfair because, well, it is!! One of the things that I have always admired about you and Karen though is your positive, well informed approach. You should keep telling yourself that you did nothing wrong and did nothing to cause this because YOU DIDN"T. Tell yourself 100 times a day if you need to until you truly believe it. You could be a 100 lb. marathon runner and still get GD. All you can do now is follow what they tell you and keep on keeping on.

We'll be sending positive vibes that your body responds well to the diabetic diet...Stay far away Mr. Insulin...I think it's appropriate that he is a Mr.!!! :) And, of course, we'll keep your beautiful labor/birthing plan in our thoughts and prayers.

If I know anything, I know about dealing with unexpected, "unfair" situations in pregnancy and postpartum. I am hear if you need me. Hugs to you, Karen, and sweet baby Kylie.


Stacey said...

So sorry to hear that you have GD.

I just read the birth story of an online friend with GD who went right to her due date and had a natural birth. Her baby was under 8 lbs.

And, as others stated, it's not a reflection on you. It happens. You deal with it. And by informing yourself, you'll be really prepared.

Lynanne said...

I had gestational diabetes with my last pregnancy (and probably do this time – I’ve been tracking my blood sugars and know they are higher than normal). I thought my eating habits were healthy but after talking with the nutritionist we found things I needed to do better. For example, I spiked high blood sugars after eating a bowl of raisin bran and skim milk in the morning. The nutritionist pointed out that while it was healthy (and under my carb allowance), I needed more protein to slow down the digestion of the carbs. Doh!

Don’t feel bad about the sweets you’ve had thus far. Most diabetics (even insulin dependent) do not have to give up sweets entirely. This assumption/myth is based on old recommendations. Current practice allows you to have sweets in moderation. Hopefully your dietitian will give you advice on how to balance everything.

Also, your glucose tolerance test says nothing about the state of your health or eating habits. How often do you fast for 8 hours and then sit down to a glass of pure glucose kool-aid and not eat anything else? Maybe your blood sugars are within range with your normal diet? Even if not, maybe it just needs a few tweaks? All the test says is that pregnancy has caused insulin resistance. It’s something you need to monitor and be aware of. Many people don’t need medication and the condition goes away after the baby is born (though the risk for diabetes later in life may be higher).

One thing you can feel good about is your fasting and 3 hour blood sugars are awesome. This means your body is processing the carbs - just not efficiently. People with full-blown diabetes (i.e. the ones with pre-existing, often undetected diabetes) will have high fasting blood sugars. Those are the ones that are at the highest risk for complications since the baby gets extra sugar all the time.

I admire that you decided to be honest with everyone. I know the diagnosis is discouraging and frustrating (I cried, ranted and sulked as much as anyone). But, gestational diabetes is very common and by talking about it you can help inspire and educate people. All the best to you!!

Kathryn said...

I have every confidence that you will be just fine with monitoring your diet. Keep that vision, and know that I will do whatever I can to support you in your goals.

Dee said...

First, congrats on 29 weeks! You're getting so close!

Good luck with the gestational diabetes. I'm sure it will be a pain but it's evident you'll do the right things to care for you both.

Anonymous said...

i agree with all of the previous posts and want to throw my good vibes your way! i have a friend who had gestational diabetes as well. she wasn't diabetic before the baby and isn't diabetic now. she was able to have a natural childbirth and the baby was average size and both are totally healthy and well! glad you're keeping on top of it! i look forward to your next post and hello to Karen as well! lisa O

Mo said...

The only woman I know of who had GD lives an incredibly healthy lifestyle and went on to deliver her 7 lb baby in a beautiful home birth. I'm sorry you have to go through this, but it sounds like you have done what you can to be well informed, and that is key.

Anonymous said...

Gestational diabetes isn't the end of the world for sure! Good for you in holding onto your birth vision. My only addition to everyone else's comments is this: I hope you don't feel guilty if your birth vision is not what comes to be. Birth in all it's forms is a beautiful thing. The goal is to have a healthy baby when it's all done!

Anonymous said...

Hey Wendy,
My test is coming up on Monday, and I admit, I'm a little anxious about it. I am right there with you. I'm not a "health freak" in any way, but I am pretty dedicated to keeping myself healthy. I'm just worried that I've got another winning ticket in the unlucky lottery!

I really think that it isn't about what happens to us in life, it is how we deal with what happens. You really are taking a proactive approach to the diabetes, and taking control. I have faith in you that you will be able to have the child birth experience you are looking for!