Week 25 – Gestational Diabetes

I know, I know! I’m jumping ahead. But this week’s events are on my mind, and since so many of you have been kind in praying and asking how things went with the test, I wanted to share the results. Thank you for your overwhelming care and for being in touch! I promise I’ll get back to posting the events from weeks 19 and 20 shortly. We should be caught up soon!

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NeedlesIt is a Saturday morning, and the digital clock display has been reading 4:47, 4:54, 5:02, 5:09 ever since I got up to make a bathroom run. I finally gave up and got out of bed. Here’s my consolation: I am hungry, and I can eat a bowl of cereal without any little worried sensors firing in my brain. Why? Because yesterday, after the three hour intensive monitoring session, I tested negative for gestational diabetes.

Last week, my doctor ordered me a lab draw for the routine 1 hour test because I had a concern about my blood sugar. Not surprisingly, I tested positive. Not grossly so – the cutoff point for re-testing was 140, and I came in at 146. (A score of 200 means you’re automatically diabetic. Anything below 140 and you’re off to your favorite Italian joint for rigatoni.)

So, I waited in limbo land this week so that I could do the intensive 3 hour test and either confirm or deny the potential diagnosis. It wasn’t pleasant. I had everything I could do not to picture a three month span of vegetables (which I don’t appreciate as much being pregnant) and meat (which I’m far too lazy to cook for every meal.)

Here’s how I figured this would all go down. I’d get there, do a blood draw, down the sugar poison, and then spend three hours waiting before they drew my blood again. The kind nurse would tell me, sure honey, go ahead and drink that coffee of yours, it won’t make a difference. And some sort of private room would magically open up so I could plug in my laptop, get some work done, and then do one more blood draw that would pronounce me free and clear.

Not quite. And just in case you didn’t know, I don’t do well with needles. (A historical series of shots in 10th grade got me so worked up that I passed out and went into convulsions.) So when the technician told me she’d be doing four blood draws that morning, every hour on the hour, I gulped. Put on my brave face. And politely asked I could at least drink my travel mug of coffee.

The answer was no. No food, no drink, no leaving the hospital. Okaaaaaaaay. I adjusted my expectations, and found a seat in the cafeteria close to an outlet. The first hour flew by. Blood draw, check. And then came the second hour. The world was decidedly less rosy. My blood sugar levels were dropping fast and I started to feel woozy. Time for the next draw. And you know what? It hurt. A lot.

My emotions flared. So if you saw me in the waiting room yesterday, I was the girl in the corner, crying into a wad of toilet paper because I couldn’t for the life of me find a Kleenex box. It wouldn’t stop. At one point, I even asked myself why I was crying, and then commenced crying even harder. I hated the cackling daytime television hosts laughing from the corner. I hated thinking about anything that would compromise the safety of my babies. I hated vinyl covered chairs. I hated the fact that I was anxious, hungry, and thirsty, and could do nothing about any single of them.

Thankfully, the final hour went fast. The tech took my blood one more time and told me to call back in three hours for the results. Then she stopped, looked me in the eyes, and asked me if I was okay. I looked back at her, sighed, and said no. The tears started stinging my eyes again. And then she asked me the kindest question known to man.

Would you like a slice of homemade lemon bread and something to drink?

I nodded. There was nothing I needed more, at that moment, than a little bit of care. She came back and handed me a small plate. The lemon bread was fresh. Warm. Perfectly sugar crusted and bright. It was the best thing I’d eaten in days.

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As I collected my things and headed out across the snow-filled parking lot, it dawned on me that I didn’t even think of saying no to the nurse’s offer. I knew I needed help. And in the coming months, I was going to need a lot more of it, if only I could remember to be humble enough to be honest.

Outside the window, the blue-gray sky has grown light enough to see the hazy outlines of the trees. It is  6:07, and I’ve had first breakfast (yes, I eat a like a hobbit these days) and strong cup of coffee. And what I will carry into this day is a widening horizon of awareness. I will ask for help when I need it. Better yet, I will look for those I can return the favor to. Because no matter what we’re carrying, we all need a little extra kindness.

As for second breakfast? Well, need you ask? We’re having pancakes.

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A farewell to carbs

Well folks, we’ve hit a potential snag. I’m calling it potential, because the confirmation test is this coming Friday. But, as of my 24 week appointment, I failed to pass my glucose test. This means I may have gestational diabetes.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this was a possibility. It’s more likely to occur with a twin pregnancy, and there was also the chocolate cake incident. The chocolate cake incident was one of the very few times this pregnancy where I’ve seriously thought, wow. Something is definitely wrong here.

Now I better explain that really, all the chocolate cake incident involved was a normal sized piece of cake, eaten at a co-worker mid-day celebration, which must have contained enough sugar to send me to the moon and back. Two minutes after I ate it, I got nauseated, dizzy, hot, and had to sit down. After which, I drank some water, waited a few minutes, and then resumed my normal activities. See? Not so scary, right?

I told my doctor at our next appointment, and she said we’d just wait to see what the glucose test results said. And bam. There it was. A failed test. Too much sugar, not enough insulin. Again, pretty common for a twin pregnancy – the placenta is working overtime for two babies, pumping out sugar and nutrients right and left. But my body isn’t able to keep up with enough insulin to deal with all that extra sugar.

So where does that leave me? This Friday I have a three hour glucose intensive. I will fast for 10-12 hours, go straight to the hospital, drink some nasty orange substance that reminds me of church day camp in the park, and then wait three hours for the result. After that, well, stay tuned. This carb and sugar loving girl might have a lot to learn in order to keep these babies healthy for the next three months.