Wednesday, June 22, 2011

28 Weeks (7 Months) and the Diagnosis of GD ...

The last 7 months for this pregnancy have been relatively uneventful for me. My biggest complaints were fatigue and nausea at the beginning. I had thought it was a shame that we only wanted two kids because this pregnancy thing really has been so easy on me (THANK you LORD!). All things have to come to an end though, right?

Last week I failed my 1 hour glucose tolerance test, which earned me a front row seat to the fasting 3 hour glucose test this morning. My fasting blood glucose was 100 (should have been under 95) and the 1 hour result after I drank that nasty orange drink was 217 (should have been under 185). Because I did not pass the first two tests, I didn't have to stay for the last two finger sticks (since there was no way to pass after that). The nurse then told me that I have gestational diabetes (GD).

The nurse gave me orders to have to meet with a diabetes educator for my diet plan ASAP and the pharmacy filled my glucose monitor, test strips, and lancets today. The hope is for diet alone to maintain healthy blood sugars, and if somehow diet is not enough (it usually is for gestational diabetics) then I would need to see a prenatal specialist for an insulin regimen.

For those of you who do not know much about gestational diabetes, I'll share with you what I've learned ... Gestational diabetes is pregnancy induced diabetes, that usually occurs in the second half of pregnancy (usually the third trimester) due to the developing placenta.

"Hormones from the placenta help the baby develop. But these hormones also block the action of the mother's insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother's body to use insulin. She may need up to three times as much insulin."

I happen to have several of the risk factors: over the age of 25 during pregnancy, overweight prior to pregnancy (welcome to the story of my entire teenage and adult life!), and I weighed over 12 pounds when I was born (my mother likely had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with me, but she was never tested for diabetes - testing was uncommon then) so that increased my chances for developing gestational diabetes as well during all pregnancies.

There are usually no symptoms for GD, but sometimes women can have: blurred vision, fatigue, frequent infections, including those of the bladder, vagina, and skin, increased thirst, increased urination, nausea and vomiting, weight loss in spite of increased appetite. Out of all those mentioned, I have only been tired and extra thirsty for the last month, which I wasn't even sure I could attribute that to anything besides pregnancy itself.

So, what does that mean for me? For the rest of the pregnancy, I have to check my blood sugars with a finger stick in the morning and 2 hours after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also have to limit my carbohydrate consumption to 30 grams for breakfast, 45 grams for lunch, 45 grams for dinner, and 15 grams for each of two snacks throughout the day. No juice, no excessive sweets, and as many raw veggies and lean meats as I can down.

For Blake, more than likely - he will just be a big boy when he's born (which we already assumed) and be born a little earlier - with a greater chance of c-section due to his large size. He will need to maintain a healthy diet and exercise throughout his life, because babies from gestational diabetic moms are at a higher risk for weight problems and developing type 2 diabetes in their adult lives, and gestational diabetes for females.

While this diagnosis is time consuming and annoying while I'm at work (we're lucky to get a lunch break during our 12+ hour shift), it's imperative for the safety of me and my son that I follow the instructions that have been given to me.

We would love prayers that I can maintain my glucose levels on diet alone, without the need for insulin or oral medications. I would prefer any other alternative than to medicate myself during pregnancy, because of any possible side effects it could have on the baby that may have not been researched yet.


Let me not forget to acknowledge that we are so blessed! There are so many other families with much more significant problems than ours. Thank you God for keeping me and my family healthy :)