Being Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes

Monday, March 14, 2016



© laura su



I didn't really understand that I was being diagnosed. I was sitting on the examining table and my OB was looking at my chart, telling me that I had failed two out of the three blood draws for the glucose tolerance tests I had taken.

"Ah." I looked at her.

She looked up from the laptop and patted my arm. "It's going to be okay."

I was confused by this gesture. "Does that mean I have gestational diabetes?"

"Yes."

"Oh." I paused. "Officially? I have gestational diabetes?"

The news didn't upset me. I never thought I was someone who could handle any sort of bad news well. I can be, shall we say, a little dramatic. I take after my mom in that way. In almost every instance, our minds first go to worst case scenarios. Growing up, I was always under the impression that my mom needed to be protected. She seemed so fragile, so prone to flying off the handle. As it turns out, when truly bad things happen, my mother is the vision of calm. She is able to have incredible perspective and the next task is always this- figure out a plan of action.

I was relieved to find that I take after her in this way too.

"Okay. What do we do about it?"

My OB referred me to the local Perinatal Care office, where I would be assigned a dietician and learn about what gestational diabetes was and how to manage it. The time between diagnosis and my appointment was tough. I still didn't know what I was able to eat and still in the midst of first trimester fatigue and morning sickness.

I did not want to be told I wasn't allowed to subsist on orange juice and dried mango slices.

Don't nobody be taking away my dried mango slices.

//

The first meeting was held like a class. At the head of the table, the dietician had surrounded herself with silicone versions of various foods. I looked around and saw that I was surrounded by women who were much farther along in their pregnancies (the standard practice is to check for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks). I was the only one with an almost nonexistent bump (at only 12 weeks pregnant). In addition to being part of the small fraction of women who were diagnosed with GDM, I was part of an even smaller group of people that were diagnosed early. Huzzah!

We were passed red folders full of useful information. Food schedules, types of food and their corresponding serving sizes, examples of meals that we could have. Each of us were given a starter kit with our own glucose monitor, lancets, and test strips. She taught us how to stick our fingers to draw a bit of blood (on the first digit of the finger and only on the sides, not the pad) to test after we woke in the morning and after each meal. We were to keep a food journal every day and the results of our monitoring would tell us whether we were keeping our blood sugars within a normal range.

The silicone food was there to give us a visual of what proper portions of food were for us now. Was that a real eye opener! Despite being someone who still shakes when face to face with a needle, this was the most disappointing part of the day.

It was an intense couple of hours.

But I was optimistic. I had been told what I could and couldn't eat. I could finally see, using the glucose monitor, what levels my blood sugar were at and that began to give me some feeling of control over the situation. It was like someone had drawn me a map and given me instructions on how to get to the end of this pregnancy.

And I was good at following instructions.






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2 Responses to “Being Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes”

  1. Oh man, I cannot imagine sticking yourself all the time. Buuh... I don't want to imagine it. Were the portions of food much smaller than you were used to?

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    1. Definitely! Pastas and rice were about a third of what I normally have in a sitting, and the amount of protein was double what I was used to. It was going to be an adjustment for sure.

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