Crystal’s StoryFriday, 8 November 2019
It was my first pregnancy and due to my age (over 35 years) and high BMI I was booked in to have a glucose test at 15 weeks. Everything was fine at my first test but when I went in for the 28 week test I was 0.1 over. I was so mad because I had been really careful about what I was eating. I was convinced the only reason I was over was because I’d eaten a grape that morning. I had such bad morning sickness before the test that I just had to eat something, so I ate one grape. And then my result was over.
I was really upset and emotional after I got the result, so much so that when I jumped into my car I accidently drove into a pole! In shock I quickly reversed… and hit another one. I burst into tears and had to phone my husband to drive over from work and get me. I hadn’t even told him about the diagnosis at this point because it was all such a mess. When we got home I burst into tears again. I was just devastated.
At first I blamed myself and didn’t want to tell anyone. I felt really embarrassed, upset and emotional. I started going to the health education sessions and was taught how to test and was told I had to monitor my blood four times a day. I was overwhelmed by the amount of information we received. A lot of it seemed alarmist and I came away feeling more scared than supported.
Even a visit to an endocrinologist didn’t put my mind at rest because he told me to take Metformin but also said the drug could cross the placenta and possibly cause issues with the baby. I came away confused and slightly annoyed that I’d paid all that money to a specialist but ended up with more questions than answers.
I decided not to take the tablets and to try and manage through exercise and diet. I was 32 weeks by this time.
The health educators actually frightened us quite a bit by saying if we had readings that were over our targets more than three times in a row we had to ring them or come in. At the time I was in a high stress job as an HR Manager, working long hours, five days a week. I couldn’t just nip out of meetings to test and rush off to the hospital if my readings weren’t quite right. It was a stressful time because I was so busy at work and so overwhelmed with doctor’s appointments. I was also told my baby might have to be taken away immediately after birth and that I would need to express colostrum prior to the birth so they could test it. I was really scared by this threat and said to my husband we might never see our baby. I didn’t feel supported at all, just anxious.
I managed perfectly well with monitoring myself through food and exercise but a month before my due date my waters broke and I had to go into hospital. I was given a steroid for the baby which affected my glucose levels and meant I had to go onto insulin for the last couple of weeks. I was in hospital for a week but when I got home I found I had an infection because my waters had broken, so I went back in again and was told I had to give birth right away. I was induced and he was 3.1kg at birth. So had I gone full term he could have been quite a big baby. Thankfully he wasn’t taken away from me after the birth and my glucose levels returned to normal straight away. My gorgeous little boy is now a healthy, happy 18-month-old.
My advice to women going through gestational diabetes it is to attend all the education sessions so you understand what to eat and drink to keep your glucose levels consistent. Keep a record of what you eat and how it affects your readings. You might be surprised about what foods make your readings high and what doesn’t. You may need to tell your manager at work so they understand that additional appointments are required. Try not to worry too much. You’re doing a great job.