Thursday, January 26, 2017

Embracing the Unexpected...

Last Thursday, after having failed my 1-hour glucose test a few days prior, I grabbed my book and headed to the doctor for a fun-filled 3 hours worth of drinking 100g of a sugar solution and being treated like a human pin-cushion.

The 3 hour test was not nearly as bad as I had been told...The drink was yet again kind of tasty (what can I say...I love orange soda) I was a little nauseous the first hour after drinking the solution (it was more concentrated than the first go around) but after that it wasn't bad...and the 3 hours were over before I knew it! 

I was told to expect the results in a few days and sent on my way...I immediately headed home to eat something and lay about a major sugar crash! I felt pretty confident that I had passed the test, but I still was anxious to find out for sure.

Monday afternoon rolled around and I still hadn't heard anything about my results and I tried to tell myself that "no news was good news" but I just had to after school I called up the doctor's office to ask to see if they had my results and if not, when I should expect them.

Luckily, my nurse answered when I called her direct line (usually I have to leave a voicemail) and it was definitely a relief knowing I wouldn't have to wait for her to call me back...I'm an impatient person if you can't tell :) 

She quickly looked up my results and dropped the bomb of all bombs on me...

I did not pass...

What? Wait? How did this happen? I have gestational diabetes? I was absolutely stunned...I didn't even know what to say. I fought back tears as I asked her "what next?" and she told me she would fax over a referral to the diabetic counseling office and I would need to set up an appointment with them. I'm sure there was more to the conversation...but my mind was racing and I wasn't listening.

I hung up the phone and immediately burst into tears...I was absolutely devastated. That evening I went through a plethora of emotions...

1) I was in denial...I thought, there are a lot of Smiths out there...maybe they got our results mixed up? No way am I diabetic...I'm healthy, I have hardly gained any weight, I work out 5 days a week, I eat mostly healthy, etc etc.

2) I was terrified...I am almost 30 weeks pregnant, had I already done irreversible damage to my poor little baby?

3) I was calm...I stopped crying and told myself that it would all be okay...

4) I was angry...WHY ME! I have done everything right...none of the "risk factors" apply to me...except that I am over 25 #CallMeGrandma

And then repeat #2 over and over again on a torturous loop...

You see...I was not upset because I would have to make changes to my diet or check my blood sugar for the next 10 weeks...because that is all temporary and I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep my baby safe and healthy. No, I was upset because as a first time mom with ZERO experience with diabetes, let alone gestational diabetes, I was felt like I had let my baby down. I have these 9 months to do everything in my power to keep my baby safe and healthy as possible, and in my mind I had failed him #MomGuiltAlready

Monday night was rough...I allowed the drama and grief to completely consume me. I cried more tears than I have cried in a long time...I made myself sick with worry. I hardly slept at all Monday night thinking about my sweet baby and the unknown that was headed my way. I.Was.Terrified.

The next morning I received a phone call from the Diabetic counseling office to set up an appointment with a diabetes educator. As a teacher my schedule is tricky...I can't just take off in the middle of the day...I have to be deliberate about my timing if I only want to take a half day...and with maternity leave coming up I want to save as many of my days as possible. The first date/time that they had available was Thursday...a LONG day and a half away, which doesn't seem like a lot, but in my mind I had already waited too long and needed to fix this NOW!

After getting off the phone I went to talk to our secretary about putting in for a sub Thursday morning and she could immediately tell something was wrong...and she said those magic, tear producing, words- "Is everything okay" and that is when I lost it (again...if you are counting I have cried a lot) 

Our secretary and speech teacher immediately began to console me and they were so sweet to and talked me off the ledge...they encouraged me to call back and get more be assertive and take control of this and do whatever it took to make myself feel better as soon as I did. I called the counseling office back and told them I was having a lot of anxiety about everything and if they could get me in today that would be great...and you know what? They did...

I had to leave school a little early, but the wonderful office staff stepped in, covered my class for a few minutes and sent me on my way.

I have to say I am so grateful for their advice because within minutes of sitting down with my diabetic educator, Kathy, I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

She shared my numbers with me...and while I failed, I didn't fail miserably. I actually have great fasting glucose levels and failed 2 of the 4 draws and one of those I barely failed...and it made me feel better because I have never consumed 100g of sugar at a while my body is processing things's not like I have overloaded my body with sugar AND Kathy told me that gestational diabetes likely didn't develop until the last week or two...and that each time I am at the doctor and give a urine sample they test it for excess sugar and if there was an issue before this they would have contacted guys...seriously, I wanted to hug her...okay, I will admit it...I actually did :)

She then spent an hour with me talking about what all of this meant, what I would need to do to manage it...and reassured me that this was NOT my's my darn placentas fault :) 

Needless to say I walked out of there feeling much less anxious and ready to do whatever it takes to make sure our sweet baby stays as healthy (and as far away from 10-11lbs!) as possible!

Next I met with a dietician, who based on my height and weight, helped me to determine how to mix and match my foods (carbs and proteins) to make sure I stay within my goal glucose levels throughout the day.

Luckily, I counted macros/calories a few years ago in preparation for the Heartland Series and The Chicago Marathon, so none of this was new to me. Reading nutrition labels isn't my favorite past time...but I know how to do it :)

In the end I left with the realization that my diet wouldn't have to change as much as I expected...and an epiphany that while I haven't been as strict as she suggested, I haven't been that far even if I developed GD a few weeks before catching it, it was likely that my blood sugar hadn't been elevated all that much prior to this #SweetRelief #NotACompletelyAwfulMama

So what does this all mean? Well..

A) I have gestational diabetes

B) My placenta is suppressing my body's insulin and isn't allowing it to break down the sugars as effectively.

C) If I eat too many carbs/sugar and don't eat enough protein my glucose levels will become elevated and the extra glucose passes through the placenta to the baby...and that in turn would make him extra fat...and while I love a fat chubby baby...I think I would prefer he put on the weight AFTER he is born :) 

D) While the diet isn't as strict as I expected...I do have a list of "absolutely not" foods...and it was hard to see my beloved cookies, candy, and ice cream on that list...but, I don't think I will have any issues saying no to those things. This isn't like a diet that I can cheat on...because in this case when I only hurts my baby...and I am here to tell you there is not one sweet treat on this planet that is worth that. 

E) I have to check my blood sugars 4x a day...and honestly this gave me quite a bit of anxiety at first. Pricking my finger 4x a day...OUCH! However, Kathy showed me how to use my sweet new contraption...and had me check my blood sugars right there in the office...and I have to be honest, I didn't even feel the finger prick...At first I was sure I had done it wrong, but nope, it just doesn't hurt. 

I left the doctor's office feeling pretty darn good...for the first time in days I felt in control of the situation. While this is definitely not something I expected...nor is it something I can change...I now have the knowledge and the tools to control it. 

It's only been 2 days of monitoring my carbs and checking my blood sugar, but I am proud to say I have been killin' it! My meals combinations are a little weirder than normal...finding the right pairings is tricky, but I still get to have my beloved carbs...and I am even struggling to eat enough because the foods I am eating are so much more filling and are meant to digest slower. 

Each time I have checked my blood sugars they are well below the limit they set for me...and in a sick and twisted way this makes my competitive heart happy...give me a challenge and I will rise to the occasion that's for sure.

So here I am...embracing this unexpected hiccup and trying to do so with as much dignity and grace as possible. Yes, if you had talked to me on Monday you would have called B.S. on this. Yes, I allowed myself some time to be upset and worry...but now that I am educated on the subject and know that I can control it (Type-A much?) I am ready to tackle this challenge head on...and I am here to tell you, when it comes to my little guy...there is nothing I won't do for him.


  1. That must have been so scary, but it sounds like everything is all good now. I'm sending you lots of positive vibes that you won't have any other issues with your GD for the next 10 weeks!