I slowly maneuvered my pregnant body down to the floor of an overcrowded waiting room. I was more than halfway through my glucose tolerance test, and I began to realize (and take to heart) that I was about to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
The initial glucose screening test I had taken a few days earlier was positive. But I had been hoping that I would be one of the lucky ones whose reading was a false positive. I had psyched myself up as best I could coming into this half-day screening process.
I arrived for the appointment very thirsty and hungry, as I hadn’t had anything to eat since the night before per doctor’s orders in advance of the testing. My first two readings were abnormal, but the woman doing the testing was reassuring. She reminded me that there were still two more tests to do.
So there I was, on the floor, completing the last two tests when the realization of it all hit me—and hit me hard: I was pregnant with twins, on modified bed rest inevitably moving toward full bed rest, and I was about to get handed gestational diabetes. Not a high point of my pregnancy in any way, shape, or form.
Once the screening was finished and the diagnosis was confirmed, I left the building, called my husband, and wept inside my car. I was still starving, and now I was also feeling deflated and a bit humiliated.
I didn’t understand why it had happened to me.
Not Part of the Plan
You see, I had prepared my body for pregnancy from very early on. Nearly a year before getting pregnant, I started making healthy changes. I got into great physical shape by practicing yoga and running regularly. I took prenatal vitamins. I ate as if I was already pregnant—foods like fruits, nuts, berries, fish, and very little sweets or processed foods. I did all of this to get my body in shape for when my husband and I began trying to conceive. I was diligent about preparing my body for the most important evolution of its life.
Once I was pregnant, I was even more dedicated. I walked to work every day, took prenatal yoga classes, and thought about how my food choices would affect my babies whenever I sat down to eat.
Despite all that, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Once I gained a bit of composure, I called my doctor and the treatment process began. I was referred to a dietician and taught how to prick my finger, then test and record glucose levels using at-home glucose strips. I had to prick my finger every few hours, and I kept close track of when it was time.
My new diet was strict and quite bland. Toast with a touch of cream cheese. A piece of fruit. Two eggs. Graham crackers as required snacks. Very specific amounts of very specific foods. I followed all the rules, even to the point of asking my doctor for permission to have a few bites of cake at my baby shower.
The monitoring and dietary restrictions were difficult, even for a short time. I thought about people with diabetes and what they must do to maintain their health and well-being every single day.
I reminded myself that things could be a lot worse, and that helped get me through. Plus, I was committed to doing pretty much anything to ensure that my babies were growing and healthy.
After the babies were born, my follow-up test confirmed that my glucose levels were back to normal. I never looked back. I threw myself into adjusting to life as a mommy of twins.
And I happily disposed of all the graham crackers in my house.
Resources on Gestational Diabetes
From the American Pregnancy Association
From the American Diabetes Association
From the U.S. National Library of Medicine
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