**Please keep in mind I am not a medical professional. I am simply sharing my personal experiences with gestational diabetes and what worked/didn’t work for me. Always consult your doctor if you have any concerns.**
Never in a million years did I imagine myself having to learn how to navigate gestational diabetes. I went in for my 28 week OB check-up almost cocky. After all, I had just done this a little over a year ago and everything was hunky dory. Drink the glucola, pee in a cup, everything’s good, and I’m on my merry way, right?
I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback when I got the phone call the next day and heard the words:
“You failed your glucose test.”
Huh. Failed? How was that even possible? Of course, I consulted friends and family immediately.
“Oh, don’t worry, my (fill in the blank) also failed the first test but she passed the second one!”
“You probably ate something really sweet right before the test and that’s why your numbers came back high.”
“Oh honey, back in my day, they didn’t even have these tests. Pshhh. You’ll be fine.”
And, my personal favorite:
“You said you’d been eating poorly this pregnancy? Well, there you have it.”
Guilt trip aside, I mentally prepared myself for the 3-hour test. I was told not to bring my toddler with (sound advice), to fast the night before, and to bring something to do for 3 hours (I got to work on this blog!).
The test was pretty simple. Blood draw while fasting. Drink glucola. Wait an hour. Blood draw. Wait another hour. Blood draw. Wait final hour. Blood draw again. Four blood draws total. Then wait for results.
A few days later, I received another jarring phone call:
“You failed the second test. You have gestational diabetes.”
I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Whaaaat? Is the baby going to be ok? What exactly did this mean????
How to Navigate Gestational Diabetes
Here is what it meant for me:
- I would have to attend diabetes counseling at the hospital
- I would need to get checked out (including in-depth ultrasound) at high risk maternity unit
- I would need to check my blood sugar 4 times per day
- I would need to modify my diet
- I would possibly need medication
I knew that I DID NOT want medication and that I would try everything in my power to follow the doctor’s instructions in order to make that happen. I was also TERRIFIED of the prospect of poking myself 4 times per day. So many thoughts were raging through my mind. Anger… frustration… disappointment…anxiety…guilt…the list goes on and on.
I made an appointment for the following week for diabetes counseling. I then went to the pharmacy to pick up my supplies:
- Blood sugar monitor
- Testing strips
- Testing “pen”
- Sharps box
My experience at my pharmacy was laughable, considering I had never used diabetic supplies before. First there was an issue with the insurance company. Next, the pharmacy assistant gave me the wrong lancets (unbeknownst to either of us until I got home, of course). Finally, the pharmacist basically shooed me out the door without a second glance and told me everything is “self explanatory”.
Advice #1: Make sure your lancets fit your “pen”.
I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called? The “pen” is the part that houses the lancet (needle) used to poke yourself. Save yourself the hassle of getting home and double check the labels. Make sure the lancets are compatible with the pen. (And if they are not, do not open the box!) My pharmacy almost gave me a hard time about this and threatened to not let me return them. I would have thrown a fit!
Advice #2: Do NOT remove the testing strips from the canister.
I thought I would make life easier for myself and prepare everything ahead of time. I pulled out about 20 testing strips and put them in the pouch containing the rest of the supplies. Apparently, exposure to air makes the strips no longer usable? I ended up having to throw them away. (SAD FACE)
In the meantime, I consulted “Dr. Google” and put myself on a no carb diet.
Advice #3: Do not consult Dr. Google and put yourself on a diet. Have a professional do it.
Thank goodness for my angel of a nurse! My counseling session could not have come at a better time. I learned so much about nutrition (and here I thought I knew it all because my parents were both in the health industry and we lead a fairly healthy lifestyle).
Apparently, not only am I not supposed to be on a no carb diet…my body needs carbs, especially during gestation! (The key is the amount and the spacing in between eating.)
Advice #4: Stick to your diet.
This one can be challenging but I keep thinking of my little bun cooking in the oven. I would never do anything intentionally to harm her…including eating too many carbs. My diet is fairly reasonable. 2 carb choices for breakfast; 1-2 carb choices for snack; 3 carb choices for lunch; 1-2 for snack; 3 for dinner; 1-2 for snack. A carb choice is 15 grams.
I am in no way, shape, or form starving myself…I’m not even limited in what I can have. I can basically have anything! The key is the amount and how far apart I eat them. For instance, if I want to eat a large fruit, I can probably have the whole thing…split between breakfast and snack (not all at once).
It takes some self-discipline and some getting used to…but it can be done!
Advice #5: Be open to the fact that you may need medicine.
After a few days of being on the diet (quite religiously), I called in to report my numbers to the doctor. Turns out that despite me being strict with the diet, my body was still not producing enough insulin. I would have to go on medicine.
The doctor ended up tweaking my dosage again a week later…now, I’m happy to report that I am finally in a good place!
As I mentioned before, I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE my nurse/dietician. She said some things to me that I will forever carry with me:
I did nothing to bring about gestational diabetes. Moms carry a lot of guilt and I can chuck the guilt on this one. Gestational diabetes is simply a combination of genetics and hormones. My body simply cannot produce enough insulin in its current state (pregnancy). She assured me that I did nothing to bring this about.
That being said, she did recommend that after I have bebes, I lose the baby weight, exercise at least 30 minutes per day, and maintain this diet in order to not get diabetes in the future, since I am predisposed to getting it. I am all for this! I want to be here as long as possible for my littles and Hubs!
I hope you found something useful in this post. Gestational diabetes is no fun but the good news is it’s short term. Take care of yourself, Mama! xxoo
So my insurance company, in their infinite wisdom, informed me that I must refill my “maintenance” prescriptions for 90 days in order to not be charged the full price. I informed them that I will not be pregnant for 90 days (3 weeks is more like it!)…
NO MATTER. There is no way around the system. Okey dokey.
I ended up getting a prescription for 90 days…called to fill it and was told I am not eligible to refill it until a certain date. Wait until said date. Went to pick it up at a new pharmacy (I must now go to the one they tell me to)…get 2/3 of my prescriptions (The last one I can get the following day. Why all 3 would not be available on the same day is beyond me?) and go home. Only to discover…
The test strips are not compatible with the blood sugar monitor.
Thankfully, I had checked the label before opening the box! Went back to the pharmacy only to find…they are out of stock. And I just used my last testing strip. Which brings me to:
Advice #6: Check compatibility of testing strips with blood sugar monitor.
Heck, at this point, check each and every detail of your prescriptions BEFORE leaving the pharmacy. Do not assume they will get it right. How ironic that both pharmacies gave me the wrong equipment both times! Luckily, I live in a big city and the pharmacy is only 2 miles from my home. This may not be the case for everyone. Check all the different parts before leaving! Hope this helps.