The Home Stretch of Pregnancy: Gestational Diabetes and Me.

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I haven’t really blogged about this pregnancy, besides the initial announcement…and somehow we’re now at 33 weeks and on the home stretch!

During this pregnancy there has been a lot of stress; the hospital where I birthed the boys has managed to lose my medical notes that have documented the issues arising with me in my pregnancies since 2010, failed to even apologise for this, been rather arrogant about it, and finally, despite my insistence that it wasn’t being performed correctly at the time, completed my glucose tolerance test over a period of 3.5 hours as opposed to 2, which returned a negative result.

This last act caused me to speak to my midwife, and finally switch hospital trusts, where four days later I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

I got the call as I was at my parents house with the boys during the Easter holidays.  It was somehow a huge shock, and my heart broke in sheer desperation.  I called Gavin and sobbed that I had ruined our baby already and not managed to protect him before he had even breathed outside of me.  After I calmed down, I Googled the condition and immediately cut all white products from my diet, all sugary foods and spent the rest of the week worrying, until my appointment with the hospital the following week.

It turns out that being diagnosed with gestational diabetes has been the best thing to happen to me.  I don’t mean that to sound flippant and it’s a very serious condition. I know that I’m now prone to type 2 diabetes for the next 5-17 years and I’ll always be watching everything that I eat.  I know that my baby has an increased risk of also developing it when he’s older also.

Due to the condition, there are procedures now in place ready for the birth of our baby and his aftercare; precautions that are carefully aligned next to those which will take place if our little one has that extra chromosome and is born with Down syndrome also and needing additional attention within the first few hours of his life.

Both my boys have been over 9lbs and I’ve delivered naturally.  This is both a positive and negative factor.  Looking at it positively, my body has a good track record of carrying larger babies (long legged babies) and birthing them without assistance…and on the flip side, my babies are already genetically bigger and the hospital worried for any increase in this.  Shoulder dystocia is a worry for mothers to be with GD.

Yet despite all of the appointments and tears, the condition has had a hugely positive impact on my health.  Since cutting everything from my diet and monitoring my blood glucose levels each day, I’ve lost a kilogram in weight.  My weight gain hasn’t been high this pregnancy but even so, now I feel happy that I won’t be consuming any calories that I don’t need.  The biggest change has been to my blood pressure.  During this pregnancy my readings have been 135/92.  When I was pregnant with Lyoto they were through the roof and over 100.  After three weeks of an altered diet, my reading was 121/68.  I feel amazing.

I had a growth scan which revealed at 32 weeks our little one was 4.3lbs and already has very long legs like his biggest brother.  The scan looked great and there were no worries from my consultant’s point of view.  He’s on track to be the same as his brothers.

So what has it meant for me?  Well, I keep a food diet of every single thing I’ve eaten.  There’s no hiding anything because it will have an impact on my blood glucose levels and because it’s for my baby, I won’t stray or cheat as I would on a normal diet.  I eat something every 2-3 hours and pre and post meals I prick my finger and take a reading which needs to be under 6 pre meals and under 7.8 an hour afterwards.  My carbohydrates are all complex and nothing that enters my body is over 5% sugar (per 100g).  I can have three pieces of fruit a day and not together.  I have to consider every single label on my food.  No matter how much I’m craving something sugary or a treat, it can’t happen.

My colleagues at work have said how much better I look; as though a huge weight has been lifted from me and that I’m glowing.  Aside from the virus I have at the moment, I feel so much better. I can climb stairs without huffing and puffing and wanting to collapse and I don’t feel like I’m dead on my feet in the afternoons.

I’m very worried for what the future holds for my little one, but had we not been diagnosed this could all have turned out very differently indeed.

Photography Copyright Cristina Barton Photography

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