Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Awwwww, MAN!

I had my 28 week appointment today. I drank my fizzy, delicious little beverage full of sugar and went and had my finger pricked.

Bad news bears, man.

My blood sugar was so high (>200!!!) that I can basically forgo the three-hour test to confirm that, yes, I'm a gestational diabetic.

AUGHHHH!!!!! I KNEW things were going too well!

I burst out laughing when my OB told me - I mean, it just sounded so absurd - because I honestly thought she was kidding and would say, "HA HA! Never mind! Your sugar was actually 120!" or something like that, but she was, um, NOT kidding. I mean, I don't fall in any risk category, I exercise frequently, and eat well (I'll admit that sweets have been a major downfall of mine during pregnancy, though, and my pancreas is probably like, "Forget it").

It's just's so easy to get frustrated when you see infants of a diabetic mom. Particularly one who doesn't control it. You have to be diligent. A lot of people have to make significant diet changes. And they don't want to, nor do they see the need to, because they feel just fine. They end up having an enormous baby that looks like it was inflated with a bicycle pump (and there's a royal difference between just a "big baby" and a really, really, REAAAAALLLLY fat infant of a diabetic mom), and they think that that's just the way it is because everyone else in their family is diabetic and large, and well, "Diabetes runs in my family anyway" (to which I usually - kindly - reply: "It doesn't have to").

So when I think of being a gestational diabetic, I think, oh no...that'll be ME!

But - "It doesn't have to."

Everyone thinks it's fabulous when you have a big baby, because bigger is better, right? Wrong. It's one thing to just have a big baby if bigger babies just run in your family. It's another thing to have a big baby who is big because it's been feeding on the sugar train for months. When mom's blood sugar isn't well-controlled (and the control has to be tight), her body kicks out insulin. Insulin is a growth hormone that starts pumping that kid up. Insulin also interferes with the development of chemicals that mature the baby's lungs. And the baby's body is kicking out insulin to combat mom's high blood sugar...and when it's born, as soon as you cut the cord, yeah, mom's blood sugar supply is cut too - BUT - tell that to the baby's pancreas, which is still in the process of kicking out insulin. So baby's blood sugar takes a major dive, and it could potentially need an IV if it can't be regulated with feedings...another frustrating task, because often those babies are so huge that you can't find their veins, and your friendly Special Care nurse is muttering unholy words under her breath.

So you've potentially got a huge baby with respiratory distress and low blood sugars. And that's why bigger is not better.

In addition to the fact that the potential need for a c-section significantly increases. Most diabetic moms have to be induced because you can't just wait for labor to kick off while your (possibly) enormous kid keeps growing. Inductions usually end up in c-sections. Etc etc.

So, I'll have to follow a strict diet - which for all intents and purposes isn't that different from the way Matt and I normally eat anyway; I'll just have to be even more fussy. I may need to be induced around 39 weeks, which I don't want. I'll have ultrasounds every two weeks to monitor the baby's growth, and if it's estimated to be bigger than 8lbs 5oz, then we'll have to schedule a c-section. I don't want that. But sometimes you don't get a choice. And I'm not so all about the way *I* want things to go that I have a whole lot of room for pitching a fit. I just know the risks and benefits of all the options, and I'll start praying NOW that at the very least I'll go into labor naturally before said scheduled induction or c-section, so the baby at least has the benefit of those good labor hormones that tell it, "Get ready for the big world now!!"

It's humbling, but I'm choosing not to make a big deal about it. I want to do whatever I can to make sure we're both healthy (especially Little Bird). And hey, more ultrasounds means more pictures, right? :) I have no choice but to just roll with it. I'd far rather have gestational diabetes than pregnancy-induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia.

So if you have any words of encouragement or great food suggestions if you've been a gestational diabetic before, send them my way!!!!


Katy VanRyckeghem said...

my friend was the same way only with her second child (she's not heavy & eats healthy as well) but she said the diet actually made her feel better and overall it was a better pregnancy than her first. Maybe it won't be too bad :)

The Adamski Family said...

Oh I am sorry to hear that. I know you will be so good about controlling it for your baby and things will turn out ok in the end. I had two big babies (you might remember helping to deliver Logan)--Lauren was almost 10 and Logan was almost 9 pounds. Crazy! Lucky for me, Chris was 10 1/2 when he was born so that is where that comes from. But it is no fun for us small frame ladies to carry these big babies! I will be thinking about you and praying!

ali said...

Aww Jenny, I'm sorry :(... It's rough to know so much about all of this, sometimes I think ignorance is bliss :-P! You have a wonderful attitude about it all! Not too much longer and Baby Gouveia will be here and all of this will be a very distant memory!! We will definitely be praying for the best case scenario!

Elaine said...

Jenny! You have a wonderful, proactive attituede about all of this! Way to go! It's times like these when one can truly see what a wonderful Mom you'll be:)

Elaine said...

P.S. - you can be really thankful that this was caught when it was- I predict you'll feel even better, Little Bird will be born super-healthy, the end of pregnancy/ birth will be wayyy easier for you, and everybody wins! By the way,the info. you include is very interesting. I always learn something.

Rachael Neal said...

Jenny - I agree with Ali, ignorance is bliss! You'll do great and its such a short time before that sweet baby is with you and not IN you! :)