Failing My Gestational Diabetes Test.

As I’m sitting here in between blood draws for my three-hour glucose screening test, it seems like a good time to fill you guys in on the previous test that I failed

To back up a little, you may remember back a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I was worried that I might be at risk for gestational diabetes.  I was experiencing some pretty intense thirst, even beyond the normal thirst that tends to come with pregnancy

Because I was worried, I called my midwife office and told them what I was experiencing, and asked if I should possibly take the test a bit early.  They told me the thought it was fine to wait, and that I’d be able to take my test somewhere around my next appointment date.

Wednesday afternoon I headed to my appointment as usual, and was shocked when I arrived to see the midwife handing out glucose drinks to our group.  (I do combined childbirth class/checkups in a group setting, which I will write more about later.)  Everyone I know that has done the glucose screening test has had notice and time to prepare – carefully selecting meals before the test.

I walked into the office having NO idea I’d be taking it, and immediately started panicking that I knew I would fail.  Literally 30 minutes before I left for the hospital I had been scarfing down my lunch – a big bowl of tomato soup and an avocado English muffin sandwich.  I also decided that polishing off the last few bites of almond milk chocolate ice cream sounded like a good way to end my lunch.  WHOOPS.

Had I known I was going to be given this bottle of orange goo at my appointment, I would have eaten much much differently that day.

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But I had no real choice, so I slurped down the syrup and hoped for the best, all the while knowing that my chances for passing were not good.  The 50g glucose drink was disgusting and burned my throat.  Other girls in the class easily chugged it, while I seemed to need the entire five minutes to gag it down. 

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Yesterday morning the nurse from my midwife office called with my results.  Just as predicted, I had failed.  My glucose levels needed to be under 135 for a passing result.  Mine was 169 – not even close.  I don’t know much about blood sugar and how much levels can vary, but I worry that my level was SO high above the allotted range, and what that means for my next test.

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They strongly recommended that I get the official 3-hour glucose screening within a few days of the first one, in order to be able to make a concrete diagnosis.  Since I am going out of town tonight (!), I had to scramble to fit myself into a 7am appointment this morning.  So now I’m sitting here sleepy, full of 100g of glucose, and with bruises lining my arms from all the pricking and blood work.  I’m hoping I’ll know the results soon.

I’ll be honest and tell you that as soon as I got off the phone with the nurse, even though in my heart I just knew I would fail the test, I put my head down on the dining room table and started sobbing.

I felt like such a huge failure.  Everyone has worked hard to reassure me that gestational diabetes is something that can happen to anyone, and while I’m doing my best to believe that, it’s hard to not feel responsible and embarrassed.  I also feel…confused.  I exercise regularly and eat healthier than most people I know, but still I can’t stop second guessing all the rootbeers and popsicles I’ve treated myself to throughout this pregnancy.

It is hard for me to believe that I am not at least partly responsible for this, when the treatment plan for dealing with gestational diabetes is essentially to eat a well-balanced diet and get enough exercise.  Wasn’t I doing that already?

Once of my least charming qualities is that I tend to be a major control freak.  I work hard to control my life and my surroundings.  Sometimes I take it too far and even try to control the people around me.  It’s not a characteristic that I’m proud of, and it’s something I’ve worked very hard to let go of in recent years.  I am not perfect, but I am getting better.

When I was 18 weeks pregnant, I found out that my thyroid wasn’t functioning correctly, and I was put on medication to correct the problem.  I was devastated, and once again I felt that I had done something to cause this.  Even though I know the intentions were good, hearing suggestions like “eat less soy” or “eat more greens” only intensified the feeling that perhaps this was a result of my actions.

Failing the gestational diabetes test has brought back a lot of those same feelings.  Whether or not I pass or fail the 3-hour test, I’m definitely going to cut back on my sugar levels from here on out.  I would eat dirt for 13 weeks if I thought it would help my baby have a safe arrival into the world. 

Pregnancy has been a very humbling experience. It has forced me to let go of control and learn to give into natural changes that come with such an amazing physical transformation.  Most of the changes have been good.  Every day I see my giant round belly and smile.  Other changes, like thyroid levels and sugar metabolism are simply beyond my control.

Crossing my fingers that the three-hour test is a success!  I’ll keep you guys posted as soon as I know something.  One more blood draw until I’m home getting ready to get a plane tonight and head to the beach!

For some more upbeat pregnancy talk, here are a few other places you can find me recently…

I wrote an article called Eating for Two in the July/August 2011 issue of Breathe Magazine!

Breathe_JulAug11_Cover_FINAL.indd  breathe

And of course, the latest on Babble

See you from South Carolina!