Pregnancy & Diabetes – My Story

From the day we found out we were expecting our third (and final ha!) baby, Tim and I had been completely over the moon. We’d always said 3 is our number and because I had to have both the girls via cesearen section we also knew three was the safest number for me and my health too.

Up until about 28 weeks things were going perfectly. Max’s scans showed he was growing well and there were no concerns whatsoever! He was our blessing. Our boy.

At 28 weeks I went in to hospital for my Glucose Tolerance test. My dad is a type 2 insulin dependant diabetic so I’ve been tested in each pregnancy for it too. I happily went along to the routine appointment with no worries whatsoever as my results for this same test with both the girls’ pregnancies were perfect.

A week later, in the middle of playing pirates with Belle, I received a phone call from my midwife. I had developed Gestational Diabetes and needed to come into hospital urgently to meet with my consultant and dietician.
To be honest with you I’d never really looked into GD and hadn’t known anyone else who had also suffered from it during their pregnancy either. I lifted up my eye-patch and pulled off our DIY pirate hat (much to belles dismay) and tried my hardest to focus on what my midwife was saying.

“But what does this mean? Is my baby ok?”

After researching Gestational Diabetes it all became a lot clearer to me.

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy. It occurs if your body cannot produce enough insulin – a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels – to meet the extra needs in pregnancy.

I met with my dietician and consultant and we agreed on extra growth scans and regular, weekly checkups to make sure things were okay for both baby and me.
I began finger-pricking to test my blood sugar four times a day and I watched my diet like a hawk. Through my research I read that a poorly controlled diet could result in problems like your baby growing larger than usual and, in rare occasions, even loss.
My heart was aching. I suddenly had about 348548 appointments with different healthcare professionals booked in and it took me a while to process it all.

After a good cry I decided put my big girl pants on and told myself everything will be absolutely FINE.
I can do this.
I don’t need medication.
Of COURSE i’ll be able to control this through my diet.

I was quite far along in my pregnancy now with high blood readings, so the hospital gave me a week to change my diet and hopefully reduce my readings. One week.
It didn’t happen. Just like anyone with diabetes, there were foods my body didn’t agree with (tomatoes, brown bread, bananas) & they made my sugar levels spike.
The thought of being on medication for me during pregnancy has always worried me, so I pleaded with my doctors to let me have just one more week of trying to control my levels. Reluctantly, they agreed.
Another week passed of eating cauliflower cous-cous, pomegranates and home-made soup with seeded bread. Sugar quickly became the enemy to me and I was doing all I could to eat, drink & exercise as much as I possibly could to get my readings low. But still, every single blood reading I took was sky high.

I remember sitting down and being so upset over it all. I didn’t realise how hard it would be! I felt as though I was running an impossible race and no matter what I did I wasn’t getting any closer to where I needed to be. The guilt really did consume me.

We had another growth scan for Max and the results showed he was on the larger side of “normal” & after seeing my dietician and consultant again, I ended up agreeing to be put on Metformin.
Metformin is an oral diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels.

Within a few days I began suffering with some side affects and, with still no reduction in my blood sugar readings, the Metformin was ditched and I was put onto Insulin Injections four times a day.

Even though I now felt like a human pin-cushion, I got on so much better with the insulin injections and saw a slight decrease in my sugar levels.
For the first time I thought I was finally beginning to win this battle with myself.

Over the next few weeks I was in regular contact with my diabetes doctor and it seemed the further along my pregnancy progressed, the higher my levels would spike too.
My insulin was being increased weekly to fight my high sugar levels and, worrying aside, it was so nice to feel these wonderful people were there to help me and reassure me that none of this was MY fault, but instead it was probably my placenta to blame.

The day before our final growth scan I was speaking to one of my good friends Harriet (from LifeWithMrsLee.com) and we were comparing our baby bumps together over WhatsApp. It wasn’t until I compared my belly from February to March that I realised just how much Max had grown and it was then that I began to panic a little. As good friends do (and she is such a lovely one!) Harriet reassured me everything would be fine and told me not to worry. Love her!

Scan day came around and my measurements were taken. Because of my high sugar levels, Max was getting too much glucose and as a result his stomach at 37 weeks was measuring 39+ weeks.
I was admitted upstairs onto the labour ward immediately for Sliding Scale Insulin Therapy because of my erratic blood sugar levels and the midwives looked after me SO well, despite them telling me they had little training with the equipment.

Whilst in hospital, I was also given my two steroid injections to prepare baby respiratory system as he was going to be born earlier than 39 weeks and oh my God they hurt. So bad. Like a thousand bees stinging you in the same place at the same time. (Sorry guys I can’t even sugarcoat that bit!)

After my second injection, I was allowed off the sliding scale IV drip and able to go home. That was it! I was SO happy to be going home and seeing my babies. It was the day before Easter Sunday and with our Cesaren Section planned for Tuesday I couldn’t wait to spend the next few days celebrating Easter and eating chocolate with my gorgeous family!

Baby had other plans though, see my ‘Birth Story Post’ for more!

If you or anyone you know is or has currently been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy, there are SO many lovely groups out there & online that can be just the encouragement they need. I joined a Facebook Group ‘Gestational Diabetes UK’ and found it amazing. You don’t feel so alone anymore because you can see there are hundreds of other women in exactly the same position as you- some are even due the same time as you!- and you can chat, encourage and support each other each step of the way.

Lots of Love

G x

 

 

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