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Gestational Diabetes - My Story
Member Name: paulpry118
Advantages: Monthly Scans
This review is about my experience of Gestational Diabetes.
Gestational diabetes affects quite a few women in pregnancy, however you are more prone the older you are and the more over weight you are. Diabetes develops when the body can't produce enough insulin, made naturally be the pancreas. Insulin regulates the amount of sugar available in the blood for energy, any sugar that isn't immediately required is stored. A pregnant woman's body has to produce extra insulin for the baby. If your body can not manage this, you sometimes develop Gestational Diabetes. Too much sugar in your blood causes the sugar to go into the placenta, which keeps the baby fed and causes the baby to grow very large. Gestational Diabetes can be controlled by diet but sometimes extra insulin is needed to keep the sugars under control, exercise can help as well.
Gestational Diabetes is a different form of diabetes from type one and type two. However women who have suffered from this can develop diabetes in later life.
Way back in 1991, my boyfriend and I decided we were going to move house from our tiny 2 up 2 down, so set about finding a new home. During a argument whilst trying to find our local Kwiksave shop we spotted this fantastic house for sale. Thinking we could not afford it I rang the estate agent who told us the price, it was a bit out of our budget but decided we would view it anyway. We both fell in love with the house but it would put a lot of pressure on our finances and would mean we would have to delay starting a family. We took the plunge and bought our dream home and got married a year later. We struggled for years to make ends meet. In 1999 my husband got a new job, this increased his wages 3 fold. We decided to give it a couple of years to make sure his was happy with this job and then we would start trying for a family. So at the age of 34 I was looking forward to becoming a mother. Little did we know how difficult it would be. Four years came and went and three miscarriages happening during this period. That was it, we gave up and decided we were going to adopt. One month later, I discovered that again I was pregnant. Overjoyed but nervous we lived in hope that this pregnancy would survive. Like the other pregnancy's at 8 weeks I started to show and bleed, so my midwife arranged a scan, this time however there was still a heart beat. Just take it easy for the next few weeks the hospital told me. I did and made it to the 12 week scan. This pregnancy looked much more likely to make it to full term. By this time I was the ripe old age of 38 and weighed an unhealthy 12stone 5 lb. This meant I would have a list of people to see at the hospital for every appointment, who at every appointment would give me a lecture and insist on doing every test possible.
I had my 20 week scan on 17th August. Peed into the test tube and waited to see the doctors. One of the nurses came to whisper some thing to the doctor, who then informed me they had found sugar in my urine. Would I mind going to the blood test area and have a blood test, they needed to check for Gestational Diabetes. One week later I received a telephone call to say could I go and see the Diabetes clinic. I made my appointment and duly went. They then told me I was border line of having Gestational Diabetes. They would need to keep a very close eye on me and I would need to have a glucose tolerance test.
The glucose tolerance test had to be completed first thing in the morning on a empty stomach. So I made an appointment with the hospital for 8.30 the following morning. My husband accompanied me as they told me it would involve a lot of waiting around. Now at this time I was 5 months pregnant and eating everything in site and still having morning sickness. Starting the morning without my bowl of breakfast was unmentionable but I put up with. The nurse eventually turned up at 9.00 apologised for making me wait but she had had to attend a meeting. The test involved drinking 1 pint of Lucazade, YUK, especially first thing in the morning. So the nurse took my blood and stood over me whilst I drunk the pint and made sure that I didn't throw it back up again, if I did I would have to keep drinking a pint until I kept it down. I did keep it down so she took another blood test and then sent me to the waiting room to sit there for two hours and have nothing to eat or drink, I could rinse my mouth out with water if I wanted but try not to swallow any she told me. At last the two hours were up and she called me back in and again took another blood test with the comment of we will be in touch.
Three days later I received a telephone call from the diabetes clinic, could I please come in a soon as possible, so made an appointment for the following day. I did not sleep that night as they would not tell me what the result was. My husband again accompanied me. Again I was border line but they said that I would need to check my sugar levels myself. She gave me a Diabetes Monitoring System and gave me instructions on how to use it. The system consisted of a small hand held monitor, a pen like object that you pulled to top of, held it to your finger then pressed a button and a needle would shoot out and make a pin prick in your finger, some spare needles and some strips that look a bit like a litmus strip. I must say the monitoring system is very easy to use. You switch on the monitor, place a strip into it, make a pin prick on your finger, squeeze your finger to get some blood out, drop the blood onto the strip and wait a few seconds for the result to show. I had to do this test first thing as soon as I had got up, then again two hours after breakfast, again before lunch and two hours after lunch and again before tea time and two hours after and again at bed time. The nurse then put two insulin pens in front of me. One was a brightly coloured pen for insulin to be injected during the day and another was a silver pen for a different kind of insulin to be injected at bed time. The nurse then went on to show me how to inject myself. I felt completely and utterly sick. I hate needles at the best of times but whilst you are pregnant you get used to having your blood taken by Dracula!!! However injecting yourself if totally different. To use the pen you flick the container containing the insulin to make sure there are no air bubbles, turn a wheel that controls the amount of insulin to be injected, stick it in your thigh or your stomach, ( there was no bloody way I was sticking it in my stomach) so my thighs got a hammering, press the top of the pen and hey ho the insulin is injected. The first time I tried to do it my hand was shaking so much I just could not inject myself, so my husband had to do it. The needle is so fine that all I felt was a bit of a pin prick, after this I was able to do it myself no problem.
After this lesson I was then allocated a nutritional nurse. This woman completely wound me up, she was very young, very recently trained and had absolutely no concept of being pregnant. When I was pregnant, the thought of certain foods would turn my stomach, I had to go shopping every day after work to buy tea for that evening, get home cooked it and then not fancy it and end up with a takeaway. I could eat something if I had not cooked it myself, however my husband is a street light engineer and at this time he was working the East Midlands area covering all Motorways and A roads in this including the M1. He would sometimes not get home until about 8 pm and he was also on call for any accidents that happened, which meant sometimes he would only be home for ½ hour and have to go back out to work and attend a RTA. This nurse just could not understand anything that I was saying to her. She spoke to me as though I was thick and suggested that I eat a Jacket Potato and salad every night for my tea. This is OK a couple of times a week but not every night. Avoid caffeine, when I told her I only drink decaf anyway, she did not believe me. I really felt like punching this young whipper snapper, if this was how she behaved with older people she would need to learn a few lessons. I have always enjoyed cooking and when time permitted would cook a meal from scratch so I did actually have an idea of what I should be eating but try telling my pregnant brain that. One of my cravings was for ice cream, any flavour, however no longer could I eat this as it had too much sugar in.
Once home I started checking my sugars levels. The first test in the morning my blood glucose level should have been around 4.5 and during the day around 7.5. Not a chance my glucose level was all over the place. I had a book in which I would have to write what I had eaten, what my levels was and how much insulin I had given myself. Sometimes my levels would go up to over 15 so I would have to increase the amount of insulin. Certain foods made my levels increase. My nutritional nurse told me to avoid white bread and to eat brown bread, however brown bread made my levels increase more than white bread did. Good I'm not keen on brown bread, so I was able to continue to eat white bread.
I had to be seen fortnightly either by the hospital or by my midwife (who informed me I was her first Gestational Diabetes lady she had ever had, filled me with confidence I must say). Every hospital appointment I had would involve a scan. This was the best thing about having Gestational Diabetes and I got to see the baby growing, however it was quite frightening because they used to estimate the weight of the baby. When I was seven months pregnant they estimated that Holly was about 7.5 lbs in weight and the last few weeks is when the baby puts on the most weight, so they warned me to expect a 10 lb plus baby. I believed them as I was beginning to become to size of a beached whale. At the time I worked for a Window and Door Fabrication company and they used to joke that they were going to have to make the doors bigger for me to get through. I looked as though I was expecting triplets not one child. I can remember going shopping on a Saturday to my local Tesco. I parked in a normal space out of the way but when I got back to the car somebody had parked next to me so I was unable to open the door wide enough to get into the drivers seat. I had to ask a man in the car park to get my car out for me, I was so embarrassed. The rest of time when I visited Tesco I would take my chance and park in the Mother and Baby places.
My Manager at work was very good and understanding. I needed a lot of time off work to attend appointments, towards to end of my pregnancy I had appointments weekly with either the midwife or hospital. I suffered morning sickness right up until the end of my pregnancy, so I sometimes struggled to get to work on time. He allowed me time off to go aqua natal swimming and even got a man in the factory to make me a small table for the toilet, so I could put my insulin kit on to save me trying to balance it on the toilet. I was so large it was difficult for me to bend over if I put it on the floor. Thanks Mark.
Holly was due on 30 December, so I worked up till the beginning of December, then took 2 weeks holiday and started my maternity leave on 16th December.
During one of my hospital appointments at the beginning of December, the hospital asked me to start trying to express milk and when I asked why, they sent me into a panic. They informed me that many babies that are born to Gestational Diabetes mothers tend to end up in the special care unit for a few days so if I could start expressing milk and keep it in the freezer my daughter would have a good start.
At 37 weeks pregnant I again visited to hospital, had a scan where they told me Holly would more than likely be over 10 lb and informed my that they wanted me in at 38 weeks and would start to induce me. They tend to prefer Gestational Diabetes patients to be induced rather than go into natural labour in case of complications. So on Monday 18th December, with my bag packed I arrived at the labour ward. It was no good me having a birth plan as I had no idea what to expect. They had previously warned my that I would need to be strapped up to an insulin drip and a glucose drip whilst in labour and I would possibly end up with a caesarean section.
The induction worked and I started having contractions and breathing through them, I was wired up to a heart monitor and then all of a sudden a midwife came running in followed closely by two doctors, I wondered what the hell was up. They informed me that Holly's heart beat had started to fluctuate and I was going to need a C Section. By this time there seemed to be about 15 people in the room, although by this time I seemed to be no longer with them, I couldn't answer the most simplest of questions, my husband had to take over, they were running with my bed down the corridors. It was the most frightening experience. My husband was no longer in sight. I was screaming for him and he eventually turned up after being thrown some garments for him to change into so he could be in the operation theatre with me. I was given an epidural but I cant actually remember anything else. My next memory was of being shown a baby. Holly had entered the world. So much for her weighing over 10 lb, she weighed 7 lb 1 ½ ounce and was beautiful. One thing I can remember after the operation was I could hear a person counting 1, 2, 3, 4 over and over again. Oh my god I said to Darren has she not got all her fingers and toes, it turned out they were counting the instruments used, to make sure they had not left any in me.
After a brief visit to the recovery ward Holly and myself were taken up to the ward to rest and try to get some sleep that night.
The following day, the nurses came and took some of my blood and Holly's blood to check for Diabetes. It was good news, my Gestational Diabetes had gone and Holly was also clear of Diabetes. I again had to take a Glucose tolerance test six weeks after the birth, which again was clear. I now have to be checked once a year but it is only a blood test at the doctors.
I have been warned that if I don't keep a check on my weight I may develop Diabetes when I am older. I know visit a gym twice a week, I am no longer classed as obese, just overweight now. I shall continue to try and loose more weight, We only enjoy a takeaway meal once a week and with me being a stay at home mum I am able to cook healthy meals for all of us.
If you are diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, the best this is not to worry and to take everything in your stride. Do as the doctors tell you and try to enjoy your pregnancy as best as you can. You feel very under pressure to keep your glucose levels down but it is not always possible. Do the best you can, you can't do any more. Just remember at the end of this you will have a beautiful baby and all your suffering will be worth it when you hold your baby in your arms.
Many thanks for reading, I hope it is of help.
Summary: You forget everything once you hold your newborn baby in your arms.
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