When I was around 26 weeks pregnant I was told I had to go and do a Glucose Tolerance Test or a GTT for short. For those who don’t know, a GTT is a test where you have bloods taken then get given this sugary drink, a bit like Lucozade, sit around for 2 hours doing nothing then have more bloods taken before being allowed home. You have to do this test as a fasting one so no food or drink after Midnight. The idea of the test is to see how your body controls the sugar in the drinks and how it affects your blood sugar levels. If you don’t meet the targets you then receive a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes. This is completely different to type 2 diabetes in the sense that the targets are lower and you will only have gestational diabetes until your baby is born. It raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future but simple lifestyle changes will help keep the risk to minimum. It also means that in future pregnancies you will be at a higher risk of Gestational Diabetes but this again doesn’t guarantee you will definitely develop it in future pregnancies.
So, a couple of days after my test I received a phone call from a midwife to tell me that I had Gestational Diabetes and from that moment on I was too attend all appointments at the hospital with the diabetic team. Then she said bye and went off the phone. My first reaction was too break down and cry, there was no mention of what would happen next or what it really meant, I just had to wait for my appointment to come through the post. The appointment had been made around 10 days later and I had people telling me to not worry about it as I didn’t yet know what they would say. One thought went through my mind, easier said than done.
I felt like a complete and utter failure. What had I done to have Gestational Diabetes? Was it because of my weight? What are the complications? Will my baby be safe? All these questions and I didn’t know where to start. I started looking up information on the internet, BIG mistake. I was reading horror stories of mums having big babies and there was other complications that could potentially cause a health risk to my baby. Quite rightly, my husband saw me and told me off. I was reading about something I had never heard off before or even knew anything about so it was crazy of me to think I could just read and understand.
The time came for the appointment and to say I was slightly nervous would be an understatement. I was terrified, I didn’t know what to expect. I was called into a small room where they took my blood pressure then told me to sit back int he waiting room and I would be called through soon. I was again called about 15 min later and I thought here goes. I was taken into a room where I was told to take a seat and I got left. It was just me in this room. Now what? I had someone poke their head in and she introduced herself as the Dietitian. She took my weight and then sat down with me and started to tell me all the foods that I should avoid or eat less of and the ones that I should be eating more of. I didn’t know where to start with taking it all in. She quickly disappeared and left me sitting there on my own again until someone else came in. This time it was the Diabetic nurse. She was really lovely and told me a bit more about what was going to happen every day from that moment until giving birth. She explained that I would be having to test my blood sugars 4 times day and they had to be a mix of before meals and after meals. So my targets were, before a meal it had to be below 5.5 and 1 hour after meals it had to be below 7.8 I was really positive and asked how should I do this. In fairness I probably sounded too eager. Then she told me and my face dropped. I would have to finger prick myself, with a needle, 4 times a day…. I was not looking forward to this. She took one for me to show me how to do it and I wasn’t very prepared for it. I clenched my toes in anticipation and if I’m honest, I still clench my toes 10 weeks later. She then told me to see how I get on and she would see me again in 2 weeks. I was also told that if I struggled to control my blood sugars with just the food I was eating then I would need to go onto medication. I did not feel like this was a good option for me and I wanted to avoid it at all costs.
The next person I saw was a consultant. He was there to explain to me some of the risks and to to say that I needed growth scans to check everything with baby is going well. I was okay with this as I thought it would give me more opportunities to see baby. He also explained that because of the diabetes I would need to be induced as their hospital policy is to induce around 39 weeks depending on circumstances. The last person I saw was a midwife. She asked me if I found all the information helpful and I was very honest and told her that it didn’t seem helpful at the time as there was too much. She asked if she could check babies position and listen to the heartbeat and then said if there wasn’t anything else I would like to ask then I was free to go. I couldn’t wait to leave, I was given a testing kit with lancets, or needles, and some testing strips for me to do at home. I was still clueless and didn’t know what to think.
From this appointment I found a brilliant group on Facebook where I found I could speak to other pregnant in the same position and get advice that really helped me. I also found that one of my old friends was also part of this group so I found it a real blessing being able to talk to her and ask her what I thought were daft questions.
So 10 weeks later and I have changed my diet a lot and I am now a lot more aware of the foods that I can eat and definitely the ones I should avoid. I have lost count of how many times I have had to prick myself but I am finding that I can get it done in 1 go now, whereas it was taking 3 or 4 tries each time. I am still very happy to point out that I am sill able to control my diabetes with just diet instead of medication and I am booked in for my induction in a weeks time.
I am so glad I stuck with the advice I was given and I can now finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.