I legitimately feel like I’m not good at being pregnant. These are the words that I texted to a couple of my close friends the other day after receiving yet another disappointing phone call from my doctor.
Prior to my glucose screening test, I had certainly joked that I would be diagnosed with gestational diabetes given my recently formed “daily donut” habit. I wish I was kidding, but I must admit, most mornings, I had been enjoying a (mostly) guilt free donut with my iced coffee. Isn’t one of the perks of pregnancy losing the strict diet and allowing oneself to indulge in things you may not normally have indulged in? The baby wants a licorice! …I mean a pack of licorice… 😀
Last year, like many brides do, I adopted new eating habits to prepare for my upcoming wedding. I had made some serious changes, and for the most part, ate what would best be described as a low carb diet. Gone were the days that I began my day with delicious orange juice! But my efforts paid off, as I lost 25 pounds and prior to pregnancy, I truly felt the healthiest and most confident I had in a long time! I was a tiny bit resentful that I would be giving up the body that I worked so hard to attain, but I entered pregnancy with the attitude that I would stay as healthy as possible and be able to successfully deal with the inevitable weight gain after baby was born.
Well, that was easy to declare before I had any idea what the first trimester of pregnancy would feel like. I was delusional. I truly believed that you woke up feeling a tad nauseated, threw up, and then went about your day! WRONG. From about 7 weeks to 15 weeks I was nauseated All. The. Time. I couldn’t look at most of the foods that I had previously almost exclusively ate. I bought the entire fruit section of the grocery store and survived solely on sugary fruit and carbs. When I told my doctor that the smell of meat sent me flying to the bathroom, and the only thing that could provide me any sort of temporary relief from the nausea was pasta and bread, she told me to eat what I could keep down and not to worry. So I did not (worry, that is).
But when the second trimester hit and I finally started to feel better, I didn’t want to change my new habits! I couldn’t even enjoy my Raman noodles and Kraft Dinner when I felt sick! Now I could actually savour the delicious treats of my childhood! I’m not saying I continued to exclusively eat like a seven year old. But I definitely decided to adopt a more lax attitude towards diet and simply eat like I did for many years prior to going low-carb. I once again ate foods from all of the food groups, and I didn’t berate myself if I wanted dessert. It was a nice few weeks.
When my glucose test rolled around, my doctor explained that a sugar level of 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) and under was considered a pass and anything above that would require further testing. Despite my jokes, I wasn’t worried. At my 24-week checkup, my baby bump measured perfectly, my weight gain was on point, and my blood pressure was just fine! Bring on the glucose test! I scheduled it for a few days later, the only concern in my mind being which camp was correct: those who adamantly state that the orange drink is absolutely disgusting or those who describe it to be like the classic orange drink from McDonalds! (I’m in the McDonalds camp).
Two days later, much to my dismay, my doctor called and gently told me that my sugar level was measured at a 7.9 mmol/L. One measly point from a pass. I would be required to fast for ten hours and go in for a more intense, two-hour glucose tolerance test. Perfect. Because there must be a bump in the road every single step of the way. I scheduled my follow-up test for three days later and began furiously researching the implications of gestational diabetes. I decided that my unborn son was most certainly going to be doomed to a life of obesity and I was headed for a C-section as his donut-fueled growth would obviously make him massive.
The second time around, at least one mystery was solved. As it turns out, they amp up the sugar content of the orange drink for the glucose tolerance test (from 50g to 75g), so this one tasted less McDonalds delicious and more sickeningly sweet… baby was flying around in my otherwise empty tummy half an hour after downing it. The waiting game commenced once again (first, in the lab for two hours) and until I received the phone call with the results.
Late the next day, when I saw my doctor’s number on my cell, my stomach did a flip. I answered the phone with a quick silent prayer to the universe and prepared myself for the worst. But this time, the worst didn’t happen! “You passed the glucose tolerance test,” she told me, adding, “Everything looks perfect.” I paused. “So you mean, if I just continued eating exactly as I have up to this point, all will be okay?” I asked her. “Yup!”. YES. I thanked her profusely for calling me at the very last minute on a late Friday afternoon and entered the weekend with a smile. I am definitely heeding this whole experience as a warning and hope that moving forward, I’ll find a happy medium between making healthy choices and indulging, but I may or may not have ordered dessert that night to celebrate 😉