Damned Glucose

A few weeks ago I failed my glucose challenge test. Not a big deal, the midwife said. Quite a lot of people get a higher result on the one hour challenge test and go on to have normal results. I unfortunately am not one of them. I lived on the false hope that it would all be fine, that it was just an anomaly, that I didn’t fit into any of the risk categories apart from being of Asian descent. No family history, no previous personal history, not overweight, generally eating healthily, probably could do more exercise but hard in this heat. There was a little part of me that was worried, but a bigger part that was confident that I’d be fine.

I did my glucose tolerance test earlier this week, one of the most boring tests ever and not easy to just sit for 2 and a half hours. I got a missed call and a voicemail on my phone and they told me that I had gestational diabetes. I have to attend an education session and see a dietician. Janice the very lovely diabetes educator told me not to worry about it over the weekend and that we’ll sort it out on Tuesday (as I worry about everything). I got off the phone feeling not too bad about it. I told my charge, organised some time off work to go to the information sessions and everyone was really supportive about it. I felt like I was going to be okay, especially surrounded by people I have to be professional around. Until someone asked me if I was really okay, and then I realised that I was actually feeling really upset and angry.

I feel upset and betrayed by my normally reasonably healthy body, that this was happening to me when there were no signs. This is the sort of thing that happens to other people. I feel guilty that I am not able to support my daughter during this crucial time, and in fact I could be putting her health at risk. I worry that I will be predisposed to getting diabetes later in life, that I am potentially increasing the risk that she will get diabetes. I worry that I’ll go into early labour, she will be hypoglycaemic when she’s born, that she’ll have seizures, that I’m putting her health at risk because my body can’t do it’s job and regulate sugar like it’s supposed to. I feel like it’s my fault, that I could have eaten better, that I shouldn’t have given in to my carb cravings in the first trimester when I was so nauseated, that even milk that I thought would be okay turns out not to be. That milo I drank in the first trimester when I couldn’t keep water down. That piece of chocolate I had at work could have been my downfall. All the fruit I’ve been eating probably wasn’t such a good idea. All those breakfasts I skipped because I didn’t feel like I could stomach anything in the morning. I could have exercised more and been healthier before and during my pregnancy. I’m irritated that the symptoms of gestational diabetes that I’ve probably been experiencing are the same as what could be part of a normal pregnancy; thirst, increased urination, tiredness, blurred vision. How could I have known the difference? I also don’t want to have to test my blood glucose several times a day. I’m going to run out of fingers to prick.

I’m annoyed that I’ve never really had to worry about what I eat. I’ve never worried so much about what I was putting in my mouth until getting pregnant, and even then it was just following the guidelines because I didn’t want to be judged for being a bad pregnant woman, for eating forbidden foods and putting my unborn child at risk. It was more external than internal, which is probably not a great thing as the way I’ve framed it, I feel like it’s imposed on me and I should be able to eat whatever the hell I want. I’ve been mostly good though and kept away from things I shouldn’t be eating. Now I have to add a whole lot of other things to that list, with my husband constantly watching me like a hawk in case I eat just that little bit too much white rice or whatever else I can’t eat now. For someone who lives to eat, it’s a hard transition. It’s hard to get my head around not being able to eat what I want to eat. It makes me anxious.

There are so many things that keep swirling around in my head, and I can’t help but feel that it’s my fault. People kept asking me if I was okay. I was like sure, what’s there not to be okay about? It’s manageable and I trust the health care team. I’ll be fine. And then when I got home and saw my husband, I suddenly wasn’t fine about it. All those thoughts came rushing into my head and I started crying (although probably not that unusual since getting pregnant I cry over everything. I cried when I heard a song I liked on the radio, I cried when I saw a picture of a really cute puppy, I get really teary every time I feel her moving, and I even cried at the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother. Who cries watching a comedy??). I felt out of control. Suddenly waiting until Tuesday was too far away and I wanted to have all the information right now, this instant.

The last 24 hours I’ve swung between being fine and feeling like it’s going to be okay, to feeling like just crying in a ball. I have to force myself to be cheery around other people and for a moment I actually feel good, until I’m left alone with my irrational thoughts again. I’m really just doing this to myself, driving myself crazy.

In my search for more information, I came across this post by Elise Blaha Cripe. She says:

“But I am also writing it in the hopes that six months from now, a stressed out pregnant woman will perform a google search for GD meal recommendations and wind up here and read this :

“It’s okay. You’ll be fine.””

I am now that stressed out woman, and I’m trying to tell myself that I’ll be fine. My husband keeps telling me that I’ll be fine. Sometimes I’ll probably believe it too, but for now I’m just upset. I know he’s finding it really hard to deal with me at the moment, but I can’t help but feel really teary when I think about it.

I know things could be a lot worse, that I’ve mostly had a good uncomplicated pregnancy. I know that I’m going to be okay, that with a modified diet and increased exercise I most likely won’t have to take insulin and that it’ll all be fine. My daughter will be fine. I will be fine. It’s just hard to see through all the haze at the moment. It’s just hard not to feel lost and alone.

The husband says that it could probably be a blessing in disguise. It’ll force me to be more careful of what I’ve been eating and potentially eat better. The increase exercise could help me to feel less whale-like and stabilise my mood. Maybe I won’t hormonally cry so much at anything and everything. In the scheme of things it could be a lot worse. I should be able to take steps to controlling it and change my lifestyle for the better. I’m just scared of screwing everything up, or more accurately that I’ve already screwed everything up.

When I feel her moving around and kicking me, she reminds me that she’s still there and it makes me remember that all this is for her. It’s all just temporary and I have to keep believing when people tell me that I’m going to be okay, because it’s no longer just about me. It’s about her and it’s about my family. I have to trust that she’ll be okay.