For as long as I can remember, motherhood was one of the things I looked most forward to in adulthood, and when my husband and I started to discuss family planning, we did not know what hurdles we would have, but what we were not prepared for: gestational diabetes.
I love being a mother; I hate being pregnant, and the culprit is gestational diabetes. With my first child, we did not catch it until late in my pregnancy and we could not seem to get it under control. I was assigned to a dietitian, and met with her regularly. I followed the diet-I felt like I was living on melba toast, grilled chicken, and water, and I worried constantly about whether or not my baby was getting enough nutrition. Apparently, he was. Ultrasound showed my baby boy was a whopping 9lbs, and the doctor was worried about delivery.
I was one of those mother’s to be that relished a natural experience, so when the doctor told me c-section would be the most likely scenario for delivery, I cried. Right there in his office. Real, loud, ugly tears. He abruptly gave me the alternative of scheduled induction to try and let me deliver.
After one thirteen hour long contraction with no peaks, no valleys, forsaking my “natural” plan for drugs, an epidural, and whatever else anyone would give me, the decision was made that we must head in for the c-section after all. My more than 10lb child had to be pushed from one end and pulled from the other. He had been affected by my inability to properly process sugars, and the last six weeks of four shots of insulin in the belly a day had not been enough to help him overcome the effects. Additionally, his poor little system could not process sugars either, and so, for the first six days of my first child’s life, he stayed in the NICU hooked up to glucose having to have a bottle every two hours to keep his sugar high enough until his body could learn to compensate.
What I learned is important though. While today my son is a healthy, ten-year -old boy, with my next child, we checked for the disorder much earlier. I got on the insulin shots earlier, and while we had to measure my ketones due to weight loss, my daughter was born with no complications whatsoever. Knowing I had gestational diabetes also makes me aware that I am at greater risk of developing diabetes later in life-add this to a family history, and I have lost weight, began eating healthier, and started to watch out for signs or symptoms.