Monday, November 9, 2015

Pride Goes Before the Fall

Two weeks ago I went to my midwife for a routine prenatal appointment and to do my 1-hour glucose screening.  I wasn't worried at all because I knew I was eating well and exercising regularly.  I haven't had a soda in almost 3 years and I don't crave sugar so my indulgences in sweets are intentional.  I eat kale as a snack, much to my family's amusement and I limit my bread intake, aside from homemade sourdough toast for breakfast 2-3 mornings a week. 

(If you want to go down a rabbit trail, read this article on  the best breads for a low glycemic index or this one about sourdough bread and blood sugarOn the glycemic index, sourdough bread is a 54 compared to 71 for non-sourdough white bread, making sourdough bread a low GI bread.) 

So I was doing it
all "right" and I assumed I would breeze through the screening!  But pride goes before the fall.

Pride aside for this photo of me post-run: sweaty with dirty hair and no make-up

Last Friday morning, I got the call that I had "failed" the 1-hour screening.  While all pregnant women develop a degree of insulin resistance due to hormones, an hour after ingesting the glucose solution, my blood sugar should have fallen to 135 or below, yet mine sat at 143. 

In all my angst and stewing and fretting after the phone call, I settled on two things.  The first was medical. Despite preconceived ideas that gestational diabetes is fully preventable, there are risk factors for developing the condition and I had several of them:

  • Age greater than 25. Yes, I crossed that line a decade ago.
  • Previous baby over 9 pounds.  Two of my five kids weighed over 9 pounds at birth. 
  • Family or personal health history. I did not have pre-diabetes.  My blood sugar in pre-pregnancy is well within normal range, but my dad suffers from Type 2 diabetes. 

Gestational diabetes is hormonally charged and can affect the fit and the unfit alike.  Yes, the sedentary woman who eats a poor diet increases her chances of developing this condition, but any woman can have gestational diabetes.  

(For more reading on this topic, I found an excellent and informative article about the condition: The Truth About Gestational Diabetes {and Why It's Not Your Fault! )

The second realization was that despite my striving to eat well and exercise frequently, I was not in control of my health.  God knew my situation.  He had a reason and knew the cause.

Plus, the fact remained that the glucose screening is just that...a screening.  It is used to weed out low-risk mothers-to-be and find the smaller sub-set of women who could possibly have gestational diabetes.  That's where the 3-hour glucose tolerance test comes in.

28.5 weeks
My 3-hour test was scheduled for a Wednesday, 1 week after my 1-hour screening.  In the days and hours leading up to the test, I did a few things to help my body prepare to handle the influx of glucose that would be entering my system.  First, I upped my water intake.  (With the cooler weather, I have slowly and unintentionally started drinking less water.)  Before fasting 8-12 hours before the test, I made my last meals heavy on protein and vegetables instead of carbs. I made sure to include fiber because fiber helps prevent blood sugar spikes. I also prayed that I would be calm and not worry. (Stress causes blood sugar levels to go up as your body "prepares for action.")

The morning of the test I woke up hungry. I felt shaky and wondered how I would feel after a few more hours without breakfast. When I got in the car to drive to my appointment, I started guzzling water and tricked my stomach into thinking it was full. For the rest of the morning, I felt fine.  No nausea, no shakiness, no hunger pangs.

I had four blood draws: one when I arrived before drinking the glucola (100g sugar in a 10 oz. solution!) and then one at the end of each hour for three hours.  I made the best of my time alone.   I read a book, thumbed through magazines, and texted my husband at work with whatever was on my mind.  When the phlebotomist released me to go home, she said, "Now go get something to eat!"

I honestly felt as though I could drive the 45 minutes home before grabbing lunch, but I thought it wise to eat right away and not wait for yucky symptoms to catch up to me.  I bought a fiesta chicken wrap, filled with grilled chicken, beans, tomato, and a chili sauce (which satisfied my near-constant cravings protein and spicy foods).  The second I started eating, I realized I had been suppressing my hunger!

The ending of my story is that 48 hours later, my results came back normal.  No concerns. Nothing to worry about.  No gestational diabetes. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm surpised as you were that you failed the one hour test. I'm glad you don't have gestational diabetes, that would not have been fun.



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