The first thing I did when I got the glucose test results from the doctor's office was to call Frank at work. When he got home that night he suggested maybe I should call the doctor's office again and ask to talk to him to get some more information. This was a good plan because neither of us was terribly comfortable with the idea of just waiting for two weeks. I'm pretty sure Frank was staring down two weeks of me using the internet to educate myself on the worst possible outcomes of a diagnosis of gestational diabetes and wanted to avoid that fun house of neurosis at all costs. We didn't even have an official diagnosis since the only person I talked to yesterday was the medical technician who is probably discouraged from doing that.
So I called the doctor early Friday morning, hoping that by calling before the office actually opened, I could get the answering service and get the message directly to the doctor thereby bypassing the receptionists at his office who Frank swears are really these guys in human form except not funny at all. My plan did not work out so well as one of the charming ladies called me back to take the same message all over again.
The doctor called a few hours later and said that it is officially gestational diabetes. The two hour test the technician (a lovely girl named Tangela who is warm and pleasant and does the best job ever of not hurting me when she takes my blood) was talking about is one of a series of weekly tests I have to undergo from now until the end. Every week I have to go to the doctor's office two hours after I've eaten to have my blood drawn and my sugar tested. A pain in the ass to be sure but I was getting close to the weekly visits anyway and it's still far better than having to stick myself 4 times a day, which some people have to do. I also have to go every week for ultrasounds and nonstress tests so they can monitor how big the boy is getting and how his little heart is keeping up.
Thankfully, my numbers aren't high enough to require insulin shots or medication of any kind. I just have to stay far away from sugar, including juices, flavored yogurts, and simple carbs like white bread and white pasta. A friend of mine who is a PA in an endocrinologist's office gave me some good information about breakfast. According to her, your body is most insulin resistant in the mornings so the last thing to eat is fruit, cereal, or juice. Hello I start my day with a giant glass of orange juice, followed my an english muffin or a bagel or some cereal and another glass of orange juice and maybe a piece of fruit. (Confession: I've been taking advantage of this pregnancy to go to town on the foods I would never otherwise eat, like english muffins and orange juice.) The best thing to eat, according to my friend, is animal based proteins (like eggs) and a small amount of whole grains, like steel cut oatmeal or whole grain toast. It's also best to eat several small meals all day long to avoid spikes or dips in blood sugar. That part I have covered since sitting at home all day means snacking all day. Now though, "snacking" has to be carrot sticks instead of Doritos.
The biggest concern apparently is the size of the chicken. Based on the last ultrasound we had - about 3 weeks ago while in the hospital - he was already about 4.5lbs. If he continues to grow at an average rate for the next 6 weeks, he'll gain about 4.5 more pounds, which means he'll weigh 9lbs at birth. The doctor said if he gets that big (according to their ultrasound estimates) they won't allow me to even try and deliver and will instead plan a c-section. The reality is he could be much bigger than that since insulin is a growth hormone and he's getting way more of it than is normal. They will also only allow nature to take its course up until my due date. If nothing is happening by that day, they'll have me come in and either induce or just go in and get him.
So more fun and excitement as we head into the home stretch. I'm glad that we have only 6 weeks of this stuff ahead of us, although catching it earlier than they did would probably not have been a bad thing.
In other exciting news, we had our second trip to Labor and Delivery last night, because it was so fun the first time. All day long I had been having a lot of contractions. Hard, painful ones. But they weren't getting closer together and there was no real pattern to them. Still, by about 6pm I decided to start keeping track because it did seem like a lot and the doctor's instructions were to call if I had more than four in an hour. I kept track for four hours and in the first two, I had four contractions. In the next hour, I had 7 contractions. By the third, I was up to 7 and the hour wasn't over yet when Frank called from work and asked how I was feeling. I told him about the contractions but said don't worry, it's not labor, there's no pattern, everything is fine. He said are you insane, call the doctor right now. I didn't want to call the doctor or go to the hospital because I don't want to be alarmist, neurotic, first time prego. But I called him and he said go get checked. Frank was already on his way home when I called him back and honestly, I fought off tears as I got dressed and waited for him.
At the hospital, same drill. Into the exam room, stupid hospital gown, hooked up to the monitors and yay! another pelvic exam complete with speculum! It wasn't too bad this time. It still hurt but far less, probably because I was prepared for what it would be like this time. The doctor said my cervix was totally closed and my water was intact (I had mentioned to them that I had been feeling like a leaky faucet all day). Relieved, I was ready to put my pants back on and go home. Right. I was in fact having contractions very close together and my heart rate and the chicken's heart rate were both a little high. Solution? IV fluids! Yay! And when the first bag of fluids was empty, the contractions hadn't slowed down and neither had our heart rates so they hung another one and we watched more crap tv. Finally, around 2am the doctor was satisfied that the contractions had slowed down and so had our heart rates and were allowed to go home. The nurse said you can get dehydrated even if you're drinking water all day long. Not sure how to prevent that in the future but good to know.
6 more weeks to go. I wonder what adventure awaits us next. The truth is, we're not so secretly hoping that they decide to go get him early, like 37 or 38 weeks. At this point, we just want him here, safe and healthy, and no more bumps in the road.