GD stands for Gestational Diabetes. (It also stands for goddamn, which I feel is more appropriate!)
Today I had my gestational diabetes appointment which was delayed a week from last week after they didn’t manage to get the appointment letters to me in time for the actual appointment. There’s something rather annoying about receiving a letter telling you that you didn’t turn up to the last appointment (err, because it arrived two hours after the appointment!) and saying you’re in danger of being discharged from your medical practice, but anyway. I thought I’d better go.
Well, suffice to say that it didn’t put me in a good mood! First of all I felt somewhat ambushed by the fact that I met the nurse and she said, “Did you know it was a group appointment?” – Umm, no I did not. Sounded a bit like they didn’t tell us on purpose!
Secondly I felt frustrated I actually had to ask for my results. Like they didn’t tell me, and once she begrudgingly gave me the numbers she didn’t really explain them at all, other than to say they were over the threshold.
So… my results (drum roll!)…
Post 120 min glucose tolerance test: 9.7
Apparently the threshold is 5.3 for fasting (so I was within that) and something like 7.9 for GD. At this point I had no idea whether this was good or bad because they didn’t tell me… However in the group session I happened to be sitting by everyone else’s forms that they’d left out (err, data protection anyone?) and mine was by far the highest. (I have to win at something!)
What this means is that when I am fasting, my blood sugars are okay, but when I drink a sugary drink it takes me too long to metabolise it, or something. I’ve never had high blood sugar before in any of my blood tests, but I guess I’m not good at metabolising sugary drinks!
So the group session. What can I say? I’m probably someone who has the wrong attitude towards these things. But seriously. It annoys me to take the time off work and then be stuck in a class full of people who seem half asleep, one of whom brought twins who were aged about 1 and screamed through the entire thing. So this woman was spending the whole time trying to entertain them by playing something on her phone (distracting) and playing with a toy, or giving the kids something to hold which they would just throw on the floor.
Also with all my worries about pregnancy I really didn’t want to sit in the same room as two screaming kids for ages, but that’s just me being grouchy, I guess.
First of all we were given our blood sugar test kits. Now, if I didn’t know that there was something else (like dietary changes) associated with them, I’d actually think they were quite cool. (Seriously, the NHS must spend a fortune on these things.)
The first part they showed us how to take our blood sugar. It was fine, but really I feel like it’s very intuitive and most people with half a brain could work it out by reading the instructions, but anyway. I had hurriedly grabbed 2 chocolate chip brioche for my breakfast to eat on the bus, so had eaten about 10 min before, so this wasn’t a “real” reading as you are meant to take it an hour after your meal…
It was actually fine as it’s meant to be less than 7.5 one hour after eating, so not too bad! That red bit is my blood! I think some people are squeamish about pricking themselves but honestly, I’ve done two rounds of IVF and a load of heparin and IV intralipids and endless blood tests so a tiny finger prick is nothing. (I might feel less like it after a few days.)
The second part was the annoying part, where we had to go through a presentation (very bad PowerPoint… I mean, I do it for a living so bad ppts upset me) about diet.
I’m not saying I didn’t learn anything, because I did. Like… Things I thought were okay for me are apparently off limits, like baked potatoes or rice cakes. (Who knew?) And I’m going to have to cut my hot chocolate habit, which is upsetting. It’s pretty much my life during winter, but Starbucks is probably 90% of why I have GD. (I like to have a warm drink when it’s cold, and I don’t like tea and I’m not allowed coffee so… argh. I guess I’ll have to start drinking peppermint tea. Or decaf.)
Thing is, during this half hour presentation the twins screamed the house down, ran around, etc. It was so annoying. But obviously I suppose the mother (pregnant with another one! Is she crazy?!) couldn’t leave them at home. Also the nurses offered to take them out and play with them / put a DVD on but noooo she wanted to keep them with her, which was really disruptive to everyone else. I suppose not having any children, I can’t relate to this and maybe I’ll want to keep my screaming kid with me all the time. (I’m thinking I’d probably be glad of a short break if someone offered!)
A lot of what was said was quite depressing – it basically seemed to say you have to take everything nice out of your diet and go on this restricted GD diet and also they want you to do it for, like, ever because if you have GD in pregnancy, you’re 50% more likely to get Type 2 in the next few years. I found this somewhat hard to believe as I’m not sure that they’d ever spot it in an otherwise healthy person unless they start screening people for it randomly.
Before IVF my BMI was within normal range and I was healthy, so had no reason to go to the doctor and no illnesses, so I can’t think of how they’d decide I had Type 2 diabetes without doing random screenings. Apparently I now have to be tested after the baby’s born and then every year after that. It just seems really intrusive and unnecessary when I am otherwise well. (I get the point of making sure the baby’s healthy, but I’m really loathe to be overdiagnosed when I feel perfectly fine and I’m within normal weight usually. But what do I know.)
Another thing is that I had to get weighed today. I’ve given up weighing myself as it was stressing me out. I have put on 2.8kg at 31+2 weeks, and the recommended range for someone of my (post-IVF obesity) weight range is 5-9kg. So I kind of felt like I was doing okay with that. I honestly thought it would be more. Like I think I put on more than that just doing IVF! Ah well.
Some other side effects to mention: I have been feeling better, less tired, I think, since I started taking the iron tablets for anaemia. And they do turn your **** black! Ha! Also I have noticed that when I need to go, I really need to go (both types! TMI!) which I’m wondering about – it must either be the iron tablets or the pregnancy, or both. I mean like when I feel I need to go and I’m at work, I practically have to run to the bathroom, which is a bit inconvenient. Also even when I was walking to work the other day I had to nip into a restaurant on the way as I thought I was going to have an accident. I guess this is why women stay at home more closer to the birth!
The final thing I have only started noticing in the last week is heartburn. Maybe. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever had heartburn. My digestive system in general is pretty good. T gets horrendous heartburn, so much so he had to go to the specialist about it and have investigations. I am not even sure what it is, but I described it to him and he said it sounded like heartburn. It’s like a sort of funny feeling in my throat. I generally feel much more gassy than usual – by which I mean I rarely feel gassy (either end!) so that’s weird too. It seems that pregnancy has turned me flatulent and burpy! I suppose it’s good practice for the baby…!
So I guess it’s just a new way of life now, for at least a while. We are supposed to start from today, but I told the nurse I would prefer to start from tomorrow, because I need to get my head around it and buy the right foods and stuff. I went back via the supermarket and got some sugar free Alpen (muesli) which I can probably have for breakfast. Or porridge. Both of those are apparently okay. And we have a diet booklet to tell us what to eat, so I’ll have to look at that.
I think the main issue I have is that I don’t want to have to think loads about what I am eating. I have already found I have less of an appetite than normal and feel fuller quickly, and haven’t felt food aversions as such but more food apathy, and it means I have to spend ages wandering around the supermarket trying to decide what I want to eat. I never had a diagnosed eating disorder when I was younger, but I definitely had some weird ways of thinking about food and was probably a bit borderline, and frankly I don’t want to go back there.
The whole IVF process and the resultant weight (more than the pregnancy weight – side effects of drugs) really messed with my head and body image, especially with the miscarriage last year, so I feel like this is a super unhelpful thing to have to do – to feel like I have to obsess about food for medical reasons. But I will do it because I want B to be healthy. I just need a bit of time to process it.