Author: Kate Vincent
Pregnancy has never been easy for me. With my first pregnancy, I had a singleton and was huge. It was uncomfortable, sore and the delivery was complicated, culminating in an emergency cesarean. When I found out I was having twins for the second pregnancy, I was really worried. Especially because I had struggled with my first, but my first was a breeze compared to the twins.
There were lots of scans and Obstetrician visits compared to my first pregnancy. When it came to having my bloods done, it was second nature by the time it came to having the Gestation Diabetes (GD) test done. With my first pregnancy, I only had to do a quick blood test after fasting. When I went to have my GD test the second time round, I was told I had to make an appointment and that it would take approximately 2 hours! Wow, I thought. That is a long time for just a blood test. Because I did not have GD with my first baby, I assumed I would be fine with the twins.
Twins and Gestational Diabetes
The day before I started my maternity leave from work (I finished at 28 weeks), I got a call from my obstetrician. The receptionist asked me to make an appointment ASAP because the bloods had come back with GD. I was scared, as I had no idea what it meant. I burst into tears. Luckily, some good work mates were there to comfort me. My boss was also very good and told me to finish that day and start my maternity leave early.
So, in I went to the Obstetrician with my dad. My hubby was at work and I wanted someone there to listen in and take notes. I was feeling very overwhelmed and knew I wouldn’t take much in as I was already so tired and emotional. That was a godsend having my dad there.
He asked many questions about diet and management on my behalf. He asked things I hadn’t even thought of.
I was lucky that I only had to manage my GD with diet. I also had to do regular checks of my blood to monitor the glucose level. Some people need to inject insulin everyday, and that to me was very scary, seeing as I hate needles!
Support for Gestational Diabetes
So, an appointment was made with the midwife assigned to the obstetrician. She talked to me about diet and about sugars and carbohydrates. What were good sugars and what were good carbohydrates. She showed me apps for the phone and websites to follow to help me make informed choices about what to eat, especially if we went out to restaurants.
Best of all, she gave me recipes and a mock menu that most diabetics follow. She explained that the diabetic diet was the healthiest of all diets because everything is measured and it made it easier to monitor how many servings of carbohydrates in each snack and meal.
A food diary was very important for this and made monitoring easier. My obstetrician set up regular appointments with him and the midwife to talk about diet and management. I created my food diary on the notes app on my phone. I always had my phone on me so I found it easier to just type in what I had and what my blood readings were. Each week, I had to email in my food diary to the midwife or obstetrician.
Creating my food diary on my notes app made it easy to send it through on email. After reading the diary, I would get feedback from my obstetrician or the midwife about where I was going wrong and what I could do to help improve my readings.
Another resource I found super helpful was my local chemist. I was lucky that they had an NDSS sign up in their shop. I went in, my with dad, after my initial diagnosis. The assistant could see how frazzled and anxious I was about it all. She was very informative about the type of blood glucose monitors available, lancets, lancet administrating pen and test strips. Most of it came in a pack and it wasn’t cheap.
Luckily, she knew about the forms needed to register as a diabetic with the NDSS. When I did this, I was able to then get most (nearly all) of my money back from the purchase of the equipment I needed to manage my gestational diabetes. I also purchased a large bottle of hand sanitiser. Clean hands were a super important part of making sure my blood readings were accurate.
Understanding my pre-pregnancy diet
With all this support, I found managing my GD a lot easier. While following the diet, I realised how much sugar I was actually having in my normal pre-pregnancy diet. I used to follow a wheat free diet prior to my twin pregnancy due to my grass and sinus allergies. And I thought I was already eating quite healthy. I was craving fruit and eating tonnes of watermelon and smoothies.
When I started my GD diet, I realised a lot of the gluten free and wheat free foods I ate were very high in sugar. I didn’t realise that all the fruit I was eating, were also high in sugar. How can fruit be bad? It wasn’t bad, but the amount I was eating was spiking my sugar levels so I had to really try hard to manage those cravings. My twins boys are fruit bats to this day, 2 ½ years later.
Twins and Gestational Diabetes – the toll on my body
Eating a healthy diet and having two very hungry bubbies in my tummy really took its toll on my body. I didn’t gain or lose weight, but I was looking skeletal because the bubs were sucking everything out of me. I received many comments about how sickly I looked. It wasn’t a very nice feeling at all. The thought of 2 healthy bubs kept me going and I am proud of what I achieved.
Post partum check up
Fortunately, my GD only lasted through my pregnancy and we were blessed with 2 big, healthy boys. Every time I find the old equipment in my bathroom cupboard, I think about how lucky I am not to have any type of diabetes now as I know how hard it can be. I had my final check, 2 years post partum and I am still in the all clear.
The best things about the whole experience was at 38 weeks when I got to meet my 2 cheeky and loud boys. Every day, my husband and I feel lucky to have them in our lives and their big sister continues to dote on them every day.
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