Gestational Diabetes

Pregnancy: The Third Trimester

Well, we are definitely into the third trimester here at 36 weeks! What a blessing that God has sustained our sweet baby girl for all these months!

Pregnant girl in front of living plant wall at Eden Hall Chatham University

I feel like I have about ten million updates since I last posted about our pregnancy at 29 weeks, so this post may be quite a doozy, haha.

Baby girl is doing great! At my last appointment, she measured right on track and her heart rate was in the 120s! She still enjoys kicking, rolling, and moving around, which I just love.

We had an ultrasound around 32 or 33 weeks to check her growth and she was deemed “large for gestational age” at four pounds and nine ounces, which was the 91st percentile for her gestational age.

Growth Ultrasound at 32 weeks for gestational diabetes with baby's foot by face

She had her foot up by her face during the whole ultrasound, lol!

We have another ultrasound this week to see if she’s still a big girl. Her size is likely due to the gestational diabetes. Once we know more about her size, we will go from there in terms of deciding on delivery options.

As for the gestational diabetes, I have definitely had my highs and lows with my blood sugar, but I’m just doing the best I can. Thankfully I haven’t needed any insulin or oral medication!

190 blood sugar gestational diabetes

A high blood sugar reading… eek!

I also mentioned being anemic in my last pregnancy update. Unfortunately, the anemia has stuck around to the point that my midwives suggested I receive IV iron infusions.

I was really nervous about this idea and how safe it was for the baby. We decided to at least get more info, so Jimmy and I met with a hematologist on Tuesday and he really suggested getting the infusions and warned us about mortality rates of moms who deliver with hemoglobin levels around where mine have been and it definitely made things clear.

He also assured us that the type of infusions they do for pregnant women are safe for babies, so I had my first of four IV iron infusions on Monday. They have me doing two a week since we’re kind of running out of time in the pregnancy. I feel good so far (I’m writing this post the night of the first infusion), and I’m really thankful that I can receive this type of medical care!

Pregnant girl getting IV iron infusion for anemia in pregnancy with low hemoglobin at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA

Anemic and feeling as haggard and run down as I look during my first iron infusion.

The hematologist said I can expect to start to feel better (aka not so tired from the anemia!) anywhere from 10 days to three weeks.

We spent a few hours at the hospital getting blood work, talking with the doctor, and getting the actual infusion. The infusion overall took about an hour from when they ordered the prescription to when I was able to leave. I was so glad Jimmy was able to get the morning off of work to drive me there and hangout while I baby and I soaked up some iron!

IV Iron infusion during pregnancy

I also found out that I have a hernia that will need to be surgically repaired after I give birth. I’m super bummed about going under the knife (or laser if it’s laparoscopic, lol) after having a baby but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there and our families have graciously offered to help out while I recover!

Pregnant girl and mom outside in summer smiling and holding coffee mug

Other than the health issues I mentioned above, I am feeling good! I enjoy being pregnant and will totally miss feeling our daughter kick and move inside me. It’s just so special. At the same time, I’m so excited to meet her!

God has taught me so, so much during this pregnancy. First of all: He is in control. That is something I need to be reminded of minute by minute. With the gestational diabetes, anemia, and hernia, I’ve had to accept that things just don’t always go the way I want them to and I can’t control it and it’s okay. It’s good training for motherhood! I know God has a plan and His plan is always, always good.

Secondly, I have never felt so thankful, loved, or cared for in my life. Our families, friends, and church family have just loved on Jimmy and supported us in so many ways that I could just cry sitting here thinking about it. God is so good.

We’re thankful that though I’ve had a few minor health issues, our daughter has been a trooper and is doing just fine! Praise God! We are praying that she continues to be healthy and will arrive safely in the coming weeks!

We have her nursery almost all put together and even installed her carseat, so I will make sure to blog about the fun stuff soon 🙂

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A Pregnancy Update

I think the last time I did a proper pregnancy update was when we found out Baby Z’s gender in May when I was 20 weeks along. I’m now in the third trimester, almost 30 weeks now. What a blessing that God has brought us this far.

29 weeks pregnant baby bump

29 Weeks

Baby girl is doing great! She measured right on track at my last midwife appointment and had a steady heart rate in the 140s. She moves a lot and Jimmy and I can usually feel and see what we think is her feet/head/legs/etc.! I kind of feel like she’s laying sideways (transverse) a lot of the time, but she has some time to get into the head down position if she actually is transverse.

She gave me a scare on the Fourth of July and wasn’t very active at all that day. I was about to call the midwife when finally, late at night, she moved in her “normal” way. The worry and anxiety of parenthood starts way before baby is out of the womb, and it has taught me a lot about how God is truly the One in control.

She has been so spoiled by friends and family with clothes, a crib, and other sweet gifts. She also has a name! I’m not sure if we will share it or not. This is actually something we’re conflicted on: what we will/won’t share about our daughter. Any parents out there have advice or guidelines that you follow? Is it just intuitive?

Black cat laying on baby clothes

Malcolm likes to nestle on top of her clothes!

At my 28 week appointment, I took my one hour glucose test and had a routine blood draw along with it. The glucose test was pretty awful. The drink was gross, but the worst part was how terrible I felt afterwards.

First, I thought I was going to throw up. That was followed by a headache and then feeling crazy tired. I took a long nap and was nauseous the whole day. A few days later, I got a call that I failed the glucose test and my blood work revealed I have anemia. Eek!

The midwife told me that if my levels of hemoglobin drop any more, I’ll need to give birth in the hospital (we’re planning a birth center birth, Lord Willing). Where my hemoglobin levels are now, I can deliver at the birth center, but have to have a hep-lock IV in during labor due to the risk of extra bleeding.

I am working on getting those levels up over the next few weeks and have another blood draw later this month to check on everything. The anemia diagnosis totally explains why I have been out of breath walking up hills during dog walks and feeling extra tired.

The glucose test results were interesting. My levels were supposed to be less than 135 and I was at 153. I was asked to take the three hour glucose test but asked if there was an alternative since I had felt so sick after the one hour test and know that the three hour test is even more intense.

The alternative? Be diagnosed with and treated for gestational diabetes. It was a tough few days of figuring out what we would choose. I knew the three hour glucose test would be awful. What if I failed it and had to be treated for gestational diabetes anyways?

Blood suagr testing for gestational diabetes

Choosing to accept the gestational diabetes diagnosis would require some extra monitoring and possible intervention, which was a lot to think about as well. The monitoring meant checking my blood sugar levels four times a day, meeting with a high risk doctor, having some extra ultrasounds to check on baby’s size, and a possible induction if she grew too large too soon.

We prayed and talked and decided to accept the gestational diabetes diagnosis without going through the three hour glucose test. We felt peace about the extra monitoring and possible interventions. High risk doctors and hospitals are there to help us, and we’re thankful for that.

Blood sugar monitor for gestational diabetes

So, that’s how I found myself diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I had to take a class to learn to control my blood sugar with diet and exercise and now take my blood sugar four times a day. The plan is to meet with a high risk doctor after a week of testing my blood sugar levels and decide on a plan of care based off of the results.

I have had a few high readings, which is nerve-wracking. I don’t want to take insulin or medication unless it’s 100% necessary. Taking oral medication would also risk me out of delivering at the birth center. I know if we have to deliver in the hospital and need a higher level of care with insulin or medication because diet and exercise isn’t cutting it, then that’s just part of God’s plan and we’ll do anything to make sure our baby girl is healthy.

I’ve learned the high levels generally correlate with eating too many carbohydrates during a meal, so I’ve had to learn to cut down on carbohydrates and up my other nutrient intake so I’m not too hungry. It’s definitely a learning experience and such a tricky balance with eating the right things to have good blood sugar levels. I don’t know how people who have diabetes do it day in and day out.

I’m definitely taking comfort in the fact that gestational diabetes is a condition that only occurs during pregnancy (so if I need medication or have to continue monitoring my blood sugar levels, it’s only for a few more months) and that so far, our daughter has been healthy and doing great!

My next appointment with the maternal fetal medicine doctor is this week, so we’re praying for insight and good health as we move forward! I know God is going to be with us every step of the way and has everything in His capable hands.

Other baby-related things: we created our registry, have our baby shower coming up this month, and have started working on the nursery! I’ll share more about the nursery in another post since this one is pretty long already. Thank you to everyone for your prayers, love, and support as we journey through this exciting time! It means so much to us 🙂