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Failing My Gestational Diabetes Test

By EmilyBMalone |

2011-07-20 15.10.33 (480x640)

Who came up with this horrible sugar drink?

As I’m sitting here in between blood draws for my three-hour glucose screening test, it seems like a good time to fill you guys in on the previous test that I failed.

To back up a little, you may remember back a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I was worried that I might be at risk for gestational diabetes.  I was experiencing some pretty intense thirst, even beyond the normal thirst that tends to come with pregnancy.

Because I was worried, I called my midwife office and told them what I was experiencing, and asked if I should possibly take the test a bit early.  They told me the thought it was fine to wait, and that I’d be able to take my test somewhere around my next appointment date.

Wednesday afternoon I headed to my appointment as usual, and was shocked when I arrived to see the midwife handing out glucose drinks to our group.  Everyone I know that has done the glucose screening test has had notice and time to prepare – carefully selecting meals before the test.

I walked into the office having NO idea I’d be taking it, and immediately started panicking that I knew I would fail…

Literally 30 minutes before I left for the hospital I had been scarfing down my lunch – a big bowl of tomato soup and an avocado English muffin sandwich.  I also decided that polishing off the last few bites of almond milk chocolate ice cream sounded like a good way to end my lunch.  WHOOPS.

Had I known I was going to be given this bottle of orange goo at my appointment, I would have eaten much much differently that day.  But I had no real choice, so I slurped down the syrup and hoped for the best, all the while knowing that my chances for passing were not good.  The 50g glucose drink was disgusting and burned my throat.  Other girls in the class easily chugged it, while I seemed to need the entire five minutes to gag it down.

Yesterday morning the nurse from my midwife office called with my results.  Just as predicted, I had failed.  My glucose levels needed to be under 135 for a passing result.  Mine was 169 – not even close.  I don’t know much about blood sugar and how much levels can vary, but I worry that my level was SO high above the allotted range, and what that means for my next test.

They strongly recommended that I get the official 3-hour glucose screening within a few days of the first one, in order to be able to make a concrete diagnosis.  Since I am going out of town tonight (!), I had to scramble to fit myself into a 7am appointment this morning.  So now I’m sitting here sleepy, full of 100g of glucose, and with bruises lining my arms from all the pricking and blood work.  I’m hoping I’ll know the results soon.

I’ll be honest and tell you that as soon as I got off the phone with the nurse, even though in my heart I just knew I would fail the test, I put my head down on the dining room table and started sobbing.

I felt like such a huge failure.  Everyone has worked hard to reassure me that gestational diabetes is something that can happen to anyone, and while I’m doing my best to believe that, it’s hard to not feel responsible and embarrassed.  I also feel…confused.  I exercise regularly and eat healthier than most people I know, but still I can’t stop second guessing all the rootbeers and popsicles I’ve treated myself to throughout this pregnancy.

It is hard for me to believe that I am not at least partly responsible for this, when the treatment plan for dealing with gestational diabetes is essentially to eat a well-balanced diet and get enough exercise.  Wasn’t I doing that already?

Once of my least charming qualities is that I tend to be a major control freak.  I work hard to control my life and my surroundings.  Sometimes I take it too far and even try to control the people around me.  It’s not a characteristic that I’m proud of, and it’s something I’ve worked very hard to let go of in recent years.  I am not perfect, but I am getting better.

When I was 18 weeks pregnant, I found out that my thyroid wasn’t functioning correctly, and I was put on medication to correct the problem.  I was devastated, and once again I felt that I had done something to cause this.  Even though I know the intentions were good, hearing suggestions like “eat less soy” or “eat more greens” only intensified the feeling that perhaps this was a result of my actions.

Failing the gestational diabetes test has brought back a lot of those same feelings.  Whether or not I pass or fail the 3-hour test, I’m definitely going to cut back on my sugar levels from here on out.  I would eat dirt for 13 weeks if I thought it would help my baby have a safe arrival into the world.

Pregnancy has been a very humbling experience. It has forced me to let go of control and learn to give into natural changes that come with such an amazing physical transformation.  Most of the changes have been good.  Every day I see my giant round belly and smile.  Other changes, like thyroid levels and sugar metabolism are simply beyond my control.

Crossing my fingers that the three-hour test is a success!


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About EmilyBMalone



Emily Malone shares her adventures in cooking and parenting on her personal blog, Daily Garnish. Read bio and latest posts → Read Emily's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Failing My Gestational Diabetes Test

  1. Lynn says:

    I’m really shocked that they let you take the test without having fasted at least 2-3 hours beforehand. It’s no wonder your levels were all wacked out. I’m sorry you had to undergo the three hour test from hell, but you are most definitely NOT a failure. Let us know how it comes out because I bet everything is fine!

  2. Joanna says:

    So sorry you are feeling this way. I can certainly relate. I did my fair share of crying in the bathroom and feeling like a failure during my experience with GD. I was slender prior to pregnancy, gained a normal amount of weight, and yet still flunked the test (probably due to family genetics, it seems.) As a healthy person and a straight-A student all through school, I did not have a lot of experience failing tests! It was a humbling and unpleasant experience.

    A few things to consider: if they test it, ask about your HBA1C levels (hemoglobin A 1C). This is a measure of your long-term blood sugar levels. If it is on the low side (at least under 6.5%), then chances are good that those popsicles and root beers did not touch your baby’s health one iota. My HBA1c level at the time of my GD diagnosis was 4.5%, meaning that I actually had very good blood sugar control up until that point. It was a relief to me to know this.

    Depending on your numbers, you might consider opting for diet and exercise as a way to manage GD (or even near GD). Mine was diet & exercise controlled, and it was a LOT of work – but worth it to me to stay off of the insulin. Because I was a borderline case, this worked out okay.

    I think one of the worst aspects of the GD diagnosis is how much extra medical management it brings. My hospital (by protocol) hooked me up with a diabetes clinic that wanted me to attend 7 appointments per week. I went one week; every clinician I saw gave me a different story (Your numbers are great! Your numbers are awful!). So I said “eff this! I quit!” I went rouge and reported my blood sugar numbers soley to my OB. Because they were good, I never had to deal with the dietician, the two nurses, and the endocrinologist ever again. A huge weight lifted!

    The good part about GD is that it goes away as soon as the baby is born. It does mean you are at risk for later type 2 diabetes, though, so it’s always a good idea to get your blood sugar checked periodically from here on out. Best of luck, Emily, and hang in there!!!
    PS. I gave birth to a super healthy 7 lb baby girl — so there are definitely happy endings. :)

  3. Andrea S. says:

    Good luck, Emily! If your levels are still too high, don’t beat yourself up about it. Your baby will be healthy because of the care you’re taking of him.

  4. genilyn says:

    I struggled with guilt after “failing” the first screen, too. But once I heard that Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I figured . . . if it can happen to HER, it can happen to anybody, no matter how hard we try (or not) to take care of ourselves.

  5. Paulina says:

    Reading this just breaks my heart! I failed my first test too and felt exactly like you describe, like I was a failure. I was eating healthy all along. In fact, I had even typed up a daily diet check-list from the ‘What-To-Expect’ books to make sure I got enough of each food group each day. I was embarassed and felt like I must be a fat loser because I might be diabetic and obviously it was because of what I was eating. The 3 hour test was horrible, I was tired, hungry, nauseous, and bruised from all the blood draws. But I passed it. Even if I didn’t, my doctor explained that GD doesn’t really have anything to do with your diet/exercise. The hormones in your pregnant body can throw your system out of wack and make it process sugars wrong, so even if you are eating healthy, you can still get GD. Having it is not a reflection of you, its just another “fun” pregnancy symptom beyond your immediate control. Its probably good that you didn’t alter your diet before the first test because its better to find out you have GD and get treatment for it than trick the test and have it undiagnosed. Stop beating yourself up for this, you don’t want to be the next women giving birth to a 16 pound baby!

  6. Kate says:

    Hey Emily…sorry you are going through this!!! I also failed my one hour test and was devastated. I did go on to pass the three hour test, but the whole experience was emotionally draining. I’m really shocked that you didn’t have any notice prior to completing the test! Hang in there…I know it will all work out :) hope you have a relaxing vacation…enjoy!

  7. alicemichel23 says:

    Free Samples are offered for a limited time so when they are posted please take advantage of the offer before it is gone. Look online for “123 Samples” where I was able to get healthy product samples.

  8. Tania says:

    I was caught by surprise for the one hour test too. Early on in my first trimester they asked me if I wanted to volunteer to take it. I did even though I had eaten before I had gone in. A week later I was told that I had failed and needed to take a longer tolerance test. Unfortunately, I had really bad morning sickness at the time and never felt well enough to go in for the test. They were kind enough to just give me the finger prick test. When that came back normal I was no longer required to take the tolerance test until I reached my third trimester. I took a two hour tolerance test last Wednesday with 75 grams of glucose. I’m still waiting to get my results.

  9. Monica says:

    The whole point of the test is to see how your body handles highly sugary things while pregnant. It has nothing to do with what you ate before during or after the test. Well, maybe during. It is just checking to see how you handle that sugar. So if you “fail” the 3 hour then yes you’ll have to monitor what you eat. Yes, you have to check your blood sugar. But in most cases watching what you eat works great. So depending on how you are eating now there might not need to be too much change. I had it in my last two pregnancies. Well, it was questionable in my last because I refused the 3 hour test and instead opted to just watch my blood sugars. My numbers were always fine. Well, my morning fasting numbers would be high in the beginning, but once I made sure to have a snack high in protein before bed I did good. So seriously, rest assured you did not cause this! I hate hearing people think they can fool the test into saying they don’t have GD. Since the test is seeing how well you process high amounts of sugar eating differently before you have the test won’t effect anything. And it’s all hormone based anyways what causes GD. So it’s nothing like Type 2 diabetes.

  10. Suzie says:

    I had to take the one hour early in my pregnancy and I failed it also. So I had to do the 3 hour. I was already dehydrated for throwing up everything i put in my mouth, so not being able to drink for over 12 hours other than that nasty orange goop, really did not help much at all. Well I passed the 3 hour. Now my doctor want to do another 1 hour im ok with doing another 1 hour cause it was not that bad, but im scared that I will not pass it again, and he will want me to do the 3 hour again. I’m not sure I will beable to make my self do it again. Oh with in days of the after the 3 hour test I was put in the hospital for dehydration, and I would rather not have to go through that again.

  11. snakecharmer says:

    I failed my first test too and due to a series of events (we were away on vacay, then OB was away on vacay) I never did the follow up test. My number was above the limit, but not by much, so my OB had me go through the whole dietician/daily blood test merry-go-round. I disliked the attitude the dieticians gave me. They called to tell me when my appointment was and when I objected (I wasn’t in town that day) and suggested re-scheduling to another day, I was given the third degree and it was insinuated that I didn’t care about the health of my unborn child. When I finally did go in for my diet ‘review’ I had two dieticians in there with me, treating me like I was some wayward 3 year old and they played the whole good cop/bad cop routine. I’m a healthy person, not overweight and very active…it was just beyond insulting. This time around I’m going to make sure I pass that stupid test so I never have to deal with such idiots again.

  12. Cheyenne says:

    I was well aware that they were going to be testing me for GD before my appointment that day. Iwasnt aware,however, that I wasn’t supposed to eat. I failed the one hour test so miserably (219!!!!!) That they didn’t even bother with a three hour test. In all honesty, I think the bowl of cinnamon toast crunch I had in the morning had a lot to do with it. Anyways, diabetic meal plan, here I come! My days of scarfing down pizza and sugary cereals were over! At least for the next 16 weeks.

    With that said, gestational diabetes ended up being somewhat of a blessing. Not only did I have a healthy 6pound 13 ounce baby girl, within a few days of giving birth I was 20 pounds lighter than my prepregnancy weight! Dieting was hard because of my massive sweet tooth, but it really paid off in the end! Not to say I didn’t do my fair share of crying and complaining…

  13. Monica says:

    Maybe this was because I failed my 3 hour with my son and had to do the finger sticks and diet, but my doctor did not make me take the 3 hour with my daughter. She just had me do finger sticks 4 times a day. Honestly, it worked better for me. I didn’t have a spear three plus hours to sit and do that test anyways. So my doctor treated me as questionable GD. We monitored the baby’s growth. We feared she would be my biggest, but she was my smallest. Oddly enough my last two I failed the 1 hour glucose test and they were both my smallest babies. My 5 month old was 7 pounds 9 ounces and my now 3 year old was 7 pounds 12 ounces, but my two older girls now 12 and 9 were 8 pounds 12 ounces and 8 pounds 15 ounces respectively. So perhaps the GD diagnosis or possibility of having it is a blessing in disguise. Because I watched more closely what I ate and what caused my sugar levels to go up so I could avoid the things that my hormones were telling my body to do some wacky things with ;) . Really everyone believe me when I tell you though you cannot trick the test! It’s all in how your body processes the stuff and it’s all hormone based. Not much you can do to avoid the inevitable.

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