I’m currently winding down this third pregnancy of mine and I’m glad that it’ll soon be over. I’ve had my share of complications, hormonal outbursts, uncomfortable false labor, but nothing prepared me for my last appointment.
After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes and eating only what the registered dietician advised, my fasting numbers have remained high. Not good. I had to start taking a small dose of Glyburide to help my body produce insulin, but now I must go in for bi-weekly non-stress tests. These tests are a pain, because they’re so time consuming, and I just wanted to skip it. I asked the paranatologist to give me the cold hard facts on why I need these tests. He responded that I’m at risk for having a stillborn and these tests will let the docs know if the baby needs to get out ASAP. WHAT?! I tried to hold it together and gather my thoughts and questions. Here’s what I found out:
Sometimes doctors just blurt things out without thinking about the fragile, very pregnant woman whose ears are taking in this devastating news. I began to cry, panic, and freak out. The doctor apologized for being so honest, but I told him I was thankful for his honesty and that I needed more of it to completely understand this whole experience.
It’s all kind of a blur, but from what I gather, just having GD carries a risk for a stillborn birth. High blood sugar can affect circulation, which can lead to the baby not getting enough blood and oxygen through the cord.
The non-stress test monitors the baby’s heart rate. If the baby is moving and the heart rate goes up, everything is functioning normally. If the heart rate does not go up, then the doctor is able to determine the next step like an induction. After the stress test comes an ultrasound where the baby is measured; you don’t want the abdomen getting too large. The fluids are also checked; it’s important that they are not too high or too low.
The doctor assured me that the risk for having a stillborn was very small, but I was not convinced. I asked for an induction. After all, I’m right between 37 and 38 weeks. My daughter came naturally at 38 weeks and was fine, my son at 39 weeks. He explained that the risk of delivering early at this point outweighed the risk of having a stillborn.
Really?! At his late in the game? Aren’t I considered full term?
Nope, they want this kid to cook as long as possible. Apparently boys like to be well done. At that point I was convinced we were doing the right thing and the doctors were taking every precaution. I was even further convinced after sending a mass email to my fellow mom friends and getting the pep talk I needed with some humor thrown in for good measure – nothing like a vaginal flatulence joke to make me smile again.
Now I take those kick-counting sessions very seriously and I’m more than happy to sit and wait and spend 3 hours of my day, twice a week, for those non-stress tests. All the facts and risks are scary, but my baby is going to be fine and healthy and here before I know it!