When Pregnancy Complications Arise

I recently found out that I have gestational diabetes. I tried to hold back my tears when the OB broke the news and while I scheduled my follow up appointments with the front desk. But as soon as I got in my car, the tear gates opened. And not just because of the diagnosis but because of how hard this pregnancy has been.

Let me back track.

My first pregnancy was a breeze. If there’s such a thing as a perfect pregnancy, that was it. I don’t say that to brag but to establish a frame of reference for what I was expecting this time around.

This pregnancy has been anything but perfect.

It started with six weeks of nausea and then hip pain in my fourth month that stalled my running and unrelenting insomnia. Then I had my first ultrasound at 18 weeks and everything changed. My OB informed me that there were two issues of concern. One was a low-lying placenta, meaning it was laying next to the cervix instead of higher up in the uterus. For that, I was told to take it easy – no more running, no heavy lifting, nothing that might cause bleeding (i.e. no intimacy) – and hope that it would move out of the way as the baby grew or I’d have to have a c-section (dread). The second concern was that the baby had a choroid plexa cyst on the brain.

I’ll stop while you process that last part: cyst on the brain! Yeah, that’s all I heard, too.

Apparently, these cysts can indicate more serious genetic disorders like Down’s Syndrome but since there were no other indicators they believed it was just a result of development and would go away on its own. Again, it was watch and wait. So I waited to have a follow up ultrasound at 28 weeks and prayed for the health of my baby.

As I approached 28 weeks, it was also time to test my glucose levels. I crossed my fingers that I would pass the first test, dreading the three-hour test that would follow. No such luck. The cut-off number was 130. Mine was 160.

The three-hour test is brutal – someone really should think of a better way; its torture on a pregnant woman. It began with a 12-hour fast the night before followed by an initial blood draw at the lab, then downing 12 ounces of syrupy orange soda in five minutes or less, then a blood draw every hour afterwards for three more hours. And no food or more than a sip of water during that time. I was worried I was going to pass out – and apparently vomiting is also a side effect. Fortunately, neither happened. The worst part was sitting in the lab for three hours watching terrible game shows and the sheer exhaustion I felt for the rest of the day.

Then finding out that I failed the test again and indeed had gestational diabetes.

But the good news is the placenta has moved and the cyst is gone!

So, as I sat in my car crying after my last OB appointment, I was riding a wave of emotions from dealing with one pregnancy complication to the next (did I mention I’ve been a hormonal mess this pregnancy?) and feeling all alone in this experience and like these complications were somehow my fault and not just bumps in this 40-week journey.

I’ve had a lot of family support throughout but reached out via Facebook with this latest news and realized I wasn’t so alone. Many of my friends had traveled that road before. One friend suggested I blog about it, something I’ve been reluctant to, but here I am doing just that. I realize that in the grand scheme of things these complications are just bumps in the road and that other women have endured much more difficult pregnancies. I just pray that I have the strength to face whatever else may come in the next two months and beyond.

Today, I’m returning to my OB’s office to learn how to manage my gestational diabetes (the woman who gives the lessons wasn’t available at my last appointment) and I plan to share the remainder of this journey. I hope you’ll come along for the bumpy ride.

<—me, today, at 29 weeks

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  1. So well shared, my dear. See? And I had no idea you were dealing with 1/2 of that! I think I need to buy you lunch.

    • Thank you! I think I spend so much time trying to be strong that I don’t reach out for support when I should.

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