28 Weeks Pregnancy After Loss Update – Gestational Diabetes

Twenty eight weeks have flown by. I feel like I’ve blinked and missed this pregnancy, yet at the same time there was parts that felt like they dragged on. Like waiting for the consistent reliable kicks for my peace of mind or approaching that all important twenty week scan. Even in the past two weeks, time seems to be stagnant and flying past simultaneously. The “due date” is looming so close in the distance yet dealing with my diagnosis of gestational diabetes has made every day an emotional struggle and my pelvic pain has made each day physically arduous.

I have surprised myself in this pregnancy at the courage I have found to be able to do my four daily finger pricks to test my glucose, just as I surprised myself how brave I was to undergo a CVS test for Silver and commit to a planned C Section. Unfortunately, that is where my courage has ended with this pregnancy. Instead of being determined as I was with Silver to fight so hard for her I don’t seem to have the same strength with the diabetes. I think it’s a culmination of all Silver’s anniversaries approaching and knowing that I fought so hard and still lost her. I’m exhausted from two back to back pregnancies and don’t know how I can emotionally and mentally go through another fight.

The dates have been scarily close and it feels like history is repeating itself. Part of me just doesn’t want to put up a fight again and then it is all for nothing when yet again no baby comes home. I don’t want to sound so pessimistic but the reality of the slight increased risk of stillbirth and the pressure to go into labour early has really affected my mental wellbeing. You could certainly say I’ve started to struggle with depression, a familiar feeling I haven’t experienced in quite some time. I am glad to say however that I am accessing as much support as is available to me and right now as I write this I am feeling slightly more positive than I have done over the past few days and weeks.

My biggest issue with the diabetes bar the obvious risks and possible implications of a different birth than desired is the dietary restrictions. Me, Fabian and Beau are all vegan, we have been for almost two years now and find it so easy to plan meals and don’t find it restrictive in any way. Throw in this diagnosis and now you’ve got a problem. Most vegan diets tend to fall towards the high carb, low fat category. Well now my carbs have been severely restricted and I keep getting high readings even with meals I think are okay! Each day I dread mealtimes and the anxiety I have for the hour after the meal waiting to test my blood glucose levels. One thing I’ve never coped with well in life is failure, whether perceived or a reality. Each high reading has felt like I am not only failing myself but that I am failing Leilani and therefor a bad mum.

We are all good at beating ourselves up about our parenting but when you keep getting told those high numbers could literally be putting your babies life at risk the pressure can suddenly feel overwhelming. This is of course exacerbated even more so when I have already lost one child only nine months ago. The dietician was little use and had no real suggestions for a vegan diet and kept accidentally suggesting things I couldn’t eat, whilst then also lecturing me on everything I couldn’t eat within my current diet! It was not a positive experience seeing her and I felt even more restricted afterwards. I had got to the point I was skipping meals because I was so scared of being reprimanded for high readings but would eat excessive portion sizes at my next meal and therefor get a high reading anyway! A vicious circle as my mood spiralled and plummeted lower and lower. Each day waking up and having to test first thing meant each day began with anxiety and low mood.

Thankfully I finally got to see my obstetric consultant who put my mind at ease and was more than happy with the readings I had been getting. I am completely terrified of going back to the diabetes clinic next week and the potential effect it could have on my mental wellbeing again but for now at least I do feel slightly more in control and more aware of what the plan is regarding labour and birth. We have also discussed potentially a low dose metformin tablet just so I am not starving all the time and can have a bit more freedom with my eating. This wouldn’t affect my labour plans whatsoever but could improve my mental wellbeing for the next ten weeks if I am able to eat more freely.

I did actually have a growth scan at 28 weeks which then came as a shock. I had been worrying about my high readings and the fact when gestational diabetes is not under control it can lead to a larger baby. Basically, the baby is trying to deal with the excess glucose that the body’s insulin cannot process and they tend to put on a lot of weight, especially around the shoulders which can complicate a natural birth. Instead however Leilani had dropped from the 50th percentile to the 10th! She had still put weight on but not as much as expected. This has posed yet another worry now and I will be having an extra growth scan at 29 weeks to check what pattern she is following. We are hoping it is simply that she was always meant to be on the 10th percentile but it is always a worry after we watched Silver’s growth chart as it slowly tailed off as she stopped growing.

Emotionally this pregnancy has been such a roller coaster, more so recently than ever. I had started to nest and finally felt I could breathe and relax. I was starting to bond with Leilani and allow myself to believe a baby would be coming home. So these last two weeks have been a difficult journey to say the least. I feel I’ve put up a protective barrier and felt so distant and not bonded with her. We also marked one year since Silver’s twenty week scan on the 10th Nov which has brought all the painful memories back of what we have been through and a cruel reminder of what we have lost. I am truly hoping with some experimenting I will have my diet sorted within the next couple of weeks and with some support I can get back to a better mental head space.

With Christmas approaching we are trying to find positives and focus on family time whilst thinking of ways we can include our little girl and honour her. I know these coming months will be filled with both memories from the time we had with Silver but also anticipation of our new arrival. Pregnancy after loss is by no means easy or simple but I feel so truly blessed to say I have two daughters and am a proud mummy to all my children whether they are angels or here on earth.

Until next time,

Holly x