Katie Kish

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Failing the Glucose Test

When I had Nora, I passed the glucose test with flying colours. I didn’t think there’d be any reason to expect a different outcome this time. Sure, I’m overweight but I eat pretty well and I go to the gym 3-5 times a week. 

I didn’t even make it to the glucose test. 

After my first fasting blood test at around 12 weeks my fasting rate was already borderline. A doctor, other than my own, sent me for the two hour test. I just thought she didn’t know me and was being extra vigilant while my regular doctor was away on holidays. 

I failed all three tests – fasting – 5.4, 1 hour – 11.8 and 2 hour – 9.6.

I had never felt like such a failure in my entire life, which is saying something given that I come up against at least two rejections a week in academia. 

I felt like I had already failed my baby. That I had already failed as a mother. Now, he was going to struggle with weight and a fight against type 2 diabetes for his entire life.  It didn’t matter what anyone told me, this was all my fault.

It was particularly difficult because I had just recently decided I would make the switch from academic to full-time stay-at-home mom. But how could I be a good stay-at-home when I couldn’t even do the pregnancy right?

I was told the diabetes clinic would be in touch soon and until then I should simply alter my diet. Again, I already ate pretty well so the only alteration I could think of was to cut carbs out almost entirely. No one told me to do otherwise. For the two weeks between my diagnosis and actually going to the clinic I was eating around 50-90 net carbs per day. I felt so energetic!

Turns out, that was the wrong decision. I lost 8.3lbs in those two weeks and probably made things worse. Maybe. I still don’t know what to believe. The worst thing about this whole process is that no one seems to tell you why or explains anything.

Why can’t I have ketones? I asked, and she said “because they’re toxic”… but that’s just not true.  

How does power lifting impact these numbers? They didn’t really know.

Can I eat sugar alcohols safely? Maybe, test it and see.

Is the baby the right size right now? Can’t tell me, have to wait until I see my doctor in three weeks.

The health care system has been the most frustrating part of this whole process. They treat patients like they’re stupid and simply tell them to start following a plan. I was put on Metformin and insulin immediately. Turns out insulin isn’t covered by any insurance company and it keeps creeping up and up so not sure how we’re going to afford that one.

I now track my ketones 4xs a day, glucose levels 4xs a day, take insulin 1x per day, metformin 2xs a day and write everything down in my own diary and in a diary I have to e-mail to the clinic every Monday. My ketones range from 0.5 (trace) to 8 (high) throughout the entire day… I was told to have none, but I have no idea how I’m supposed to have none when I’m eating well and working out. I’m GOING to lose weight. I’m GOING to produce ketones. My glucose is often fine, except in the morning. I take insulin for it, but it seems to just be going up for some reason. 

The whole process was the most dehumanizing thing I have ever gone through. No one at the clinic asked me what I do to workout, no one asked me how I was feeling emotionally, no one asked what I do for a living, and no one said it was going to be okay.

To them, I’m just an obese high risk pregnancy.

They don’t really care about anything beyond that.

So, now I just wait and see. Wait and see if this depression completely consumes me. Wait and see if I’ll end up taking hundreds of units of insulin a day. Wait and see if the baby is safe and okay. Wait and see… wait and see… wait and see. And somehow, through all of this stress and uncertainty, I’m supposed to maintain my composure, continue to be a good mother, implement a whole new food schedule, track all this shit, be chipper for the holidays, be a good partner, and continue to excel at my full-time job. 

I loved being pregnant with Nora. And I hate hate hate hate that I’m not enjoying this pregnancy. I hate even more how uninformed I am. I really miss my Ontario doctor…

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