From the Series: A Glimpse at the Journey of Motherhood (Part 1)
The second trimester is the good stuff of pregnancy, the ‘Honeymoon Period’, if you will. I’m feeling good, not so tired, belly is a nice round bump, shopping for a cute new maternity wardrobe and feeling some kicks for the first time. For me, the second trimester of this pregnancy was really all about food, and lots of it. The pregnancy coaster was coasting and despite the twists and turns, I’m hungry. I’m hungry a lot. I want meat. I want eggs. I want peanut butter and bacon together. I must feed the growing person inside me more times during the day (and night) than I am used to. It may be time to loosen the seat belt for awhile and hope the coaster doesn’t turn upside down.
The second trimester constitutes weeks 14 through 27. Growing a baby from the size of a peach to roughly the size of a cantaloupe requires a lot of calories. Getting beyond all the interesting transitional changes in the first trimester gives way to more excitement and in my case, hunger. The guidelines say to only consume 300 extra calories a day. I think I was doubling my intake and then some. I could not get enough food, particularly all things meat. So I ate and my husband ate. Neither of us had ever had weight-related concerns before so we figured we could just do as we pleased. Things got scary around the 24 week mark. I thought I was just showing up for a routine check-up but in the brain fog which was my second trimester, I spaced out about the gestational diabetes screening. That darn roller coaster was really throwing me and my cantaloupe into a serious loop-de-loop!
Gestational diabetes requires a glucose screening at this 24 week appointment. This type of diabetes can affect any pregnancy, but there are some risk factors to consider. In my case, I was not overweight pre-pregnancy, I had no family history of diabetes and no issues with high blood pressure. My only risk was my age; I was over 25 years old. Gestational diabetes is sneaky and sometimes presents with symptoms and sometimes without any at all. These sneaky symptoms are increased thirst and subsequent urination, nausea and vomiting and fatigue. I had none of the symptoms and despite the fact that I was feeling so good going into the appointment, I was not feeling awesome now. Actually, I felt this foreboding sense of panic like I had done something terribly wrong.
The glucose screening required me to drink a super-duper sugary sweet drink, wait one hour and then have blood drawn. Piece of cake (the irony!). It’s all good until the results came…failed it! Next stop was the glucose tolerance test and the long extended period of reading outdated magazines in the waiting room. Oh joy and rapture. My excitement is palpable, isn’t it? Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) I had to schedule this test of awesomeness for another day due to the required fasting. Upon 14 hours of fasting (an unheard of timeframe of no food for me or my cantaloupe), I reluctantly returned to the office to drink that extra concentrated sweet drink and get three needle sticks. While I waited in between lab draws, I couldn’t help but feel nauseated. Finally, a voice called my name into the consultation room. All I could think was, “Here goes, I’ve gone and done it.” I was happily surprised to find out that I had passed and indeed did not have gestational diabetes! Hooray!
Lessons in pregnancy are a daily event. Learning about myself and my growing baby at each stage and taking the best care of myself became a more direct priority. The ‘Honeymoon Period’ had a slight hiccup for me but it set me straight. I learned to control what and how much I ate. The coaster was still going forward and staying on the rails, thankfully.
Kimberly Fisher, RN/BSN is Healthcare Program Manager for JourneyLabs. A graduate of the University of Florida College of Nursing she brings nearly a decade of experience with a background in adult (ICU/CCU) and neonatal critical care (NICU), patient advocate work in the managed care space and in pharmacy tech.