My Story, by Samantha Jane Coster, Milton Keynes
Hello. I should start off by mentioning that when it comes to pregnancies I have not had the best luck. Before my daughter, I had suffered from 4 miscarriages, the last of which was a set of twins. I had never made it past the 12 week mark and the obstetrician/ gynecologist could not figure out what was wrong as all my tests were coming back fine.
When I fell pregnant with my daughter, I did not even realize I was pregnant until I was 10 weeks gone. I had been made redundant from work and I was volunteering for social services and assisting in the care of my niece, so all of my time was being used looking after a newborn baby. When I realized I was pregnant, the Dad and I weren’t even a couple. We had gone through a rough patch after the loss of the twins and life was not going all that smoothly. So to find out I was pregnant was a lovely thing, although very worrying considering my history. At the 20 weeks scan they thought the bowel of the baby seemed dense and booked me in for an additional scan at 22 weeks. They thought the baby may have Cystic Fibrosis (please forgive spelling). At the 22 week scan the obstetrician said that the bowel was showing normal and nothing seemed wrong with the baby. The heart was strong and I had a healthy baby. I was starting to have hope that I was lucky enough to have a healthy baby J! During the next couple of weeks I saw my midwife and due to my high BMI they wanted to send me for a blood fasting test up the ADAU (Antenatal Day Assessment Unit). When they tested they said my sugars had come out too high and that it was highly likely that I was Gestational Diabetic. There was a fantastic midwife called Jan, who then came and explained what Gestational Diabetes was and how it affected my body. I was assured that there was nothing I could have done about being Gestational Diabetic… even though my BMI was high, that is not always a contributing factor. It is simply the case that you have it! So I got a testing kit and I had to start testing my sugars 4 times a day. I tested once when I got up and then an hour after every meal. I was told that I had to keep my fasting sugars below 5.8 and my hour after meal sugars below 7.8. I found that extremely difficult at first, but when I saw the dietitian she gave me lots of advice. The best advice she gave me was to equal my protein intake to my carbohydrate intake. That seemed to work really well.
However even after being prescribed Metformin and religiously trying to control my diet I found out that at 31 weeks I had to go onto Insulin. I had to take Insulatard before bed time which is slow release insulin which controls my overnight sugar levels, and I took Novorapid before each meal during the day. Novorapid is a fast acting insulin that helps control your sugars during the meal and brings them down quickly within the acceptable levels. When I was told that I had to self inject this insulin I was bawling my eyes out (of course hormone levels do not help!). I am petrified of needles and I didn’t know how I was going to get over that. My diabetic nurse, Mary, has been absolutely fantastic throughout both pregnancies. She taught me how to self inject and she sat with me for ages even when I got really upset. I was on my own too as my partner was working and my mum had my niece as I did not think it was appropriate to take her! So she was an angel! She explained why it was necessary to use each insulin and what it did and was used for. She explained how to inject and where, she explained everything and stayed calm the whole time. It was all so daunting and I got so upset because I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. She explained that some people just couldn’t control sugar levels with just their diet and they needed help, and I was one of those people. After this appointment she phoned me weekly to make sure that I was OK and that my sugar levels were remaining steady.She also coached me on how to control my sugars through my insulin independently, something which I am now able to do well (second pregnancy!). They booked me in for 3 extra scans to monitor the babies growth as gestational diabetics tend to give birth to bigger children. At 32 weeks I found out I was having a little girl and after many discussions we decided to call her Abigail! I was booked in for an induction at 38 weeks. On the 11th July 2012, I was admitted to the prenatal ward in Milton Keynes hospital. I was given a pessary to induce the labor. I started getting contractions every 5 minutes and they were really strong. By that night I had been given another (I think it was every 6 hours, but it was a while ago!), my contractions stayed at 5 minutes apart for the next day too… and the next night, and I was only 1 cm dilated. At 5 am on Friday 13th July 2012, I was approached by a midwife who had seen me through a second full night of contractions, she asked me if I wanted to go down to the labor ward and have my waters broken. I would be placed onto a drip to force the contractions a bit more and hopefully it would push me into full labor. I said yes I would love that as I didn’t think I could take another couple of days of watching people get induced quickly and leave! I also was getting really tired as the contractions were continuous throughout the night too. So she went to get me some breakfast and urged me to have a quick shower. I called my partner and told him to get to the hospital ASAP. At 6 am they walked me down to the labor ward and we bumped into my partner at the top of the stairs. He had sat with me continuously for two days and put up with my stressing and discomfort! But there he was at 6 am looking rather disheveled. I explained to him what they were going to do and got given a room. I was put on constant monitoring and they then broke my waters and put the drip in. Soon after I was on Gas and Air and my contractions were coming more frequently. I took Pethidine as well, and then I don’t remember much after that! I was given an epidural as well, but it was administered wrong and I ended up with spinal fluid leaking from my back. Abigail’s heart rate started to drop and they kept moving me on my side. The epidural ran out as everything started to go wrong. They rushed me through to the theater at about 6pm after 11 hours of active lab our and they told me that the baby was in distress. When the lady came in to do the C Section she took one look down below and grabbed forceps. One push later and Abigail was laying on my belly! She was born at 8 lbs 60 zs. She was healthy and happy. She also looked entirely like her Dad! Scarily so! I had to stay in the theater for a bit while they sorted out my after birth and the problem with my epidural, so Daddy took her through to Grandma who had sat with us the whole day as well! Abigail is my miracle and I strongly believe that her strong willed nature helped her get here today! I think my midwife Jane was the most precious angel to me that day as I think that without her help and assistance, my daughter and I would not be here today!
I was tested for diabetes 6 weeks after the birth and my sugars were at normal levels, so it seemed my Gestational Diabetes was just that.
4 weeks after my baby was born I started to get incredibly bad pains in my chest, I kept being rushed to A&E and morphine was the only thing that helped the pain. Although some doctors kept telling me it was Heartburn! I was pretty sure that this pain was not heartburn. They did tests but said they were inconclusive. Then one night after being rushed in the woman doctor decided to sit down and go through all my notes and look at all the results. On the CT scan that had been taken a week before, if not 2, she found what she expected to be Gall stones. I was admitted to hospital as they did tests and found that my liver levels were not correct. After I had been in there for 9 days, missing my 3 month old daughter like crazy, they took more bloods and found that my pancreas started to fail! So I got rushed into emergency theater that morning to have my Gall Bladder removed.
Well I got over that, got a job as a retail manager and moved into my own place with my partner. We arranged our wedding and got
married in November 2013! Just before our wedding we found that we had been given an early present! I was pregnant again! A lovely surprise! Especially as I had left my job due to the amount of hours I was away from home! Even when I was at home I was getting 30 plus phone calls a day, and as much as I loved my job and the challenge I wasn’t getting any time with my daughter and I was always on my phone. I think the last straw was getting a phone call on my day off while I was out at a theme park and missing something special because I was sorting something out for work again!
So at 8 weeks I started to test my sugars again, I found that my sugars were increasing, so I called the diabetes clinic. They had me in the clinic as soon as they could, my sugars were tested, they were high, I was put on metformin and they were still rising overnight and after breakfast. So they put me back on insulin from 10 weeks! They have said throughout this pregnancy that I may have type 2 Diabetes now, and my body could have suffered from the late diagnosis of the Gall stones. I have had to have retinal scans throughout and weekly phone calls from Mary, but now I know how to control my diet and I can use my insulin affect this time it has been a lot less stressful. I was booked in for my extra scans at 28/32/36 weeks. At my 28 week scan I was told that baby is big and I have a lot of water in there which is at the top end of the scale. Baby measured at 3 lbs 8 oz at the 28 week scan and the obstetrician said that I could go into preterm labor. However they could not find a problem with my control of my diabetes so it could just be that I have a big baby.
I am having some issues controlling my sugar levels at the moment and I know that is due to my recent spell in hospital, I somehow got Gastroenteritis and ended up in the prenatal ward on a drip! I had got very dehydrated and my ketones had increased dangerously. I was out after 24 hours of treatment… but I have struggled to keep my sugars in order since due to my lack of appetite and then my appetite returning! I think that as long as you keep listening to your body and keep the Protein and Carbohydrate intake roughly the same, controlling your sugars can be easy. I find that stress, lack of sleep and other things also affect my sugars and sometimes have to adjust my insulin effectively, but I don’t get it right 100% of the time.
Well I am due my 32 week scan next week, 25th March 2014. My little boy, Alexander Ian, seems healthy and strong and we are excitedly awaiting his arrival. Also for all of you out there that like a little treat… check the carbohydrate levels on weight watchers yogurts and weight watchers Jaffa Cake bars they are the only chocolate treats. I can have without my sugars being affected! I am actually affected more by fruit than these tasty treats . Also if you have the time, you can make fairy cakes and such the like with sweetener rather than sugar, these taste just as nice and barely affect your sugars too! It’s a nice little treat, especially if you are craving things you cannot have! Options Belgium Hot Chocolate made with water and a dash of milk also has helped me through both pregnancies. It stops my chocolate cravings and the carbohydrate level is not too high! My body can cope well with that!
Good luck to you all and if you need to chat I have joined the page, I am quite happy to help anyone if you have questions! However I cannot always promise to know the answer!