Being Part of the GD Club – Gestational Diabetes Club

A pregnant woman is usually tested for Gestational Diabetes around months 24-28 to see if she has GD. After taking two tests, I was 0.1 above the cutoff line so I was placed in the “GD” category. At first, they didn’t know if I would be placed in the program at Sinai since I was so close to a “pass” but then they called and said I got to be part of the program.

8:30 am on Wednesday November 27th

I enter the building at Mount Sinai and expect to be greeted by hundreds of women in a lecture theatre ready to learn about GD.

Wrong.

There was a small classroom where there were about eight people. The instructors hadn’t arrived and I was incredibly anxious. They told me the session would be at least three hours and I didn’t know how I was going to sit through a session like this. Needles, medical issues, etc., are the topics that really elevate my anxiety levels. I immediately looked around the room and decided who was going to be my friend.

Most of the women had their partners with them but Preeti didn’t. I began talking to the women in the room by saying “can you believe we all have this? How are you guys feeling about all of this?”

Suddenly we became closer and most of us shared out stories. There was one woman who was very private and her and her partner spoke in hushed tones all day. They probably thought I was too much (which I totally understand). 

“I can’t even believe this has happened” said one of the women. “I work out, I eat super healthy. Why me?”

“Why any of us?” I asked.

The instructor came in with a doctor and the doctor sat at the back of the class taking notes. 

“We are joined by a resident doctor today” said the nurse practitioner. “She is just going to observe the class because she wanted to see how we teach the patients.”

We were all given our GD starter kits (as I call them), booklets of info followed by our own little diabetes kit.

We talked about what GD is, how to manage it, etc., for about an hour and then we moved on to the hands-on task. We learned that GD is where women develop high blood sugar while they are pregnant. Usually after the pregnancy, a woman doesn’t have GD. 4 out of 10 women who have GD during their pregnancy, go on to have type 2 diabetes in the future.


When we got our little needle kits, it all felt real and I could feel my hands begin to warm up and get clammy.

“So now I am going to show you how to take your blood sugar. Then you will show me that you can do it on your own.”

My own? I was not ready for all of this.

“I’ll come over and help you” said the resident doctor. She was so nice and could see that my hands were shaking. Together, we took my blood sugar which was 4.4 (has to be below 5.2 so I was happy). Pretti (my new friend) checked hers and it was 10 or something. Immediately, I felt blessed and like things might be okay.

“I am leaving you now” said the nurse practitioner/instructor. “The dietitian will be in to discuss eating habits with you momentarily.”

Another couple walked into the room two hours late. It was crazy. People kept coming late to this course and it was driving me crazy. The instructor would get angry but the people didn’t have to come back to another session. I became angry because I could have slept more.

“I wish I just would have come in late” I said to Pretti.

“But you wouldn’t have all of this information” she said in such an honest and heartfelt way that I started to believe her.

The dietitian came in and gave us all new booklets on what to eat and how to read a label. I was expecting to have to cut out sugar and carbs from my diet but she told me to do quite the opposite.

“The baby needs carbs. You feed the baby first and then protein and fats are just an added bonus. Stick to the number of carbs you should eat (15g X 2-3 for three meals and 15g X 1-2 snacks).

“That is a lot of food” I said. “What if I throw up the food, Will that influence my blood sugar levels?”  

“Your blood sugar levels may actually increase” she said. Your body recognizes throwing up, the flu, a cold, etc., as stress so even though you may not have food in your system, your blood sugar could be high.”

After she was with us for about an hour, two women came into the room.

“You all have appointments with your new doctor who will be monitoring you.” They ushered us to a different part of the building.

I looked at the time and it was 12:00. I had an appointment with my OB and I became frustrated. They kept telling us about how important it was to eat but how was I going to eat lunch when I had another appointment before my OB?

We all had to sit in the waiting room at the Diabetes Clinic and I talked to Preeti the whole time. We talked about our pregnancies, the best stroller to get, what our experience had been like at Sinai, etc.

At 12:45 I finally met my new doctor (yes another doctor to add to my list) named Dr. Feig. We discussed how I would be taking a food log for four days that I would later send in to my dietitian. We also discussed how I had to take my blood sugar four times a day and send in my numbers every Sunday to the nurse practitioner. If my blood sugar was too high, I would be enrolled in the “insulin” class (65% of pregnant women with GD have to take insulin).

We also discussed how I needed to come in next week for another appointment. 

At this point, I am starting to feel like I live at Sinai.

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday November 27th

I leave the Diabetes Clinic with such a mixture of emotions.

I am proud of myself for taking in all of the info and remaining calm. I am thankful for all of the knowledge I have learned.

I am also late.

I am late for my OB and my research ultrasound which makes me anxious.

“I am so sorry I am late” I tell Celine at the front desk of Dr. Snelgrove’s office. “I was at the diabetes clinic and I have a research ultrasound…”

“Sarah. It is okay. Go get your research ultrasound and we are here when you are done.”

Celine was super kind and I suddenly felt like all of my students who arrive late to my class while being full of excuses and super stressed.

I had my research ultrasound and my little one was so well behaved. The doctor was shocked at how still he stayed throughout the ultrasound.


Check out those legs – he got it from his Mama

“He must have been bored by the GD presentation he attended” I joked.

Then I saw a closer look of my little boy.

“Are his legs supposed to be that long?” I asked.

“He does have long legs” said the doctor. “He is 2.5 lbs and is measuring in the 50th percentile. He is one healthy boy.”

Wednesday November 27th from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

I wait for about 1.5 hours to see my OB and in that time I do my first blood sugar test on my own. It took me about 20 minutes because I was scared and somehow had forgotten everything I had been taught.

Hour 6 and bored out of my mind at Sinai

Dr. Snelgrove walked into the room just as I was taking my blood sugar.

“So I see you have GD” he said.

“Guilty” I laughed. Why was I always making jokes? So awkward.

“Well because you have GD, you will have to have more ultrasounds.”

“What?” I asked. “I am part of the research study and get them done all the time.”

“You will need a new ultrasound every two weeks” he said.

“I live here” I said.

After my appointment with Dr. Snelgrove, I had to go to Mount Sinai Hospital to get my blood taken one last time for GD.

“Can you please take your blood sugar right now” asked the nurse.

“I am not good at it. Plus, I just took it at the doctor’s office and it is 5.1. It needs to be under 6.6 so I am fine” I said with a smile.

“You have to take it now as well. I need to see the number.”

I was super nervous to show her what I had learned because I thought I was doing it all wrong.

“You are a pro” she smiled.

“My number is 4.6” I said.

“See…it changed” she smiled. 

“So I can eat now?” I asked. I had a super small lunch before my research ultrasound and was hungry again after fasting for two hours.

“You can eat” she laughed.

I went down to Second Cup to get something. What holiday drink would I get? NONE. What gluten-free snack should I have? NONE.

I ordered a decaf latte with skim milk. Normally I’ll put cinnamon on top of it, but not anymore. I reached in my bag for some almonds and realized this would be my new snack.

Wednesday November 27th at 5:00 p.m.

My doctor had given me a prescription for needles and for test strips so I had them filled at the pharmacy at Sinai.

I could feel pain from my leg going to my butt. My OB told me that this was “sciatica” and I realized that my body was just feeling exhausted and that I needed to go to bed.

I was completely drained – physically and emotionally. Somehow I had spent 8.5 hours at Mount Sinai on Wednesday.

With so much knowledge and so many appointments, I felt like I was finally in control of things (as much as I could be).

That night, I went home and started tracking everything. On Thursday I started my food log, and my numbers have all been amazing. I can’t wait to send in my info on Sunday night and hope I’ll get a gold star. I don’t want to go to the insulin training session (happens every Wednesday) and I really want to avoid insulin by being careful with my diet. At any time throughout this process I may have to get insulin, but this week, I think I have avoided the class.

I’ve realized that GD is quite common (1 in 16 Canadians) and that I am not a failure for having this. If I just eat as healthy as possible I have a chance of reducing my risk of preeclampsia, a low/high birth weight of the baby, and a c-section.

I have been eating really well and haven’t felt as sick as I had been feeling. Yes, I still get sick here and there but things are manageable. I also force myself to go for a walk every day which has helped to keep my numbers down. 

Through this fertility process, I’ve had six doctors – Dr. Yu (family doctor), Dr. Jones (fertility doctor), Dr. Whittle (high risk OB), Dr. Snelgrove (low risk OB), Dr. Kingdom (in charge of research study), and Dr. Feig (my new diabetes doctor). Some people can’t find a doctor in Canada and somehow, through this pregnancy, I have had six doctors.

The care I am receiving is the best of the best and I really want to thank Mount Sinai for everything. On this journey, I am constantly learning and the support has been incredible. If you or someone you know has GD and wants to reach out, feel free to email me anytime.

Wishing everyone a great week!

My First Appointment with my O.B.

Trying to look really casual but inside I am freaking out.

“What anything from Starbucks?” I texted my sister J.

“Would love an Americano so much. Thank you.” she wrote.

“The directions that I got to the OB’s office are crazy so just meet me on the third floor and we can find the office together” I texted.

It was Wednesday and J had agreed to meet me for my first appointment with my OB at Mount Sinai.

I was super nervous.  Why couldn’t I just stay with Dr. Jones at the Fertility Clinic? She was the nicest doctor ever.  Instead, I was to meet a new doctor named Dr. Snelgrove and was about to explore a new building – the Ontario Power Generation building.

“Good morning” said Julia as she came out of the elevators to meet me.

“I am so nervous” I confessed.

What was going to happen at this appointment? The nurse on the phone suggested it would be a “long” appointment but how long was “long”?

After making twists and turns down the hall, we finally found the admin assistant in the hall.

“My name is Sarah and this is my first appointment” I said.

Celine was so lovely and explained that I could just take a seat.

Both J and I commented on how everyone we saw around us was pregnant and going to the washroom. Most pregnant women were going at a leisurely pace but I could tell that some were going to throw up.  I felt like I was really among my people.

“Sarah?” asked a really cute nurse.  She had the exact same style as my sister J. She was wearing a white shirt and a really pretty pastel pink flowy skirt. 

“You have the exact same shoes as my sister” I said to her looking at how both she and Julia had on the same shoes.

“I also own the same skirt” Julia laughed.

The nurse’s name was Daniella and she was so lovely.

She talked about how Dr. Snelgrove was super nice and she just asked a lot of questions about my health. She talked to me about how many pregnant women crave carbs but how one should avoid eating too many carbs.

“But please note that now is not the time to go on any type of weight loss diet “she said.

That made me happy.

J and I laughed with her as we discussed many issues involving pregnancy and later even had a debate on whether Starbucks iced coffee really was worth the price.

About ten minutes later Daniella gave me an entire booklet of info and said “welcome to the low risk pregnancy program.”

“Low risk?” I asked. “I thought I’d be high risk because of my age and I think I have high blood pressure.”

“Your blood pressure is great” she said.

This made a lot of anxiety disappear.

From there, J and I waited for about an hour. We laughed through the entire hour killing time making fun of the art on the walls or various things that we were seeing.

The perfect artwork for the low risk floor.

At one moment we saw a couple who were obviously going through a lot and the man was cradling his partner’s head. They both looked as though they were crying.

“Stop staring” I said to J.

“What do you want me to do?” she asked. “I am an empath.”

J also saw someone she knew and pretended not to see her. In fact, J ran into people she wasn’t “supposed” to see because various friends were going through fertility issues/treatments and wanted to keep everything private. J respected their space and would only go up to people she knew if they seemed as though they wanted to chat.

“This is the reality” said J. “Many people are going through fertility issues around this age.”

“Sarah?” asked another nurse.  “We are ready to see you.”

“Want me to come in with you?” asked J.

“Of course” I said.

J sat in the chair and I sat on the examination table.

“What is that sound?” asked Julia. “It sounds like we are in a birth canal.”

J and I still haven’t figured out where the sound was coming from. It was either a weird sound coming from the vent or the sound of someone having an ultrasound done near us that sounded like the heartbeat was on a megaphone.

“Sarah?” asked Dr. Snelgrove.

“This is my sister J” I said.

“I can see the family resemblance.”

“You can?” I asked. “I personally don’t think we look anything alike.”

I can’t possibly go into all of the things that Dr. Snelgrove said because a) it went over my head b) I didn’t write anything down c) this would be 5,000 words longer.

Some things I did note were the following:

  1. I haven’t gained any weight.
  2. My OB only works at the clinic on Wednesday’s so all appointments will be scheduled on a Wednesday.
  3. You don’t get to pick your appointment time. You are just handed a card that goes over the times you must attend.
  4. Dr. Jones was Dr. Snelgrove’s Chief Resident while he was in training so I know I am in good hands.
  5. You should bring something to write everything down. There is so much information that comes at you very quickly. J and I could not possibly process everything that was said to us.
  6. Because of my age and the fact that I have used a donor, Dr. Snelgrove suggested that I have what is called a Harmony Test. It uses one vial of blood to screen for Down Syndrome and two other genetic disorders (Dynacare). Since I was ten weeks on the exact day I saw him, he ordered the test for me. It did cost $500.00 but he said that it is a very accurate test and that my results would be ready within a week.

After saying good-bye to my OB, J and I departed ways because she had to go to work and I needed to get some blood work.

After taking a number and waiting for about five minutes in the “lab” area, a woman called my number. I recognized her right away.

“You also work at Mount Sinai Fertility” I said. “You took my blood on several occasions.”

She smiled at me and said “well it is so nice to see you here.”

She was right – I had graduated from Mount Sinai Fertility to Mount Sinai Low Risk.

“I love your nails” I said as I recognized the fact that she always had her nails done in interesting colours.

“I need gold and glitter in my life” she said in her Russian accent.

She then started plugging info into the machine and it no longer felt like Mount Sinai Fertility. It took about ten minutes for her to process info, get the right coloured vials, and get the correct stickers printed for the vials of blood. At Mount Sinai Fertility, things took seconds. This was taking a long time.

The ten minutes were excruciating. It had been over a month since I had my blood drawn and I had forgotten how anxious I became when forced to sit down and “relax” while having blood taken. She was concentrating so much that my small talk conversation that usually allowed me to focus on something else was not allowed.

“Make a fist” she said.

Eight vials later I was finally done. Through the whole process she kept looking at the needle in my arm and then would look right into my eyes. It felt like she was looking into my soul.

I wondered if she knew how nervous/anxious I was or if she could feel me shaking. I also wondered if she thought I might pass out.

Three and a half hours after my appointment time, I finally left Mount Sinai. In my purse was a giant pamphlet of info I was going to read along with a prescription for baby aspirin to be taken starting August 9th (a precaution to help avoid genetic diseases for the baby).

Every time I passed a pregnant woman or saw a baby with his/her parent/guardian, I couldn’t help but smile. Yes the third floor was full of a lot of medical information, precautions, facts, stats, testing, etc., but it was also full of so many miracles. We were all in this together and I finally felt as though everything might be okay.