I gave birth to my first daughter when I was 40. At the time, I was in good shape and a healthy eater, so I was shocked when, at 28 weeks, I flunked the gestational diabetes test. I heard from other mamas that the condition can be age-related, so I chalked it up to the fun of AMA (Advanced Maternal Age). Still, my third trimester was super frustrating as I adopted a strict, low-carb diet mandated by an unyielding nutritionist who clearly did not understand the intensity of my cravings. My sweet tooth was never satisfied by small portions of berries, and a sandwich just wasn’t a sandwich atop a single high fiber tortilla.
When my daughter was born, and our first visitor to the maternity ward asked what he could bring, my husband wisely told him, “Krispy Kremes.” I will never forget how good those forbidden donuts tasted.
So when I got pregnant again, you’d think I would have adopted a GD diet proactively, but I did not. Far from it. First trimester, I was so nauseous that I lived on bread products, including Stove Top stuffing (not sure you can get carbier than that). After that, my sweet cravings kicked in hard, and I didn’t deny them, nor did the bakery across the street. If gestational diabetes was more age than diet related, why suffer until I absolutely had to? I even procrastinated taking the test, certain that I’d once again fail and soon be deprived of all my favorite foods. My hormones hate that.
Have you ever thought about what your last meal would be in a death row situation? Glucose intolerance is not as dire, I know, but I still put a lot of thought into my last day of unregulated eating. I decided that what I wanted was pasta — twice. For lunch I had penne a la vodka (the booze burns off, I swear) and for dinner, spaghettti cacio e pepe. Now that’s Italian! Per the doctor, I then fasted until the 9 a.m. blood test, savoring the sickeningly sweet glucose drink you have to chug one hour prior, thinking it might be my last pure sugar.
The doctor said my Tuesday blood test results should be back in a day or two. When they hadn’t come in by Friday, my husband suggested I call the office. “Are you crazy?” asked the crazy lady.”We’ve got two dinners out and a birthday party to go to this weekend. I’m eating cake until I hear otherwise!”
When my OB phoned Monday, I was braced for bad news, my action plan all laid-out: I’d purge the fridge of everything delicious, blow a few hundred bucks at Whole Foods on stuff that tastes like nothing, and change my route around the neighborhood so that I’d never have to smell the cream puffs wafting from the bakery. “You passed,” my doctor told me. I what? Wait, what? How was that even possible, given that my maternal age is even more advanced than last time, and I haven’t exactly been eating clean?
Well, apparently, the gestational diabetes test results depend on the genetic makeup of the specific baby and placenta in your uterus. So baby #2 and her fancy placenta just saved mama’s sugar-lovin’ ass.
I celebrated with a kale salad. Kidding! Salted caramel ice cream. But I know leafy greens are important for baby, so I always eat them — as long as they come with a big side of mac ‘n cheese.
Photo: Getty (top); Amy Wruble (bottom)