16 Weeks! Baby is as big as an Avocado! As every week passes by, I realize how much our baby boy is truly growing. I read about how babies can start to hear by 16 weeks. The ultrasound I had right at 15W6D, he was clapping to the music the sonographer usually has on. It is amazing how much personality he has, and I feel like I am already connecting with him even more by me playing music constantly every day. 

Jasmine with glucose monitor - Bump Day Blog, Week 16: the importance of supportive care

Author’s Personal Collection/Jasmine Simmons

I have to be honest, 16 weeks was very hard for me. I was full of so much anxiety.

I have to carry some harder challenges while pregnant. I had two panic attacks in one day due to a triggering comment an OBGYN said to me during my appointment for my blood pressure checkup. We made this appointment because as I monitored my blood pressure, I realized it was elevated for a few days. After going through knee surgeries and being diagnosed with PCOS and infertility, I am very in tune with my body, more than ever before. I take my health very seriously, no matter if I may not look like your typical “fit, healthy woman.” Yes, I am seen as overweight/obese, which I am not ashamed to say, because I have been for years, especially living with PCOS. High blood pressure runs in my family, and when I began the first IVF round in 2020, the doctors put me on blood pressure medication because it was extremely high. My primary care doctor monitors me closely and with follow-up appointments. 

When you are carrying a child, everything changes. Literally, your whole world is centered around your baby.

So, for me, even if my high blood pressure is not dangerously high, I still feel it is important to note everything. When I walked into the appointment, the first thing one of the OBGYNs, not my primary doctor, told me was that my one-hour glucose test came back very high. He told me, “You want to be alive for your children, especially since you are carrying one now.” That triggered me very badly, as a woman who has gone through infertility and loss, death is also a trigger for me. 

Does he know how much I have been through? Did he not read my chart entirely to know so? This is when it went downhill for me. Living with PTSD, it took me back to the bad place when I had my miscarriage and blamed myself. I shut down immediately after he made that comment, but I tried to keep calm. He continued with more jabs like, “What did you eat for breakfast?” I stated nothing entirely due to this early appointment, except I had half a banana to take my medication. He told me, “Well, you should not have eaten that. It has sugar.” Then he asked, “Do you even know what a low-carb diet is?” I was really shocked by his approach with me, especially with me just finding out about my glucose number. He then told me I needed to eat low carb and hopefully, I can pass the 3-hour glucose that he ordered for me to do in a few days. He told me, “If you fail that, you are just diabetic and it is not gestational diabetes.” I was very shocked, because he had no plan or sense of direction. It was just, “Oh, you will probably fail, and here do this low carb diet.”

I walked out of that appointment crying. I was very triggered.

I thought about how I lost 24 pounds last year and my A1C decreased significantly. It was just checked at the beginning of this year as well. I have only gained 4 pounds this entire pregnancy. Even if my glucose wasn’t checked, does it mean that I do not care about my health? It made me realize I had yet again experienced racism/weight bias in medical care. To me, I felt I was looked at as a black woman with risks that is overweight and not taking her life seriously. He talked down to me like that.

To summarize the story of that, I called the office manager to complain about this doctor and tell them I will only see him this one time. We are recommended to see every OBGYN and midwife at the practice once in case one of those doctors will deliver your baby. When one of the other doctors found out what he said, I received a call from her so apologetic. She agreed it was very inappropriate and that the 3-hour glucose test was not necessary. She recommended that I meet with a dietician to discuss gestational diabetes, a diet to incorporate, and using a glucometer. 

I felt supported and validated by the dietician, the other OBGYN, and the nurse at the practice who constantly checked on me all week. The dietician made it clear that with me being insulin resistant, with the pregnancy hormones insulin resistance is increased. I have a great team to have checked early so that when I go for the three-hour glucose around 24 weeks, I will pass. I am just seen at risk of gestational diabetes at this point. 

I decided that I was going to move forward from that experience doing what I have already been doing, working out on the bike four times a day, and now just paying more attention to my diet to ensure it is carb-controlled.

I have a new friend, the glucometer to check my blood sugar four times a day. The first day I checked, I had already passed and I am within the numbers I need to be. I am a strong mama. I am a black woman that understands and knows my risks. I chose my primary OBGYN and the entire practice because I knew I would be in great hands. Did I know I would encounter one doctor that had the worst bedside manners? No, I did not. But, one thing I do know is I will do what needs to be done when it comes to my baby and me. Nothing will stop me from holding our baby in my arms!

I have fought for this moment, and even with the risks I have, I am ready to tackle them, knowing that I am more than capable. I am not going to drown in my risks. I am going to keep going, knowing that my dreams are coming true no matter the challenges. So, since this week is Lent, and I do practice Lent every year, I am focusing on “Time.” I am only dedicating my days to what I have planned to focus on to reduce my anxiety and only take in what is important to me for the day. 

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