Around the 28 week mark in pregnancy, there’s a joyful occasion when you go to your OB and take the Glucose Tolerance Test. Obviously I’m being sarcastic. Glucose Tolerance day is a suckfest.
First, the one-hour test. Start with drinking the most-disgusting-ever orange liquid like it’s a shot in college. This stuff is pretty much pure sugar. And, for someone who hasn’t had a soda in years and years and years, drinking this “soda on crack” is really tough. You wait an hour, the nurse pokes around in your arm to find a vein (maybe that’s just fun for me who has NO VISIBLE VEINS in my arms) and then wiggles the needle to make the blood come out.
As someone who eats very healthily and who makes a conscious decision to limit sugar, I was not worried. But still, I got the call.
Nurse: We are sorry to have to tell you, but you failed your glucose test by one point.
Me: One point? Well, couldn’t we just grade on a curve? Or chock it up to the pear I ate on the way to the office?
Nurse: No, we have to have a cutoff. And even if you’re one point over we need you to come in next Friday for the 3-hour fasting test.
Me: I’ll be there
with bells on. (click)
Next Friday rolls around. I head to the office with an empty stomach earlier than I usually wake up. When I arrive, I get a finger prick and the first impossible vile of blood taken. It’s cold, I haven’t eaten and she can’t even get the vile 1/4 full. She manages to draw air into my arm before finally giving up with a “I hope that’ll be enough”. Then for breakfast, I drink the most-disgusting-ever orange liquid. Each hour that passes, I give more blood, though I do finally convince her to take it from the huge, bulging blue veins in my hands. This makes life easier for us both. I leave the office thinking there’s no possible way I’d get “the call”.
The following Tuesday, I have an appointment with the doctor. I ask him about my results. They aren’t back from the lab yet. He looks at my stats in the computer.
Judging from your great BP readings and your weight gain (7 lbs. at 29 weeks), I would say that it’s nothing to be concerned about.
I left the office as just that – not concerned. Alas, I get the call that afternoon.
Nurse: Two of your four vials came back as failing, so that is an overall fail for Glucose Tolerance. I’m sorry to tell you that you have Gestational Diabetes.
Nurse: I’ll fax in an order for the glucose meter and some sample strips. When you get it, we’ll order you some more. And, you’ll need to attend an education class that will explain how to control your blood sugar and eat healthy.
Inside my head I can be a bit of a cynic and a smartass. This nurse is overweight. Like a lot. I’m thinking I could teach HER a few things about eating healthy. I’m thinking this class is a waste of gas and a perfectly good afternoon. But whatever. I love my son and if my body is doing harm to him and I need to fix it, then fix it I will do. One thing is for certain. Give me a plan for eating and I will follow it to the nth degree. I love rules and guidelines. Give me something that I can obsessively try to achieve at and I’m a happy girl. Put the gold star out there for me an I’ll try my damnedest to grab it.
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I go the next day to pick up the meter. The nurse who gives it to me actually says, “Wow, you’re really small.” I’m not sure size has anything to do with this particular condition, but I guess her little judgement was a compliment. As it happened to be, the chairs in this Diabetic Education office are actually the width of one and a half chairs. My son and I sat in one together.
Today I’m three days into the four-a-day blood glucose level testing. My education class is next week. So, I have not changed my diet one ounce. I’ve eaten pasta, bagels, frozen yogurt, a piece of dark chocolate, a cookie, watermelon, dried fruit mixed in with meats, nuts, grains and veggies and the tons of water that I drink. For someone who has been determined to have Gestational Diabetes, I have had NOT ONE reading within 20 points of the high range of normal. How do you go to a doctor and say “I think you’re wrong.”? I think the disgusting syrupy orange drink is something that I WOULD NEVER put into my body and I think it alone caused my body to retaliate and throw out bad results. And, if he is wrong, shouldn’t he be responsible for making sure that I don’t have to pay for this meter, this class and the little testing strips (which must be laced in gold for what they cost)? I go back to him in 11 days. I the meantime, I plan to meticulously continue to track my meals and snacks on my little chart, stick my finger 4 times a day and record all of my results. I do not, however, plan on attending the 3 hour “learn to eat healthy” class. Call me a rebel, but I think I can skip it and be ok.