Monday, May 16, 2011

Failing Tests

Back when I was preggers with L, the nurse at my doctor's office had little hope I would pass my glucose test. Awesome.  To review, a glucose test is a routine test you get when you are knocked up.  You drink gawd awful flat, warm, thick syrup that is kind of tastes like cola or orange soda.  You wait 1 hour and then get your blood taken to see how your body broke down the glucose in the drink.  These levels in turn tells medical professionals if you have gestational diabetes. For those that either a) had irregular results with that first test b) Had gestational diabetes your first pregnancies or c) had a big baby (over 9 pounds) you "get" to take the test, for a second time. I didn't fall into any of those first couple of categories, but of course the last one I did - the big baby club.  10 lbs 14.8 ounces.  Almost 2 feet tall - thank you very much. I birthed a toddler, for God's sake. Proud of it.  Bad news (other than birthing a toddler) is being in the big baby club puts me at risk for gestational diabetes and needing to take another dang hour long glucose test.

Side note: It's important to note, I hate needles. Beyond my hate most people have a terrible time getting blood from me.  I apparently have the vein of a child.  When I was in the hospital delivering L, they had to call in the pediatric nurses who were used to and trained to set up IVs in children. Of course, the only small thing I get to have is stupid veins.

Glucose test, part two.  The day I planned to get the second test I had a weird situation happen. I woke up in the morning and couldn't put any weight on my left leg. I was getting out of bed, as I normally do, super early.  Mama can't hold 'it' for a full night's rest.  There I am first thing in the AM trying to get to the bathroom with only one leg.  I assure you, this was not a pretty sight. At one point I didn't know if I would need to crawl there or if an adult accident was in my near future.  The day I woke up without my left leg in full effect I was alone with the kid, had a deadline for a glucose test and needed to get packed and ready for a business trip. If it was safe to go, I would have to get on an airplane.  I needed to be ready to go and be able to walk. The details aren't really important other than: in the end, I am fine and overall it was shitty day.  It was a totally stressful day, to say the least. I woke up the next morning and after a few hours my leg started to be totally normal. I get it, that's totally whack but I expect nothing else. I figured, if I can walk, I can fly to my business meeting (Dad, my doctor said it was fine). Before I could get on with my plane, I had to go drink some flat, warm, thick syrupy soda. 

I took my test and got on the plane.  When I landed a message awaited me: "Your test came back irregular which tells us that you likely have gestational diabetes.  We'll need to get you scheduled for a three hour glucose test."  Most people who get back irregular tests come back for the three hour test and find they are in fact diabetic during the remainder of the pregnancy. Hooray. For the 3 hour test, you get to fast for 13 hours (only water) and stick around the office for 3 hours as they take my blood 4 times. Important to note: I hate needles.

I took the damn test and I failed the damn test. I got stuck with a needle 7 times only to find out this is just the beginning. What's that? Where did I get stuck with a needle 7 times when I said they take blood 4 times? OH that's because a sadistic woman took my blood and had to stick me 3 times to get one good line in at one point. I took the test on a Friday and got a call back on Monday with the 'good' word. In getting confirmation that I need to consult with Diabetes for Life, a great resource in the area (I will be shortly moving away from), I awaited a call to set up an appointment.  It took 4 days to be given an appointment with the office so for 4 days I googled my diet and prognosis. Awesome, health care system, awesome.

I knew I'd have to change my diet.  Based on what I researched, in some cases, there is finger pricking to check blood sugar. There are fun complications like even BIGGER babies (um. I'm hoping that 'bigger' is in terms of being relative to regular babies not 'bigger' than previous babies carried by mother who has the gestational diabetes).  Also in the how is that possible column: additional complications like increased swelling.

Good news / bad news? Good news: I "barely" have gestational diabetes. Seriously, a failed one of the three hour checks by 1 point and another by 2 or 3. If you score over the numbers they need you to be at 2 or more of the 4 level checks, boom. Gestational diabetes. After finding out I had irregular test results that put me within gestational diabetes fun land, I watched what I was eating but didn't make too many changes. What irritates me most about this diagnosis is with this pregnancy I eat 150% better than with L. It wasn't that I planed to eat like crap with her, it was just that crap was all I could eat.  This baby loves what I normally love - salad, vegetables, fruit.  The baby also loves pasta, Chinese food and burritos. What? It's part my kid... why wouldn't (s)he like all that I like? I missed my ice cream that week, but after minimal diet changes my test results were .2 away from a "normal" pregnant person's levels. The specialist I met with said my diabetes is basically 'negligible.'  There will be a slim to none chance of needing insulin since my levels are so close to normal - as long as I stay like that. When the nurse told me I would have to check my sugar levels 4 times a day though? You would have thought she was telling me I was leaving a limb at the office. I cried, laughed, teared through the laughing and cried again. Important to note: I hate needles.

Turns out the checking my levels isn't that bad - the prick doesn't hurt and I've actually been able to eat pretty much normally. Being able to check (when I wake up and 2 hours after each meal) I get to see that I'm fine. Sure with all that's going on, I could stand to not think about how many carbs or sugars I'm about to take in and then remembering to take my blood and record the results 2 hours after eating a meal. But I'm fine, we're fine.  I already have swelling, I already birth big babies and lord knows I don't need to go through the next few months on a carbo load. I'm fine.

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