Friday, April 15, 2011

3 Hour Tour

Not on the SS Minnow...

Hey Skipper. Even with your notorious record of stranding peeps, 
I think I may have had more fun with you.

...but of my practice's waiting room. That's right, it was time for my 3 hour glucose test and I could not get the Gilligan's Island theme song out of my head.

I showed up, after fasting for 12 hours, starving and thirsty. No water either. Booo. I checked in and they weighed me - 187, down two pounds from a week ago - wth, not that I am complaining, but wth. (I am hoping with my whole heart and soul that I do not break 200 pounds. That would just be a little ego crushing for me.)

Here is the deal. They bring you in for a fasting finger prick level (or blood draw if you are at one of those kind of practices...thankfully this was just a finger prick with a little machine for like a 45 second result) then they make you drink the orange drink (or fruit punch or lemon lime or cola ::shudder::) and then they give you a timer. You come back every hour to have your finger pricked again.

You have to match these levels for either 75g of glucose or 100g of glucose. My practice, of course, gave me the 100g.

IntervalAbnormal reading
Fasting95 mg/dl or higher
One hour180 mg/dl or higher
Two hours155 mg/dl or higher
Three hours140 mg/dl or higher

Courtesy of, but this is the exact measurement my practice used. 
I asked a lot of questions since I didn't get Nancy Negative Nurse this time.

So, the deal is that you have to pass at least 3/4 of the levels to pass the test. I went in for the fasting one and measured 81 mg/dl. Yay! First test passed. Then they gave me the Orange Drink, which they thankfully had chilled in the fridge. Now, I liked orange last time, because it just sort of tasted like flat orange soda. For the 1 hour test, they give you 50g of glucose. This was the same amount of liquid, but 100g of glucose. Sick.

You know that coated throat feeling that you used to get when you were a kid and the team mom who didn't get it would bring these instead of Capri Suns to Little League? 

It was like that, except worse, because you couldn't even drink any water afterward. I felt a little like a cat with a hairball throughout the time until I could drink some water. The nurse cheered on my chugging skills (hey, I was a sorority president after all...I kid, I kid) and sent me to wait in the waiting room. They did check Baby G's heartbeat first though - 166 bpm. Whoa! The nurse was like, we just gave your baby a 5 lb bag of sugar - totally normal.

The first hour wasn't so bad. I had my book and it passed rather quickly as I was SO.NERVOUS I would dismally fail the first check. Went back with 1 minute left on my timer, they let me sit there and as it went off they measured - 170 mg/dl. Yay! Another passing score!

I headed BACK out to the waiting room...and finished my book with about 5 minutes to spare in the second hour. Those 5 minutes weren't so bad, but I kept thinking, what am I going to do for a whole 'nother hour?!

I headed back for finger prick #3 - 142 mg/dl. Yayyyy! Another passing one! I asked the nurse if I really had to stick around for the 4th one since technically I already passed. But, she said yes. Dang.

So, I proceeded to read every.single.issue of American Baby, Tidewater Parenting, and Sports Illustrated available in the waiting room. Most of the stories went like this "Blah, blah, blah, whatever the problem you think you are having is, it's probably totally normal, being a mom is hard, always check with your pediatrician."

Hard-hitting journalism for sure.

Anyway, as I wasted away that hour with amusing little breaks like going to the bathroom, woo! exciting. I was pretty raring to get out of there and have some water already.

My timer went off and I went in for my last check. 78 mg/dl. Woooo! That was lower than my fasting rate! The nurse said "Good Girl!" and signed my check out form. I was so elated I ran out of there without checking out and made it to the elevator before I realized I still had the paper in my hand.

What all of this means is that I can still give birth in the midwifery, baring any other complications! WOOO!

As I was thinking later on in the day though, I thought back on the experience and all of the affirmations from the nurses. There was another girl there who was about 2-3 minutes ahead of me on the time who was doing the 3 hour test too. The lab area is sort of central so you can overhear the nurses working with other patients. Thankfully, she passed all 4 of her levels too, but how awful would that have been if one of us had been failing and heard those affirmations from the nurses to the other person? As if our choices actually had anything to do with it!

I, of course, researched the heck out of gestational diabetes over the last week, and found that no one really knows what causes it. (Here is my super unofficial, non-cited crash course tiny summary in what I learned...) There are some factors that put you at higher risk that may in fact be the mother's choice (keeping a balanced diet, getting enough protein and exercise to keep blood sugar levels consistent, etc), but ultimately none of them are linked to causing GD itself. 

The leading thought is that the pregnancy hormones somehow block insulin from doing its job well in the mother's body. Then the blood sugar gets high, which can pass through the placenta to the baby. Problem is, the mother's insulin cannot pass through the placenta, so the baby's pancreas has to produce extra insulin to deal with it. The baby does not need that much glucose/energy, so can't process all of it and ends up storing it as fat. Which then leads to bigger babies, more risk of cesarean and slightly higher risks for both baby and mom to have diabetes later in life (fyi - you can significantly reduce this risk for both you and baby by breastfeeding after birth - another reason it is wonderful). Most GD can be regulated by diet and exercise and only a very little handful have to go the insulin injection route. 

(end non-cited, super unofficial tiny summary)

Anyway, in my mind, since it is's fault. and can happen in even super healthy moms, like some of my friends, why are medical professionals affirming us when the test levels are right?! That just seems so inappropriate and other-ing to me. Hearing another mom get compliments like "Good job!" "Good Girl!" "You're doing great!" seem nice in the moment even though again our actions had little to do with how we were faring, but how would another mom, who might be failing those levels feel? Totally guilt-ridden and awful. 

A few lessons in appropriateness perchance?

::end rant::

All in all it was a good day for me, thank goodness, and hopefully I will be able to avoid GD in all future pregnancies as well. At this point I am just feeling grateful and relieved. 

29 weeks, 1 day along

...and after I passed I floated out to the car and celebrated with a Iced Venti Decaf  Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks (after a healthy lunch, naturally [for those not into the lingo "skinny" means sugar free and non-fat]). And it was delicious and even was also guilt-free.

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