So what was I saying about liking glucola? I’ll be very careful what I wish for in future. Just when I was thinking I was virtually home and test free for the rest of my pregnancy, I get a phone call from the ob/gyn clinic telling me I failed the glucose screening test. I’m now facing the Full Monty test – three blood draws in as many hours, fasting before it, more sweet stuff to drink. And it needs to happen this week. Before we return to Scotland on Sunday. Merry bloody Christmas.
I’ve spent the 26 weeks of this, my second pregnancy, contentedly comparing it to the last. I’ve not been worried or fearful about anything pregnancy-wise as I was with my first because any anxiety was quelled knowing that after a largely uneventful pregnancy last time I gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Last time around I was a model pregnancy pupil. I followed recipes from pregnancy magazines each week to ensure consumption of the vital vitamins, I exercised lightly but solidly – yoga, swimming, lots of walking, I rested, didn’t smoke, rarely drank, didn’t lift heavy things, rested again, ate fruit, rested some more. For my efforts, I was awarded the ultimate gold star – my healthy baby.
That phone call received today was like a big F minus on my pregnancy report card. Circled in red. Must do better.
Of course, it’s harder second time around when there’s now a child in your life. There isn’t the luxury of time for browsing pregnancy magazines or nipping to the gym/pool on a whim. As for the resting and the abstention from lifting heavy things – it just isn’t as practical as it once was. I’m not whining – I knowingly got myself into this position - just stating the obvious.
I’ve been given a handout about what to eat in preparation for the Full Monty (or the Three-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) to give it its rightful name). This three-day ‘diet’, I’ve been instructed, must start immediately as I’ve got to get this test done before the weekend. The first alarming bit? A small breakfast! And next? No instant noodles. The piece de resistance – I can eat as much cabbage as I want apparently. Thank goodness for small mercies. While my normal dietary world crumbles around me, at least I’ve got the comfortable consolation of cabbage.
There’s more. Eight hours before the test I must fast. I’ve already expressed my concern about this to the nurse. A hangover from the pregnancy sickness of my first and second trimesters means I still need to eat at two hour intervals. My diaper bag is stuffed with granola bars, bags of seeds and days-old bananas for this eventuality should I be out and about. If I don’t eat, I feel sick. At the weekend I actually was sick because I left it too long. The nurse has reassured me however. She said I should just try to do my best and if I spew, I’ll just have to do the test again. If ever there was an incentive not to spew....
All the above and I’ve still got the needles to contend with. I’ll be seeing three of them over the test period. Three. I’m terrified of them. I need to grow a serious pair over the next few days if I’m to cope with this.
But for me, all of the above is just periphery stuff. I’m calmed with the knowledge that only around a third of those who test positive on the screening test actually have gestational diabetes and need to adapt their diet and undergo further testing for the rest of their pregnancies. Still, rightly or wrongly, I feel the main point here is that I’ve just not taken care of myself like I did the first time around, hence why I’m in this position now. It may not be rational (neither is crying after putting the phone down to the nurse this afternoon) but I feel like I’ve let down the growing baby. I’m riddled with questions – have I eaten too much processed food, not enough greens/fruit, have I not exercised enough? I’ve assumed everything would be a carbon copy of my previous pregnancy and so not given this second one the individual treatment it needs.
So as I attempt to remedy my red-inked F minus through small breakfasts, cookie famines and facing my fear of needles, I will be mentally scribbling a plan for the rest of this pregnancy – a step by step guide on taking care of myself and my baby a little better. I must take heart too. The next few days won’t be all bad. There’s always the cabbage....