So I’ve had my first taste of glucola – that drink you have to swig before tests for gestational diabetes. This was a new experience for me as it’s not done in the UK.
When the nurse gave me a bottle to take home at my last appointment she made out like it would be some terrible ordeal. ‘Drink it really fast,’ she insisted, ‘And keeping it cold will help it go down better.’ I grimaced. What exactly was I in for here?
I had to choose a flavour. But now assuming I was in for some hideous ride the lemon-lime versus orange debate lost its allure somewhat. It wasn’t exactly like a trip to Baskin Robbins – there was no pralines and cream option for starters. I put my fate in the nurse’s hands and left the clinic clasping an innocent-enough looking bottle of lemon-lime under strict instructions to keep it in the refrigerator until my next appointment.
There it has sat for the past few weeks, perched amongst eggs, canned pineapple and weeks-old grapes. Husband N had to be warned it was not for his consumption as he’s one of those who will drink anything available providing it doesn’t come from a faucet or a bottle marked mineral water.
Lemon-lime’s disposition grew more menacing as the time to take it drew closer. US friends warned it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience. I’m usually a great drinker of water – dutifully supping my two litres by the pint glass daily, but since pregnancy sickness in the first trimester, my stomach now has a fill level which doesn’t allow for the quick downing of any beverage and revolts by chucking said drink and anything which accompanied it, right back up.
When the time came, lemon-lime was now something to be feared. It wasn’t just the drinking part. The nurse’s instructions had set me on edge too. ‘Race to the clinic as soon as you’ve taken it’ she’d explained, ‘We have to take your blood within an hour of consumption.’ Blimey! As a person with an aversion to needles, flying against the clock to have someone prick my arm after drinking 296ml of apparent witches brew didn’t strike me as a great start to the day.
So imagine my surprise when upon putting glucola to my lips, I didn’t just tolerate it, I liked it. If it hadn’t been for the time pressure, I’d have probably poured it in a fancy glass, stuck in a straw and a cocktail-stick umbrella and put my feet up for a few minutes to savour it. Adding a scoop of vanilla ice-cream would’ve made it a proper treat indeed, though maybe not at 8.15am.
It reminded me of Scotland’s ‘other’ national drink. The one besides whisky. It’s called Irn-Bru and packs a knee-trembling sugary punch. It’s a Scottish soda legend, is bright orange (but doesn’t taste anything like orange), has an incomprehensible flavour and Scots swear it is the ultimate hangover cure. The only sickness I felt after glugging glucola was the homesick kind – and I’ve been craving Irn Bru ever since.
Buzzing from the sugar high I flew to the clinic as instructed. As always I was nervous about the blood draw but not so much that I dropped my pee sample down the toilet this time. It went fine but the best news is that all being well with my now 26 week old baby, the rest of the prenatal care schedule should be needle and blood-getting free.
Honestly, I’m impressed by how much pricking, pelvic prodding and partaking of dubious beverages you American mamas-to-be endure during your prenatal care. The UK system seems like a walk in the park comparatively – a mere fundal palpate here, a quick Doppler check there. From finger pricks and blood draws to transvag ultrasounds, it’s been quite an ordeal over here - and labour hasn’t started yet! Of course, I opted for all of this in the interests of a healthy baby and wouldn’t have it any other way – it is all my own doing – but still. Phew! It’s been quite an experience so far...