Saturday, November 13, 2010

Glucose Tolerance Testing, and other tortures for Pregnant Women

Wednesday I had the two hour Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT), 75 gm. Although I'm pregnant with my fourth child, this is the first time I have undergone this test, so forgive me my ruminating about it =) When I was pregnant with Ayden, I was not 'offered' things so much as 'told' or 'not told,' so when my doctor didn't offer me the GTT test, I didn't know it existed. It wasn't like I chose not to have it: presumably she figured I had no risk factors for it and thus didn't need to be tested, since she tends to be hands off that way.
I doubt if Matthew's birth mother was tested, but perhaps diabetes in pregnancy is a growing concern in Thailand too. I doubt it, but perhaps.
With Riley, I contemplated the pros and cons of this test pretty heavily, because I had had a 9 lb first baby and and untried pelvis and a rather hefty desire for a VBAC. In the end, for various reasons, I refused the test and chose instead to eat an extremely healthy diet, and exercise regularly. I ate next to NO sugar. No honey, no maple syrup. Whole grains ONLY, no white bread, no white pasta, no potatoes, no white rice. Lean protein. Tons of veggies. No juice. No dried fruit.
I swam, did step aerobics, did yoga, walked, did water aerobics, pilates, and Tae Bo. Not all in the same week, but I sure did try hard to exercise.
And I had a 10 lb, 2 oz baby.
Did I have gestational diabetes? Maybe. Or maybe I just have big babies. I dunno.
Maybe this reality, that I ate so well and grew a small heifer anyways, is partially to blame for the fact that I eat sugar this time? Not tons of it, but I can't muster any enthusiasm for total abstinence like I did last time. Regardless, I went for the test. Because if I just grow big babies, I can trust my body to birth them. But if I have a pathological flaw that grows big babies, I have more fear of them getting hung up on the way out, and I'm willing to do what it takes to avoid that and control my blood sugars.

The test itself was awful. I had to fast 12 hours, go to the lab at 8 a.m., have my blood drawn, drink 10 oz of thick, sugary fluid in under 5 minutes, and wait at the lab for 2 hours and get more blood drawn at 1 hour after drinking the fluid and 2 hours after. Two sips into the fluid, I wanted to barf. Sweet stuff always makes me want to barf this time around, and 10 oz of sugary fluid on an empty stomach first thing in the morning was torture. My lab tech told me about women who get 1.5 hours into the test and THEN barf, and have to do the whole test again! Blech. Fortunately I didn't puke, and the two hours of sitting in a room reading my book quietly was a bit like a mini vacation from my life, so that was nice. I finished my Politics of Breastfeeding book and will do a review soon. I felt like I was in a vampire factory with the amount of blood drawn for this test, and the lab tech was pretty terrible at venipuncture: she didn't anchor the vein properly and she poked the needle in slowly so it hurt more. Some techs or nurses or paramedics who are really good at IVs can start them and it doesn't hurt at all, and others are hopeless. This one kept making suggestions for me, too. Do you want to read this book while you wait? ["All About Babies"] No thanks. This one? ["The Pregnancy Bible"] This is my fourth kid. OH! You could probably write your own book then!
Yeah, it would be titled Want To Feel Incompetent And Tired? Have Children! A How To Guide for Drowning in Guilt and Anxiety.
Ha, ha.

The test sucked. I find out Monday what the results are. I'll keep you posted.


sara said...

I had to do the 3 hour one, with 3 year old Kaleb hanging out in the waiting room with me. It was horrific. And so were the results. I feel for you.

Louise Chapman said...

Like Sara, after the regular one I had to do the 3 hour one because Kai was so big and I had a new doctor (although I knew I didn't have GD, I just have big babies!). Worst part was being so hungry and not being able to leave the room.

Louise Chapman said...

Oops, and I should say I didn't really mind because I was considering a VBAC and wanted to know if I could do anything about the size of my child:)

melissa said...

Double yuckers to do the test with a toddler in tow!! They recently changed the test so it's 2 hours not 3, and they don't screen anymore, they just go straight for the test. I'm glad I didn't have to wait 3 hours.

The testing seems so mickey mouse! Hopefully it comes back normal....

SANDRA said...

I also had to do the 3 hours one when I was pregnant with Leo because my 1 hour was elevated. I think it was a little elevated because I was anemic. Your blood sugar can get elevated when your body is stressed. My 3 hour came back normal. I never want to do that one again, it was awful. I had to be on a high carb diet for a couple of days and then fast for 12 hours before taking the test.

I also hope that your test result come back normal ♥

lori said...

Oooh, as a person with blood sugar issues, I'll be real curious about your results.

Rachel Clear said...

This is somewhat unrelated, but I'm curious if you've been pregnant four times, of if you're counting Matthew when you say that. Like to your midwife do you call it your 4th pregnancy? Just curious.

But really why I'm commenting is to ask: WHEN ARE WE GONNA SEE A BELLY SHOT OF THE LOVELY PREGNANCY WOMAN?!?

(Woopss....didn't know I was in all caps til it was too late and I'm too lazy to delete and retype it.)

melissa said...

Nope, only been pregnant 3 times! I count Matthew in subtle ways: if you go back, I said in my post "Even though this is my fourth child," instead of my fourth pregnancy. It makes a difference to me that is significant but it's really only semantics and most other people either don't notice, or get confused =) Sorry to confuse you! Only 3 pregnancies.

As for belly shots, I remembered to take several last week! So it's been photographed, but no promises as to how long it might take me to actually publish them to the web.....

Asheya said...

You should totally write that book! LOL!

I had the GBS test with Elias, and I remember feeling totally nauseous, elevated heart rate, and dizzy sitting in the waiting room after I had to drink that orange sugar drink. YUCK! Never again.

With Amadeus the urine dipstick indicated keytones (spelling? correct indicator? can't exactly remember now) in my urine, so I did a home test with diabetes blood prick tester thing (yes, that must be the official name!) to test my blood sugar. I ate a big meal with lots of white carbs (white pasta or white rice, and then ice cream), and it was way yummier than the orange sugar yuck drink. The blood test showed my sugars were elevated 1 hr after the meal, so I cut all high glycemic foods out of my diet like you did with Riley.

My blood sugars were fine after this unless I ate high glycemic foods, and Amadeus was 8 lbs 11 oz at 39 weeks (incidentally, Elias was 8 lbs 9 oz at 39 weeks, and I didn't have any signs of GBS and tested negative on that awful test). So I tend to have fairly large babies, but not as big as yours!

It's strange that we don't routinely use the blood sugar prick test, as you can test yourself with it on an ongoing basis and ensure that what you are eating is not elevating your blood sugar.

tamie said...

I *totally* think you should write a parenting book with that title. Not joking!