Saturday, May 22, 2010

The dreaded glucose tolerance tests

I had been nervous about my glucose tolerance test for a while. There are a few other pregnant girls at work, and I overheard one talking about how she failed the one hour and how she was dreading taking the three hour. Being a first time preggers, my imagination went into overdrive, wondering about the Glucola drink and how it would taste, whether I'd be able to keep it down, and then of course, whether I'd pass it. So, the one hour glucose test came and went, not really much of a big deal. The Glucola drink was fruit punch flavored and kind of reminded me of super sweet fruit punch flavored Gatorade. My main concern was passing the test, I just reeeeeally wanted to pass that test. I tried to make sure I ate more protein in the days before the test, stayed away from sweets, etc., basically trying to "cheat" the test. (Not the best idea, in hind sight, not to mention pretty much impossible.) So, you guessed it- I failed it. BOOO!!! But, I was buoyed by lots of friends who told me they failed the first test and passed the second, three hour test with flying colors. That reassured me enough to allow me to focus my fears not on not passing the three hour test, but on the fact that

1. I'd have to fast from midnight the night before until after the test. I don't do well without breakfast, folks.

2. I'd have to drink more of that Glucola crap. In five minutes, instead of 10 minutes as with the one hour test. On an empty stomach. Talk about a recipe for vomitousness.

3. I'd have to be pricked four times. Four. I've only got two arms! You mean you're going to re-prick the same arm?? I know, I'm a wuss.

4. I'll have to sit in a hospital lab waiting room for several hours throughout this process.

Looking back on these "fears" of mine, it all seems so silly. My child's health, and my health, are absolutely worth all of those tiny little inconveniences. It was really quite a painless experience, the ladies (phlebotomists?) were very sweet, and I got to take the rest of the day off to nap, read, run errands, etc.

That is, until I got the call from my nurse yesterday. I had failed the three hour test, putting me into the "gestational diabetic" category. I tried to contain my sobs as the nurse talked me through what this meant, my first thoughts being along the lines of, "What have I done? Is my baby okay? I thought I was eating decently! How is this affecting my little guy?" My immediate emotions were fear and guilt. I went back through the last 27 weeks and all the sweets I'd allowed myself to have throughout, kicking myself mentally. After talking to the nurse some about my fears and doing some research, I'm feeling better. I've ordered a few books on Amazon to help me figure out meal plans, and I will be attending a gestational diabetes education class this week where I hope I can find some help and answers. I am not looking forward to having to test my blood sugar every day, several times a day, but I'll do what's necessary for the little boy and for my health. Now I'm just praying that we will be able to keep the diabetes under control with diet alone, and that we won't have to resort to insulin shots. When the nurse called, she said two of four of my blood tests for the three hour glucose test were "out of range" but one of those two was only out of range by two points. She said that fact, along with the fact that she knows "what a smart cookie" I am, made her very confident that we'll be able to keep this under control with some dietary changes.
So, a new set of rules to learn. When I first got pregnant I went out and read the "What to Eat When You're Expecting" book and did research about what to eat and what NOT to eat, noticing some of my staples seemed to be out: cold cuts (turkey sandwiches were my go-to lunch), things with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or Splenda seemed out, too. I just kept hearing and reading that there wasn't "enough conclusive evidence about the effect of artificial sweeteners." Thus, I switched my yogurt over from light (with aspartame) to organic (with organic milled cane sugar). I've been drinking more water and milk instead of Crystal Light (aspartame) since I got pregnant, but apparently there is such a thing as too much milk-it's got a good bit of lactose in it. A part of me wonders if I've messed myself up by cutting out things with artificial sweetener and allowing myself a bit of real sugar, since that didn't seem to have any negative effects on my baby. (Before gestational diabetes reared it's ugly head, that is.) I wish I had thought more about gestational diabetes before now, and had been taking measures to prevent it from being an issue. It's too bad "they" don't counsel newly pregnant women on nutrition (other than not eating soft cheeses, sushi, cold cuts, hot dogs, etc.) to help women keep a reign on their blood sugar as much as possible. One thing I do know: now that I've been diagnosed with GD with this pregnancy, I have a much higher chance of being diagnosed with it in later pregnancies. I'll be sure to keep that in mind and maintain a GD type diet long before it's even time to take the glucose test.
So, wish me luck in my new adventure trying to learn the "rules" of GD eating, and please, leave any hints or tips that may have helped you or someone you know.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! Sorry to hear you failed the 3 hour. I just took the 3-hour today and it was, as you know, not fun. I am waiting to hear back....