Thursday, September 9, 2010

Glucola is gross

Sooo at my prenatal appointment last week I ended up doing the one-hour glucose tolerance test as an early screening for gestational diabetes. Normally this test is done between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy but they like to do an earlier screen for overweight women, and since I was going to be sticking around for an hour after the appointment to do our ultrasound, the midwife threw it in.

And I BARELY failed. By TWO lousy milligrams. The cutoff is 140 and I was at 142. Now, the one-hour test is a screening test, not a diagnostic tool, and quite a few women who do not have gestational diabetes flunk the one-hour test. So if you fail that one, you have to do a three-hour test, which involves having your fasting blood sugar tested, then drinking a double dose of glucola (glucose solution) and sticking around the hospital for three hours to have your blood glucose levels checked every hour.

Nice, isn't it? Luckily my hospital has wifi so I can do work between blood draws and I don't have to take a whole morning of sick time, but still. I also got strict instructions about eating enough starch and fruit in the three days leading up to the test before fasting for the last 12 hours before the test. Luckily I'm not afraid of needles, but four blood draws in the space of three hours is really not my idea of fun, you know?

But really I'm worried about the results of the test. I know since I was borderline on the one-hour test I have a decent shot (something like 85%) of NOT having gestational diabetes, but ooh, I REALLY don't want to have it. First of all it sounds like a huge pain--I would have to take a diabetes management CLASS at my hospital, then be extremely careful about what I eat and constantly monitor my own glucose throughout the rest of the pregnancy--but second of all, when I failed the one-hour test I did some reading about gestational diabetes.

And man, I know the articles always make things sound worse than they are, but it was like a series of dire warnings about all the negative effects the condition can have on your baby, not only during pregnancy but AFTER pregnancy, and how it could impact your kid's health years down the line and you have to make sure to tell his pediatrician that you had GD so that they can monitor the child's health appropriately. And of course I immediately started feeling like I had failed Piglet before he was even born, even though there's nothing I could have done other than what I have done (generally eating a healthy, high-protein diet) to prevent it.

Anyway! Most likely I don't have the condition, and I'm trying to just keep telling myself that, and luckily my hospital's lab is very speedy so I should have the results of the test this afternoon. And in the meantime I am headed off to the hospital now for the test, which means that in a few hours I will at least be allowed to EAT. Without testing my glucose afterward, to boot. Fingers crossed that it stays that way.

But in the meantime, the disk with the ultrasound photos showed up in the mail yesterday, so now in addition to the profile shot I scanned in at the time, we can admire some adorable feet! And really, when do baby feet NOT make everything better? With little baby TOES. (The ultrasound report reads, "There is no club foot.")


  1. As you know, I failed the one-hour and had to take the 3-hour. Everyone talks about how it's the worst thing ever. To be honest, I can think of a lot of things I'd categorize as worse than waiting around a hospital for a morning. It's not fun, per se, but not terrible.

    Also, I had an interesting conversation with my doctor yesterday about fasting vs. not fasting before the 1-hour screen. I'll have to tell you about it. Oh and if it makes you feel better, my glucose levels were high again yesterday for my appointment. My doc doesn't seem too concerned since I passed my 3-hour with flying colors. Compared to all that nasty literature out there (I read some of it, too), he really downplayed GD ... something to take seriously, sure, but totally manageable, too. Good luck on your test!

  2. When they told me I failed the one hour test, I cried about the thought of having gestational diabetes. Interestingly, they told me to eliminate carbs and sugar as much as possible three days before the test. I did this with Bub and failed. I did not do this with Bubette and passed. Anyway, the three hour test wasn't a big deal, except for the fact that I fell asleep in the waiting room due to the sugar crash.

  3. Hooray for no club foot, haha. :)

    He has beautiful little toes.

    Good luck with the test and I'm sure it'll go just fine.

    I have a feeling that if I do get pregnant, I'll end up with GD - mainly because my insulin levels are already off the chart thanks to the PCOS.. which isn't fun. But hopefully continuing with my diet changes and all that, I'll avoid it - we'll see. x

  4. Good luck with the test. I had to do it twice, and passed both times, but it still sucks.
    Cute toesies!

  5. Beautiful feet, Jess! I hope the test results come back okay. My mother had GD with me, and I was a large baby, but they also let her go three weeks overdue, so that was really more the problem than GD I think. My mother did have diabetes as an adult but last summer had gastric bypass surgery and is no longer diabetic (the diabetes went away immediately-weird, but wonderful-she's lost 105 pounds since then). She went from taking 9 pills a day to 1 (for a little high blood pressure). I, luckily, did not have GD (take that, genetics!!) and had no problems with my baby's delivery. And other than an underactive thyroid, I'm a pretty healthy normal gal. So even if you DO have it, it's not the end of the world for you or the baby--but I know it would be a pain in the butt! So hang in there and I'm hoping you get good news!

  6. yaaaaay baby toes!! :)

    good luck on the test. fingers crossed for you!

  7. Is it encouraging at all that many (most? all?) of the homebirth midwives I know don't believe that gestational diabetes even EXISTS, except in very extreme cases? I mean, I know there a fairly big gap between western medicine (especially western childbirth) and how the homebirth crowd view things, so I always try to balance the two.

    Anyway, I really hope you don't have it too! What a pain that would be!

  8. I think its blown up more than it ought to be. Fat, thin, healthy, unhealthy, every pregnant woman has a 50/50 shot of having GD, its not a science nor does it have anything to do with anything other than luck of the draw. My 102lb aunt had four boys and had GD with two, and not with the other two. my sister, just had her baby (9 days ago!) and she had GD, and her baby is fine.
    My sister said it was more an irritant than anything else, since you have to restrict your eating (by the end she was dreaming of cinnamon rolls and bread!)
    But you are already prepared and used to food modification, so either way, its more than likely that nothing will come of it for your baby!

  9. GACK. Sometimes medical cautions are useful, and sometimes they are just pointlessly (POINTLESSLY) anxiety inducing. Good luck with the test.

    And! The feet! My very favorite part about babies!

  10. GD is totally lame. Also? There is a lot of controversy about the validity of the 1-hour test. And, many people aren't convinced that it really exists as a condition except in cases where women were likely already diabetic to begin with.

    Having met with the diabetic counselor multiple times, the risks you've read about exist, but are minimum. You are at a higher risk of developing diabetes later in life...if you have an unhealthy diet and no exercise. The same is true for Piglet. He's at higher risk IF he eats a crappy diet and sits on his ass. Aren't those factors just normal risk factors for diabetes???

    Anyhow, I hope you pass because the diagnosis is a huge pain in the butt.

  11. Having done the three hour test, I can say it was not terribly thrilling. The worst part, I thought, was not being able to drink. The not eating was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, but the not drinking was terrible. The people who drew my blood were very nice though, so that made it better.

    I did end up having GD, which was surprising as I had none of the risk factors for it. However, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, I had a restricted diet, but mostly I could eat as I normally did, I just had to be super careful about the times that I ate and the times between when I ate. As far as I can tell, three months in, the GD has had nary an effect on my son. He had excellent blood sugar at birth, was not overly large, etc. Plus, my OB told me the risk of my having Type II Diabetes is very low since my GD was diet controlled. Of course, I still have to have a reasonable diet and be active, but I don't think my Type II risks have increased because I had GD.

    I hope you passed the three hour test and don't have GD, but if you do, you will be able to control it and have a great, healthy pregnancy and baby!

  12. My girlfriend had GD but on the lower end of the spectrum, I guess. Either way, other than dietary restrictions, she was fine and she made it seem like it wasn't too bad. But most importantly, her baby (also boy!) was born just fine, better than fine, he's perfect.

    Good luck on the three hour and here's hoping it's negative.

  13. Baby toes, get me every time!

    Good luck with the test!

  14. I ALWAYS flunk the screening, and then pass the test. Ok, always sounds like a lot. But this happened to me 2 out of 3 pregnancies.

    No sweat, boo. It's gonna be fine.

  15. I love the toes!! When I was pregnant with Bud and Lucy, my midwife had a system where you drank an orange crush 30 minutes before your blood draw, and they were able to do the screening from there. I never had to drink the glucose drink until I was pregnant with Liv, and boy was I NOT missing anything there. blech...

  16. OMG BABY FEET!!!

    One of my friends DID have gestational diabetes, and her babies were just a little bigger than usual and no big deal, totally fine babies. Oh, in fact ANOTHER of my friends ALSO had gestational diabetes, and I forgot until just this moment because it was a hassle during her pregnancy but then it was done and everything was fine. (This all may sound like I'm diminishing the problems of GD, and I hope it DOESN'T sound that way because what I'm ACTUALLY trying to do is give soothing examples.)

  17. I hope your test goes well, and thank you for sharing the baby toes! Want to tickle the toes...

  18. Ha! Just had the same test and 'failed' although my margin was larger than yours. The same happened with Neva and then I passed the three hour test. I'm sure you're fine. They are so hyper sensitive about it.
    But even if you do have it, my sister had gestational diabetes and she and the baby were just fine. She just had to be really careful about her diet...which you do already.

  19. Omigosh, so cute, so cute! Congratulations!

  20. I never minded the glucose drink. I don't know why, but to me it was just like drinking a very sugared orange soda.