Monday marked a big milestone in my pregnancy, 28 weeks, and coincidentally my 3-hour glucose tolerance test. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this test, some of them stemming from my own fears and others from the word on the street of high rates of false positives, test inaccuracy, etc.
Being overweight the majority of my life, these types of tests tend to freak me out. I mean, if you look at me, I might seem like a likely candidate for someone with pre-diabetes. Certainly now pregnant, I might look like a case of gestational diabetes (GD) waiting to happen. I'm nearly positive that is why my midwife chose to skip the 1-hour screening test altogether and just send me in for the 3-hour test. "That way, we will know. You'll either have it, or you won't." Talk about pressure!
The test consists of arriving at the lab/blood draw clinic after being fasted for 8-10 hours. My blood was drawn to test my fasting glucose level, and then I was given a oh, so syrupy sweet giant bottle (12oz? 14oz?) of lemon-lime flavored "drink" to consume in 5 minutes. I'm a slow drinker to begin with, and this stuff was like sludge going down my throat. It might have been better over ice, or if I could sip water in between. I got it down, and then I had to wait an hour before my next blood draw. Immediately I sucked down water and soon enough my stomach was pretty acidy feeling with all the additional fluids. My blood was drawn again, and then I had another hour to wait before my last blood draw. During this hour I drank water and paced up and down the halls of the office because I was bored and the magazine selection sucked. After my last blood draw I raced out of the office and immediately downed some toasted coconut before arriving at my office and eating some chicken sausages. Next up, waiting for the results.
So, the few issues I have with the test are that for me, its a pretty unreal situation. As far as, I can't think of a time where I would just willing ingest 75g of straight glucose in 5 minutes. I mentioned this to the lady taking my blood, and her response? "Oh, its really not that hard to do, its like eating 2 candy bars, one after the other." Me- blank stare. Clearly this was not the right audience for a discussion about the flaws of the test. Also, even if one was to ingest 2 candy bars in a row, there is other stuff in the bars that slows the absorption of sugar, and just being in food rather than liquid form, your body metabloizes it differently. So, back to my original statement, its a pretty unreal situation. I was also worried about possible artificial ingredients in the drink, as I had seen some were bright orange colored or red colored. Luckily, I didn't get a choice, but my lemon-lime drink was clear.
Once the test was over, I just quit thinking about it. I sort of made peace inside my head by thinking of all the things I do right in my current lifestyle. I lift weights. Heavy weights. A lot. I walk a lot. I don't eat a standard american diet filled with easy carbohydrates and processed crap. I consume tons of healthy fats (fermented cod liver oil =gold!) and I can go relatively long periods of time between eating without wanting to rip someones head off. Deep down, it was settled for me. I was not going to have a positive result, despite always having carried around a few-many extra pounds.
The day following the test I was traveling for work and received a voicemail from my midwives office when I returned to cell service. "Just letting you know the results of your glucose test- your blood sugars look great, you don't have GD. Also, your iron levels look great, see you in 2 weeks for your scheduled appointment." As much as I knew deep down I wasn't going to have it, I was SO RELIEVED because there is always that "what if?" factor. As my good friend told me, I essentially have a parasite living in me. A parasite that is changing my body, my hormones, and taking whatever it wants from me. My parasite could alter stuff enough to kick me into GD territory, but luckily that doesn't appear to be the case. Bring on the candy bars! (kidding)
Now I'm officially in my 3rd trimester. I can't beleive in 2ish months our family of 2 will become 3. My thoughts now settle around having a healthy baby, and not being crazy parents. Separate post to follow regarding crazy parents- what is a crazy parent, what makes parents crazy, things I hope to avoid, etc.