Pregnancy Diary Week 28: Glucose Blood Test

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Week 28

This week I had to go for a glucose tolerance test as a check for gestational diabetes, which involved fasting, blood tests and quite a lot of waiting around. Less fun than a trip to the seaside but perhaps more fun than colonic irrigation. I don’t know for certain but I would imagine. Gestational diabetes is quite common and affects about one in six pregnant women but it’s not screened for routinely. If you’re judged as at risk you have to go for a glucose tolerance test between 26 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, and I got a golden ticket. You’re viewed as at risk if your body mass index is 30 or above, if you have previously given birth to a large baby, if you’ve had gestational diabetes before, if an immediate family member has diabetes, or if you have a family origin with a higher risk of diabetes. I only tick one of these boxes as my Dad has diabetes but I’m at a higher risk because of that. Thanks Dad, for that and the big ears. Before the test it’s important to fast and you can’t have any food after midnight the night before, just like the Mogwai in that 80s movie Gremlins. Bright lights and getting wet are both OK I think. Only, I go from a doe eyed, fluffy, good-natured individual to a scaly, angry gremlin if I don’t eat, not if I do. So fasting is not ideal. My test was scheduled for quite early in the morning, which meant that I had less time to go without food. Good times. But that also meant that I had to tackle rush hour traffic and the parking lottery on an empty stomach, after the usual, stressful nursery drop off. Bad times. As a result, I wasn’t on top form. When I got to the hospital, I had the first of two blood tests before drinking some sugary concoction. I had heard that this was going to be pretty disgusting but it actually wasn’t so bad. Low expectations are sometimes a big help but I also drank a lot of alcopops in my student days, so it’s quite possible that I now have particularly low standards when it comes to acceptable tasting liquid. I quite like wine from boxes, so there you go. After the early morning sugary shot, I then had to wait around for two hours before having another blood test. Still with no food. This time was mostly spent thinking about bacon. However, as it was the day of the general election, I used a large chunk of it to be antagonistic on Facebook. A current favourite hobby of mine, and a good way to vent. As it happens, time flies when you’re getting on your high horse about public services and so my glucose tolerance test experience was all over before I knew it. Cue the dash to the hospital café to demolish a breakfast buttie, or two. I suspect breakfast butties are not on the menu if you have gestational diabetes, so this was intended to be a late act of defiant recklessness. As it happens I never got those butties. After at least 20 minutes spent locating the hospital café in the maze of corridors (whilst muttering and tutting), and several minutes waiting in Europe’s longest queue as everyone seemed to be ordering some kind of bespoke refreshment that needed in depth explanation, I received a phone call. It was the nurse who did my blood test ringing to say that she had forgotten to give my notes back and that I needed to “pop back” to get them right away. Shit on it. Oh yeah, the precious notes I have been carrying around with me for six months! Completely forgotten about in my hungry, angry fog, and my desperation to get away and eat carbs. “No bother” I said jovially, whilst wanting to murder someone (maybe the guy who ordered the extra-large, 220 degree, rice milk cappuccino, with a shot of espresso on the side). Good job we’re in a hospital. So, I had to extract myself from the queue, navigate my way back through the hospital corridors, up three flights of stairs, two separate lifts, and a ladder (OK, the ladder bit was a lie) to the antenatal clinic on the 11th floor, and collect my notes. “Thank you! Bye!” Having little more will to live I then decided to sack off the hospital canteen, drive to a nearby fast food establishment and devour a dirty burger. Breakfast at its finest. And 100% not allowed if you’ve got gestational diabetes. My test results have since arrived and thank goodness, I don’t. So just the memories of a fun morning to show for it and a few fewer friends on Facebook. No bad thing.