Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Test Day

The first sign that yesterday was going to be tough: I actually had to get dressed, do my hair, and put on make-up -- and it wasn't a Saturday. No, it was glucose tolerance test day, to check for gestational diabetes. Lucky me.

Here is a quick overview of how the procedure should go, for those of you unfamiliar with it:
1. Stop eating/drinking anything with sugar 3 hours before the scheduled blood draw.
2. Drink a small bottle of glucola (provided by the doc in advance) in less than 5 minutes, timed 1 hour before blood draw.
3. Arrive at doctor 20 minutes before blood draw, to ensure proper timing of the test.
4. Blood is taken precisely 1 hour after you finish the glucola.
5. Meet with OB for regular pregnancy check-up.

Here is how my afternoon actually went:

1. Stop eating/drinking anything with sugar 3 hours before the scheduled blood draw. No problem. I had lunch and finished up by 12:25 pm, after which time I sipped on water.

2. Drink entire bottle of glucola within 5 minutes, timed 1 hour before blood draw. Now this glucola stuff gets a very bad rap, in my opinion. I'm not sure if what I had to drink was different than other preggos I know, but it wasn't bad at all! It was not syrupy, it just tasted like orange pop with a little less fizz. I guzzled it within 5 minutes, again no problem, thinking this test was gonna be a CINCH!

3. Arrive at the doctor 20 minutes before blood draw, for accurate timing of test. Ummm, no. This is where I started to derail, for a couple of reasons. First, being a telecommuter, I am not overly familiar with the traffic patterns in Seattle. Second, my appointment was at a later time of day than my previous ones, making me even less familiar with said traffic. (Where was my Fox News morning traffic dude when I needed him? Good luck with that!) Third, there is construction on 405 N, which was not the highway I was taking, but it caused considerable back-up on one along the way. So after downing the glucola on schedule, I crated the dog and hopped in the car, unknowingly headed straight into traffic hell. Shortly after leaving home, I found myself in a dead stop on the freeway. I had no alternative but to wait it out, because the next exit was the one I needed anyway. While my GPS system (which I nicknamed Marsha) ticked away the minutes, putting my estimated arrival time later and later, I attempted to relax and engage in some positive self-talk. "You are doing everything you can be doing at this point. There is nothing more you can do. Relax, this will turn out okay in the end." That positive self-talk quickly degenerated into cursing. "I $&#*ing hate the traffic in Seattle! Our doctor in St. Louis was much closer! I'm such a %@^! idiot for not leaving 2 hours in advance!" As it looked less and less likely that I would be arriving at the doctor on time for the blood draw, I decided to do the only thing a woman in my situation could do: Call DH and complain, so he could suffer with me. I caught him at his desk at work, right before he was about to leave to meet me at the doc's office. Unfortunately, one of his coworkers was at his desk and likely heard my loud swearing over the phone. They both tried to calm me, with the concerned coworker attempting to offer route advice. But there was nothing they could do to help, so we hung up, agreeing to meet at the doc anyway. (Well, not the coworker.) Meanwhile, the glucola was reaching my bladder. Fearing a repeat of another bathroom emergency, I began scanning for a Subway. Then the far left lane started moving, and I decided that if there was ever a moment to be a rude driver, now was it. I would just hop to the left, jet down to my exit, and then cut everyone else off. Finally catching a break, it turns out I didn't even need to cut people off after speeding ahead of the line. They were all waiting to split off onto 405 N (with it's construction nightmare), leaving me a clear path to 405 S. Free of the jam, Marsha informed me that I would arrive at the doc at 3:22. I was supposed to arrive at 3:10, with the blood draw at 3:30. Luckily, there was not much traffic for the remainder of the ride. But did I mention it was raining? (You know this is Seattle, so I don't want to be redundant.) I wanted to get there on time, but more important, I wanted Bean to be safe. Marsha's ETA continued to drift back, until I parked the car in the lot at 3:25. I ran inside and checked in, with precious few minutes left on the clock. After offering my apologies for being late, I asked to use the bathroom (puhleeeaze). Denied! No time. I scanned for DH in the waiting room before being whisked back, but he was still a few minutes behind me. Time for the blood draw.

4. Blood is taken precisely 1 hour after you finish the glucola. The nurse quickly ushered me into the exam room. I have come a long way with my fear of needles in the past two years, I am proud to say. I've had more bloodwork than I care to remember, and I have even given myself shots. But sitting in the chair waiting for the syringe, I was lightheaded from the combo of stress and the sugary effects of glucola, and I really, really had to pee. The nurse poked into my left arm. After some digging, she withdrew the needle, commenting that my veins were flat. (That makes one part of my body!) She decided to go for the right arm. She didn't even stick me, finding the veins totally uncooperative on that side. Time to go back to the left, this time with a pediatric needle. More digging, more discouraged "hhmmm"s from the nurse. I was getting more lightheaded, wondering if DH made it, and dreaming of the moment I could bolt for the bathroom. When she withdrew this needle, again unsuccessful, I needed a short break if I wasn't going to pass out. Mentioning this to the nurse was shooting myself in the foot, though, delaying the relief of the bathroom because she made me lay down and drink some water. I took some deep breaths and it was back to the test, which I felt I was already failing miserably. "One last try," the nurse said. "I'd hate to have you drink that nasty stuff again..." The implied "but" was horrifying. Not because of the taste of the drink, which as I said, was not that bad. It was that I had made it so far! Overcome the obstacles! Prevailed over traffic! Not fainted or peed (yet)! We had to get this blood, and NOW. She decided to try the back of my left hand. After running it under hot water to get the veins out of hiding, we both gave it our all. ("Think bloody thoughts," she instructed, so I did.) Success! She filled the vials and released me to the restroom. Ahhhh.

5. Meet with the OB for regular pregnancy check-up. By then, DH had been taken to my exam room, and the doc showed up immediately thereafter (one benefit to being late, I suppose). The visit included a weigh-in, of course. To my horror, I gained 7 pounds in 3 weeks. I blame those donuts, cursed donuts. The doc, however, was not concerned. "You are still ahead of the game," she kindly assured me. What game is that, sumo wrestling? While listening to the heartbeat, she also commented that there was no fat between the baby and the doppler wand, helpfully remarking that we should thus get a good look at the baby at the next ultrasound. That made me feel worse! If there is no fat on my belly, then where the heck did those 7 pounds go? Not all to Bean's little body, of course. This is part of the reason that I avoid looking in the mirror whenever possible. I prefer to live in ignorance rather than engage in the dangerous and depressing game of "spot the cellulite." But the doc was pleased with what she saw/heard, and I'm grateful for that. Now we get to wait for the results of the glucose test. If there's a problem, they'll call by Thursday. If there isn't... well, no news is good news.

Who knew it was going to be this much fun being pregnant? And I'm not even to the good part yet!

** UPDATE: Not 5 minutes after I posted this entry, the doc's office called... I failed the glucose test. :( Just barely, but enough that now I have to go in for the 3-hour test on Friday morning. This means fasting, hanging out for 4 hours at the clinic reading outdated magazines (Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt divorcing, oh my!), and getting my blood taken again and again and again. Waaaaaaaah.


John Holly Levi & Faith said...

Best. Post. Ever. You kill me, Christine. Seriously. Will you start writing my blog for me? I suck at it lately. I try for witty remarks and it ends up dumb.
The Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt thing. HILARIOUS!!!!

xavier2001 said...

I thought I commented last night, but maybe I just did it in my head and not for real (can I blame it on new mommy brain). At any rate I laughed so hard I woke up Olivia!! And yuck on the blood draw, at my ob's office they just did the finger prick and the results were instant. You are in the home stretch, is it starting to feel real yet??

jennifercarol said...

I'm very familiar with the traffic back-up to which you are referring! I don't remember which doctor you chose, but if you chose the one in Burien, I've got some alternatives for you. Just email me at

Marni said...

LOL, sumo wrestling! Oh honey, I feel your GTT pain. My first two (with a different doc) I passed fine. The next three, failed and had to do the 3 hour. With the third I tried to talk her into JUST the three hour, but she told me to think positive, I might pass it this time. Riiiiight.

lisawitt said...

Christine, I think you have a second calling in comedic writing! ;-) Sorry you failed the 1st GD did I but I passed the second one. Seems like that's happened to a lot of people I know recently, I blame intake of holiday foods! Hope you pass the next test too...and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Kathy V said...

I came via the creme. I am so sorry that your test didn't work out. Doesn't it seem like when you have to be somewhere at a specific time that traffic gets in the way. If they said be there whenever, you wouldn't have even hit one red light. Thanks for this post on the creme.