I feel like I’ve become a regular at Kaiser; I know my way around almost too well. I could tell you where to go for blood work, how to get a shot, fill your prescription, or direct you to the nearest toilets while you wait for an ultrasound, your OB-GYN appointment, or shot at the nurse treatment center. Oh – you’re looking for urgent care? I can get you there, too.
Between regular pregnancy check-ups, monthly ultrasounds to watch the movement of my placenta, and the many unplanned visits (like ahem, that one time I fainted early in my second trimester or the time I had a little bleeding during my first trimester or for all of the extra shots, thanks to my unicorn blood) – I really have the lay of the land.
At week 28, I was instructed to go in and get my second Rhogam shot (for my unicorn blood) at the nurse’s station as well as my 1-hour glucose tolerance test (no fasting required). We were leaving for Phoenix on the Tuesday of that week so I decided I’d go tackle the shot and the test on Monday afternoon when I had a little time. I thought it was the perfect solution to killing two birds with one stone and hopefully seeing a little bit less of Kaiser in the weeks to come.
I went around 3:30 pm on Monday afternoon – first to check in for my glucose test at the lab – and then over to the nurse treatment center to get my Rhogam shot. I drank the disgusting glucose drink like a champ, crediting my college years for all the training that allowed me to get it straight down the hatch in less than a minute, got my blood drawn, and then made my way over to get a big, painful shot in my arm. After nearly an hour and 45 minutes spent walking between the lab and nurse’s station, I left feeling confident that I would pass and thinking I wouldn’t have to drink that disgusting drink ever again. I was feeling gross – like I had just chugged a bottle of flat mountain dew with pixie sticks mixed in – but also good about the fact that I could leave for vacation with everything checked off my list.
The next morning, my results came in and much to my surprise, they showed a big fat fail on my one-hour glucose test. As I read the test results, I was in shock. How could I be at risk for gestational diabetes? From what I could tell, the only real risk factor that I have is my age. I have no family history, I haven’t gained a substantial amount of weight (and didn’t start my pregnancy journey overweight), this is my first pregnancy, and I have been exercising regularly and eating a relatively healthy diet. A few hours after the results came in, after sitting with them and Googling them for, I received a call from the advice nurse to discuss them in more detail.
And it was perhaps the most insulting, condescending, and irritating call I have ever received in my life. The nurse started off by telling me that since I failed the one-hour glucose test, I would need to come in and take a three-hour glucose test which involved fasting for at least 8 hours prior. She talked me through the steps and preparation for my next test which was all fine and good.
After we discussed the next phase of testing and my schedule for coming in and getting my 3-hour glucose test done, she started offering me guidance on how to manage gestational diabetes (which at this point, nobody said for certain I had). At one point, she said, maybe you should try walking a little bit every single day because exercising while you’re pregnant can be really good for you. I all but cut her off and said, I don’t think lack of exercise is my issue. She picked right back up where she left off and proceeded to tell me to maybe try and drink more water – less soda and juice – because the sugar in those beverages really adds up – and gasp, water is good for you! I was fuming at this point and feeling irritated and also appalled that someone would just start telling you how to adjust your lifestyle without ever even asking what kind of lifestyle you had. And in the back of my mind, I’m thinking lady, you have NO idea who you’re talking to. I walk, run, do yoga, and exercise every single day and I don’t drink either of those things – juice or soda – with any regularity SO BACK OFF. Instead, I politely thanked her, and let her know that I’d make an appointment with the lab when I returned from Phoenix.
When we got back from Phoenix, I had two days turn around before we were leaving for Bend so knew I needed to go in and get my test done that Wednesday before. Unfortunately, I was EXHAUSTED Tuesday night after an early morning of travel and went to bed early – meaning the last thing I ate was around 8:30 pm. When I got to the lab around 7:30 am the next morning, I was already starving and feeling crazy, and realized that after the waiting / check-in and test getting started, I probably wouldn’t get to eat again until almost noon – nearly 15 hours since my last bite to eat.
The only way I know how to describe the 3-hour glucose test is that it’s like waterboarding for pregnant ladies. First, they make you starve for 8+ hours prior (if you’re like me, it can be well over 10 hours of fasting), and then they ask you to chug that same flat Mountain Dew, only this time with 20x more Pixie Sticks mixed in…and oh yeah, they remind you that you can’t barf. If you barf, it voids the whole test and you have to come back and do it all over again. The lab technician actually giggled as she delivered this news to me; for some reason, I didn’t find it quite so funny. Oh and if that’s not enough, they stick you with needles four times in the course of three hours.
After that harrowing morning, I went home and inhaled one of my delicious egg muffins (made with the very best, most protein packed Eggland’s Best eggs in my Instant Pot), a whole avocado, and a smoothie and then just waited for results to come in.
A few hours later, results were in: I passed the 3-hour glucose test with flying colors. No gestational diabetes. No more need for condescending phone calls with the advice nurse about soda versus water, and walking versus sitting on my butt for the entirety of my pregnancy. And no guilt whatsoever for the nights when I want to sit in my sweatpants and eat a massive bowl of cookies and cream ice cream. Hallelujah!
Stay sweaty friends,