Gestational Diabetes Test
Yesterday, as some of you may have seen on instagram, I had to go into hospital to have the Gestational Diabetes Test. Taken from Diabetes Australia, “Gestational diabetes mellitus (sometimes referred to as GDM) is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Most women will no longer have diabetes after the baby is born. However, some women will continue to have high blood glucose levels after delivery. It is diagnosed when higher than normal blood glucose levels first appear during pregnancy.” It is also the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia, affecting between 12-14% of pregnant women.
The test is taken between the 26 and 28 week mark of your pregnancy and let me tell you, I was not expecting it to be as unpleasant as it was. The test involves fasting from 9pm the night before. You will then have an early appointment at the hospital the following morning where you will have a blood test. While you are still in the chair, you have five minutes to drink a bottle of what the lab technician simply calls a ‘glucose drink’, then you are required to wait in the pathology lab for an hour before they take a second blood test. Then, after waiting another hour, a third blood test is taken after which you are free to eat.
It is normal for women to have low blood pressure while pregnant and it is incredibly common for that to last the entirety of your pregnancy. I have had particularly low blood pressure over the last six months and yes, have fainted because of it during my pregnancy. After not eating for over twelve hours (as I had dinner at 7pm the night before and my test was at 8.30am the next day) and then having my blood taken, I knew immediately that I was going to faint. My hands, underarms and forehead went clammy, my eyes started to roll back into my head and I had trouble staying upright. It was not fun. The technician sat and monitored me before I came to and then she handed me the glucose drink. The liquid was like drinking an entire packet of Starburst lollies and, having not eaten and having had blood taken, gave me a headache almost instantly.
I was shown to the waiting room where two other pregnant women were and, I don’t know if they were just better at hiding their discomfort than I was, both seemed perfectly fine. Tired, yes, but fine. Meanwhile, I perched myself in a corner and simply tried not to vomit for the next hour. When it came time for me to have the second lot of bloods taken, I could feel that the colour had drained from my face (anyone who has ever fainted knows the exact feeling I am talking about). The nurse kindly reminded me that if I vomited, the test would be ruined and I would have to come back and do it again. I focused on one point of the wall, tried to breathe slowly and then returned to my sad little Don’t Vomit corner.
While waiting for the third and final blood test, the waiting room filled up and an elderly woman started talking about the war and her husband and what our great suburb used to be like back in the forties when she was a little girl and if I had the energy, I would have thrown a chair at her. The other pregnant women around me again did not seem phased meanwhile I was as white as a sheet of Reflex paper and was still trying to keep everything in my stomach. Finally, the second hour was up and I had a third needle shoved into my arm. Needless to say, I was not in a good way. Sure, I didn’t vomit, but my headache was exceptionally close to turning into a migraine and the nausea was unbearable. My arms hurt from the needles and I was absolutely starving but with no desire to eat.
I headed to the cafe and got a chicken and salad wrap that I ate on the way to work (I shouldn’t have gone in..). Once I got to work and sat down at my desk, my headache got worse. Every colleague of mine told me I looked awful (it was said with love) and to go home. So, back to my car I traipsed oh-so-slowly, and I drove myself home where I remained horizontal on the lounge all night. The headache did not abate, the nausea did improve somewhat, but my body felt so completely out of whack that I was uncomfortable the whole day. Inside me however, bub remained blissfully unaware of how awful I felt and continued to kick and play and just be generally adorable. Even after three lots of painkillers over the course of the day, my headache rendered me completely useless and did not subside until I was asleep. When we were on the lounge, Pete rubbed my feet which was just out of this world delightful and made all the difference to how utterly crappy I was feeling.
I won’t get the results for another couple of days, but I am so grateful that I don’t have to go through that again (not during this pregnancy at least). I was expecting it to be boring, waiting around the hospital for two hours, but what I wasn’t expecting was how deteriorated and unpleasant and gross and sick it was going to make me. How I felt yesterday was on par with how sick and feral I felt when we were in Thailand and I ended up on a drip. Having said that, the other pregnant mamas seemed completely fine and unfazed and no one that I have spoken to about the test warned me about how sick I would feel. Maybe it’s just me? I mean, I escaped vomiting and had it pretty darn good when it came to morning sickness, so maybe this is my little bout of shittiness?
I want to take a moment to thank my beautiful son for getting me through yesterday. No matter how awful I felt (and I think it is pretty clear how awful I felt), whenever I felt our little man move and squirm and kick, I was momentarily removed from my discomfort and found myself smiling down at my belly. There is no amount of sadness or pain or unpleasantness that cannot be overcome by your little persons movements. Of that, I am sure.