Waiting. One of the tolls of pregnancy that isn’t mentioned so much – the endless waiting game. If you are impatient like me, forty weeks seems like an eternity. I know all this waiting has a purpose and I have written before about the virtues of the extended incubation period, but sometimes it really does feel as though a we have been pregnant forever. I am looking pretty big now and as people see me they are expecting my due date to be just around the corner. The inevitable question looms ‘How long now?’ ‘Another 10 weeks’, I laugh as I am presented with looks of oh you poor thing, or disbelief or the prospect of a sneaky twin lurking within is raised. For the record, yes, I am pretty sure there is only one in there. I have taken to counting in half weeks like a kid waiting for Christmas.
Today I am still nine and a half weeks to go (nine tomorrow) and I am waiting. I am in the middle of my Gestational Diabetes test. I have done the fasting, the first blood test and drunk the sugar drink. Two hours and two more blood tests to go. I know this is a little late in the game to be doing this test but here I am. I was not going to have the GTT, but for some reason it has been playing on my mind in the last week or so. Originally I thought that I would avoid all unnecessary tests. That I would know if something wasn’t right and would deal with it, rather than look for a problem. So what changed my mind?
I wasn’t able to have the less intensive ‘non-challenge’ glucose test as was planned. I am not in an at risk group and this test, while less accurate, would have given an indication of whether further testing was needed. Although this test is not the standard protocol I was happy with the choice, but it was not to be. I thought about having no test but that didn’t sit right. I think it had something to do with the seemingly exponential growth of my belly. I was starting to worry that I was growing a huge baby! I think also it definitely had something to do with my last blood tests coming back with low haemoglobin and iron stores. When asked if I was feeling overly tired, I simply replied ‘I thought that was just part and parcel of being pregnant?’ It is, and it isn’t – at least for me, it wasn’t just due to normal pregnancy. My iron normally sits quite low and since baby has been taking all that it needs it has left me a little depleted. Since dutifully ingesting the supplements (a few vomits later I realised taking them at night works best for me) I feel as though I have woken up. I was totally oblivious that I didn’t need to feel that tired. If I hadn’t had the blood test would I have continued for the next nine and a half weeks zombie-like and unknowingly putting myself at the unnecessary risk of preterm birth? You can see where this is heading right? Why not test? Part of the reason that I didn’t want the test in the first place was that the initial treatment of GD is a controlled diet and exercise. I figured that if I wasn’t having the test I better be sure that I am keeping that under control – it was kind of like taking the medical safety net away and putting the responsibility back on myself. In this way avoiding the test (at least early on) has worked for me. I am very conscious of keeping healthy and balanced for bub.
I weighed it up again in my head. Would the piece of mind be worth it? I decided yes. I spoke to my midwife and made my appointment for today. That night I started to feel a little odd. I’m putting it down to hormones. I wasn’t worried about the test – funnily enough as soon as I decided to have the test I worried less about actually having GD! I guess I was worried that in a way I wasn’t trusting my body like I said I would, but I have put this aside. All along I have promised not to be stubborn in decision making. The fact that not having the GD test was worrying me was enough to convince me that I should have it. Kind of counterintuitive I know, but sometimes you can’t rationalise these things.
Round two down. That was lucky because sitting in the big armchair I felt the hot wave of nausea descend, and walking around distracted me. I sympathise with another lady sipping her green drink. Thankfully I have no problem with needles as I am proving difficult to ‘bleed’ today and there is a bit of wiggling around required.
My midwife attends my regular checkup during the wait for the third blood draw and I am reassured to hear a strong heartbeat, good fundal height for gestational age, and that yes, we were right in our amateur baby mapping attempts – baby is head down with the feet firmly wedged under my left rib. This makes me smile, I have come to know this as baby’s comfy spot and apart from a disconcerting 360 degree tumble that stretched over a few days last week, he/she has lived in this spot for most of the time.
The third test comes quickly enough and even though I feel a little drained (pun intended) I leave feeling reassured and re-invigorated by the midwives and their stories of the many recent births they have had. I should get the results in a few days, and I think all will be fine. I may have been worrying over nothing but I will be glad for the piece of mind and after all, it is ok to change your mind.