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Pregnant & Posting: 28, 29, & 30 weeks

Bad news first...I failed my 1 hour glucose tolerance screening.

This was a huge downer. After taking the glucose drink my OB's office sent me home with at my last visit, I waited the hour before my appointment and they stuck my finger to check my blood sugar level. I believe the maximum cut-off number for the 1 hour screening is 140 mg/dL. My level this time was 155 mg/dL. (For comparison, when I failed the screening during my first pregnancy, I was at 144 mg/dL on the 1 hour.) I was afraid this would happen again, but had been working hard this pregnancy to try to prevent it. I'd eaten a (fairly) balanced diet and tried to exercise as often as I could. I had no other symptoms of gestational diabetes. Yet somehow I still managed to fail the screening. This was disappointing to say the least, but the screening test is known to have a fairly high false positive rate.

So this meant that I had to go take the 3 hour glucose tolerance test (again). On the positive side, since I'd been through this before I knew what to expect. My OB's office asked that I go to the lab to have the 3 hour test done as soon as possible. Due to other circumstances, I was not able to go that week, so I had to wait until the beginning of the next one. My doctor told me that if I failed the 3 hour test, they would have the diabetes educators contact me to work on diet and meal planning to try to control my blood sugar that way. From the time I failed the 1 hour screening until I was able to take the 3 hour test 5 days later, I kept a detailed record of my diet and exercise. This is not required, but as the daughter of a nurse, I know what the drill is. If I failed the test, the first thing the dieticians would want to know is what (and exactly how much) I'd been eating. It seemed easier to be proactive about it and make a list beforehand, just in case. Incidentally, when they checked my blood sugar, they also checked my iron levels. My iron was a bit low, so my OB suggested adding an iron supplement.

Before the 3 hour screening, I had to fast for 10-14 hours. Usually, women begin the 3 hour test first thing in the morning (so that you've slept through most of the required fasting time. (Fasting for a test like this means no food or beverages other than a little water.) As soon as the lab opened in the morning, I took the orders my doctor's office had given me and headed in. (I also packed a peanut butter & jelly sandwich to eat afterward.) I'll confess that I was excited to see my favorite lab technician on duty that day. The lovely individual does the best blood draws I've ever had. After checking in, I was called back into the lab to have the first draw done. This one checked my fasting blood glucose level. The technician then gave me another glucose drink similar to the one I had to drink prior to my 1 hour screening. In this case, the drink was about the same size, but it actually contained a more concentrated glucose solution. It tasted a bit like a lemon/lime soda that was flat and extra sugary. I had to drink the entire bottle within a 5 minute period and then let the technician know when I was done so she could record the time. I was then sent back to the waiting room to sit until it was time for my next blood sample to be taken. There was another woman there taking the 3 hour test as well, so at least I had someone to commiserate with this time. About 45 minutes after I finished the drink, I did start to feel a little bit nauseated. Feeling ill (nausea) can be a common reaction to drinking the glucose solution for some women. You've just fasted for more than 12 hours and then chugged something full of sugar, this is enough to make anyone feel sick. It is important, however, to avoid throwing up if at all possible. (If you throw up, they make you come back and do it again another day!) The last time I had to take the 3 hour test I felt ill about 45 minutes in, so it was not a surprise this time. (One thing that was different this time was the heartburn. Almost immediately after finishing the drink, I had horrible heartburn which continued throughout the morning.) I sat there and breathed through it and by the time I was ready for my 1 hour blood sample the nausea had passed. After the 1 hour sample, I was sent back to the waiting room again to sit for another hour before the 2 hour sample, and then another hour for the 3 hour (final) sample. I was glad I had brought my computer and some work to do while I sat in the waiting room. Otherwise, it would have been a long wait! The lab sent my blood samples out for analysis and would send the results to my doctor's office within about 48 hours. As soon as I finished the last blood draw, I headed out to my car to chow down on that pb&j that I brought with me! Even though I had the urge to head to the nearest restaurant and eat myself silly, it's not wise to do this. A snack/meal, sure. But gorging after fasting and then drinking all that sugary stuff would be a sure way to make myself sick.

Now for the good news...I found out at my next OB appointment (right at the 30 week mark) that I had passed the 3 hour glucose tolerance test. Thank goodness! My doctor said that I did have one number that was above the threshold (my 1 hour reading), but that it was okay. They usually don't diagnose it as gestational diabetes unless you have at least 2 samples that are above their cutoffs. My one number that was high was *barely* above the cutoff and all of my other results were centered within their ranges (in other words, I wasn't even close to failing on any of the other ones). This was a huge relief for me. For whatever reason, I just seem to be a bit slow to process the sugars in that short period, but my body catches up and everything is fine. My doctor did suggest that I stay away from candy bars and other processed sugars, but that it was okay within moderation. This was nothing new for me. I've pretty much stayed away from processed sugars as much as possible during this pregnancy. I won't say I've denied every craving, but I do try to be aware of how much junk I'm eating.

Otherwise, I'm feeling okay right now. We're purchasing a house and preparing to move, and I'm working right now. Taken together, this makes for a whole heap of stress. It's also getting even more difficult to sleep comfortably. I wake up a lot during the night because this part or that part will ache. Rolling over in bed requires conscious effort and must be done carefully lest it prompt muscle cramps (which are also a big downer). I do find myself feeling big lately. I can't squeeze between the chair and the wall the way I used to. I tried to carry something down the hall the other day and found that my belly was in the way. The heartburn is still AWFUL. In terms of cravings, lately what I want to do is eat as much watermelon as I can hold. (I've always liked watermelon, but this level of desire for it is new.) The other night, I ate almost a whole container of it before I realized what I had done. While it is a sugary fruit, there are a lot worse things I could be eating so I try not to worry too much. (Although I do watch my quantities because eating too much of anything can have unpleasant consequences.) My other complaint lately is that it is just too darn hot. Our weather has been in the 90s pretty much every day (by the time I hit week 30, we were hitting the 100s everyday). Being hot when you're pregnant is awful. It just makes me feel sweaty and gross. I'll be glad when it cools down a bit.

The little one is kicking around in my belly quite a bit these days. She's big enough now that you can see her moving if I sit still and you watch my tummy. My other child gets a huge kick out of feeling her move. I generally enjoy it (since it is a pretty cool thing to be able to experience). However, I do wish she'd refrain from kicking around at 2am. She seems to find this a prime time to have a dance party in there, which tends to wake me up and keep me awake until she decides to settle down.