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The Luckiest.

The other day Scarlet put her hands on the sides of my head, bowed my head gently and kissed my forehead. Multiple times.

It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, although my head was bowed and my eyes were filled with tears so I’m not sure I really “saw” much of this experience. I *felt* it, though. Later that day I was sitting with my head hunched over the new Jodi Picoult book. It’s about wolves so I was really into it. My hair was a mess. I was wearing one of my maternity shirts that I would not wear out of the bounds of our house. Well, I would, but it would be covered by a cute fuschia coat. I got up from the table that I had been sitting at for awhile and she blinked up at me in surprise from the kitchen. “Mama!” She said. “You are very pretty. Like a princess.”

I think maybe she knows how to be so delicious when I need it the most.

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I got some bad news on the phone the other day. Bad news to me. From what I hear, anywhere from 15% to more of pregnant women get this call. Which should tell me something, but doesn’t. I failed my one hour glucose screening. It was very stressful to take this screening. It required me going to the lab and drinking 10 ounces of a chilled sweet drink. 50 grams of sugar. Tastes like flat orange soda. I can’t drink soda. I was nervous to begin with but when I got to the lab, there was an ambulance blocking everything for some sort of emergency I never quite figured out. No one likes to see this when they’re going for their own testing. I’m not afraid of needles. I’m not as afraid of labor as I am about this drink. I get nervous even typing about it. You have to drink the whole thing in five minutes with people watching you to make sure you drink it. They tell you not to throw it up or you’ll have to re-test. Not what I need to hear! Somehow I did it when I was pregnant with Scarlet. Somehow. Cassidy was there which might have helped. Halfway through this drink, I begged for an alternative.

They left to talk to the doctor and I seized that opportunity to drink the drink. I was tempted to throw it down the unattended sink to my left and say I drank it, but no, I don’t tamper with lab results. So somehow I drank the drink. Then I sat motionless for an hour waiting for my blood draw. I didn’t walk around or drink water, which might have changed the results. In fact, I got bad news while checking my emails and texts. I *knew* I wouldn’t pass this screening. I always knew it. I also know that stress can cause huge spikes in blood sugar. This was beyond stress. I was shaking and shivering.

Since early childhood I just have a real issue with my whole throat region. I don’t like anyone to mess with it or force me to consume gross things. It’s like “Fear Factor,” someone said to me! Exactly.

So if you fail this screening, as many do, you go on to a three hour tolerance test. This means fasting for 12 hours, while 28 weeks pregnant, and then getting a blood draw before drinking 100 grams of this same crap! 100 grams of sugar on an empty, pregnant stomach! And then you have to wait another three hours to have blood drawn three times! No way!

And if you do fail that test, which is certainly less common than failing the one hour test, you’re diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. It’s one of the most common pregnancy complications and not dangerous when monitored and controlled.

So I asked if there was an alternative test, and there is. So now I have to go to a nutritionist for further testing next week. So of course I feel like a freak. If I had just held my tongue, I’d just take that horrid three hour (really 15 hours) test and be done with it. Of course the chance of more anxiety affecting my scores is likely, but my body generally knows how to break down sugar within three freakin’ hours. I don’t actually think I have Gestational Diabetes and I do aim to prove that with blood tests or whatever it takes next week. And if I do have Gestational Diabetes, it’s really not as horrible as it sounds. Some people have the disease for life. This would most likely be 10-12 weeks of following a diet I already should follow.

And that’s the worst case scenario. Cause I would never let it get worse than that.

I’m still taking this very badly. You see, I’ve been told by a lot of people that I’m a very lucky person. And if that exists, I think I am too. When I was a kid, if I forgot my homework, nine times out of ten, there would be an assembly scheduled that day and my teacher would be none the wiser. In college if I missed a campus bus, another would follow it within seconds. I have lived my life just stumbling into some great things. If I do believe in luck, there’s a lot of luck involved. There’s also probably a lot of coincidence. And I have to be less humble to say there’s skill involved too. I have chosen and worked hard for a lot of the great things I have gotten in life. I’m not proud of how I react when things don’t go according “to plan.”

Like, this not-yet-diagnosed but potential Gestational Diabetes. The problem with being lucky is that when you stumble on some bad luck, which you will, you really, really, really will, you’re less equipped to handle it like a sane human being. So of course I think that I’ll now become permanently diabetic and never enjoy another iced latte. Or cookies! The horror.

And that’s being blown out of proportion. If I do have the GD, I can control it. I could kick its a** and then send it packing once the baby is born and I deliver the placenta. The placenta is what holds the illness, apparently because it blocks insulin resistance sometimes. There are so many worse things to happen to a pregnancy! God, most of them are complicated in some ways. Most people I know have suffered test scares or false positives or further testing or just cold, plain fear. That’s what it takes sometimes to bring healthy children into the world. We all do it so well. So maybe I eat strictly healthily for 10-12 weeks and then hopefully learn to keep up those habits for life. I’m on day three of a wonderful diet and I feel fantastic.

And if I don’t have GD, well maybe this whole thing was a wake up call to make me eat better in these last 10-12 weeks. More exercise, proteins and vegetables. That is never a bad thing. And then if I spin it that way, I’ll just think, “Hey, I’m lucky to be given this chance to change my life! I think I’ll go with that thinking for now. I’m blessed in so many ways.

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On Friday, I was feeling so crummy and depressed that I wanted to lay down and cry for hours. I had Scarlet with me all day, though. I couldn’t drag her down too! So we went to the park for hours. And I pushed her on the swing for literally 45 minutes. As high as I could push her. And she loved it. The look on her face. The way she shouted, “Mama! I’m having fun!” Her laughter. Such glee. Passersby nearly applauded us.

On Saturday I spent the whole day with her, except for her oddly long 3 1/2 hour nap. I just want to be around her when I’m down. It’s even better when there are balloons involved.

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She has healing powers.

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And I realize, all of this stress and horror and fear is to make sure her brother is brought into this world safely and happily. It’s all for that. And what’s more important than his safety and health? So no matter what happens, GD diagnosis or not, I have 10-12 weeks to make my body the most hospitable place on earth for him. Not too hospitable, though. We do want to meet him eventually. If he’s anything like his sister, we are in for a life of double fun and double trouble.

We’ll take everything that comes and we’ll take it together. And until then…

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She grounds me. Plain and simple.

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One Comment

  1. I'm glad your glucose thing turned out to be alright. Sounds like an awful test though! Anyway I'm commenting to say I just adore the way you write things. This post was delightful, as is your little girl!

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