Monday, 3 March 2014

Sweet things and hospitals

I've never had a very sweet tooth.  While I like the odd chunk of dark chocolate or creamy desert (mmm custard), you won't find me salivating over rich cakes or sugary treats.  I had a milkshake the other day that was too sweet for me to drink.  Even a handful of dried fruit or more than one Christmas mince pie at a time sees me break out in a hot flush.  I start sweating under my eyes and craving water.  Not long afterwards my brain goes all fuzzy and I start feeling nauseous and faint.  I prefer to keep my blood sugar levels stable.  This might be because my Mother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in her early thirties so I was raised on a diabetes appropriate diet with balanced amounts of carbs, proteins and fresh veg for every meal.

It was for this reason, not because I thought I might actually have Gestational Diabetes, that I was dreading the Glucose Challenge Test at the hospital this week.  It went better than I expected.  The drink itself didn't taste that bad - just like super-sweet 7 Up. But it was a challenge forcing the whole 300 mls down in only five minutes.

I did get all hot and sweaty and then felt headachy and sick, but I was allowed to drink water, so I drank about two litres and that helped.  I also elected to just sit in the waiting room for the entire hour until the blood test was due, to avoid any risk of passing out.  My doctor had suggested I bring a protein snack with me to eat immediately after the test was complete, to help stabilise my blood sugar levels, so I had a cheese sandwich before attempting to leave the hospital and brave road-crossing and public transport.

My test results were 5.8, which is well under the threshold of 7.9 for Gestational Diabetes.  I also had a checkup with my obstetrician.  My belly is measuring as expected for dates, Pickle's heartbeat was good, my blood pressure is low.

By good fortune, rather than design, the temporary apartment when we first arrived in Melbourne was in the catchment area for the Royal Women's Hospital - which is Australia's leading maternity hospital - so this is where I was referred for maternity care.  Since we moved, we are in the catchment area for a smaller, local hospital, whose maternity services happen to be run by Royal Women's. Being closer and more community-oriented I thought it would be better to transfer to the local hospital, however they take low risk pregnancies only and although I am low risk by most of their criteria, I do not meet the age criterion.

I mentioned this to my obstetrician at my checkup and she agreed it would be better for me to transfer and said that my pregnancy was much lower risk than many of her younger patients so she emailed the head of department to ask them to make an exception.  To my surprise they agreed to accept me.  On one hand this is great - the hospital is two train stops away rather than an hour-long train and tram schlep across to the other side of town.  On the other hand, it will all be new.  Again.  My next appointment is due in another four weeks - so I guess I'll meet my new team then.


  1. Mmm, dark chocolate and creamy dessert are my favorite too. I made carrot cake for our anniversary and it's way too sweet. I'm glad you survived the dreaded glucose drink. I hope to avoid that entirely by testing my own blood sugars and declining the test. It doesn't surprise me at all that the doctor said you are lower risk that most of her younger patients. :-)

    1. That sounds like a good plan, I wish I had thought of that. I wanted to decline the screening completely, but it didn't seem like a good idea to do so given the history in my family.

  2. Glad to hear you don't have gestational diabetes. Although the part about drinking 2 L of water makes me shudder a little. for my first ultrasound I drank 1 L of water as instructed (oh I will never do that again) and it was horrible!

    1. Thanks. I don't think I'd have been able to drink that much water if asked, but many small sips of water to help the nausea over an hour added up! It helped that I was waiting right next to the restroom too...


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