For as long as I can remember, I have hated going to the doctor. I know most people probably feel the same way, but I get anxious thinking about impending appointments weeks before they happen.
It began at the age of three when I fell off a hay bale and hit my chin on a plastic bucket, resulting in the need for 32 stitches. My mom still tells the story how I screamed the entire time at the doctor, telling him I hated him and then telling my mom how much I loved her. I still feel that way.
Now that I’m having to go to the doctor’s office pretty frequently for prenatal checkups, I get even more stressed and freaked out. What if something is wrong? I haven’t had any crazy pregnancy symptoms since day one. I know I should be grateful I haven’t been heaving over a toilet or feeling so exhausted I fall asleep at my desk, but for a while, I wanted those symptoms so I could feel like a “normal” pregnant lady. This has got to be too good to be true, I always think as I sit in the waiting room, nervously waiting for them to call my name. Well, guess what happens when you are nervous? Your blood pressure spikes. The nurse gently tells me to lay on my side for 15 minutes, and they will check it again. How am I supposed to relax in this place? Sure, the walls are painted a soothing color and it’s quiet. But it’s too quiet. I can hear shuffling outside the door and random laughter. I wonder if they are talking about me, I think as I lay there, taking deep, shaky breaths. As hard as I try, I never feel completely relaxed. My numbers go down a bit, but it’s still higher than they would like to see.
Then my urine test comes back, and there is a small amount of protein in it. High blood pressure and protein in urine are telltale signs of preeclampsia. And let the breakdown begin. All I could think was how it’s too early for this (this was happening when I was about 11 weeks along), and that this can only mean the baby is going to come way, way too soon or something terrible will happen to both of us. It’s awful to think about, and while I know it’s not necessarily my fault, I just feel like if I would have ate healthier or worked out more before getting pregnant, this wouldn’t have happened.
So I get the joy of hauling around a bright orange container filled with my pee to test for preeclampsia. For 24 hours. Every time I had to go to the bathroom, it came along. Talk about gross. I promptly turned in the jug to the lab, had blood drawn and waited nervously for the results. Thankfully, everything came back normal and there was no indication I had preeclampsia.
But what I didn’t know was they were going to test my glucose levels when drawing my blood. At 136, they were concerned that I could have diabetes. I told the nurse I had drank a small glass of orange juice and ate a bowl of cereal less than an hour before the test. “That could have done it. But at this early on, if you have diabetes, it would be type 1 or 2 diabetes, not gestational,” the nurse explained over the phone. What the hell is happening? That’s all I could think as she instructed me to have a glucose test taken to test my levels again.
I had hoped the stress would be over after the urine test, but it just continued to pile on my shoulders as I fasted for 12 hours, went to the lab, had blood drawn, drank some sugary orange liquid, waited an hour and had more blood drawn. And then waited for 24 hours for the results. And freaked out about the effects undiagnosed diabetes could have on our baby. Note to self: Stop Googling crap, Ashley. It doesn’t help at all!
Thankfully, my glucose test came back with normal results. Hallelujah! I was told I will still have to test for gestational diabetes at 28 weeks, but there I do not have type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes.
While I know I could still face preeclampsia and gestational diabetes down the road, I am grateful they are not my reality right now. I have began taking steps to be as healthy as I can be for myself and for our little babe. Stay tuned to see what I have been doing to improve my health!