3Ds - Glucose blood test 2 - the bump diaries

Week 28 – Glucose Test Number 2

28 weeks for a pregnant lady with a starting BMI of 30 can only mean one thing – the start of the third trimester and the second glucose blood test.

In my first midwife appointment I found out rather than doing the normal glucose test, which involves drinking a bottle of lucozade an hour before having your blood taken, I would need to do a full glucose test twice. The full test involves fasting for 12 hours, having your blood taken, drinking some weird glucose drink, waiting 2 hours and then having a second lot of blood tests.

Now I had one already early on around 16 weeks so I knew what to expect. Fasting for over 14 hours (when you add on the two hours between blood tests) and the joy of being stuck with a needle 2 times in 2 hours is not fun.

Food has been an issue throughout the pregnancy for me – I have had to eat very little and often to stop nausea being hellish but this has gotten worse since last time. My last appointment had been booked by the midwife so she had made sure it was on a Saturday so that BF could come and keep me company – this time it was automatically booked so I would be going alone. These two aspects made me really worry about the pending appointment.

3Ds - Glucose blood test 2 - the bump diariesLucky for me I have found how filling a portion of egg fried rice could be recently. With an 8am appointment booked and BF commuting back from London so due home at 8pm, I had to plan out food carefully. I didn’t want to cook something at 9pm that I would need tasting or would make me hungry – he was happy with my plan though as it involved him ordering Papa John’s.

I had alarms set at 7 and 7.50 to ensure that I would start cooking and eat in time before the dreaded 8pm deadline. This was such a good idea or I would have struggled to cook and eat in time. Yes, I forgot so the alarms really helped.

With egg friend rice cooked and eaten just in time all I could have now was small sips of water. I often work on automatic so using a climbing sling and screwgate carabiner I tied up the cupboard so I wouldn’t be able to open it in when half asleep. I also hid easy to grab snackable items in the fridge at the back or hidden. Once BF had food sorted it was easier just to try and curl up and sleep.

For once I slept through the night – I think keeping my fluid in take mixed with the very filling dinner made this possible but going for a long walk helped too. With BF’s 6.30am alarm, I was awake early enough to help him get up and ready before heading to the bus stop with him to take the bus across town for my appointment.

The Royal Sussex County Hospital has a load of building works going on at the moment so I finally managed to navigate the hospital to get to  the maternity ward in time for my appointment. At 8am it was completely empty so I had to wait until a member of staff turned up.

It wasn’t long until I was called up for my first blood test. The staff were slowly arriving and I had a young nurse who was going to be managing my glucose test. As with any time that I have to deal with needles I was open about how I had to not see the needle at all and not to know when they were going to jab me.

“Sure no worries – we’ll just talk.”

I wish she had kept her promise but nope… she warned me just before she was going to put the needle in. I of course tensed and this made it super painful.

At 28 weeks, whether or not you have a BMI over 30, you have to have a round of blood tests to check on various things like iron levels so with the first glucose blood test, I also had the standard 28 weeks blood test taken so I had to be jabbed one less times with a needle.

Blood taken and a cotton ball taped to my arm it was time to head back to the waiting room and occupy myself for the next two hours. The first time I had BF to keep me company so we watched episodes of Eggheads downloaded from the BBC iPlayer app. This time I was all alone so had a book and my DS. I think actively playing a Zelda game made time really fly.

Others around me seemed to be struggling though as the waiting room filled up. You could hear and sense the boredom and frustration coming from them. They would try reading, talking and walking around the room.

It seems that having something that you actively have to engage with helps pass time much faster. Eggheads had helped time fly as we had been discussing and guessing the answers. My DS had helped me focus and enjoy the time even as I sat there alone.

Not everyone has a handheld console or likes games and quizzes but there was one lady passing the time happily knitting away. If you know that you have to wait for 2 hours between blood tests, I really would suggest finding something to actively do.

With the two hours over I was called back and returned to the room for my final blood test. Again with the same lady I asked to not know when she was going to stick me with the needle and again she agreed only a minute later to warn me. Yeap, she was really not the brightest spark.

It was however finally over! After 14 hours I could finally eat again so pulled out my pre-packed snacks before heading back home to engulf some filling food.

As my blood test was on a Friday this time, I only had to wait a day for the results – last time I had to wait two days due to no results on a Sunday. Great news – my blood test came back clear so I don’t have fetus betus! Now more sugar related blood tests now for me. The results actually came back really good so I wasn’t even close to having any issues. My 28 weeks blood tests came back normal too!

It was another test done and another milestone as I entered into the third trimester with a clean bill of health.

Did you have to have the full glucose test? How did you pass the time? Did you have the normal test? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below.



The Bump Diaries Week 12: The First Scan

Week 12 was a biggy – it was the first time we would have photographic proof about bump. Scary and exciting this was always going to be a highlight in the pregnancy as well as a clear worry.

You know that a key part of any modern day pregnancy is the ultrasound. It isn’t until you get pregnant that you realise that there are in most pregnancies two of them – one at 12 weeks and the second at 20 weeks. There are times when you might have a scan, such as certain high risk pregnancies or with bleeding, but generally you’ll only have two.

On all of the forums it was crazy as when I was barely 7 weeks there were women having scans left, right and centre. Turns out that a lot of women today go for private scans so that they can get confirmation early and meet their little bean sooner. It came up between me and BF – having a scan before Christmas would be a great way to tell the family but was it really worth the money? Would it be better if we just found another way to tell them (we did through gifts which you can see here) and we could wait. So we waited. And waited. And I am really glad that we did.

Upon telling the family we were asked a couple of times if we had a scan yet or when the date was – it wasn’t just us who wanted to see the new addition to the family. If we had done it before, they would’t have been involved in the build up to this moment and gave us a reason to go and visit some of my family in Bournemouth with the photos. Rather than just a “is she or isn’t she showing a bump” focus it was all about the photo – something that I am really grateful for. People staring at your stomach when you just look fat is not comfortable.

Now I have had ultrasounds before but they have not been baby related – in fact last year I had two. I know the procedure quite well; drink lots of water and try not to pee. Since getting pregnant all I do is pee – BF now says that I a three states, “need to pee”, “too full” or “really hungry”. I’ve sat bolt right up in the middle of the night and yelled “I NEED TO PEE” before falling asleep and snoring moments later… When you are pregnant you pee… a lot!

At the last few ultrasounds I have had a lot of water to drink two hours before hand and been fine but this time I struggled. I struggled so much that an hour before, against what all the paperwork tells you, I went to the loo with the promise of drinking a whole little bottle of water. I don’t think that it helped that just before BF and I disappeared to the hospital for our appointment that we celebrated with a meal in a restaurant – the day had finally arrived after all and neither of us could believe we would see a picture. It was also still playing on our minds that something could be wrong but that is why drinks were involved; he had a beer and I had a wonderful mocktail.

When they send you the letter with the date of your ultrasound, along with “try not to pee and drink lots” you get information about how much money it will cost for x,y and z of photos. We had decided that screw it, we wanted the biggest package of 8 as it meant we could give them out to the family. Upon entering the ultrasound ward there are signs everywhere that tell you “You must buy the number of photos that you want before you go in for your appointment!” After settling down and drinking the last of my water we sorted out our photos then starred at this little piece of paper hoping that everything was ok.

As a specialist ultrasound ward just for pregnancies, the other other people in the room waiting with us were pregnant women alone or couples. It felt strange, the walls were bare and the room was full of dread and excitement at once. Our appointment was booked for 3.10 but we had turned up early as it was a windy cold day so we both just wanted to curl up somewhere warm and wait. They must have been having a rather efficient day in the ward as by 2.55 we were already in  trying to get my short arse up onto the chair and wiggled into the right position.

As soon as I was in the right position, top went up and gel went on my stomach and boy was it warm. In the past whenever I have dealt with ultrasounds the gel has been cold so it was weird that not only was this gel warm but it felt like it warmed up as it was smeared across my belly. The ultrasound lady put her wand on my stomach and gasped – turns out she had found our little bump straight away! Not only had she found it without even starting to look but our little one was in the most perfect position for what she needed. She was quickly rushing through lots of photos and doing measurements talking to her assistant who was busy in writing everything down while we just gasped… there was our little baby with its nose, lips, and heart beat as clear as day. Soon the wand moved sideways and we saw a top view as she went through the babies brain before returning the the side on view to find each hand and foot quipping “Sorry I’m doing this so fast but your baby is in the most perfect position that I want to get all this important stuff before they wake up or move; we’ll then be able to slow down and get photos for you!”

We didn’t care though – we were still just in awe of seeing our little one being alive and well with the little heart beat flickering quickly away. As she went through finding everything she needed, our ultrasound lady would quip “It was as if they knew just the position they needed to be in and when” or “You have a little poser!” and “They must be sleeping – they are so relaxed with their feet crossed and so still!”

It  turns out that our little one had “made her day” as it was just so perfect. Now with her vital details checked it was now time for her to get photos for us to keep. Rather than the 8 that we paid for we ended up with 10 as she happily took more and more of this little sleeping bump. Being pregnant, despite peeing only an hour before, as soon as I could I rushed out to the loo only to come back and find that all of our photos were ready and printed. We stepped out of  there before our original appointment time!

Photos in hand it was time to navigate through the hospital and have my blood taken. Although you know about the ultrasound, unless you have had a baby you don’t know about the vast number of different and weird tests that you have to take throughout the pregnancy. Almost every time you see someone they will want a sample or measurement of something. In this instance it is for a combined sampling test to see if there could be any issues with the baby such as downs.

This is where the next wave of worry hits – yes there is a heart beat but what if something is wrong! As I have a member of my family with various disabilities there were added worries. Unlike before, the waiting room we sat in waiting was high up with views overlooking the Palace Pier as the sun slowly set with colour and noise around us. This room was filled with people who had been in the other waiting room, all with their photos still in hand along with others waiting for other maternity services. The atmosphere was so different – for most people there wasn’t a worry or excitement, it was just a normal appointment.

People came and went; time seemed to slow as we waited. Soon it was 45 minutes and we were still sat wondering how long it would be – it felt like we would never leave that room until finally my name was called. This was it; time to get prodded with a needle.

I hate needles; I can’t stand to see them or go into people, especially me. When BF had to have an IV put in when he was ill I had to leave the room and even seeing the tubing going into his arm had me freaking out internally all while I tried to be supportive and not faint. All that aside, as long as I don’t see the needle before, during or after I am ok having injections or blood taken. Every time I have to explain “I’m bad with needles!” a face of dread flashes across their face; I have seen how bad people can get with needles and it has involved an 11 year old being held down by three health professionals… the relief though when I tell them it will be fine just don’t let me see anything and keep talking.

BF is brilliant on the other hand – he has donated blood and is fine to see all sort of blood and guts. For him it was funny watching me trying to keep talking about anything I could think of that wasn’t needle shaped, in this case food, and catching the interesting (to him) procedure of taking blood. As soon as the needle was out I couldn’t help but let out “I’m such a woss!”

The nurse tried to disagree but BF just laughed, he knew this was scary to me and knew at this moment a “you’ve been so brave!” was not the answer I needed… I needed to feel like a woss – this was my coping mechanism or what they had done was really as scary as my mind made needles out to be. Plaster on my arm and it was over – all the tests were over and I had the photos of our little person to share with who we wanted.

When it comes to tests, sometimes it can be weeks before you get a result and in this case we were told “if you don’t hear anything by Monday it is all fine” was a relief. We had a deadline of when, if any, bad news would come and it was only a few days away. We only had to wait and we would have the all clear – then we could start spreading the news.

All of those weeks of worry and excitement were over and now a new chapter of the pregnancy started – we had proof, there was a heartbeat and it was now about the rest of pregnancy and beyond.

Did you have a good experience getting your first ultrasound? How did your go? Did you struggle with the blood tests or not peeing? I’d love to hear your stories so share them below!