We had just passed Charleston, WV when my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number.
"Hi Holly, this is Laura, I heard you have Gestational Diabetes and I need for you to come in immediately."
I was shocked. I knew I'd failed the test - the first one - with flying colors - and that my Heroin Chic look of days gone by didn't fare me so well either - but "come in immediately"? Undoubtedly I couldn't be that bad!
"Well, I'm on my way out of town but will be back on Monday..." I started when she interrupted - something I'd find out she was apt to do on more than one occassion.
"Okay - well we need to get you in. Your sugar was way too high - glad you didn't do the three hour test!" she said.
"I did do it."
"You did the one hour - not the three hour."
"No," I paused as she contemplated the meaning of that word. "I did both. Last Friday I did the one hour test and then Wednesday I went back for the three hour test."
"OH MY! THAT COULD'VE KILLED YOU DRINKING ALL THAT SUGAR!" she bellowed in my ear.
"Um - Kay," What does one say to a person who just told you your death sentence almost came shaped in a tiny bottle that tasted like un-frozen popsicle?
"Well, come in Monday and we'll get you set up."
So I did. She explained, in hyper-fast detail about Gestational Diabetes, about insulin, about big babies and pancreases (pancrei?) and then slapped a needle on the table full of saline.
"ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?" I wanted to shout at her as I instinctively moved away - and into the chest of a puffed-up Harry.
"She can't do that," he said. "She can't stand the sight of it, even."
"Well," Laura said, sitting back in her chair and crossing her arms. "You can't leave here until you do it."
So I did it.
I grabbed the stupid needle. Swabbed my stupid belly fat and stupidly jammed the tiny thing into my waiting middle.
"Now hold it there for at least four seconds..." she said.
"ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?!" I wanted to yell again but, thinking of the developing ears of my child, I decided to just do it.
So I did.
And almost passed out.
Harry scooched up behind me as I held my tummy and wanted to cry. It was all too much. We were told to watch a video where a girl, obviously chosen due to her frizzy hair bun and monotone voice, explained how to eat in painful details that made no sense.
Before we could finish I was ushered into another room where Baby Harry was measured - and pronounced - "too big." At close to 3 pounds and me at 26 weeks- his belly - nothing else - just his belly - was in the 95th percentile. He hid his face in shame. Finally he allowed his profile, and penis, to be photographed, but that was it. We were given pictures and shown back to our video.
"Oops, no you're going to need to take this over to Denise and have her do a stress test on you," Laura had already left for the day so Bonnie, her co-worker, showed us where to go and urged us to attend the nutrition class the next day.
I didn't want to go.
But the days of worrying about my level of comfort were far in the past, I guess, so I marched down the icy stairs and across the street to where Denise, who couldn't spell my name even though she was looking at my chart, strapped electrodes to my sides and neck (hair).
"Hmm - your heart is too fast. You ever feel it race?" she asked.
I nodded mutely but wanted to tell her that if you'd just been told that you could potentiall kill your unborn child or give birth to Baby the Hut, you'd be a little taxed too.
"Don't worry! I can fix you!" She made some phone calls and sent me on my way saying that I'd be retested after my bloodwork (MORE!!!! UGH!) came back to see if meds were an option.
Ten minutes later I was peeing in a cup and being handed a large orange jug in which to bottle my pee for the 24 hours before I came back to the Lab at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
I was less than thrilled.
I went home - shellshocked - not even knowing it was going to get worse the next day. After the nutrition class we waited for the Doctor - who looked at my chart and then bounced around like a bunny on crack. Apparently my chart was "Worst Case Scenario" number one and they now think that I have GD and Type II Diabetes.
"How much do you weigh?" she asked me. I remained silent. I love Harry - but he really doesn't need to to know the exact spatial occupation of my chubby ass. And he respects that. "Oh - I see. " She stuck her nose in my chart and then looked at Laura. "I would've never thought she weighed that much," she said and then faced me. "You wear it well - but you're too fat."
Gee. Thanks. Wanna smell my pits too and rate those? I was done at this point. Stick a fork in me. And oh how we shouldn't say things we don't mean...
"And you, " she turned to Harry. "You could lose weight too. Wouldn't hurt you to do this with her."
"I am!" he got on his defenses but it was too late - the doctor briskly walked out of the room but not before telling Laura: "Keep a close watch on this one - she'll slip through the cracks if you don't..."
I wasn't sure what she meant, but was too tired to care.
I perked up soon after. Laura explained to me that I was to inject myself FIVE TIMES a day with a short-acting and long-acting insulin. I was to take two Glucophage pills a day along with four pills of extra folic acid. I was expect to record, and email, my blood sugar "score sheet" every Wednesday and to check it five times a day - or more.
And then we were allowed to leave.
I would like to say that I did fine. That I was able to poke myself and count my carbs and check my sugar like an old, Diabetic, pro. But this wasn't, and isn't, the case. I still cry when a new day dawns as the silver lining on the clouds of this mess is still three months away. The only thing that makes me do it is knowing that I'm not in this alone. Harry helps me. And Baby Harry will thank me. I do it for them.
So as I sit at the Kitchen table and stare at the hateful green pen-like needle - I try to focus on the most important thing in my life right now--- me.
It's a weird feeling - to be allowed to be selfish and to be allowed to think only of myself and my expanding tummy.
But as a famous Doctor once said, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do," and in this case, I am going to have to agree.