Week 24 ~ December 21, 2003
~ Another Midwife Appointment
I went back to the midwife this week to have my one-hour glucose tolerance test (GTT). I passed with flying colors - the level is supposed to be under 150 and mine was 109. The midwife seemed slightly surprised that I had passed; I think she was really expecting me to test positive for gestational diabetes.
So now we know several things that aren't causing me to measure large, but still don't know what, if anything, is causing the high level of fluid. I actually dropped two pounds in the last two weeks (see what happens when I stop eating cookies and potato chips!), but my uterus grew even higher. Today I measured 29 weeks. The midwife asked me to come back in two weeks for another ultrasound to check the AFI (amniotic fluid index) and baby's size. I really don't know what we will do after this; the office was a madhouse today, with the other midwife and a nurse out sick for the second day in a row. We didn't have as much time to chat as usual, as there were patients lined up waiting for their appointments. I'm sure I'll find out more in two weeks.
I did some more reading online about excessive fluid and according to what I read, in about 60% of cases, there is no known reason and it resolves itself in time. That felt a bit reassuring, but the next paragraph was about the risk of premature labor and the need for frequent ultrasounds and non-stress tests. That was less reassuring. My midwife seems to be taking a cautious approach, having me come in every two weeks and ordering additional ultrasounds. I'm obviously pleased to have the care I need, but I can't help being a little sad to see my low-risk, no-intervention pregnancy slipping away, and much of what I read online failed to put my mind at ease. My biggest fear right now is being put on bedrest, which is apparently a distinct possibility. I know I shouldn't even think about it yet, as the midwife hasn't brought it up, but the idea of trying to care for my whirlwind of a daughter while spending my days lying down is so overwhelming. A secondary concern is that my fluid levels will increase to the point that therapeutic amniocentesis becomes necessary. In this procedure, a doctor actually removes amniotic fluid on a regular basis through amnio. Given the rather high risk of miscarriage and premature labor associated with amniocentesis, I really don't want to face this decision. And just to add to my worries, there is a slight possibility of birth defects being the cause of the high fluid levels. Hopefully my fluid will stay within safe levels and all of these worries will be for nothing.
For now, the biggest challenge I face is to not interpret passing the GTT as a license to eat whatever I want, whenever I want! I don't want to gain too much weight if I can help it, and I do want to grow my baby with healthy foods. But December is a bad time for trying to eat healthy foods. I have been having terrible cravings for fruit recently, but the only fruit available in the grocery store is of such poor quality that I end up seeking out junk food after having it, still trying to assuage my sweet tooth. The midwest in December is just not the place to find fresh fruit, but it is the place to find cookies, cakes and candy. There are chocolate chip cookies baking in my oven even as I type this, and my aunt kindly sent us her traditional gift of goodies from the Hershey Foods employee shop. I'm doing the best I can to keep my refined sugar intake moderate, but it isn't easy in the face of such temptation.
Happy holidays to all who celebrate!