Pregnant Veg 11: Close Encounters of the Medical Kind

The pregnant vegetarian objects to medical torture. “I’m not sick, I’m pregnant!”

Gestational Diabetes

Well, the other shoe has dropped. I knew this was going too well. It seems that if you spend enough time in Doctors’ offices, they will find something wrong with you.

I failed the one hour diabetes test. So they made me do the three hour one. It was awful. And I failed it. I am not used to failing tests. My ego is bruised. Now I have to see a specialist and go to diabetes ed. class. It’s like having to go to remedial math class.

Now they want to talk to me about diet. In the third trimester! Bit late, in my view. If gestational diabetes is so common and such a big deal that they have to test every woman for it, why not start with prevention?

The primary method of managing gestational diabetes is dietary. What about starting every pregnancy with a nutritional consultation, so a woman can be managing her risk all along? Oh wait, that would make too much sense. Never mind. Let’s wait until week 29, and do horrible tests instead.

The diabetes tests are Cruel and Unusual Punishment. The one hour test wasn’t so bad. They fed me nasty orange sugar drink and made me wait an hour before stabbing me with a needle to get blood. Of course, they didn’t warn me it was going to take an hour, so the wait was boring as heck.

For the three hour test, I brought a couple of books. I finished one and got halfway through the other.

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This test is Misery. I was allowed no food after midnight and until after the test was over the next morning. You tell a pregnant woman she’s not getting breakfast and see how well she takes it. They fed me twice as much vile orange stuff, and they stabbed me four different times to get four different vials of blood.

In between stabbings, I spent three hours in a waiting room with no place to put my feet up. Whoever designed this place, I doubt they have ever been pregnant. I ended up dragging over a nearby chair. Complain about the footprints, I dare ya! Grrr…

When they were finally done torturing me, I rushed to the nearest bagel joint for lunch. Food helped, but I still felt lousy. In fact, my mood stayed rotten for two days. Thanks guys. I would never have done something like this to myself. No breakfast, blood loss, sugar binge – sounds completely irresponsible to me. Yet in the name of medicine, this is OK?

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I’m not sick, I’m pregnant. And yet I think I’ve been to the doctor more in the past six months than I have in the past 20 years.

To date, they have taken ten vials of blood and endless cups of pee. They listen to the baby’s heartbeat every time, and they have to gone to some trouble to be certain I don’t have cervical cancer. Well that was nice to know. And apparently I’m not malnourished – except now that I’m in the third trimester, I’m a wee bit anemic. Well, duh. Amazingly, the little girl I’m hosting, who is getting ready to double in size, is using up a bunch of my nutrients. I am shocked. Just shocked.

They advised iron tablets, which make you constipated, setting the stage for hemorrhoids, and other general discomfort. I bought black strap molasses. Thanks for the advice, guys.

They also weigh me every time, and assure me I’m not gaining too much or too little weight. Well, I live in this body 24-7. I’m pretty sure I could have told them that.

It seems that between me and the doctor, she is taking more comfort in all the fussing than I am. Now she wants to see me every two weeks. Ugh. Can I just call her and let her know I’m feeling fine? It would save me a trip, and I’m sure the end result would be the same – One mom, one baby, no problem.

Read Part Two: Pregnancy As A Medical Event?

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5 Responses to “Pregnant Veg 11: Close Encounters of the Medical Kind”

  1. Zoe says:

    Doctors spend a good deal of time in school, learning what there is to know about their specialties. To say that I should pay for this knowledge, and then not expect them to share it with me, as a matter of course, is like saying I should pay for cable and then expect to look up my shows on the internet.

    Medicine is a service industry. Is it too much to ask that they provide decent customer service?

  2. carrie cullen says:

    I was diagnosed with type II diabetes a little over a year ago. My mother had it, my sister contracted it after chemotherapy for breast cancer, and my niece had gestational diabetes while pregnant last year. When I went to my diabetes education classes, I found out that, while not impossible, it is a little more difficult to manage diabetes on a vegan diet. Why? Because it is carbohydrates that need to be carefully watched in a diabetic and a vegan/vegetarian usually gets his or her protein sources from things that contain carbs. I have managed to drop my A1C to 5.3 and maintain a mostly vegetarian diet by being extremely aware of my carb intake. A tablespoon of molasses contains 16 carbs, so be careful!

  3. Savvy Veg says:

    Helen, I’m sure you don’t mean to be unkind, but you’re talking to a woman in her first pregnancy, 7.5 months along, who mistrusts conventional medicine (I would say quite rightly), yet is conscientiously submitting to their care for want of a better option in her area. It is true that doctors don’t have a great track record for human interaction. They tend to treat patients impersonally, and they have so little time to spend with each person. They absolutely should explain what they’re doing – it doesn’t take that much more time or effort and would help the patient understand and be involved in their care (something doctors don’t always want). I didn’t get the impression Zoe doesn’t intend to co-operate, and I’m sure she looks things up on the internet. The thing is that you can find something out on the internet, tell your doctor, and the usual response is to say that you’re wrong and to regard you as uncooperative. I remember feeling conflicted and frustrated in the same way through each of my pregnancies by the medical model of pre-natal care. It was a lonely experience. I believe the medical profession needs a radical overhaul, and that won’t happen if people just accept the status quo and “co-operate”. I think her post shows that Zoe is pro-active, although perhaps not in a conventional way.

  4. Anastasia Campos says:

    Hey Pregnant Veg,

    I’ve followed your mama for some time and I’ve enjoyed your posts over the months. It seems from your posts that your philosophy is more consistent with the midwifery model of care. Have you checked it out?

    Anastasia Campos

  5. Helen says:

    It seems to me that you have a very negative attitude to everything connected with the medical establishment.One can analyze everything that happens in negative terms but it is very destructive to your personal energy system.
    There is no such thing as a perfect system but it would help you to look at what is good instead of nit-picking about everything they didn´t do.
    Most pro active people would look up on the internet or ask their doctor or nurse about what is involved in a test instead of moaning about it after the event.
    I can sympathize with your frustration with having to accept the fact that you have developed a complication in your pregnancy but,look on the bright side, the medical establishment did make the diagnosis and it will do its best to correct the abnormality and see you through to a healthy and normal birth but they will do much better if they have your cooperation instead of your antagonism.
    Don´t shoot the messenger.

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