I guess it was in the milliseconds after the phlebotomist handed me a bottle of lime-flavored liquid with 50 grams of glucose in it and then told me I should sit for one hour -- "no walking around!" -- that I became extremely irritated.
Yes, today was Ye Good Ol' one-hour glucose test, to determine if I have gestational diabetes. And I gotta say, I kind of think this test is bullshit. Because it's not testing you in a real-life situation. In real life, I would have eaten breakfast, and it wouldn't have been loaded with sugar. So having me drink 50 grams of glucose on an empty stomach in under five minutes and then simply sit there for an hour is completely ridiculous.
Which makes me feel that pregnant women are sort of set up to fail this test. It's obviously unnatural. As soon as you drink it, it hits your system like speed. I felt shaky and wired for about ten minutes, and then I crashed hard and wanted to sleep, eat, and vomit at the same time. Some other poor woman was in the midst of a three-hour test (which they force upon you if you don't pass the one-hour test) and she'd become so faint she needed to lie down.
I just want to know: Where are the tests that are grounded in real medical science? Where is the medical care based on scientific results rather than fear, unproven beliefs, and cover-your-assism? I worry that it's too late for standard medicine -- liability will always be the greatest concern, and the best way to reduce liability (at least in the eyes of medical institutions) seems to be to run a variety of unnecessary tests in order to prove that everything possible was done to help the patient. When, in fact, everything possible ought to include only those tests actually proven to help patients.
Today's test comes on the heels of the release of a new book by Emily Oster called Expecting Better: How to Fight the Pregnancy Establishment with Facts. In it, Oster debunks what I'll just go ahead and call myths -- that you can never drink alcohol or caffeine or eat soft cheese or deli meat during pregnancy. In excess some of these things are obviously not a good idea, but the actual facts as Oster discovered them are that women who drank the occasional glass of wine and a couple cups of coffee every day had perfectly healthy children who, years later, often scored higher on IQ tests than children of women who abstained throughout pregnancy. (Color me bitter -- I've abstained this entire time)
I haven't read Oster's book yet, but you can bet it's at the top of my list. What whet my interest was this article she wrote that appeared in the Wall Street Journal.
I hope her book addresses a number of questions I have. Is it entirely necessary to check for dilation in the final weeks of pregnancy when doctors themselves have said it's not at all an indicator of impending labor? Are internal fetal monitors at all necessary during labor? (pretty sure I already know this one is total bullshit) What is the deal with kegels? Please, I need hard evidence here.
It's a bit irksome to have to rely on outside information during pregnancy, when in theory, doctors know best, and they ought to have the latest and greatest information. And I really do like my doctor, but even doctors who don't necessarily believe certain tests are necessary are obliged to follow protocol. So I take everything said and done to me with a bit of a grain of salt.
And I know if I wanted to be a militant anti-medicine hippie I could have simply hired a midwife and I know she would be completely on the same page with me. Except for the pain management page -- I am 100% certain an epidural is in my future. I've done the research on natural birth and read several books and I think vaginal is the way to go, if possible, but the benefits of reduced pain outweigh the risks for me. I mean, modern medicine's got to be good for something, right?