Iron woman.

Returned from my travels to find a message from Diet Coke, the midwife: “Hi, just calling to let you know that the results of your glucose text were awesome.”  Take that, risk factors and doubters!  (I’m looking at Sea, who has frequently raised a judgmental eyebrow at my chocolate consumption over the past six months.)

Of course, a greeting like that is bound to come with a “but…”.  In this case, the but involved words like “hemoglobin”, “anemia”, “supplementation” and ended with Diet Coke cheerily saying, “I look forward to chatting with you about iron rich foods!”

I’m currently waiting for Herbal Tea to return my call (Diet Coke is on vacation) and tell me what this unyielding vegetarian should do to improve her iron levels.  I also welcome your expert opinions (bonus points if they involve chocolate).  I’ll work on becoming better acquainted with spinach while I wait.

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Testing, testing.

Last Tuesday I went to visit Diet Coke, the midwife.  It had only been three weeks since our visit with the other midwife, Herbal Tea, but I had inconveniently planned two weeks of travel that overlapped with the next scheduled visit.

I walked into the clinic 20 minutes early, still trying to make amends for the visit when we had shown up horribly, terribly late and soaking wet.  When DC appeared at exactly the scheduled appointment time, she greeted me with an abrupt, “Did you have something to drink?”  Outside of my ability to pee on command, DC had never shown any interest in my hydration levels prior to this moment.

Me:  “I think so?”

DC: “When did you finish drinking?  We need to know exactly when you finished drinking.”

Me: “Uh, why?”

DC:  “The glucose drink.  You should have been given a drink to take an hour before your appointment.  Did you drink it?”

Me:  “No… HT told me to book the test with another clinic at 27 weeks.”

DC: “Oh! Well that makes things easy.”

I took my familiar perch on the burgundy bedspread in her office, as DC pulled out the exact paperwork on Rhogam that HT had taken us through during our last visit.  I explained my déjà vu, meeting with obvious scepticism from DC.  Defensively, I tried to scrape together the information from the last appointment.  “I did!  Blood product!  Donated by women in a remote rural community!”  DC’s scepticism shifted to annoyance at HT’s poor record keeping skills.  As she furiously made notes in my file, she could be heard muttering: “HT is a lovely person, but…”  She didn’t finish her sentence.

After quickly listening to Bingo’s heartbeat (still going strong at 140-something beats per minute), DC sent me on my way with a revised appointment for the glucose test: two days later.  I am apparently just full of risk factors: age (30!), weight, and family history (thanks, mom).

So Thursday morning found me up early, eating eggs for breakfast and drinking a lot of water.  DC had told me that these “tricks” would make passing the glucose test more likely.  I’ve always been an overachiever, and this test was one that I particularly didn’t want to fail, so I was willing to try any tricks suggested.  Two hours later I walked into yet another unfamiliar clinic for the test itself, where a bored receptionist handed me a bottle of bright orange liquid and a paper cup and told me to finish the drink within five minutes.

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I had heard a lot about this painfully sweet drink, and steeled myself to chug it down.  Though the sweetness burned my throat, it wasn’t as awful as I had imagined.  I had pictured something more… syrupy than this watery liquid that tasted exactly like a more heavily sweetened version of the bright, artificial orange punch that McDonald’s served about 25 years ago.   Finished, I was told to leave and come back in exactly an hour.

I went to run errands nearby, simultaneously trying to remember my grocery list and figure out whether I was imagining the beginnings of a headache.  20 minutes into this hour long exile from the clinic, Bingo realized that somebody had drastically altered his/her diet, and that glucose was fun.  I watched my stomach jump under my shirt and, now certain of the headache, appreciated that at least one of us was enjoying this experience.  I hoped that the headache wasn’t a sign that I was failing the test.

After an hour of running errands nearby, I returned to the clinic.  Its popularity had increased in the hour I had been away.

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The seats were crowded, a group of children stood against the wall, and another bored receptionist futilely instructed a belligerent patient to sit down.  Bingo and I were left to stand uncomfortably in the centre of the room until the bored receptionist, done with the belligerent patient, ushered me into a small room.

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The blood draw technician appeared at 10:57.  Taking my paperwork, she frowned.

Technician: It says here that you were supposed to return at 10:58!

Me: Yes…

Technician: It’s almost 11!

Me:  It’s 10:57.

After this strange foray into telling time, my blood was drawn.  As I headed out of the clinic, now with a pounding headache, I’m certain that I heard one of the staff members say to another: “She’s pregnant?”

But maybe it was just the glucose.

Stay tuned for the results!