They call it the "up down up down."
I am referring to that doctor's appointment that happens sometime between week 24 and 28 of pregnancy... the one with the dreaded (or not so dreaded) gestational diabetes test. I'm not going to get into gestational diabetes. I've known a few people who have had it, I never have, but the point of this story isn't the diagnosis. It's the appointment.
I arrived for the first part of my lab at 7:40 a.m. and checked in. The purpose of this lab appointment is to check on how your body handles glucose. If it doesn't handle it well, it is determined that you may have gestational diabetes and you have to come back for another three-hour test. The test consists of a sugary beverage and then a blood draw one hour later. I was given the choice of orange or fruit punch. I chose orange. If you frequent online pregnancy forums (and I'm sure you do) you probably have read stories about how horrible this sugary beverage is. Everyone complains about it. I don't think it's that bad. When I was in elementary school we used to have this vending machine that dispensed little cartons of white milk, chocolate milk, and orange drink. It tastes like the orange drink from my childhood. I used voluntarily subject myself to the beverage when I was a kid, I can at least suck it up enough to drink it now without complaining. (Of course, this makes me wonder how much sugar was in that childhood orange drink).
After drinking my beverage - they give you five minutes to drink it all - I went upstairs (the first up in the up down up down) for my 8:00 a.m. doctor appointment. I had to wait there a bit, too, but that's ok. The appointment was fairly brief and then I was sent back down to wait for my hour to expire. At 8:50 I was called back into the lab where I donated two vials of blood.
What I haven't mentioned up to this point is that my blood type is A negative. This means that my blood does not have the Rh factor. Here, this paragraph from americanpregnancy.org can explain it more concisely than I can:
"If you are Rh-negative, you may develop antibodies to an Rh-positive baby. If a small amount of the baby's blood mixes with your blood, which often happens, your body may respond as if it were allergic to the baby. Your body may make antibodies to the Rh antigens in the baby's blood. This means you have become sensitized and your antibodies can cross the placenta and attack your baby's blood. They break down the fetus's red blood cells and produce anemia (the blood has a low number of red blood cells). This condition is called hemolytic disease or hemolytic anemia. It can become severe enough to cause serious illness, brain damage, or even death in the fetus or newborn."
So, I have to get a shot. A deep tissue shot. That means... shot in the butt. Awesome.
After the blood draw I headed back upstairs like a trooper to get my shot. Did you know that before my last pregnancy I was really afraid of needles? Yeah. Not so much anymore.
I checked in and after a short wait the RN that works with one of my doctors came out.
"I'm sorry," she said, "but before I give the shot I always check down with the lab to make sure that they took the sample. They didn't."
"What?" I said. I was confused.
"They didn't take the sample for the antibodies. You have to go back down so they can take one more blood sample. Is that ok?"
"Yeah, no problem." I heaved myself up and out of my seat.
"I'm really sorry," she said.
"That's ok," I said. And it was. People make mistakes. I make them all the time. So, I walked back downstairs to the lab. It's a least worth mentioning at this point that the lab is in a different building from my OB. It's not too far, but it is a walk. So, at this point I've gone up down up down and I'm still not done.
Back at the lab, I got another vial of blood drawn from a very nice woman originally from Liberia. We talk accents for 5 minutes and then I'm on my way back upstairs, with two holes in right arm instead of one.
Upstairs the butt-shot went very smoothly. The RN was still apologetic. After it was done, she handed my two giftcards to Subway.
"Just our way of saying 'sorry' for the inconvenience this morning," she said.
"Well, thanks!" I say. "But it really wasn't a big deal."
"Well, we're sorry anyway," she insists. We're having a regular Lutheran aw-shucks-fest.
"Hey," I said as I put on my coat. "You know... pregnant woman... free sandwiches...
... TOTALLY worth it."
And I left the up down up down with one additional up, two holes in my right arm and one in my right hip (butt cheek), and two gift cards to Subway. Not a bad morning's work.
This morning it was really foggy outside at 7 a.m. Foggy and dark. The darkness outside her window really confused Harper. She came out of her room and scolded us.
"No!" she said emphatically. "Turn the lights off. Daddy. Go back to bed. It not morning!"
"Oh, I wish I could," Mark said. "But it is morning. And we have obligations. Your mom, for example, has an obligation to get a shot in the butt."