Well, our 4 wks has passed and so we were back at the General again, only this time we lumped in the Glucose test and the NICU tour on the same day to try to get it all over and done with in one fell swoop, and boy did we ever!
Before we begin, please, let me start off by saying that the medical staff at your local blood clinic, your doctors office, emergency responders and hospital do a bang-up job and deserve more respect. I’m serious here, people! Remember this the next time you get super frustrated that they aren’t seeing you right away. Sure, it’s annoying, I agree with you – but think about things for just a second. You have no idea if the doctor is not at work yet because of an emergency, or if there was an accident that has taken away some of the staff to attend to said issue, or if the team just recently went under some staff cuts, or if the doctor and staff are attending to someone in a difficult situation, or answering a multitude of questions to someone that was just given some terrible news.
We decided to take the glucose test in the morning in order to ensure that we had enough time to eat between the test and the ultrasound and clinic visits. I went to register in, at which point a very angry older woman shoved past me – a pregnant lady – to get in and register right away. The clinic had been open for several hours, but I guess she just needed to shove past to ensure her spot in the waiting line outside. She registered and was pretty rude to the lady behind the counter, then ending the conversation with “So, what? Now I guess I have to wait, what, like TWO hours?!” The staff members advised her that there were a lot of folk, but she doubted it would be a full 2 hrs. (Side note: if you know ahead of time that there is a chronic wait time at your local clinic or hospital, please, bring a book or magazine or even a podcast to listen to. It’s clear that this woman had been there before and there was no reason this should be a surprise. End of Aside).
Because I had to drink the glucose drink and then sit for the next hour – which I knew about – I was able to bypass all the other patients. The nurses taking blood (there were only 2 for the 40+ people outside) advised that I needed to sit and not eat/drink for the next hour, and that if I needed to go to the washroom, to come back to their office as it’s so close to the waiting area.
Jody read the newspaper while I rested up a bit – our Impossible Girl decided she’d dance through the sugar high, as babies often do when taking the glucose test. Once the hour was up, I headed back to the office to go to the washroom, but not before I saw some man becoming quite irate with the staff on “why he had to wait an extra 30 min when there were others coming in after him and he’d been there all day!” I can only assume he was talking about someone like me, or the other pregnant women doing the same test. The nurse explained that there are multiple tests that patients are given and that not everyone is there for the same thing, but still, this man was having none of it. From the time I went into the washroom, to the time I came out, the nurses were then subjected to ANOTHER irate man who was rude to the young nurse taking his blood. (Side note: sir, do you REALLY think it’s a smart idea to speak that way to the lady with the needle?! I mean – this is clearly why I’m not working in health care:
… End of aside).
We then went to grab a quick bite to eat before our ultrasound and clinic visit at the General. Once up in the clinic, I did the regular ‘check in with the clinic, then head to the other side of the waiting room to check in with the ultrasound ladies’. Here, they saw us right away – as always – and though we thought our little girl would be hip-hop dancing all around for the ultrasound, she was pretty quiet. Most likely, she was in a sugar crash from the glucose and then food coma from the Shepherd’s pie I just had at lunch.
She had her arm and hand draped over her face like she had the vapors, and was making it difficult for our technician to see things, but in the end we got all the necessary measurements and were able to see things clearly. Jody and I joked that we wanted a photo but couldn’t see her face – though we could see her foot SUPER clearly. And let me tell you, it was the cutest foot that you ever did see! We found out our baby is roughly 1.5 lbs (it’s difficult to tell due to the omphalocele) and that she’s growing as she should. The omphalocele has grown slightly, but still in the 4 cm diameter range. We are not sure if the omphalocele will grow with her, or stay the same size as she grows. Only time will tell.
After the ultrasound, we then headed back to the waiting room to let the clinic team know we were finished and that they could take us at any time the doctor was ready. I decided that now would be a good time to get my urine sample. A funny thing happens when you progress in your pregnancy: you can’t actually gauge your reach and see things as clearly as you once did. Body parts grow and don’t move as easily as they once did. Basically, things become a little more ‘obstructed’. I tried to make sure that I was getting all the sample in the container, but then my sweater fell down from under my chin and my instinct was to keep the sight line clear for filling up the container, so as I fumbled to a) try and keep the view clear and b) not let my sweater fall into the container and/or toilet as I’m hunched over, I actually let the container FALL into the toilet. Urine and all. I let out a loud ‘SON OF A BITCH’ and then started to laugh. I fished the container out of the toilet, threw it away, washed my hands and giggled out of the washroom back into the clinic. The nurse there saw me take another container with a skeptical look, to which I simply said “The other one fell into the toilet, because: why not!” and we both started laughing.
I decided to quickly drink as much water as I could before the visit so that I could ensure a proper urine sample once I was though the clinic visit. Once in, we talked about things that I may be experiencing, changes I might be concerned about or additional questions. My biggest concern was ‘is the baby developing and growing as she should – weight and size wise?’ and yes, she is. After a quick trip on the weight scale and having my blood pressure taken (both still in a great range), I decided now was the chance to try to get that urine sample again as the clinic visit was winding down.
I scooted to the washroom with the container and got myself ready … only to have me knock the container over onto the floor as I was ready to start peeing! Thankfully, the lid was still on there, so there was no contamination. Unfortunately, I really had to go, so even being just that little bit of bending caused my bladder to start to release. I quickly got the lid off and did NOT drop the container in the toilet this time. The floor, that’s fair game. I did laugh all the way to the room though and told the doctor and Jody that I, yet again, dropped the container … but at least it was before and on the floor!
We were asked if we’d had our glucose test and we told them we did just that morning, so she looked to see if the results were back …. and unfortunately, I was told that I was just slightly over, so they needed to take another test. I was asked what I ate before the test, and advised that I had maple syrup and then a bunch of fruit – the guess is that this is what tipped the scales. And no, before you ask, I had my maple syrup with waffles, not like this:
Tomorrow’s glucose appointment will be bright and early and be 2 hrs. I need to fast tonight to make sure that my system is free and clear for the test, so I’m ready to eat all the food soon! My book and I are heading back down to the General bright and early for 7am for some quality glucose bonding! We have our next ultrasound and clinic visit booked for the week before Christmas and we are already looking forward to it.
Once we were done at the General, we headed on over to CHEO for our pre-booked tour of the NICU. It’s a pretty straight walk over from the General, through Ottawa U and into CHEO – once you know your way. The NICU is on the same floor as the catwalk walk – I wonder if they did that on purpose for the moms? Anyway, we met with the team leader that brought us in and explained the layout of the NICU, as well as what is encouraged (parents being with their babies, feeding when they can, changing, etc.) and what’s discouraged (sick people, more than 2 people – including parents – at a time). It was rough going in at first. Seeing some of those babies in there just so tiny, so fragile. One was hooked up to about 4 machines and there were a LOT of noises and what sounded like alarms going off. I must have looked a bit nervous because the team leader advised me right away that it’s normal and nothing to be worried about. She said that they “Look a the numbers. Constantly.” I’m glad we had the tour and I recommend it to anyone that is in a high-risk situation where their baby will be at NICU. The staff there are so amazing and kind, but I can’t imagine seeing all those monitors and hearing all the noises and not knowing what’s going on. It was difficult at times – I’m not going to lie – but we felt really good after and know our girl will be in the best care when we aren’t there.
I seriously find you get what you give at the hospital. A smile or holding the door for someone goes a long way. And not just for the other patients, but for the staff too. These folk work hard all day, taking care of us and making sure that our needs – no matter how rude we may be – are taken care of. The staff in the medical profession have both thick skin and broad shoulders, but deserve more respect than they get at times. They not only have to deal with issues and complications at work, but with frustrated and irate patients and their families. If you find yourself snapping at someone, out of frustration or confusion, this can be understandable, but please, remember that these people are trying to help as best they can. (Side note: I snapped at a security guard at the Bathurst airport earlier this year after being stuck for 6 hrs in that little place. I then realized how much of a jerk face I was to someone that was really quite pleasant to me and other folk that were in the same situation. So, once everyone was though and I saw he wasn’t busy, I went over to him and apologized for my sarcastic comments and not so great attitude. When I told him “it’s no excuse, but I’ve had about 10 hrs sleep in the past 3 days, and I’m so sick because of my pregnancy … I really just want to get home!” He smiled and said “Congrats! Not on this terrible experience, but on your pregnancy! And don’t worry about it, we get it all the time”. I told him it doesn’t matter if he does, I shouldn’t have been snide like that. And you know what? Not only was he appreciative that someone took the time to acknowledge they were being not-so-nice, but I left knowing that I did the right thing. End of aside.)