Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

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04 May 2011

Why I Don't Do Tests Offered in Pregnancy, and Then A LIttle More

So, I'm weird right? Let's just start there....

This last week I had an appointment with my midwife and it was the first time that we had met her (the husband was able to come with me). Now, one of the most important questions that we ever ask, yes, it's very near and dear to both of us, is what the provider thinks about the glucose test. **If you're unfamiliar with this test, it's usually given sometime in the 2nd trimester (between 24-28 weeks) and involves drinking a sugar mixture, then you wait an hour, do a blood draw, and from that you can kind of get an idea how your body is handling sugar. However, if you fail this test or it's inconclusive then you get the joy of a 3 hour test... drink sugar, sit for 3 hours, then blood draw.**

Now, I learned with my first pregnancy that we would be denying any screening of our baby beyond a basic ultrasound. After discussing options with our OB then we realized that half or more of the tests the offered are likely to give false-positives or false-negatives, so we really didn't see the point. Additionally, the very thought of an amniocentesis (a big long needle being stuck in your belly to extract fluid) to confirm a diagnosis that may or may not be true and that may or may not cause a miscarriage, just wasn't for us. If you do these tests that's fine by me, it's your body, not mine, you do what's right for you. MIght I throw out that my current midwife has seen over 300 positive tests for downs syndrome and that only 2 of those babies actually had it when they were born and 1 other baby she delivered had it and the test was negative? She said it was pretty terrible because the positive results really affected the bonding between the parents and child beforehand and caused some rocky roads. Anyway! That was just what I picked up this week, thankfully we realized early on our own that the stress and pressure of dealing that kind of information would be just too much and that we'd rather just deal with things as the come!

K, so the one thing that I didn't have worked out before the first baby (besides don't let people bully/scare you into an epidural, even if they're closely related to you maternally *cough* Even though my oldest is 6 I can still feel where the epidural was, no thanks! Hello natural childbirth my old friend! I'll take some pain and immediate relief once they're out any day!), okay, I'm focusing now, the one thing that I didn't have worked out was the whole glucose test thing. They said I needed it, I was nervous since I know better than to just shoot up straight sugar without having something to balance it out, but we really need to know if I have gestational diabetes because that could affect mine and baby's health... yah, I now know that's just what silly people say :-).

Alright, don't get in an uproar, yes, diabetes is serious and can cause large babies etc., but let's talk a walk down common sense lane shall we?? Have you gained an abnormal amount of weight? Are you measuring larger than you should despite how old an ultrasound says baby is? Do you have diabetes in your family? Have you had diabetes in previous pregnancies??

For MOST people, the answer is no to all of these! Do you know the percentage of women that actually have gestational diabetes? It's somewhere between 3-10% depending on the demographics of the area you're looking at. The most correct average I've seen lays around 6%. So.... we test 100% of pregnant women with this horrendous test because 6% might have it?? This is a fairly new phenomenon, the whole testing everyone thing. Before you were only tested if you answered yes to those questions above there. There is no woman that I've ever talked to that had glowing reviews of this test. Personally, I almost puked (which means you get to start all over again!), and the very thought of having to do the 3 hour test made me a ball of tears.

So, since that time I've denied the glucose test, and have come in contact with some really nasty people :-). In Korea the lady was so upset I got a good lecture, through which I stayed calm and I'm pretty sure she hated that more than anything else I could have done. She then informed me that I had to sign a waiver, to which I smiled and said okay, and that was that. Subsequently I've met some interesting people that are more holistic but still think that it's important (Yah, sorry, unless there's some huge red flag waiving about me that you think I absolutely need to take this test... yes, I would do it then.... then the answer is no), and others who I just down right catch of guard.

Here's what I've learned:
-For 25 years the medical community has known that you can use jelly beans for this lovely test. However, if you take all the information in the world to your provider they won't think anything of it. It's true though! The research is there! (this test was suggested by the more holistic midwife who surprised me with her adamants that I take the test in the first place... and then we moved and the midwife here gave me more stats as to why a blanket test for everyone was silly).
-And secondly, I don't know what it's called but there's a blood test (no sugar added :-D), that you can have drawn which gives an accurate reading of your blood for the past 3 months then the glucose test every will. I'm really not going to speculate as to why we're being subjected to a less affective test than what's available, but as always I'm thinking money probably has something to do with it.

Anyway! Ladies, do your research! Be in control of your health whatever it may be. The treatment plans for gestational diabetes involve eating right and in right portions, exercise, and monitoring baby. Really? I need a test to tell me to do what I need to be doing anyway? Maybe you do! I don't know. The point of the matter is, that I think the whole business of having babies has become so complicated and medical that people don't know where to start! I seriously got a bag on my first visit to the office that had baby formula and 10 magazines. Things you should take to the hospital, what to do about xyz. It was incredible! My favorite part?? A lot of the information was conflicting :-).

Having babies is a natural thing, promise. I'm so grateful for people that have knowledge on how to intervene when things go awry (cause they sometimes do, that's why we have ours naturally but in a hospital), but for the most part, just relax! Eat as well as you can... sometimes I can't eat at all and sometimes I need more food then I think I should eat... try to stay active, drink water and enjoy life! And remember, this baby is YOURS. Call the shots and don't let anyone pressure you or scare you into making a choice, know your options and what you can handle and make sure your spouse is on board.

Want a for instance? I am a REALLY harsh critic of pitocin. I have several friends that don't go into labor without it (including a really cute mom of 10 I met when I was pregnant with our first), so don't judge me here, I do know it has it's place and if I absolutely had to have it for some medical emergency then we'd acquiesce. However! I think my second child and the experience I had delivering her saved my forth child's life.

We had just moved back from Korea, the husband was going to be school through the Air Force full time and our daughter was due about the 2nd week of school. I have a sister who literally planned all 6 of her kids thanks to pitocin, so we figured it wouldn't be a big deal to induce her on a Friday so that the husband could have a few days off with me before going back to school (we also had a 15 month old at the time). I still get nervy when I think of all the contractions that I felt with her and how hard they were hitting on top of each other, it just wasn't right! Something went wrong with the epidural, although they don't know what and now I'm pretty sure it was just Heavenly Father saying "remember this!", so I felt everything. They got things situated, I fell asleep for a little bit, then the next thing I know nurses are flying around me and putting an oxygen mask on me. It was pretty scary, I had no idea what was going on and I didn't care for having that thing on. Turns out our daughter's blood pressure had dropped pretty severely so now they were trying to do what they could to keep from having to do a c-section. What?? I didn't even know that was a possibility. Well! I do now, and a whole lot more.

So, baby #3 we just decide to go all natural, didn't take any classes and everything was great. It was all new territory so things were a little scary (I had NO idea what transition was going to be like or how long it would last, or what it was!), so when contractions hit on top of each other without letting me relax and I was just told that I was like a 5 or 6 I wasn't sure I could last, then wouldn't you know, they checked 5 minutes later and then rushed to get the Dr. because this baby was ready!

Baby #4 had a funny delivery. Labor started and stopped a few days before he was born, then I woke up one morning and my water had broke.... which was weird because that's never happened before right before baby is born.... I'd have really strong contractions, then nothing, and that lasted ALL DAY LONG whereas normally from 1st contraction to baby for me is pretty quick. We didn't understand. I was dilating slowly but surely, but things would just stop. I was asked from 12 hours from water breaking on if I wanted to start pitocin and was happy to turn them away for hours! I knew from our little girl that stuff wasn't any good! Then when he was actually born (I just decided that he was ready at one point and decided to push contraction or not), there was a true knot in his cord! It only happens in 1% of births, and I was just lucky I guess :-). Immediately the midwife explains that she's heard before about the body slowly and starting pregnancy because it knows that if things move too quickly that knot will pull tight and there goes baby's life support! BIG NOTE TO SELF, if they would have started pitocin it would have moved him too fast and could have potential caused an emergency situation. (*I"ll spare you a picture of an umbilical cord, but this is exactly what happens to it when there's a true knot).

So, get educated, learn from experience and enjoy the ride!


Courtney Wilson said...

I've never taken the glucose test. Mostly because I hadn't had a baby in the hospital until Jack and I didn't want to drink the nasty stuff. When I asked my midwife about it here and said I didn't want to take it if at all possible, she said I could just test my blood sugar every morning for a week and let her know the results. If you want to borrow my blood sugar machine (with new clean pokes of course) let me know.

The idea of the amnio freaked me out too.

Wow about baby #4! Good call on your part, emergency c-sections are no fun and they never even got to the pitocin with me.

Cherie said...

Thanks, we're good though. I'm okay signing waivers! This midwife we ended up catching off guard. I asked her what she thought of the glucose test, she stalled a bit so I said, "really, we just want to know if you're going to pitch a fit when I deny it" and she quickly said, "oh no, that's totally fine." And proceeded to tell me a lot of the things that I've learned along the way.

I'm going to have to be swelled up like a balloon before I so much as consider one of those tests :-).

The Garner Family said...

What a journey this Motherhood thing is:) I started out totally anti pain meds but believing that all hospital staff is more competent than me and ultimately looking out for my well-being (truly naive, huh?)

Now I know that every mother has to follow her instincts and choose the path that will be safest and most positive for her family (even if that means pain meds) and that I can't assume that anyone is looking out for my needs and priorities except me and the hubby.

Here's hoping for a safe, smooth, and great experience this time!

I'm so glad I have friends who are open to unusual ideas and supportive as well. Thanks girls!

crazy4boys said...

I'm the 6%!!!! With my first I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 20 weeks or so. The second was diagnosed at 11 weeks which is highly abnormal but my body said, "Hey, I'm pregnant...it's time to get diabetes." Same with the 3rd. Exercise and diet worked for controlling it with 1 and 2, but NOT 3. I had to use oral insulin and even then my blood sugar was crazy (I checked it 5 times a day). That one ended up coming 7 weeks early and the doctor told us that he most likely would have died if he'd stayed in there any longer because (we didn't know this until he was born) the insulin was not passing through the placenta and he was getting straight sugar for months. It's actually a miracle he's not brain damaged or deformed.

Long story short, for those of us in the 6% it's vital we keep track of our blood sugars and get them under control. Every time I look at #4 I'm reminded of the MANY miracles that brought him out safe and sound.

And as a side note, no matter how healthy I tried to be during my pregnancies I got preeclampsia with #2 and had 2 emergency c-sections. Sometimes our bodies just break down during pregnancy....and sometimes they don't.

Cherie said...

I know you were :-P. Hence why I'm glad there are interventions and that I that are in place. I know how important it is to get help for that stuff when it's happening to you. All I'm bringing up is the difference between there being signs and symptoms to tip things off (because obviously since you had it once your body is more likely to do it again... red flag! and to be diagnosed at 20 weeks there was something going on to make suspicions arise), and when people are screened for absolutely no reason. Yes, it's a big deal when it's happening to you, but no, we shouldn't do a blanket test for everyone. It's like making everyone get an MRI for ovarian torsion because it may be happening and can be deadly.

So, I totally agree that treating problems due diabetes is super important. I have other friends and family members who get preeclampsia every time regardless of what they do as well. Hence my statement about being in the hospital for delivery myself.... I'm grateful for what's in place when bad things do come up. I promise, I thought things through! For the most part things go well and people just need to relax, that was my overall point.

And I too am glad your #4 came when he did, I love that kid!!

Heather B said...

I can't even tell you how big my smile was when I read this post!

Our journey started very mainstream "the docs will take care of everything because they know everything", and that lack of informed mentality on our part almost killed our #2 baby by assuming the hospital staff (and my OB) knew what they were doing. (BTW, after causing the very circumstances that almost killed our son, our OB actually had the audacity to tell us that it was a good thing he was there, since he saved our baby's life, you know, from the VERY things that his ignorance caused to go wrong in the first place!)

After that, we actually got educated and informed ourselves, and did a complete turn around before babies #3 through #7 came. And wow, what a wonderful learning journey! After that we too, denied the "blanket tests for no reason" and were still able to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes just fine with baby #5.

All this routine testing is so frustrating and generally unnecessary, when there are much better ways to find things out. Without exception, after our disaster experience that second time, when pregnancy problems have come up (and they have every time since then, as well) our midwife has been able to handle them BETTER, SAFER, and HEALTHIER, and all without ridiculous routines and tests that can sometimes do more harm than good.

We don't even do ultrasounds (unless there were a real cause for concern) since they are so very dangerous as well. With baby #3, our midwife thought there was a possibility that we were having twins so she sent us in for one. We were determined that I would only subject Baby to that cell rattling technology for the minimum amount of time to simply discover if there were one or two babies in there. I had to have WWIII with the tech when I politely informed her that the number of babies in there was ALL we needed to know. She completely ignored me, told us there was only one baby in there and proceeded to do her routine measuring, etc, and told me to get comfortable for the next HOUR on my back while she counted fingers and toes. I told her we were done, that we had found out the only information we or our midwife needed to know, and she continued doing her thing while arguing with me about how ignorant we were. The baby started freaking out and avoiding the ultrasound (duh, when it disrupts them on a cellular level, that's not surprising!!) and I asked her to give it to me in writing (signed by her) that what she was doing would not have ANY adverse effects on the baby, and she couldn't, but still continued her routine. I had to finally PHYSICALLY force her hand from my body because she refused to listen to me and stop, and as I left she was still hurling insults at me.

Yes, there's definitely a place for tests, surgeries, and everything else, but there is never a place for the ignorance and the arrogance that seems to prevail there, as well. And unfortunately, along the earlier part of our health journey we saw WAY too much of that.

I'm sure my comment (wow, is it really the length of an essay? :) will cause some people to be mad, but it doesn't matter. I KNOW for a fact that with a couple of my later babies, and because of the particular problems we had during those pregnancies, had I been in the care of the western medicine community, because of the way they are trained to deal with those problems, those babies of mine would NOT have survived. I know this now and am SO grateful we were led to get ourselves educated BEFORE we faced those problems.

GET EDUCATED AND INFORMED!! Like you said, it's YOUR baby, take that responsibility seriously, and come to know as much as you can! FANTASTIC post!

Courtney Wilson said...

AND follow the spirit! When the Lord tells you to have your baby in a hospital with an epidural... YOU LISTEN even if it's counter to all logic and experience.

Doing that is why we still have sweet little Jack-Jack :)

Heather B said...

DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY follow the Spirit. Get yourself educated, and follow the Spirit. P.S. The more we know, the more He has to work with :)

Milk and Honey Mommy said...


This is a great post. I chose my OB because he allowed me to participate in my pregnancy w/him rather than just following his directions. I did do the yucky, yucky glucose test, but we never did an amnio and w/my youngest refused all of the "old mommy" testing they insist on doing for mothers over 40. If I had another chance, then I would love to have as natural a pregnancy as possible, but I think we're done over here unless God performs another miracle; I'm gamed.