Birth Story: High Risk Pregnancy and Delivery {Guest Post}

It's safe to assume, pregnancy is not my ideal state of being.  While I love the idea of carrying a precious little body and soul around in my womb, the effects it takes on my body are taxing.

My second pregnancy went smoother than my first, but nonetheless, it was a long 39 weeks!  I was lucky to never experience any morning sickness the 2nd time around, but as I grew (and baby grew), my body became something I was more frustrated with than in love with.

Compounding the fatigue and pain are the effects of managing my Type 1 diabetes durning pregnancy.  It's such a delicate balance to watch for each and every complication I am at risk for without worrying myself sick.  I was so grateful for the extra grace during this pregnancy in allowing God to form and protect Baby E as He saw fit.  However, I do have to admit, I was not often without frustration at the difficulty in controlling my blood sugars, despite my best efforts, and the lack of support from the many on my medical team.  While my weeks were filled with many doctor's appointments, I often felt like most were just CYAing with extra tests and precautions, not really attempting to put themselves in my shoes and assist me in having the healthiest pregnancy possible.

I knew going into my labor that my baby was once again measuring very big.  A common complication of mothers with diabetes is that their babies gain extra weight in-utero as a means of processing the excess sugar they intake when they drink the amniotic fluid.  Because of this, I knew my risk of needing a c-section was high, and begged my OB to let me try a vaginal birth again.  He obliged and stayed course with the original plan to induce at 39 weeks to avoid the baby being "extra" large and no longer having the necessary nutrients needed past that point.  I did, however, make many attempts to convince many of my doctors to induce before 39 weeks.  They all assured me it was in the best interest of my baby and I to wait... and so we did.

And then the day came, July 16th.  We walked in the door at 7:30am and Baby E was in my arms at 7:37pm.  The induction process was a bit different than my first, but I greatly appreciated knowing what to expect and that Dr. L took a slower approach this time around.  I will save all the wonderful details of my labor, and just say this:  I am forever grateful to my husband who surprised me  during both of my labors with his attention and care for me during pregnancy and labor.  Never once did he get scared or grossed out, just encouraged, comforted and sweetly loved me to do what I was made to do.

Baby E was born weighing 9lbs 8oz (the same as Baby A) and 20.5in long.  I was able to have the vaginal delivery I had hoped for and was able to hold him directly after his birth.  It is the most magical moment, when that baby, covered in yucky goop, is placed in your exhausted arms and all that you can do is breathe and realize that you have just fallen in love all over again.  It's a crazy little moment; how quick it all happens.  But you never ever forget it.

Having a high-risk pregnancy for me meant giving up my "perfect" idea of the pregnancy and delivery I wanted.  I knew I would be considered high-risk before we got pregnant with our first, but I never expected what the emotions of that would feel like.  When it came time for the delivery of my first, I thought I had given up that "perfect" idea.  I thought I had prepared myself for the unknown dangers and complications I faced.

But when they came, when they actually happened, I was devastated.  It was still a fresh wound when I got pregnant with our second.  My only solace was to surrender.  After all, we mamas are forced to face the reality everyday that we cannot control the course of our babies' lives.  This was just another lesson for me in letting go!

The complications we had expected, did indeed happen.  Baby E's blood sugars were dangerously low after his birth and after many attempts to bring them up with nursing and formula, he was taken to the nursery to start an IV of Dextrose (sugar water).  This is a pretty typical occurrence in babies of type 1 moms due to the amount of insulin they are used to producing to compensate for mom's lack thereof.  When they come into life outside the womb, their pancreases are still functioning at that high level and thus causing low blood sugars.  The worst part of all of this was less than an hour after giving birth to him, Baby E and I had to be separated.  Luckily Dad was by his side the whole time.  After 24hrs on the IV we were able to wean him off and he joined us in our room for a few short hours before we headed home.

We never experienced that joy before, being in the hospital room, just husband, baby and me.  Baby A was discharged straight from the nursery, so while it seems so normal, it was anything but to us, and oh so special.

What ideals or assumptions have changed as you've become a parent?