To make a 6-day story short, I was scheduled to be induced on January 27th, at 38.5 weeks along in my pregnancy. There wasn't any particularly urgent reason aside from the statistics around pregnancy with diabetes and the general protocol that type 1 women not go past 39 weeks for the sake of both mom and baby's well-being. Lucy was definitely measuring on the larger side but still within normal range, and we really had no reason to feel that it was due to my diabetes because a) my A1C had been in non-diabetic range during the entire pregnancy, below 5.7% and b) my mother had 6 babies and they were all big babies despite her tiny frame. My twin brother and I were a month early and each weighed over 6 pounds...and my other brother weighed 11 lbs! My husband was no small peanut either! In other words: there's no reason to be surprised that this baby isn't dainty.
After 3 days on and off pitocin, I was still ZERO centimeters dilated. Zero. I'd been having mild to moderate contractions, but my body was still saying, "Nahhh, not right now, thanks." Either the baby was taking after my stubborn side or taking after her dad's easily content and happy right where he is mentality.
***I must take a moment to share that my two very best friends kept me and my husband company for those 3 long days of waiting. Without them, it would've been painfully boring and tedious and frustrating. Thank you, Tara and Tanya! And of course, a thank you to the other wonderful friends who visited during those 3 long days: Cindy, Beth, and Jenn.
Finally, the doctor said, "Okay, if you still aren't dilated by 4 p.m. today, we'll do a c-section tonight."
To which I said, "Fantastic!" because while I had envisioned a possibly "natural" birth, being on pitocin for 3 days along with an IV of insulin, glucose and a load of saline had my feet looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy. Fortunately, I was well aware before going into this part of the process that a "birthing plan" is really just a hope, and the most I could do was go with the flow and do what's best for the health of both baby and me.
(Oh, on a side note: did I mention the constant negotations I had to engage in around every insulin dose? Good lord, that part was stressful. I managed to keep my blood sugar perfectly -- and I mean perfectly -- within normal range 95 percent of the 6 days I spent in the hospital, hovering around 80-110 mg/dL most of the time. But the one time I budged and let the hospital protocol dictate my insulin needs, my blood sugar sky-rocketed to 200 mg/dL and took 3 hours to come down. The nurse felt so bad that she had convinced me to take less insulin than I wanted, she cried and said, "I broke you!" After that happened, they all agreed, "Okay, Ginger knows what she's doing, we'll let her have final say on insulin doses"...except the nursing staff and residents change every 12 hours, and eventually (post-partum, of course) I was moved down to the maternity ward where I had to negotiate (ie: be really rude and stubborn) about every insulin dose again! It was exhausting, but I had just enough relentless energy to be obnoxiously persistent and ensure that I got the amounts of insulin I needed. In a nutshell, they seemed terrified of hypoglycemia and terrified of dosing too much insulin. Which is amusing to me because a) low blood sugars are so easy to treat and b) high blood sugars take much longer to correct.)
Anyways, back to the beautiful baby part.
The spinal injection to numb my lower body hurt less than some of the DexCom set-ups I've experienced...no big deal! A little sting, a little burn. For a diabetic, nothing we aren't used to! The only negative side-effect I really experienced was very violent shaking and trembling throughout the entire surgery and for an hour or so afterwards as well. They said it was my body thinking it was in a hypothermic state because of the spinal medication. No harm, no foul...just very creepy and uncomfortable.
And then my husband said, "This is it! I see her head!" as he peered over the drapes and saw the doctors slowly pulling her out of my body.
"Roger, she's not crying. Is she blue? Is she breathing?" was all I could muster before I started crying from anticipation, excitement, nervousness, and total joy.
"Just wait," my husband said. He later explained that the baby was actually stretching and slowly realizing she was no longer in the cozy womb. I guess when they aren't delivered vaginally, they don't have several hours or minutes to realize what's happening...so they don't come out quite as pissed off!
"Her head is huge!"
"Look at all that hair!"
Those were the exclamations I heard from the nurses and doctors as they pulled her out.
9:28 p.m. on January 29th.
I still hadn't laid my eyes on her myself. They took her over to a cleaning station, and my husband stood with her where she held tightly to his finger while they cleaned her up. Then, after what felt like 15 minutes but was actually only 3 or 4, they finally brought her over to me and laid her on my chest. I really don't know how to write the sentence that describes how I felt during that moment. There's no way to describe it.
This little being came from me?
You? Lucy! You've been inside me all this time? You're perfect! I made you?
Look at you!
We made it!
Her blood sugar was checked at 1 hour post-partum, 2 hours post-partum, and 3 hours post-partum. If mom's blood sugar is high throughout pregnancy and particularly right before the birth, baby can have very low blood sugars during the first few hours of life. The hospital wants anything above 45 mg/dL. Lucy passed each test with a blood sugar around 57 mg/dL, which is totally normal and healthy for a newborn baby.
Additionally, there was no sign of macrosomnia (chubbiness due to maternal high blood sugars), her blood sugars were normal, her eyes were bright, she had ten fingers and ten toes. She was perfect. Perfectly healthy.
Take that, 'betes.
It's been two weeks since she was born, and I can't imagine life any other way. All those forums and blogs full of stressful warnings and cautions about just how terribly hard and agonizing and frustrating the first few weeks of baby-parenting are...I wished I'd never bothered to read them. For us, it's just been wonderful. And I am so especially grateful that even though my body can't make insulin, it can make Lucy.