It is the end of December, my baby boy is almost due. My husband and I enjoy the peace and quiet, after tomorrow our lives will be changed forever.
The night before our wedding, two years prior, my sugars were chaos. I had a hard time sleeping from the suspense and then had hypo’s and hypers galore. The morning of the induction I was surprised how well I slept (not counting all the bathroom trips and occasional contraction). My sugars had been perfectly in range all night! All thanks to loop, my sugars sure did try to go up because of the nerves ,yet loop got them perfectly in check and also prevented the relaxation hypo which came after. How I love this semi-automatic pancreas.
In preparation for labor I had trained my husband to take care of my sugars. He would be in charge of my diabetes (as long as he felt comfortable) and I would focus on “popping out” the baby. Through the looping & pregnancy facebook group I had heard so many success stories, I strongly believed that loop would do a better job adjusting every five minutes than a system where insulin is only adjusted every 1-2 hours. To be honest, I also just wasn’t too excited about handing off control to a stranger.
We arrived at the hospital around 8:15 a.m. There were some routine checks, a last ultrasound and then quite some waiting. Impatience, not knowing what was next and having to sit on a chair waiting for more information slightly raised my sugars. My husband gently told me I was at 160 mg/dl (9 mmol/L) which was definitely not where I wanted to be. Loop was trying but it could not beat the immobility so we gave some extra insulin and a 130% basal override.
Around 11:30, after what felt like forever, the induction was started. Of course then there was more waiting but now it felt worth it, this time the waiting had a purpose; we were going to meet our little boy. We were now also free to wander about the hospital as long as I would check in every so often. Around 3:00 p.m. contractions started for real, funnily enough this coincided perfectly with dropping sugars (from 120 mg/dl to 68 mg/dl – 6.5 mmol/L to 3.8 mmol/L). Five grams of carbs together with loop was all it took to get me cruising at a steady level between 90-100 mg/dl (5-5.5 mmol/L). Every once in a while my husband would feed me 5-8 grams of carbs which worked out perfectly.
After 6 p.m. things got though. Contractions were often and intense, after 7 p.m. there were barely 20-30 seconds between contractions, surely I was getting close to meeting my boy. Alas, I was still only at 2 cm, how could this be? Around 8 p.m. I was finally moved from the normal ward to a delivery room, I was at 5cm so they would give me an epidural at long last. My body was tensing, my muscles burned as if I had ran a marathon on three consecutive days, there was no communicating with me, I was in my own bubble. Then came the relief, my goodness, it was heavenly. Contractions slowed a little with ‘breaks’ of 1-1.5 minutes which felt like eternity. Before, when they were following each other so close it felt like all I could do was hold on, breathing with the contraction was out of the question. Now it was a whole different ball game, I felt I was finally able to do my part, breath through contractions, ‘relax’ between them, I could talk a little again and the communication with hubby and midwife empowered me. It still wasn’t easy and an epidural does not take away all the pain but the situation I was now in was what I had prepared for, I finally felt like I was capable of doing this. Good thing hubby was able to manage my sugars because I was out of it before the epidural. Hubby would just give me some sugar gel every once in a while and I think he would tell me my sugars but as long as they were okay I really wasn’t interested.
Around 1 a.m. I was still at 5 cm. Mentally this was a slight set back, my body was working so incredibly hard yet the result was difficult to see. But my baby boy was coming and we knew a first born could take a while. I started to doubt even more if I could do this. Of course I knew labor was difficult and it wouldn’t be easy, but I was unprepared with the emotional turmoil, with the feeling, that after a great pregnancy, my body was failing me at the most important moment. Thank goodness my sugars were behaving themselves so well! After 1 a.m. contractions started to slow down, to such a level that I could talk normally, I was even able to sleep for an hour.
After my nap labor became very relaxed, too relaxed. I could talk through contractions, could barely feel them. I was given a drip with picotin and we waited once more. Contractions seemed to be decreasing even more so they increased the dose and we waited longer. The midwife was in and out and discussing it with the doctor on duty. Once contractions slowed they informed us this usually didn’t happen. They were very open in their communication and worries to us. At first we weren’t too worried, it happens more often after an epidural that contractions slow. However baby should be actively participating in labor and it seemed the more active baby became the less contractions I was having. After numerous discussions between the midwife and the doctor outside of our room they came in and talked to us. It was a precarious situation, it could very well be that nothing was wrong at all, it’s a first child and those labors tend to last long. We could go on for at least another 4-6 hours and see what happens. If everything is fine they estimated baby boy would be there after 8 hours. However, they were very unsettled by the fact that the more active baby became the less contractions I was having. At the time they were speaking to me, despite the picotin, I wasn’t even having any contractions anymore. This could be nothing or it could be a sign that something was wrong. There was a chance, albeit small, that the umbilical cord was wrapped around babies neck. The doctor said he didn’t know what to do, it could very well be that if we decided to continue with a c-section people would say that it was unnecessary and could have been prevented. He also said that if we continue for another couple of hours and baby was in distress he could have damage, it would be an emergency c-section where my husband would not be allowed in the room and people would ask him why on earth he hadn’t done a c-section when there was no pressing problem yet. He said it was an impossible choice for him, what did we think? We were not expecting to have a choice in the matter, but because we did we had complete acceptance of it (smart doctor, he must have realized this as well). In the end we opted for a c-section because we did not want to run the risk that our little one would have any problems. The c-section itself was weird, your body is numbed so you don’t really feel pain but I wrongly (!!) assumed I wouldn’t feel anything. Boy was I wrong. You feel a lot, you feel them pushing and pulling and tugging, whereas I expected to ‘feel’ when baby was out this was actually not the case but pulling the placenta out was very uncomfortable. But alas, at 3:50 a.m. our beautiful baby boy arrived into this world. Looking at him I still can’t believe my body made this, that I am capable of producing life. For sure it is a miracle!
P.s. We realized too late that when contractions stopped we should increase my insulin. So unfortunately sugars were a little higher than we would’ve liked when we went into surgery. Baby boy was below the cut-off by 1mg/dL twice so they gave him two additional feeds but after that we were all good.