Friday, August 2, 2013

Kaitlyn's birth story-Part 3

This pregnancy has been my most challenging. Not because I had worse pregnancy symptoms (although the morning sickness phase this time lasted at least twice as long), but because several things happened in my family that would have been horribly stressful at any time, but during pregnancy were just about more than I thought I could cope with. I had to give up my ideals of a peaceful pregnancy where I got plenty of sleep, exercised regularly, stayed low stress, and let others take care of me. Instead, I had broken sleep pretty much every night for the last six months of my pregnancy, had to stop exercising because my body couldn't take the physical strain of no sleep and exercise, battled constant stress plus stress that the baby would be harmed by my high stress levels, and took care of the various members of my family who were taken out by a variety of health issues, sometimes all at the same time.

I did my best to take care of my pregnant self, considering the less than ideal circumstances. I took my prenatal vitamins, ate well, drank lots of water and herb tea, and slept as much as I could. I could feel that the stress had taken it's toll on my body though, so when I didn't pass my glucose screen, I felt convinced that I wouldn't pass the glucose tolerance test either. I wasn't surprised when I got the news that I had failed the GTT. I was referred over to See Baby, Dr. Bootstaylor's office, for gestational diabetes counseling. I went to that first appointment full of questions. "What does this diagnosis mean? How does this affect my VBAC chances? What do I need to do manage the condition?" I learned that I would have to finger prick four times a day to keep an eye on my blood sugar levels. Ick. I would need to have additional ultrasounds at four week intervals to keep an eye on the baby's growth patterns and well-being. To my relief, I learned that if I could control my blood sugar with diet, care during my labor and birth would not be any different than a non-GD mom. Dr. Bootstaylor said he didn't usually recommend induction for GD moms (my main fear, as both my previous babies were born at 42 weeks), and that if I could maintain normal blood sugar levels through diet, my risk levels should be similar to a mom who didn't have gestational diabetes.

I took on the new challenge of managing my blood sugar levels. Fortunately my trusty Paleo diet that I was already following only needed some slight modifications to keep my numbers in line. I completely ignored the recommended GD diet plan I was given that was built around multiple small servings of grains and three cups of milk every day (yuck). I knew that the way I was eating would be better for my blood sugar levels than the carb heavy, food pyramid diet that primarily emphasized portion sizes. I swapped raisins in my oatmeal for raspberries and heavy cream (yum). I figured out I could eat fruit as long as I didn't overdo the quantity in one sitting. My post meal blood sugar numbers were perfect. My fasting numbers hovered around the target mark, sometimes slightly above, sometimes slightly below. I felt sure that my broken sleep was the culprit. Fortunately, Dr. Bootstaylor thought the fasting numbers were acceptable as long as they didn't go any higher.

After I recovered from the initial shock (now I have to worry about GD too?), I had to process that I was now a high risk pregnancy. Being a very granola mama, I worried about what this could mean for my pregnancy and birth. Would I have to take medicine? Would the baby be huge? Would I be forced to have unwanted medical intervention during my birth? Would the baby have low blood sugar after the birth that would necessitate the use of a glucose solution, or worse, formula? Would my start to breastfeeding be compromised? All my pregnancy and birth books didn't reassure me. They droned on endlessly about how less intervention was safe in a low risk pregnancy. What about high risk pregnancy? Was minimal intervention still feasible and safe? My pregnancy reference books devoted, at most, two pages to gestational diabetes. Internet searches mostly proved too alarming to be useful. I saw tons of stories of early inductions and c-sections.

I was increasingly grateful for my care providers as they remained calm and reassuring. The midwives told me that if my blood sugar numbers were good, we could proceed normally with prenatal and birth care. Dr. Bootstaylor continued to tell me after every ultrasound that the baby looked great, and normal. I soaked up the word normal every time I heard it, clinging to the possibility that this roller coaster pregnancy could still be normal and the hope that I could still have a normal birth.

1 comment: