The lovely Peggy from A Mother’s Secrets has asked for posts on the subject of pregnancy lows. This is my contribution.
All my adult life I wanted to be pregnant. I couldn’t wait to start wearing maternity clothes and walking with a waddle. I wanted to be treated differently, reverentially. That’s how I saw pregnant women, I was in awe of them.
When it finally happened to me I was thrilled. I had to keep popping to the loos at work so I could have a grin to myself. Mostly I loved being pregnant. It’s an exciting time, a time to make plans. I studied my baby books and each week read about the baby’s development. I also checked the mother’s symptoms guide and read out snippets to Andy. This week I will get a rush of hormones, apparently. This week I should have my first scan. And so on.
With Presley I sailed through my pregnancy until about 28 weeks. I narrowly failed the Glucose Tolerance test for gestational diabetes. I had to keep a food diary and regularly check my blood sugar. After a week I went back to the diabetic clinic at my local hospital. They said some of my readings were too high. Why had I eaten white bread and pizza?
This was the start of the low. I hadn’t even seen a dietician, yet I was prescribed insulin injections. I asked the doctor if there was an alternative. His caring reply was ‘your baby could die’.
I had to inform DVLA and my car insurance. If I had a hypoglycemic episode I could pass out at the wheel. I had to tell everyone at work that I was a diabetic and give them instructions in case I became ill. I had to inject myself twice a day, immediately before eating. I got used to this and could discreetly inject myself in restaurants.
I followed a low GI diet and kept my blood sugar under control. I lost weight. In fact I weighed the same the day I went into labour as I did the day I got pregnant. I probably wasn’t eating enough, but I was terrified that a single polo mint would harm my unborn child.
I had a couple of scans to check that the baby wasn’t getting too big. They estimated an 8lb baby. It was reassuring to see my child on the screen.
All through my pregnancy I had been planning a natural, active birth. I went to a wonderful yoga class to prepare my body. Andy and I went on an excellent active birth weekend. I was following a natal hypnotherapy course too. I was adamant that no one would force me to lay on a bed to give birth.
At one of my weekly diabetic clinic visits I asked the antenatal consultant whether having gestational diabetes meant my labour would be any different from normal.
I was told that I would have to be induced early. I would have continuous foetal monitoring. I would have insulin and glucose drips.
I asked if I would be able to be upright, move around? I was told no, you’ll have to lay on the bed.
When you are pregnant it is almost impossible to see beyond the birth of your baby. You can’t imagine what it’s like to have a baby at home. So hearing these words was pretty devastating to me. I was worried sick that my baby would die because I had gestational diabetes and I was terrified of an inactive labour and medical intervention.
My labour was traumatic, the medics intervened, but Presley arrived, all 6lb 10oz of him. Andy jokes that he wasn’t delivered by stork, but by Dalek (venthouse)!
After a few days in the Special Care Baby Unit we took our precious boy home.
Once you’ve had the baby, and you start to take care of it, the labour and birth gains some perspective. It’s only a day or two out of the rest of your life. The most important thing is holding your new baby and caring for it. All of the worry, fear of the unknown and the pain is behind you.
You’re a parent. Now the real worrying can start!