We used our experiences in my first pregnancy to help guide us through this pregnancy. Despite the obstetricians not wanting to hear about it at the time, I brought up our plans for a natural term delivery at the very first appointment. This was certainly met with some resistance but I asked them to please note it down. I also showed them results from placental pathology done at my first pregnancy to give my argument extra steam. Isn’t it ridiculous that my first question after the birth of both of my boys was “how does the placenta look?”, yes, you heard me right! The boys were crying with eyes open so I was pretty happy with their condition. In both cases I was told it looked great, not degraded in any way. For my second birth the nurse actually held it up for us to look at, in hindsight, I should have taken a photo!
I was certainly not as fit leading up to this pregnancy, I was far too busy working full time and chasing a toddler around in any another time, however, I had returned to a good weight and my blood glucose management had been optimal ever since the birth of my first baby. I had continued to use my insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring to manage my diabetes the best I could.
My hba1c leading into this pregnancy was 5.3% and throughout was between this and 5.6%. From the beginning of this pregnancy this baby was a little bit large in the abdomen according to the ultrasounds. Comparing his head circumference and abdomen circumference apparently showed a difference that they were a little concerned about but nothing that was over the limit to what it should be. He was basically at the top end of the normal scale for abdomen in comparison to other parts. From 2 months his abdomen was measuring two weeks ahead. There were no problems with the placenta or the blood flow and everything else was good.
Throughout this pregnancy I continued to eat like I did in the latter stages of my first pregnancy. Sensibly, but including red meat, chicken, raw fish, one coffee a day and a small amount of alcohol occasionally, a large amount of whole foods including vegetables, fruits and green smoothies. I also continued the never ending activity of running after a 1 year old.
Let’s cut to the point! I have type 1 diabetes and I had a baby delivered spontaneously and naturally at 39 weeks and 3 days gestation. I did not require any induction. I started having contractions at home. I had a healthy and happy baby boy born weighing 3.7kg and with no blood glucose problems.
I started having contractions or Braxton hicks at home at about 11pm. I had never had a spontaneous labour before so how was I supposed to know what it was like? I did begin to time whatever it was I was having and I eventually found that these were getting closer and closer together so I woke up my husband and I called the hospital who asked me to come in straight away. We live about 50 minutes away from the hospital. My mum was in town so she could come over and look after our 1 year old so we got her over ASAP at four in the morning and then we started the journey to the hospital.
The hospital was pleased with my presentation when I arrived and asked me to wait in a waiting room; they clearly did not realise that I can put on a good face and I likely have quite a high tolerance for pain. Fifteen minutes later they needed to get me into a room, I was having contractions very close together. Either the hospital was not prepared or they did not realise my history despite me advising them but they sent me to a room with a student midwife, which I was very happy with because she just let things progress slowly and naturally and didn’t force me to get in the bed like many others might have done. Eventually a midwife did come in and asked me to get in bed and she found that my waters had already broken at some point and that this baby was coming! Yay, a birth without induction!! Flash forward a few minutes and we have a happy and healthy baby boy named Hunter. There was no placental degradation whatsoever. He was a little bit bigger at 3.7kg. Many second babies are a little bit bigger than a woman’s first, regardless of diabetes. His BG levels remained perfect that whole day and we were out of there and heading home the next day!
I write this, not as medical advice but as inspiration to show people that we are not all made out of the same mould and we do not have to all fit into the same mould. Just as people live different lives, people’s pregnancy and labour stories can be different and that is ok, even with diabetes! Just because we have diabetes it should not mean that we have to alter our babies plan and make them come into the world earlier than they want to, if everything else is fine with your health. Why should our babies be induced at 37 weeks when there are plenty of people without diabetes who have 4kg babies at full term without even a discussion about their baby’s weight? Talk to your team to work out how to make your pregnancy better suit your ideals.