Hello all, I'm creating this blog for women who have type one diabetes especially and for all women interested in natural childbirth. I hope it will be a place where we can compile their birth stories and that it will be an encouragement for the medical community to take a second look at us...maybe we aren't so different.
My name is Jenn and I have 2 children, 22 months old and 4 months old. I have type one diabetes, diagnosed at age 12. I am a registered dietitian and practiced in acute care for 3 years. I had my first child at 24 years old and my second at 25. During my first pregnancy I decided, after much research, that natural (drug-free) childbirth was the best thing for me and baby. I sought an OB for my care, however was repeatedly referred to a maternal-fetal specialist because of my diabetes. Not knowing much, as it was my first pregnancy, I found a specialist and began the months of stringent diabetes management to ensure I had a healthy baby. Thankfully, and by the grace of God, I had a healthy 8lb 9oz baby at 39 weeks. Glycemic control was very good thorough out the pregnancy, with A1C's ranging from 5.9 to 6.2. The baby did suffer from mild hypoglycemia at birth and for the next 36 hours, sugars from 28-40, however his sugars stabilized with supplemental formula feedings. Unfortunately though, the birth of this child was much more difficult than need be and complicated by epidural anaesthesia and a vacuum assisted delivery. Not to mention the emotional complications of weeks of bio-physical profiles and non-stress tests in the latter weeks of the pregnancy. I ultimately ceased trying to breastfeed baby at 2 weeks postpartum and had a 6 month battle with post-partum depression...But keep reading...the story has a happy ending...
Now, for baby number two... with a much more informed and confident mother. I decided to continue with the maternal fetal specialist for my diabetes management; however asked this doctor to partner with another OB who would deliver the baby and was experienced with natural childbirth. The specialist did not approve of the delivery doctor of my choosing and recommended another...ok, we compromised and went with the other doctor. I was stronger emotionally this time, I knew with good glycemic control I'd proven I could have a "normal" sized baby and deliver vaginally...I also knew I needed to do it naturally for me. I refused procedures I was not comfortable with after open and honest discussion with my physicians, like vibroacoustic stimulation of the baby for non stress testing. I worked very diligently with the physicians on managing my diabetes and let them know when I felt they were being over cautious and unreasonable (they documented thoroughly in the medical record as to avoid liability for my "decisions"). Glycemic control was even better this pregnancy, A1C's ranged from 5.4 to 5.9. And in the end, it all worked out, again, by the grace of God. Ironically, baby was delivered by the doctor we were asked to "fire" by the specialist. He casually and rarely assisted the nurse as needed, I was allowed off the fetal monitor to ease the pain of natural child birth in the water, and in the end... a healthy baby was born at 37 weeks weighing 7lb 10 oz through a completely drug free and awesome labor! Baby breastfed beautifully from the moment of birth and my recovery was a breeze. I felt like myself again in no time, without the emotional battle I'd experienced before.
I love both of my children dearly and share these bits of their birth stories to let you and your doctor know that in the end it DID make a difference for me when I had the baby the way I wanted. Having a healthy baby is a BIG part of the picture, but I think having a healthy Mama at the end of the day is important too.
There's the short of it. Over the coming months, I hope to give you details bit by bit, in as organized a fashion as someone as unorganized as myself can manage. I would love to respond to your questions about having diabetes and having babies or about having a baby naturally, so please feel free to ask. And one final note of encouragement to women with type one who hope for a natural child birth... I have a dear friend, Beth, who has type one as well and delivered her FIRST child naturally just last week. She will share her story soon too! That makes 2 of us. I was so frustrated as I searched and searched for stories of women with diabetes who'd had natural births and could never find any...so be encouraged, it is possible and this blog is committed to discussing the in's and out's of having a baby naturally even when you have type 1 diabetes!