I asked my male Internist, “How would you have a baby if you were pregnant?” He thought about it for 2 seconds and replied, “I would have an epidural so fast your head would spin.” He went on to say, “I’m not a hero and giving birth looks painful. Men would definitely have an epidural.”
OK, I’m sold. It sounded extreme to have a shot in your spine but if it doesn’t cause any issues, I love the idea of a delivery method where it’s drug-free near the baby and pain-free for me. Cool, that’s settled and in my whole saga, it turned out to be very handy information.
Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from having a child and not everyone has to go through all the shenanigans I did. I had 3 high risk pregnancy factors, Type 1 diabetes, they thought I was an antique at 30 years old and my Mom was given a drug when she was pregnant to help prevent miscarriages. It not only didn’t help but later they discovered it could cause cancer in the female offspring. I knew I was very blessed. I didn’t have the cancer, I just had an incompetent cervix. I’ll take it! Even though I had no idea what an incompetent cervix was. Apparently it meant when the baby got heavy enough, the cervix may not hold and it could come out prematurely. Gulp.
I was one of those women who had trouble getting pregnant. I went to specialists and one guy put me on steroids for 2 years. When I finally switched specialists the new guy said I never could’ve gotten pregnant with the levels I had. Oh swell, thanks for the drugs I didn’t need! But when we finally got the go ahead, we went for it!
Yes, it was very unromantic, “We have to try and NOW!” Then I would lean in bed against the wall with my legs up. Who knows if that really made a difference but I was willing to do anything I could. I had always pictured myself being a Mom and that was what I wanted, a child that would know they were loved. That was my goal and I was a possessed maniac. I should send my ex-husband a thank you note for putting up with me.
With diabetes, it’s high risk since diabetes is the leading cause of birth defects. And they happen in the first 3 months, before many women even know they’re pregnant. When you have diabetes and want to get pregnant, the game is to have your blood sugar perfect so the baby doesn’t have any extra sugar from your blood stream fattening them up and causing problems.
My Endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) said he wants all of his patients, men and women pregnant. That’s when we are in perfect compliance and do everything we’re told to keep the baby healthy. We are model patients who pay attention and follow all instructions. The trick is to do that for us all the time but we are especially motivated so our babies stay healthy.
Once I got pregnant, the trick was to keep it. At 3 months, I had an amnio to make sure the baby was healthy. Once she got the thumbs up, the high risk doc’s said they needed to stitch my cervix closed, so as she grew she wouldn’t fall out. OK, good idea, no falling out. That’s where already knowing about the epidural came in handy. They even suggested I bring a headset with music so I couldn’t hear the doctors talking. I didn’t want to hear, “Knit one, pearl two” as they stitched me up, so I agreed and had Barbra Streisand belting ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ cranked up. Great idea!!
During my pregnancy, I remember once being SO shocked at my weight. I was standing on the scale at the doctors office and my mouth dropped open. Really?! I wanted to cry. Then I realized I had been running late and had rushed into the office and hopped on to the scale. I still had my purse on my shoulder. “Oh thank goodness!” Without the purse, I was much lighter, phew!
Even though I was a hormonal mess of emotions and worries, when I relaxed, I could picture my infant daughter inside me hanging on to my ribs looking very determined. I imagined her thinking, “I’ll hang on Mom, don’t worry. I’m not letting go!” And she turned out to be a very determined woman, I just knew it early, very early.
I knew she’d be OK. No matter what your list of risks are, doctors paint what they call a ‘realistic’ picture. Usually that means they give you bad news and a low percentage of success, so you don’t blame them. I’m not really sure what they’re thinking. They gave us a 33% chance she would make it but I wasn’t thrown. I just knew in my heart she would be ok. Don’t ask me how, I just knew it.
I think God makes you uncomfortable so finally you are ready to say, “Get this out of me.” I was glad I already had an epidural, so I knew that was a piece of cake. But with women who have diabetes, they not only pay special attention in beginning of your pregnancy to prevent birth defects but also at the end. Apparently, some people loose their babies at the very end, so once her lungs were ready, she was coming out. OK, I’m game. But it took 3 amnios for her to be fully cooked. My husband (at the time) was so nice, he just kept changing the message on our answering machine, so I didn’t have to tell everyone it wasn’t time. “No, not yet. We’ll try Mexican food next and maybe horseback riding.”
I told him he had 1 job, “Can you say, Anesthesiologist? Your job is to get him and ask early. I don’t want to hear it’s too late to use it. Get him!”
I didn’t pick my daughter’s birthday based on any sun sign or astrology. The day she was born was the day the Anesthesiologist I knew and trusted was working. She was fully baked on Monday but I had her on Thursday, because the guy aiming a needle at my spine was working then and I knew he knew what he was doing. OK, let’s do it.
It turns out when they snipped the stitch, it not only held but was needed. Thank you God! Thank you Modern Medicine! Thank you Manny, Mo and Jack. That’s what my ex-husband (husband at the time) used to call our high risk pregnancy team. They had such a long name of doctors, he used the name of the Pep Boys instead. It was perfect and always made me laugh and lighten up.
I wished they never took the epidural out. After they did, they squashed my stomach to make sure all the gunk was out. Hey, I signed up for the pain-free tour of duty. Oh well, it did it’s job and beautifully.
It was weird to be pushing and everyone else is staring between your legs and you can’t even see anything. “Excuse me, I’m doing all the work here. Can’t someone set up a mirror for me?” I bet they do that now and more. This was in the dark ages, what seems like a bazillion years ago. I was so glad she was out and healthy! I do remember wondering, “Where’s the owners manual? What do we do now?”