Beertje's birth story (I)

When pregnant with Beertje, Kabouter's birth was my obvious reference. I pictured myself getting the first contractions at home, pacing the house while some friends had to come and pick up Kabouter and then continue at home until I felt the need to go to the hospital.

With the diagnosis of pregnancy diabetes, the specialists gave me a clear deadline: they would not let me pass my due date. At first I figured that it was important in order not to let the baby grow too big and I hoped that my strict diet and insuline injections would keep that under control.  In month 7 however the specialist surprised me during a consultation by asking me bluntly if we'd take our agenda and set the date.  I was not ready for that, I couldn't do it and posponed the decision to the next consultation. I heard that he'd expect me to give birth in week 38 or 39.

The idea of getting induced seemed horrible to me.  Going to the hospital without any contraction on  a fixed calendar date, not being able to get into the labour process in the cosiness and safety of our own home, getting medication without letting my body go its natural course, hearing that invoked labour is way more painful, .... all reasons why I wanted with all of my heart give birth naturally.

Later on my gynaecologist diabetic specialist explained me that it was not the baby size that I should worry about. The diabetes would deteriorate my placenta more quickly by the end of my pregnancy and at full term this could bring the baby at risk during birth... (Effectively the reason that doctor's don't let you go overdue more than 2 weeks is the quick deterioration of your placenta from then onwards in a healthy pregnancy and the linked risks).   At that point you stop discussing. With that knowledge, you hand over all decisions to the specialist.

From then on, I could only cross my fingers and talk to the little baby inside my belly to encourage him to search his way down in time, before the doctors took over. We'd chuckle together how we had all fooled them and bypassed their plans by chosing our own timing. I kept on walking a lot to keep moving and I felt rather fit. I had much less complaints than with Kabouter's pregnancy.

I got extra ultrasounds and the ultimate birth date was set in week 39 (instead of week 38), much to my relief as it gave much more opportunity for a natural birth.  My ideal scenario was to go into labour in the weekend before the appointment, even though I had to admit that organising the care for Kabouter was much much easier and relax in case of a fixed appointment.

I felt really energetic on Friday but on Saturday I felt more tense...and then it was better again. I had an extra pregnancy yoga session on Sunday afternoon to get a muscle massage and deep relaxation exercise. I had difficulty to breath deeply and I was in pain when I went to bed, so I was convinced I'd have to wake up Jan a few hours later to get going.  But I woke up well rested and with energy so I spent the day doing grocery shopping. By now I had accepted that I would going to the hospital in the evening to get an induction. I was also relieved it wasn't going to happen on Monday, a date that I hoped to avoid.

In the evening my parents-in-law arrived and installed themselves to stay with Kabouter while I took my suitcase for my hospital stay and my big packpack full of snacks and spare comfy clothes and a camera etc for the labour room.  The clocked ticked further and time had come we had to leave. It felt so surreal that we'd had to leave to go and get a baby while I felt...nothing at all. Nothing was happening.  But we had to leave with 2 to return home in a few days with 3. I was very very nervous about what was to come but could not really express my emotions and regain my calm with 5 people in the room.

I felt rushed to get it going on time but I was at the same time very reluctant to leave and procrastinating. I had an appointment in the evening to take some medications to prepare my body overnight and then I had to sleep over in the hospital. It was unclear where Jan would be able to sleep so I had told him to return and profit from another night of quality sleep even though I dreaded staying over in the hospital on my own.

One more hug, and another kiss with Kabouter...and then we really had to go.
All people seemed to be leaving the hospital while we walked to the entrance.   We rang the doorbell of the delivery department , had a choice of delivery rooms to go and get a first check-up and I turned out to be 3 cm dilated.  For that reason they didn't want to give me the planned medication anymore during the night as they didn't want to take the risk that labour truly launched during the night. So the pain of the previous night had done its necessary preperations in my body already.

We got the choice: either we'd both try to sleep somehow in the labour room (without good beds) or we'd return home to sleep in our bed for a short night and return at 5.45 AM for the next steps.   We didn't doubt and returned quickly home where we showed up again much to the surprise of my parents-in-law.

And so we could crawl into bed for the last night as a family of 3...hoping to get some more hours of sleep.

(Kabouter's birth story part I, part II, part III)


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