I got the good news last night, that I passed my 3 hour glucose screening and do not have gestational diabetes. Of course, I was happy and relieved because I don’t think anyone wants to go on a restrictive diet through pregnancy and worry about how the disease might affect their baby. That being said, I did some research and wanted to share because there is definitely a stigma that goes along with developing gestational diabetes that isn’t very fair.
When we think of people with type II diabetes, we often think of those that have the highest risk factors; overweight, not enough exercise. Its common then to assume and associate the same stigma to those that develop this disease during pregnancy. However, the research I found (from the diabetes.org website) says this is not the case. They are not sure what causes gestational diabetes but know that during pregnancy, because of placental hormones, a woman’s body needs about 3 times the insulin she normally needs to prevent the level of glucose in the blood from getting too high. Some women in their 24th week of pregnancy have insulin that cannot keep up with the demand. It doesn’t mean the mother had diabetes before or that she will have diabetes after the pregnancy. Its not something she did wrong. So if you did have or had gestational diabetes its nothing to feel shameful about, like I did when my initial glucose test was outside the acceptable range.
That being said, there are so many other pressures that pregnant women put upon themselves that can cause unnecessary stress or disappointment. In the birthing class that Tim and I took last weekend everyone in the class pretty much unanimously said the thing they wanted most out of birth was a healthy baby. Well then, no matter how you get there, if that’s the overall outcome there should be no disappointment. I’ve heard women that have had c-sections say they felt as if it was some sort of failure on their part to deliver. It makes me sad to hear that women feel this way after having a healthy baby. Sure, I admit that a c-section is not ideal and I’m hoping I don’t need one, mainly because it’s a major surgery and has associated risks and also a much longer recovery time. However, if it turns out that I need to have one to deliver my healthy baby, I’m not going to let myself feel like I did something wrong.
The same is true for delivery methods. I’ve talked to many women in the last few months about birth and delivery and found that a lot of women have strong opinions either way on how to go about delivery. I’ve had plenty tell me to just get an epidural, that its worth it and even some that say it made delivery “easy”. I’ve also had some women that didn’t have an epidural with their first birth, but did with subsequent deliveries say that they wish they had an epidural the first time. I’ve also had women tell me that the epidural is unnecessary and it slows everything down and doesn’t allow for labor to progress naturally and that it isn’t really that bad. So it seems that everyone that’s been through labor and delivery has a strong opinion about what’s best. So what do I think? I don’t know. I’m purposely trying to stay as open and objective as possible so that when I have my own delivery experience, I don’t feel pressure to stick to any particular plan and feel disappointed if I don’t. The thing about birth is that its unpredictable. While I think I am pretty tough and have a high pain tolerance, I’ve never experienced this before and know that it can vary greatly from one woman to another and even from one pregnancy to the next. So I have a hard time saying “well this is what I want” when I have no experience of my own to base it on.
I honestly thought I’d sail through pregnancy pretty easily, and look at how surprised I’ve been at some of the hardships I’ve encountered. Even last night, I felt very uncomfortable most of the evening and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. I had this sensation that I had to pee all night, no matter how many times I went. It wasn’t painful, but I also just felt like my belly was really heavy and there was a lot of pressure in my pelvic area. This morning I woke up and everything magically seems fine.
I purchased The Bradley Method of childbirth and began reading one of the books yesterday. The theory behind it is that childbirth is a natural process and the role of the doctor is to be the “lifeguard” to watch for any complications and assist should that be necessary, but otherwise, let women do what their bodies were made for. I have to say that I agree with this and that births in the hospital is something relatively new to women since we’ve been having babies for thousands of years. That being said, the rates of death for mothers and babies has also declined substantially due to improvements in modern medicines and interventions. Where a breech baby was something that was pretty much a medical emergency some time ago, today its not necessarily anything to be too concerned over.
And there are many areas of childbirth where something can happen at any part along the way that could greatly be helped by medical intervention. Another example is if your water breaks before contractions start. Once your water breaks, the birth should happen within a certain timeframe due to risks posed from having the waters break. So again…medical intervention that I wouldn’t say “no” to.
Birth is such a personal experience for every woman and every couple, as it should be. I just wanted to express my feelings that it doesn’t have to come with this “high expectations” birth plan that may or may not work for you. A healthy baby is a blessing that we should all be thankful for, no matter what the method.