Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Willow's Birth Story

Now that Willow is about 4 months old, I thought it was time to finally write her birth story...

Willow's pregnancy was unlike the other two. The first two pregnancies were fairly easy - except the gestational diabetes I had with Sienna. Because of my type 1 diabetes diagnosis almost 2 years ago, there were many more risks. Risks for the baby: miscarriage, stillborn birth, heart problems, preterm labor, high birth weight, shoulder dystocia, and low blood sugar when they are born. Risks for me: eye problems, heart problems, kidney function problems, ect; so as you can see it was easy for me to worry a little.

I had tons of appointments just for my health: eye appointment, an EKG, blood tests once a month, and diabetes appointments at least once a month. I was considered "high risk" so I had many prenatal appointments, a fetal heart echo, many more ultrasounds than the other pregnancies. I got so many beautiful pictures of Willow before she was born! The last eight weeks of the pregnancy I had to go in two times a week to have an ultrasound to measure her fluid, monitor breathing, her heart and movements. It got a little long having to head downtown to the clinic two times a week and finding a babysitter for the other two. My appointments were discouraging. They would always tell me that I needed to get my blood sugar numbers lower and would always share with me the risks of diabetes and pregnancy. Thanks. I didn't have enough to worry about.

I worked really hard though. It's hard having to count every single carb you put in your mouth - especially when you are eating for two and there are all kinds of cravings. I counted carbs like it was my job, got 10,000 steps in a day, kept up with changing hormones and blood sugar changes, and did not each snacks between meals - so incredibly hard. But I did it. I took my A1C (test for diabetics that measures their average blood sugar over a two month period) from 7.9 at the start of pregnancy to 5.5 - which is an A1C of a normal person! It was empowering that I could have such control over my diabetes when the third trimester can be the hardest.

This pregnancy was hard BUT SHE WAS ALL WORTH IT. She was worth all the worry, time and watching what I ate all the time. It was hard. But she was worth all the work.

One of the biggest risks of diabetes is a big baby. Every time you have a high blood sugar, it gives the baby extra sugar and makes them grow - especially in the shoulder and stomach area making the baby easier to get stuck. They make insulin dependent women schedule an induction at 39 weeks - so that is what I did. I scheduled my induction for June 17.

The Monday before she was born I had to have an ultrasound to see how big she was. They can be 15% off but if she weighed over 9 pounds 15 ounces, they would suggest a c-section because she could be too big in the shoulder area and possibly get stuck. Ouch. Luckily, she measured at 9.6 so I preceded to keep my induction appointment on that Friday. I really wanted her to come on her own but that did not happen.

It is a super weird feeling driving and walking into the hospital NOT in pain when going to have a baby. This was completely different than the last time! I checked in and got settled in my room. They had to give me a round of Cytotec to soften my cervix, which takes 4 hours to work. So for most of the morning, all I did was lay around and watched too many HGTV shows about tiny houses, got a painful IV and ate some lunch. They wanted me to stay in the bed since I had fetal monitors strapped to my belly. They checked me when the four hours was over and I was ready to start the pitocin to start contractions. I was on pitocin for about an hour and a half and the contractions started to come very frequently, but not as intensely as they liked and the monitors showed that Willow didn't really like the pitocin so they decided to stop. I had progressed to about a 2-4 cm and things were going slower than I was used to.

Now it was around 1:30/2pm and they decided to break my water. At first nothing was happening, but then once my contractions kicked in, they started to get intense. After checking me, I was told I was a five. Ok, a five. I could go fast, right? Over the next half hour/hour (I have no idea on timing at that point), they started to get even more intense and very painful - which was fine as long as I was very close to the end. It had that feeling like it was the end and I could start pushing soon.  I was saying the typical "I can't do this anymore" stuff you say when you are close. I made the nurse get the doctor to check me because I was fairly sure I was a 9, maybe an 8 but surely almost to 10. I even remember saying "I'm gonna kill someone if I am still a 5." Oh pregnancy hormones :) So you can about guess what I was dilated to when the doctor came in. Yup, you guessed it. A FIVE. WHAT?!? Umm... About that epidural? Yeah, I think I want that this time around.

Twenty minutes later the anesthesiologist came in and started the process. I just remember it was INTENSE trying to breath through those contractions while they stuck a needle in my back and I had to stay so still. One of the reasons I was scared about an epidural in the past was the giant needle. I guess my hatred for needles has died a bit since I gave myself 4+ shots a day. There was only a small pinch when they numbed my back but I didn't feel anything more than the crazy waves of contractions. Once they were done getting my epidural done, I laid back. It was crazy. One minute I was in terrible pain and the next minute, I was like "Hey guys... how's it going" in my most calm voice.

I've done two completely natural labors and this was my first epidural. Man it made me feel good. Only a little while later after getting my epidural, I told the doctor that I thought I needed to push. She asked if I could wait a few minutes and I agreed. No rush when there is no pain. She came back only a few minutes later and things got rolling. After a few big pushes, that sweet baby girl came into the world.

Willow Everly Penz born at 5:46 pm on June 17, 2016. 8 pounds, 14 ounces, 20 inches of perfection and perfectly healthy. My sweet miracle baby. So many things could have gone wrong in the pregnancy and birth but God protected my sweet girl and me. She is just the happiest, sweetest baby and such a beautiful gift from the Lord. We are pretty much in love.