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January 23, 2020

My Experience: Labor & Delivery

Let's talk mama stuff! Giving birth was the best and worst thing I have ever put myself through. Having to go through getting gestational diabetes at 8 months of being pregnant to being in labor for 4 days, yes you read that right 4 DAYS. There is so much I wish I would have known before going into the hospital that I should have physically and mentally have prepared myself for.

My Experience: Labor & Delivery

gestational Diabetes

Dealing with Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a common thing you can get when your pregnant so don’t panic. For those who don’t know gestational diabetes is a less severe form of diabetes that develops while your pregnant due to your body not making a sufficient amount of natural body insulin which then makes your blood sugar high. The reason why gestational diabetes can be so dangerous, is your body develops more sugar than usual causing your baby to grow faster, bigger, and abnormal. Which is why sometimes you may hear that someone had a 10 pound baby. Doctors advise that once you develop gestational diabetes your more likely to develop type 1 or 2 diabetes but that isn’t always the case so don’t go into full panic mode because it can always be controlled with diet and exercise. If your pregnant and are given that information know that you will be okay because that was something I really stressed about once I found out I had developed it and of course stress is not good while you are pregnant.

Mamas know that IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT! The first thing that came to my mind when I got the call that I hadn’t passed the glucose test was “It’s my fault” “I wish I would have done things different”, yes I had indulged in my cravings maybe a little to much but hey when your crave something it’s a NEED not a want lol. Once I had gotten the consult from the doctor to advise what my next step was it was easier to process since I had never had diabetes before getting pregnant. Now it’s time to prepare yourself for whats ahead because let me tell you it really sucks! I am sorry for the mommas who find out this news early in pregnancy because you are no longer able to really enjoy things like being able to indulge in cravings and so forth. I was lucky enough to have been diagnosed with it the 8th month of my pregnancy but some mamas end up finding out by the 8th-9th week.

After the doctors consult I needed to take a 2 hour course on how to diet control in order to keep my sugar levels where they were supposed to be and how to use the blood sugar machine in order to check your blood sugar daily. When you are pregnant the doctors are very strict when it comes to your blood sugar and blood pressure. The healthy blood sugars for pregnant women is less than 90 when fasting and less than 140 1 hour after a meal (the information that I had to follow per my doctor) it may very depending what your doctor advises. I was given a very strict diet that consisted of very limited amount of carbs so goodbye pasta, pizza, and churros. I was not able to eat fruits in the morning and was forced to do more exercise than what I was doing (none lol) but hey when your carrying a 7 pound baby + your back hurts actually scratch that EVERYTHING hurts so huge respect for the mommas who work out and stay fit throughout their pregnancy because man I became a bear and needed to hibernate. Not doing any exercise was the main reason I got diabetes, I would eat and fall asleep so my sugar levels where up the wall and not doing anything to control it made things worse.

Once I was given a new diet to control my blood sugar now came the hard part…learning how to use the machine to check your blood sugar. I was given a One Touch Verio Touch Glucose Meter Kit which came with a meter, a tube filled with blood testers, and needles to insert into a mechanism in order to constantly check my blood sugar. The doctor advised I needed to check my blood sugar 5 times a day everyday (once in the morning before food, once an hour breakfast, once after lunch, once before dinner, and once an hour after dinner) for the next 2 months until I had given birth. I think that having to do this was so emotionally and physically painful. There were times I would break down at night because I just felt so upset at what I had caused to myself in order to be in the position I was in. At work I would have to hide the fact I was checking my sugar because I was so embarrassed but luckily I had such an amazing team that they made me feel as if nothing was happening. At home my husband Victor was such an amazing support system that without him I would have lost it because it really emotionally messes with you especially with all the hormones a pregnant lady has going on.

The worst part was that even with all the diet watching my sugar just wasn’t where the doctor needed it to be and ultimately put me on insulin which was heartbreaking because I am so afraid of needles and having to poke myself 5 times a day with my blood sugar was just enough for me so the insulin part was the cherry on top in order to make me feel hopeless. I had to self inject insulin every night for the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy and at times I would just lie to my husband and doctor when they would ask if I had taken the dosage because some nights I just could not pull myself to do it. At my last doctors visit the doctor had advised that with gestational diabetes it is necessary to be induced in order to not have the baby rapidly grow and jeopardize the baby’s wellbeing.

labor

In the Hospital for 6 days!

Yup you read the title…6 days in the hospital from start to finish. Boy oh boy were these the worst 6 days I have ever been through. At my last doctors visit she had advised I would need to be induced and being induced could take about 4-5 days, in my head for some reason I though she was kidding..SHE WASN’T. You may think “well the doctor told her, why would she think the doctor would be lying” simple, because when your told it could take up to 4-5 days yet you see others having their babies between 1-2 days, 4-5 days just seems to drastic in my mind. But nope it took me 4 days from when I checked in until I finally had my son and then 2 more days because they needed to monitor my son to make sure he didn’t also have high blood sugar. So be very mindful that when they say 4-5 days they aren’t kidding and of course being a first time mom we don’t know any better.

Day 1 wasn’t to bad, it consisted of checking in at 1pm and checking into our room. I delivered at Kaiser in Panorama City which is also the one I was born in how cool huh lol! Around 4pm a male doctor came in (you can always opt to have only female doctor)I personally didn’t mind because I didn’t want to wait longer for a female doctor to become available and the male OBGYN seemed like he knew what he was doing and was very kind and mindful of everything. When the doctor checked my cervix he had advised I was only 0.5cm dilated which is nothing when they expect you to be at 10cm to deliver. The doctor advised they would give me medication to loosen my cervix throughout the night in order for them to put what’s called a foley balloon to open the cervix and encourage my body to dilate more the following morning.

Day2 around 6am was when things started to get harder. They put in an IV to start the fluids and give access to put any other medication through the IV that they needed. Usually they give patients 2-3 pills (not sure the name of the medication) in order to encourage the cervix to lower and help the body dilate and start contracting but in my case I had to take the maximum amount which was 6 pills and that still wasn’t able to dilate me much when I was still at .5cm. The doctor inserted a foley ballon. A foley balloon is a long catheter connected to a rubber tube that has a balloon on one end that a doctor may inflate with a sterile liquid inside the cervix in order to put pressure on the cervical cells helping it to dilate which in my opinion was very painful and super uncomfortable. The foley balloon needed to stay in my body for a full 20 hours in order to give the doctor enough space to be able to physically break my water. Around 4am the doctor removed the balloon and rechecked my cervix. She saw I was now 1cm dilated which still isn’t much but it was progress. They started a medication called pitocin which is a hormone medication given through the IV that causes the uterus to contract used to induce labor and to strengthen labor contractions during childbirth. Let me tell you, that medication made my contractions so painful! I was allowed 3 doses of a pain reliever before I had the epidural put in called fentanyl which is a narcotic to treat pain. You are only allowed 3 doses due to the risk of addiction and it may cause your baby to come out sleepy after birth due to the medication being admitted into your blood stream but its better than getting the epidural because once the epidural is placed you are no longer able to eat, drink, or move which can be hard.

Day 3 I still was not dilating past 2cm so they decided to physically break my water to make the contractions harder than they already were since the contractions I was having were not enough to make me go into active labor (when your past 5cm of dilation). All throughout these past few days they were also having to check my blood sugar every 3 hours, they needed to put an oxygen mask on me since the baby wasn’t cooperating, they had to check my blood pressure every hour which caused my arm to bruise really bad, and they needed to monitor the baby 24/7. All these things were draining me physically and emotionally. I was starting to give up and everything was starting to become to much. Once your water breaks your contractions get harder and become more frequent. Ultimately I just couldn’t bare the pain anymore and requested the epidural. Oh how thankful I am for that to have happened. It has its ups and downs once the epidural was placed I could no longer eat or drink and I was unable to move from my bed so a catheter needed to be inserted. Not drinking or eating was so difficult to the point where I would wait for the nurses to leave and for my husband to fall asleep so I could drink water because of how thirsty I was.. I felt like I was having to steal the water. It was so heartbreaking for me. My soul was being crushed and I was on the verge of just giving up completely.

Day 4 was even worst and best day of my life. Around 3am the doctor came in to recheck my cervix and to see how dilated I was. I was now only at 4cm dilation which at that point was not okay because it is not healthy for you go past 24 hours after your water breaks due to infection. I was starting to run a fever and finally the doctor advised if I didn’t fully dilate naturally within the next few hours I would need to have C-section. They had advised that due to all the medication I was put on to get me to dilate causes the blood to thin out which could cause me to bleed out during the C-section operation and potentially cause lots of other complications. At that point I completely lost it and had a mental breakdown the full 9 yards of panic, pain rushing through my body, and my eyes completely filled with tears. The amount of pain and panic I was experiencing was horrible. The only thing that was going through my mind was “okay I am going to die while doing this” let me tell you IT CAN HAPPEN and the worst part was my mother also went through labor and also needed an emergency C-Section and my father being forced to choose between his wife or daughter if necessary because she was losing to much blood while having me. At that moment I looked my husband right in the eyes while in tears and told him “Babe please don’t let me die” a moment I don’t think either of us will ever forget. I had completely given up. My husband had been through everything right by my side and I could tell, he was having a rough time seeing me go through everything but he never stopped encouraging me. I am forever grateful to have had my husband by my side through it all because without him I know I would not have been able to go through everything I did. About two hours later the doctor came in to recheck me and had advised I was now full dilated at 10cm and was ready to naturally deliver. God really saw me struggling and gave me a hand. I was able to have Damian after 15min of pushing. Seeing my son for the first time was the most incredible and unforgettable moment I will never forget. After everything I had endured the last few days, seeing his precious face I knew I would go through it again and again to have him. The motherly instincts kicked in and I no longer felt pain but a complete sense of happiness. At that point our whole lives had changed! A family of 2 now became a family of 3.

baby

The next 2 days were the hardest aside from the postpartum pain I was going through, so many things were now happening that I needed to get used to. The nurses had to check my babies blood sugar every 4 hours to make sure he was also okay. Seeing my baby go through pain caused me pain I had never felt before, a pain only a mother can feel. Seeing my child in pain is worse than any pain I have had before. But I knew he would be okay. The next few days I saw my body go through postpartum changes I wasn’t ready for. Having to start the 40 day period which let me tell you it really lasts that long since your body has to take everything out and start to heal. I now needed to get used to my new mommy body and accept myself for who I now was and how I now looked in the mirror which was and still is one of the hardest things for me to do right now. After going home there is so much to get used to and this is usually the hardest for momma to go through which is why doctors are really cautious about how you’re healing physically and mentally because their #1 fear is a momma developing postpartum depression aka PPD. Lack of sleep and getting used to all the changes can really be a challenge. My #1 challenge I am currently going through that really made recovery hard was again accepting myself and my body for what it is now and being able to look at myself in the mirror but I’ve been lucky to be making progress. So I know the feeling of Postpartum depression, it’s a real thing and should not be overlooked. I am lucky enough to have a healthy support system surrounded with great friends, family, and of course a loving husband who I am forever grateful to have. Going through postpartum depression can be a huge struggle and you should never have to go through it alone. Never hesitate to ask for help! You are strong and beautiful never forget that!

Tips you need to know before going into labor

bag

  • Pack your hospital essentials! My best friend made me a hospital bag that I will always be forever grateful for as a baby shower gift! It included a backpack, blankets for my husband and I, toothbrushes, warm fluffy socks, a robe which was the best thing ever, and things for personal hygiene.
  • Something I wish someone would have told me before going into labor, the doctors will insert their whole hand in you girly parts multiple times for many reasons, they need to check how your cervix is doing, how dilated you are, where you babies head is located, to break your water if it didn’t break on its own, and for a few more medical reason. It is the most uncomfortable thing so brace yourself! Boy was that a rude awakening that no one EVER mentioned so your welcome new incoming mommas!
  • You can always opt to have a female doctor if a male doctor makes you uncomfortable or can ask a male resident to step out if he is shadowing a female doctor. Be mindful if you have a resident doctor who wishes to check you, I had the worst experience with one. Most hospitals are now becoming “Teaching Hospitals” meaning residents will shadow or do work your normal doctors would do on you in order to help learning doctor’s who have just graduated from med school get more hands on with their training. Again they are still learning and may not be as mindful or soft touching as a doctor whose been doing their job for a longer period of time which is what you NEED when your delivering a baby (no offense to any residents out there).
  • Get an epidural if the pain is to much! It is a life saver and will make the delivery so much better and at least allow you to sleep pain free. You’ll need all the energy you can get in order to push the baby out. Make sure you have a good support system with you throughout your labor! It was so nice to have my husband there by my side coaching me and encouraging me! It really made things a lot better and easier to bare. Because IT IS HARD I have no idea how people can have more than 1!
  • Get long period pads because the bleeding is no joke. Have your hospital bag ready to go and check the bag twice to make sure you don’t forget anything you need! Bring a charger, a water container to refill on water and ice, a brush and some hair ties.

happiness

Although pregnancy and delivery may be difficult know that in the end it will all be worth it! The pain will soon come to an end and all you’ll be left with will be the beautiful scars to remind you of everything YOU went through to bring a new life into this world! Being able to physically do that is a life changing experience and should always be admired! Know you will always overcome any hardships you may face on this new journey! If you are going through PPD, know you are not alone and should never feel as if you are! ASK FOR HELP! You can only handle so much, so it is okay to ask for some time to yourself, an ice cream, or just simply time to sleep. If you think things aren’t getting better don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor about what you are feeling. They will guide you to the help you need. If you know anyone who is going through PPD please don’t hesitate to help. You can truly make a difference. So the next time you see a new mommy, tell her how amazing she is and how much of a great job she is doing because inside she may not be able to see that. Congrats to any future, upcoming, or new mommas you’re doing great! May you go through pregnancy and delivery safely! XOXO


My Name is Athena

Hello to everyone and thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. The world can be seen in so many different ways, I am here to show you how I interoperate the world in my eyes one blog at a time. La vida es muy corta para no disfrutar la felizidad y el amor!

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