Preparing for VBAC with Gestational Diabetes

When I was pregnant in 2011 I had a desk job, and as my due date neared my assignments decreased to the point of sheer boredom. I joked that I was able to “finish reading the Internet” because I had so much time on my hands. That’s not the case this pregnancy; although I do work freelance jobs at a computer I also am taking care of my preschooler and bound by her schedule. I still have found myself around week 30 of the pregnancy beginning to get serious about how to get this baby out and researching childbirth methods again in earnest.

My first birth story makes me weep. I’m so glad that I wrote it down, because already I’ve forgotten many of the details even if some of the heart pains have stayed excruciatingly with me. Looking back, I’d probably make the same decision now. After more than 24 hours of induced labor and very little progress, warnings of a “big baby” and “permanent nerve damage,” my husband and I chose to take our doctor’s advice and have a C-section. It took me a long time to resolve my feelings about that, and truly a part of me never will be totally OK with that decision. The woulda, shoulda, couldas still plague me … if I let myself ruminate on them.

My beautiful, healthy daughter was the best possible outcome of my first pregnancy, regardless of how she was born. We had no trouble with establishing breastfeeding and enjoyed a nursing relationship of more than two years, so in that respect we were very fortunate.

In preparation for my second birth I have been re-reading many of my natural childbirth books and researching vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). When I had my initial gestational diabetes meeting, the nurse educator spoke about a repeat C-section as a foregone conclusion, which made my heart drop and was the closest I came to crying during that appointment. After expressing my dismay and wishes for a VBAC she backtracked a bit, and when I spoke to my doctor she didn’t dismiss the idea outright. Although labor and delivery are unknowns to me, gestational diabetes throws another wrench into things as far as my “ideal” birth goes.

So far I have maintained my weight to just under pre-pregnancy levels (thanks to morning sickness in the first trimester when I lost weight), although with 9 weeks remaining there’s plenty of time left to gain! I do my best to keep active and walk a lot (a FitBit as a Christmas gift from my mom has been very helpful in that respect), and of course I’m sticking to the diet to manage my blood glucose levels. But none of that is a guarantee of a “small enough” baby, although so far she shows no signs of diabetes herself or being overly large.

I’m trying to enjoy these last weeks of pregnancy and the closeness of having my baby so near. My wish for a VBAC is flexible because the greater desire is a healthy baby, but man I want that VBAC! I’ll let you know how it works out…

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