March 02, 2004
permalink Into hospital I go...

I was pretty dubious about this "just a couple of days for rest and observation". In my experience and in a couple of other stories from women with diabetes that I'd heard about, I knew that a couple of days could stretch on for weeks up until the birth of the baby.

This was exactly what happened to me!

So up to floor six of the Mothers Private part of the hospital I went. To my double bed and view out over rooftops and into the city. It was far from a magnificent view and was quite industrial, but at night you could see the city lights and it was quite beautiful. You could also see the emergency landing pad for the hospital helicopter from that window. And many was the time I heard it taking off or coming down to land. (I can't believe I only looked at this view once or twice in my time there. How the heck do you describe to somehow how exhausted and busy and whirlwindy you can feel in the lead up to and aftermath of a birth? Especially as a diabetic with pre-eclampsia)

At first I was almost relieved to be in hospital. I was so very tired and so very big and heavy (I had put on 27kg due to fluid retention, which was massive given my normal weight was about 50kg). I was also exhausted by the house move and the many trips to the doctors and hosptial. It was hard to say no to obligations yet I knew I needed to. In a sense hospital would force me to relax. But I also knew that this feeling of relief would be short-lived. I have never enjoyed the experience of being in hospital, generally feeling like I've ended up in some kind of mad-house and being tempted to do a runner at some point just to get out.

So it was with this stay. I was there for exactly two weeks. One before the birth and one after.

I had some lovely midwives/nurses in the week leading up to the birth and I was able to 'escape' with my partner for some Japanese food one night and some maternity bra shopping one day.

But I was almost immediately sick of the hospital food. After such tight control blood sugar wise and my normally healthy mostly vegetarian diet, it was pretty awful to have to eat the pasty, overcooked, bland hospital food which inevitably sent my blood sugar levels off balance and got me constipated.

They did daily blood tests on me to check kidney, liver and a whole bunch of other stuff. This actually continued for two weeks so that by the time I left I had huge black bruises all along my inner arms, looking (and feeling actually) like a serious junkie. I had fetal monitoring (always reassuring) and one ultrasound (which was hilarious as they insisted on wheeling me down for it in a wheelchair - hospital policy- even though I was quite capable of walking). The ultrsound was positive. Amniotic fluid and baby still doing well, although I believe the amniotic fluid was at the upper end of normal. It gave me a good chance to escape the hospital room anyway and have a good laugh with the other woman who'd been wheeled down for hers. I swear the wheelchair was so old and dodgy it was far more dangerous for me than walking would have ever been!

I guess the tests were kind of tricky as I was showing quite a lot of protein in my urine as expected for someone with pre-existing kidney disease. And my blood pressure was high. Both normally indicators for pre-eclampsia. In my case apparently they had to rely on my liver function tests and the amount of urate in my blood to determine whether or not I was developing pre-eclampsia.

Anyway, they put me on nephetidine, to control the blood pressure. It was pretty foul and made me feel nauseus but was at least helping the blood pressure. My blood tests indicated that things were stabilising. So on Friday I was told I could go home for the weekend! :-) Total joy and jubilation!!!

But something told me I should stay until the Saturday. So I did. The Saturday blood tests were not looking as good so they kept me in for another day. Then the Sunday tests were worse again.

On Sunday afternoon, the obstetrician came in to tell me that it was time for my baby to come out. I was booked in for a caesarian the next morning at 7.30am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My god. I was 36 and a half weeks pregnant and my baby was about to be born! Excitement. Relief. Unbounding freaked-out-ishness. Two things occupied my brain. One - that we hadn't chosen a boy's name (we had no idea which sex our baby would be). Two- that I wanted to keep my blood sugar levels as stable as possible during the night before the birth. This would give my baby the best chance of avoiding hypoglycemia in their first hours and days of life.

Suffice to say I didn't sleep too much that night :-) And we still had no boy's name chosen when I arrived at the operating theatre the next morning.

Posted by patton at March 02, 2004 01:36 PM
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