Gestational diabetes, natural labour & birth story.

hunter birth story

From local, Hunter mother, Bronte:

“I was booked in with the Belmont Midwives for a home birth, but at 28 weeks my care had to be transferred to the John Hunter because I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Two weeks later, I was on insulin for my fasting numbers, as I couldn’t get them under control with just diet alone.

When I started on insulin I was told “I would be automatically induced spot on 38 weeks regardless of anything else” – this didn’t sit well with me so I did some research about risks associated with GD and decided that as long as my insulin needs stayed low, my regular ultrasounds of baby showed that he was growing perfectly (not to big or small) and my placental dopplers were spot on I would push back induction to give myself the best chance of going into labour naturally.

At 38weeks+1day (29th May, 2019) I went in for my appointment and they spoke to me about inducing again (Each Dr I saw would bring it up at nearly every appointment and each time I would politely decline and say “I would like to push induction back closer to 40 weeks as baby seems perfectly happy and healthy at this point it time”). THIS time they did book an induction date – for three days ahead. But, after making the booking, the Dr did a cervical check as she wanted to record my Bishops score. AND she told me I was 3cm dilated, 70% effaced and baby was at 2 station! I left that appointment feeling confident in my bodies ability to do what it needed to bring my baby earth side and put the numbers to the back of my mind to make sure I didn’t focus on it.

I had spent my pregnancy reading Ina May Gaskin, Hypnobirthing books and listening to Australian Birth Stories Podcasts so I knew the importance of not getting ahead of myself and surrounding myself in an oxytocin filled bubble in those last few weeks. I planned to do a lot of cooking with my mum the next day to stock the freezer in preparation of the first month with a newborn.

That night I went to sleep at about 11pm not having felt anything out of the ordinary (just some braxton hicks as I had been having since about 28 weeks pregnant).

I woke up at 2:15am needing to pee and while on the toilet I had my first contraction. I went to hop back into bed when I had another one and I had to hold onto the cot in my bedroom and rock. I decided to hop into the shower to see if it would fizzle out as I knew labour can start and stop or take a while for a first time mum in particular. While in the shower I had another couple of contractions. At 2:30am I told my partner to phone birth suite and tell them we were coming in and then I phoned my mum. While on the phone to my mum I had another contraction and my waters broke. From this point on the contractions came every 2 minutes lasting 30-50 seconds and I couldn’t talk through them. I knew this was happening fast and we needed to get to the hospital. My partner, my mum and I were out the door by 3am and got to the John Hunter hospital by 3:45am.

As I walked into birth suite I had about 3 contractions that made me stop and sway, before I even got on the bed in the first room I had another one and moaned as I swayed, the midwife on duty said at this point “I’m not going to do the paperwork straight away, I would like to check you first and see how far along you are”. I ended up being 9cm dilated “pretty much 10 – there’s only a lip left”.

They wheeled my straight into a delivery room. The main midwife had just quietly introduced herself, put a gown and gloves on and told me to listen to my body and push when I felt the need, she asked permission to use a perineal compress once baby was crowning and asked for my wants in regards to cord clamping and then she allowed me to stay in my labouring headspace with my mother and partner supporting me.

I breathed Oakley down with each contraction knowing it wouldn’t be long till he was earth side. It wasn’t long until I felt the pressure of his head and my body started to push on its own.

At 5:05am, after 10 minutes of pushing, I was holding my son. He didn’t make a sound at birth but pinked up and was breathing, the midwives laid him on my chest and I asked them to leave the cord till it had stopped pulsing.

They watched Oakley closely on my chest and after 10 minutes they decided they needed to get a NICU Dr up to have a look at his breathing as he had started to have to work hard to take a breath, for the next 20-30 minutes he had oxygen until he was able to breathe easier. They placed him back on my chest where he had his first breastfeed while I was stitched up for a 2nd degree tear. We topped him up with some of my expressed colostrum (I bought 30 mils in with me) to make sure his sugars stayed stable and we spent the next hour and a half doing skin to skin while he slept.

Oakley was born weighing 7lb 3 oz, 51 cm in length and a head circumfrence of 35cm.

I am forever thankful for the 2 midwives (Laura and Lisa) that looked after me and cannot fault the care I received while in hospital”.

Story and sharing, courtesy of Bronte Taylor

Photography by Kate Kennedy.

Congratulations on your birth Bronte, and thanks for allowing us to share your local story for other local mums.