An amazing support team | Induced labour due to diabetes

In June 2017, Bianca and I have contact for the first time. We already have plans to go on our world trip, but nothing is confirmed yet. She tells me that she’s due in February, but the baby will be born in January because she has diabetes. Even if our trip does happen, I can still capture this birth, since she can tell me now in which week the baby will be born.


In September we meet each other for the first time, and Bart joins us. It’s a great meeting! Bart has 2 children from a previous relationship, and this is their first child together. Madelon (11 years old), Bart’s daughter, can’t wait until the baby arrives. She knows she’s getting another brother, and she’s hoping to cut the cord. That won’t be possible, unfortunately, but as soon as the baby has arrived, Madelon will be able to come and see him (if it fits around school of course).


The induction is planned for the week of 23 January. On the 9th of January I receive an email from Bianca saying that it’s been moved forward one week, because of growth concerns and blood sugar levels. Her sugar levels were under control during her pregnancy, but it’s now proving a challenge to keep it that way. The baby will be born in the 37th week of pregnancy; on the 16th of January a balloon will be inserted to start dilating her cervix, and on the 17th the induction will begin, if the balloon has done its job.

I’m always cautious with dates when it comes to an induction, especially around 37 weeks. You often see that it takes more than 2 days before the baby arrives. I’ll make sure everything is ready, and then, we wait.

On the 16th of January Bianca sends a message saying that there’s a 90% certainty that the induction will happen on the 17th. The balloon is doing what it should. Bart will keep me up to date (and he does 😉 ). At 9:01 I receive the first update: “Good morning Marry. Dilation is 3 – 4cm, water has just been broken. They’re going to start the IV shortly. I’ll keep you updated. Regards, Bart.”

I expect that I will have plenty of time today. This level of dilation is often achieved when the balloon comes out, but it’s always the question when contractions will really get started, and how effective they’ll be. At 37 weeks it’s possible that the body reacts with ‘”I don’t want to do this”, and so things take longer. Bart sends a message at 10:15 that the IV has been running for around half an hour. I ask whether it’s having any effect yet, and he replies: definitely! Ooh, that’s quick! I wonder how this will go. And they wonder even more, because they can’t wait to meet their baby. At 10:25 I reply with ‘hopefully he’ll get a move on’. 😉 And… he listens!

It is going quickly

The next message I receive from Bart (at 12:01pm) is: “6 – 7 cm dilated. They say it’s going well.” Going well??! It’s going really quickly! Oh gosh, I’m on my way! I quickly make some sandwiches, and at 12:12 I’m in the car. On the way I receive another message from Bart. It’s now 12:23 and I’m nearly there. The message simply says: “8 – 9 centimetres”

I can’t believe it. These baby’s always do it their own way – brilliant 🙂 Just when you think it could take days, it takes less than 2 hours. I’d thought of all kinds of possible scenarios, but I never even considered that I could miss this one! I accelerate.

At 12:38 I take the first photo. I stepped into a room which was an oasis of calm. Bianca is on her hands and knees in bed. Her mother and Bart are standing with her, offering support. It’s wonderful to see how they work together, and how they also give each other space. One of them holds a hot water bottle on Bianca’s back while the other puffs with her. One gets water for Bianca, the other a cool washcloth. Bianca is calm, but also clearly tired and in ‘labourland’. I understand she has had a shot of a painkiller, which can also make you a bit drowsy. Every now and then Bart whispers words of encouragement. It’s beautiful to see! Bianca’s mother supports her completely. It’s incredible to see the mother tiger in her coming out. It makes me emotional. Bart checks his phone a few times, and I go to sneak a peek. I think he’s probably updating a WhatsApp group, and it’s always fun to have a photo of that. But I see something else completely. I ask what it is. Bart explains that Bianca has a sensor on her belly, and with this app and the sensor he can keep an eye on her blood sugar levels. Wow, that’s great!

10 centimeter

Soon after I come in, it’s time to start pushing. She’s dilated to 10cm – it’s going so fast! However, pushing goes less quickly than we’d hoped/ expected. She starts pushing on hands and knees, but that quickly proves too exhausting. At 13:20 she turns onto her back, and that helps. At 13:45 Bianca tells us for the first time that she can’t do it anymore. She is working so hard! Bart is also keeping a close eye on her blood sugar levels, since so much hard work definitely impacts them. They check whether her bladder is empty, since a full bladder can get in the way, but it is empty. The baby is still doing well, so we all encourage Bianca to push. We start to see some baby hair; that helps encourage everyone! Bianca’s mother tells her grandson, “Come on my boy, it’s time now!”

At 14:00 Bianca tries pushing on her side to see if it helps. Once again, she gives her all. Her mother has an arm around Bianca, and when she pushes her mother puffs with her. But she’s standing in an uncomfortable position, and has to switch with Bart. Bart immediately gets instructions about how to puff with Bianca. When he fails to do so, Bianca’s mother does it, from a short way away. “It helps!” I just can’t get over how involved everyone is – what an amazing support team!

Some help

Then Bianca gets a cramp. She is still surprisingly flexible, so up her leg goes into the air, and Bart holds it for her. It’s a hilarious photo. 😉 At 14:25 Bianca turns back onto her back. The baby and Bianca are still doing well, but Bianca is completely exhausted. The gynaecologist is fetched, and so is the vacuum pump. Bianca says again that she can’t do it any more. It’s now 14:46, and the gynaecologist observes Bianca through a few contractions. Bianca is pushing well, and is told, “that was a good one!” But she’s not impressed: “that doesn’t make any difference!” The gynaecologist explains what he’s going to do, but Bianca just wants one thing: “yes, yes, hurry up!” That baby needs to get out. 🙂

Hello baby!

And then, at 15:02 (Oma predicted 15:00!), with a little assistance from the vacuum pump, a beautiful baby boy is born, covered in vernix! He’s gorgeous! He has a short cord, so he’s not able to lie on Bianca’s chest. Oma is smiling from ear to ear, Bart is wiping away a tear, and Bianca looks at her son uncomprehendingly, and then her head drops onto her pillow. For the first few minutes all she wants is to lie like this, with her hand holding Faber’s hand. His name is Faber! “He’s so warm,” she says.

Bart goes into the corridor to phone the children! And Faber has some blood taken from his cord for stem cells. Bianca and Bart want to store his stem cells. “If I had stem cells of my own, I wouldn’t be a diabetes patient now,” Bianca says. When this is finished, Bart cuts the cord at 15:25. Now Faber can finally lie on his mother’s chest. He is – deliberately -not wearing a hat, so she can enjoy the smell of her newborn.

The big sister

Madelon is at the hospital quickly. She steps into the room before Faber is even one hour old. She is so proud! And she think he’s so cute! It’s touching to see. Bart also thinks so, because he has tears in his eyes. Then Opa comes in to admire Faber. Faber is looking for a breast, and Bart moves him a little closer to one. He gives it a try, but doesn’t manage to latch correctly yet. He’s weighed and checked, and his blood sugar levels are also checked. They are a little low, which means he needs some milk. Before giving him formula, Bianca tries to express some milk for him. While Bart gets some precious skin-to-skin time with Faber, Bianca sees the first drops of milk in the bottles, and Madelon is getting out Faber’s first clothes. What a dream team. 🙂

Madelon then has the honour of dressing her little brother, with a little help from Oma, and then Faber is given his first milk by finger feeding. He doesn’t waste any time getting it down!

I take a few more photos of Faber and the family before I leave. When I leave, I take one last peek through the door, and I see a loving family, thoroughly enjoying being together.

I wish you all the best, Bianca and Bart!