Category: Pregnancy

My Pregnancy Announcement

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… big news.

This is my pregnancy announcement.

Surprised?

You shouldn’t be.

Women with T1 diabetes can have healthy babies. Healthy pregnancies. It can happen.

If you are a T1 family (of one or more, seeing as how I feel having a baby as a T1 involves more than just yourself…), join Glu on September 28th from 5:30 - 8:00pm.

 

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Attending In Person

If you can attend in person, you’ll go here: 11 Avenue de Lafayette, Boston, MA after sending an email to: gluevents@myglu.org

Attending Virtually

They will be broadcasting it live through a super cool feature called blab.im. Register at the email above to get the details.

Want to get your questions answered?

Here is the link where you can submit questions up to a few hours before the event starts. https://blab.im/glu-t1d-exchange-type1-diabetes-and-pregnancy

I’m proof that T1s can have successful pregnancies and have amazing babies. There is so much bad information out there, so let’s change that. 

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The Kid thinks this post is funny, because she is definitely going to be an only child (and she likes it that way.)

My pregnancy announcement is this:

No. I’m not pregnant. Seriously. 

I Hope You Understand…

On the swell of your third birthday, I hope you understand…

You are more joy and happiness than we ever thought possible.

We love you with every breath we take…

and the moments between those breaths,

we love you even more. 

Daughter 2013

© Judy Host Photography

 

Shine on, our beautiful girl. 

My Pregnancy With Diabetes

IMG_0885It wasn’t about my diabetes.

There are some amazing women who have shared their journey through pregnancy with Type 1 diabetes, and if you’re looking for insight and information, I’d encourage you to read Kerri’s blog, Six Until Me or Kim’s blog, Texting My Pancreas. Not here.

In my best Jedi voice, I say to you: “This is not the diabetes pregnancy blog you are looking for.”

I’ve had ample time to mull it over and truth is, my focus wasn’t about having every single blood sugar in range and an A1C of 5.5 % (which it wasn’t, but I’m not feeling any guilt over that). Diabetes accompanied me through my pregnancy, but it wasn’t all consuming. Please don’t misinterpret that to mean that I didn’t care about it, but diabetes was just one part of a very big picture.

My pregnancy with diabetes was superseded by my pregnancy with bleeding issues and my pregnancy with travel issues and my pregnancy with miscarriage issues. The diabetes just became a part of the big ball that I began to smuggle under my shirt.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, there were problems with maintaining pregnancies, so every precaution was taken to remove any possible negative factors. I followed my medical team’s instructions to the letter and was diligent checking my blood glucose levels to keep them as normal as I could. While it was never blamed in the past, I didn’t want my diabetes to be the reason for another failure.

It wasn’t about my diabetes.

I traveled quite often before my pregnancy and thought it wouldn’t be an issue. After my third flight in a month during the early days, I began to bleed while touring a facility - and it was a two hour flight away from my doctor’s office. I was their first appointment of the next morning and fully expected to be told by the sonographer that there was no heartbeat; in fact, I told her as much. I explained my past miscarriages and had already resigned myself to yet another notch on that horrible belt. She took her time and looked up from the monitor, quiet and composed, then turned a dial so that we could listen to the thump-thump-thump of The Kid’s heartbeat.

I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t breathe. And then once I could, I couldn’t stop crying. And then she started crying. My doctor later joked that both the sonographer and I were in shock.

The next trip a few weeks later? Same thing, except a colleague covered for me while I spent hours in a New York City ER waiting to see if I had miscarried. I hadn’t, but arrived back home with a diagnosis of a subchorionic hemorrhage. The diagnosis did increase a chance of miscarriage, but it was nothing I had done and nothing I could do - except stop traveling by air for my family’s peace of mind.

“I can’t fly to our national conference,” I told my CEO, sitting in my bulky way-too-big sweater that covered a seventeen week bump. (At that point, he told me later, he just thought I had gained weight and was embarrassed about it.) “I’m pregnant with a baby girl and I can’t travel by air. I’ll be driving.” And I did. (Well, actually I was a passenger most of the time of a two-day, seventeen hours in the car road trip from Atlanta to San Antonio.)

Driving was a wise choice for two reasons:

  • I was only one of three staff that was on site when a massive snow storm that shut down half the country hit. My staff (and most of the company) arrived the night before the conference rather than two days before. I was a heroine, except that one night. (Which night, you ask?)
  • I spent a night in the hospital (Yep. I know.) due to a 24 hour puke fest that was going around. Having a car got us to the hospital I chose and not the one an ambulance would have taken me.

It wasn’t about my diabetes.

I will say that my endocrinologist appointments were not what I had expected. I was under the care of “one of the top endos in the country” and he is - when you can see him, which, for me, was almost impossible. I met with his staff of CDE’s throughout my pregnancy, tweaking basals and increasing mealtime boluses. I asked repeatedly to see the actual endo, but twice my appointment was moved to a CDE and once it was canceled due to him presenting at an overseas conference.

IMG_0960I was in my almost eighth month of pregnancy when I finally faced him. I waited in an exam room until 6:15 in the evening (for a 5pm appointment) and when he breezed in, apologizing, he looked at my chart then exclaimed: “Your fasting blood sugars are much too high! Who has been taking care of you?”

“Your staff for the last eight months.”

Let’s just say that he realized that he had said the completely wrong thing. He quickly made some changes to my pump settings, signed off on the delivery protocol and with that, he was off. I never saw him again.

It wasn’t about my diabetes.

My OB and my perinatologist were phenomenal. My blood pressure stayed normal. My A1Cs weren’t bad. (No, they weren’t 5.5%, but I didn’t have an endo who cared about that…obviously.) We watched her grow and kick her legs and arms. All her pieces and parts were gorgeous and her weight was normal. Due to the multiple high-risk nature of my pregnancy, we chose to schedule a C-section for safety. Nursery was done, tiny diapers purchased, and we thought it was smooth sailing for the rest of the pregnancy. Pride goeth before the fall…

It wasn’t about my diabetes.

She was born at 34 weeks, 6 days. Smooth sailing went out the window when my water broke late one evening. We believe that there just wasn’t any more room. I was a Weeble.

Looking back, I knew something was going on that day. My blood sugars were normal… far too normal. The fetal non-stress test the day before had shown that I was dehydrated (I passed, but only after I drank a liter of water during the test.) and I was clumsy and exhausted. As I lay down to sleep that evening, for the first time during my pregnancy (and pre-conception), I decided to not take my daily subcutaneous anti-coagulant injection before bed. “I’ll take it in the morning.” Lucky us. Saved me from major issues with anesthesia…

I knew upon arrival that my pump would be taken off and an IV insulin drip administered. (My admitting blood sugar was higher than what the endo indicated for continuous pump use and I was more concerned with the prematurity factor than fighting to keep my pump on.)  She spent her last night in my womb playing hide and seek with the fetal heart monitor, so the nurses had me in a Mongolian contortionist position to keep her in one place. We spent a few restless hours in a labor and delivery room, trying to sleep. We didn’t sleep, whispering excitedly to each other about our last night as “just the two of us”. Diabetes wasn’t part of our conversation.

It wasn’t about my diabetes.

A sweeter sound I have never heard, that first throaty cry from her lips. She was healthy. Hearty. Due to her early arrival, she spent her first two days in the NICU, where the nurses fought to hold her. (She was the only child in the NICU at the time that was in a regular bassinet, rather than an incubator.) Her next two days were in an intermediate care nursery (again, due to the prematurity rather than her state of health) and then… we all went home.

It wasn’t about my diabetes. 

It was about her.

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It’s Not That Hard…

She twists a strand of reddish hair that has fallen free from her ponytail while she listens to a message on her phone, then sighs and puts it back in her purse.

It’s a new group of moms. The kids are running amok in the small splash park and climbing precariously over small stone lions that silently watch over sparkling jets of water. It’s sunny. Joyful. But I am out of my element, because I don’t know these women well.

I miss my “mom friends” from our old city. I know them, have watched our children grow together, and become a better mom because of their collective wisdom. They are the only part of our old life that I regret leaving behind. If I could have swept them all up in a bag, slung them over my shoulder, and carried them with me here, I would have. (It would have been a heavy bag.)

While I am gregarious (sometimes to a fault) and have parlayed a career out of talking, I still get that nervous swirl in the pit of my stomach meeting people. It’s natural, right? Right. But that flutter has been a maelstrom lately, because the stakes are higher. I want them to like me, so that my daughter will have play mates. So, I try all the harder to fit in.

The woman sitting next to me turns and shares the reason behind her sigh. “I had a glucose tolerance test last week.” She absent-mindedly rubs her growing belly. I remember that clockwise sweep around my belly button, feeling The Kid roll and swim inside me. I am suddenly struck with jealousy pangs.

“They called me to tell me that my results are normal, but they just left me another message. I’m worried that they were wrong and that I actually have gestational diabetes. I don’t know how I would do it.” A few of the other women nod in agreement. My throat constricts.

My voice is muted, but still audible when I say: “You’d be fine. It’s not that hard.” I point to my pump and my CGM. There is a brief discussion about my diabetes and how long I’ve had it, then the gaggle of children rush towards us for the promise of goldfish crackers and chips.

I lied, but they won’t know it.

It is hard.

Every blood sugar out of range and the guilt that accompanies it.

Every comment made by strangers who do not understand.

Every judgement made by nurses and doctors and people you are supposed to trust.

Every thought of how easy it could be if you weren’t diagnosed with diabetes.

Every moment you wish for ten more children just like the single one you have because she is so incredible, but you know better.

I try to be an advocate for diabetes awareness, but some times, I wish I could just absent-mindedly rub my growing belly, complaining about a glucose tolerance test, while watching my daughter flit in and out of the water spray.

Today was one of those times.

 

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Purple Two

She is two today.

When you ask her, the color of everything is purple. Her blue eyes, the red fire truck roaring past, the brown dog she is petting. We know that she is aware of the other colors in the rainbow (and we even hear her say them when she is pointing to things in books), but it’s her favorite color. Her first color.

Someday I will tell you her story, but for now…

I will tell you that she is beyond anything I ever imagined.

I will tell you that when she lifts her chin for me to playfully kiss it at night, my heart skips a beat.

I will tell you that dreams come true and how grateful I am to be her mother.

Love you.

Love you.

Love you, my purple two.

Happy Birthday.

In her NICU knitted cap.