On November 29, 2017, I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 33. My initial diagnosis was type 2 diabetes, but after multiple blood work tests, and seeing an endocrinologist, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I was immediately put on insulin and given a strict regime of checking my blood glucose. At this point, my goal was just to get my numbers down, and figure out life after a diagnosis of this magnitude.
At diagnosis, my A1C was 11.9%, and I think my blood sugar was around 477 mg/dL. I shared with my endocrinologist that my husband and I dreamed of starting a family, and questioned what this meant as far as my odds of getting pregnant. She educated me that I should wait until my A1C was below 7% to have a healthy pregnancy and that diabetes wouldn’t stop me from getting pregnant, it is just something that I would need to manage closely during the pregnancy. This was a relief to me being newly diagnosed; I hadn’t done the research to know if this type of diagnosis would affect my fertility. In the next few months, I kept my blood sugars in the range my endocrinologist and I had set. I limited my carbohydrate intake, injected short- and long-term insulin, corrected when my numbers ran high after meals, and continued educating myself on my disease. In April, my A1C was down to 5.3%, and my average glucose was at 105 mg/dL. My hard work had paid off, and I was feeling better than ever. This now meant my husband and I could go forward with our plans to try and have a baby.
For some reason, though, I became apprehensive and unsure. I felt like I was just getting a handle of my disease and throwing a baby into the mix seemed overwhelming and scary. So we held off. The months went by, my A1C went back up to 6.3%, but I kept feeling stronger and more confident as a person with diabetes. When the summer came to an end, we decided to start seriously trying to conceive.
After a month of trying, we found out I was pregnant. The first thing my OB said to me during my 8-week appointment was, “Do you work?” “Yes,” I replied. “Well, I‘m just going to let you know that being a type 1 diabetic and pregnant is a full-time job. We want you to keep your blood glucose in a very tight range.” My initial retort was having type 1 diabetes alone is a full-time job. I got this. I went on an insulin pump, Omnipod, to keep better management of my numbers. I also wear a Libre continuous glucose monitor. Since I’m now a fully functioning robot, I feel like I can keep an even closer eye on my blood sugar numbers.
Pregnancy has definitely changed my insulin tolerance. I am noticing I need to take higher doses of insulin to manage my numbers from spiking after meals. At the end of the day, I am doing the best I can. I have a great team of doctors educating and supporting me and my needs, and a team of diabetes educators who review my numbers weekly. No, my numbers are not always in the range that my doctor and I have set during pregnancy, but I try to correct them as fast as I can. I remember that my body is capable of amazing things. I truly feel lucky to be able to write this and hopefully give my fellow DiabetesSisters hope that a healthy pregnancy is something of which we are all capable.
Ali D is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to Chicago, and performed, produced, and assistant directed a multitude of productions. She also worked as a teaching artist in classrooms across the Chicagoland area providing students with an insight into educational theatre. After relocating to the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area, Ali has worked as an Intervention Aide for Special Education students and headed the Preschool After School Program. She loves spending time with her husband, family, friends and her cat, Norman.