Saturday will mark my 22nd week of pregnancy. I honestly never thought I would be here. My husband and I got married three years ago and we weren’t in a rush to have babies and weren't even sure we wanted to mainly because I was afraid of getting pregnant with my diabetes. After about a year, I thought it was time to start getting my act together in case we changed our minds and wanted to start trying for a baby. I had no idea what needed to be done in terms of my diabetes care to get baby ready and at the time I only knew one person with Type 1 diabetes and had babies-she actually has had 4 and all were healthy!
Growing up, the doctor told my parents that it was better to run a little higher than have lows, a message I took into my adulthood. Before trying to get pregnant, my A1Cs hung out in the 8’s, not too bad but not too great either. Every endocrinologist visit my doctor would lecture me on carb counting, using my bolus wizard, testing more often (the days before the continuous glucose monitor-CGM), etc. Even though I needed to improve on those points, I mainly stayed in the 8’s because I was afraid of the lows. If my blood sugar got into the low 100’s I would feel low and consider treating. The worst time for me was overnight. I wouldn’t feel comfortable going to bed unless I was close to 200.
Well, a year into my marriage with thoughts looming of a baby, I needed to take action. This was when I joined the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), found diabetes blogs, started my own blog (www.below-seven.com), etc. which ultimately led me to finding you, sisters! Thanks to the DOC, I learned some facts about what I needed to do to get my diabetes in check, the main qualification being to get my A1C out of the 8’s and try for below 7 (hence the name of my blog).
Having good diabetes control has never been easy for me. After over a year of trying to lower my A1C (and trying to get over my fear of lows), I finally found out last December that my A1C was not only below 7, but it was 6.4 and I was given the go ahead to start trying for a baby! I attribute a lot of the success to my CGM because it helped me to get over the fear of lows.
It didn’t take long for us to conceive. I found out in March that I was pregnant. I had slipped a little bit in my diabetes care, mainly because I was a little burnt out from thinking about diabetes so much, and my A1C after I found out I was pregnant had gone up to 6.8. I read that when you conceive it should be below 6.5 so I was worried, but my doctors didn’t seem too concerned.
The first trimester was hard, but I luckily didn’t get morning sickness. I mainly had to deal with really weird food aversions (no meat or veggies!), constipation and extreme exhaustion. One thing that surprised me about being pregnant with diabetes was the fact that my insulin sensitivity didn’t start right away. I don’t think I started seeing lows until around week 8. Then from week 8 on, I was making changes to my insulin rates at least once a week to deal with the lows. The insulin sensitivity combined with hard work led my A1C to drop to 6.2 by my 12-week appointment.
Now that I’m in my second trimester, the weird symptoms have subsided for the most part, although I’m still pretty exhausted. I’ve got a good routine down for eating (every 3 hours, no more than 50 carbs per meal or 15 carbs for snacks). From around week 16-21, things were pretty calm with my insulin rates. I made slight tweaks here and there but overall, I eliminated a lot of the extreme lows and managed to not go too high. Now approaching week 22, I’ve been waiting for the insulin resistance to kick in but so far I’m still fairly stable. With my routine and fairly stable blood sugars, I’ve seen my A1C drop even further down to 5.5! I never in my entire life imagined getting an A1C down in the 5’s. It’s been quite a journey so far to get my blood sugars down where they need to be for baby and stay there while pregnant. I know things are going to start getting tougher as the insulin resistance kicks in but right now I’m so happy with how far I’ve come and hope the improvements in care will benefit my baby.