Life with a Newborn and Diabetes

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

Life with a Newborn and Diabetes

March 14, 2011

Wow – I can’t believe how time is flying, and I have been making so many mental notes to share with you all on my blog of how these first few weeks have gone with a newborn and diabetes.  So in effort to try to hit the high spots and finish this blog before my daughter wakes up or I fall asleep I’ve broke it down to a few different categories.  Just to keep it fun I’ll categorize each one based on whether it falls into the newborn category or the diabetes category or both.

Sleep and Newborns

I start with sleep because it doesn’t happen all that often for me so there’s not too much to say except, “Whoa, there is absolutely no way to prepare for the day in and day out sleep deprivation.”  I thought I had been sleep deprived before in my life but then there was always the weekends when you could sleep in or that random day that you could take a long nap.  Neither of those seems like a viable possibility at this point. So sleep occurs at random times throughout the day and night and never for more than 3 hours at a time.  Remember they torture prisoners of war in this fashion so the sleep deprivation is no joke.

Sleep and Diabetes

Well we all know that we should try to make sure we get the requisite 7-8 hours of sleep so we can better manage our diabetes.  See the aforementioned paragraph and it’s clear that the newborn wins this category. I don’t think I’m getting a 7-8 hour stretch anytime soon. In fact I just read that “sleeping through the night for a baby equates to 6 hours.”  Who makes up these guidelines?

Nursing and Newborns

Ok on TV nursing looks so easy and so natural, but the in reality nursing is a motor skill that has to be mastered by two people - baby and mom.  I’m very lucky in that my daughter is doing great and she is nursing and gaining weight appropriately.

Nursing and Diabetes

In my experience nursing has had the biggest impact on my blood sugars. First and foremost I am hungrier than I ever thought about being while I was pregnant.  And when I say hungry I am ravenous, and I crave all things that typically wreak havoc on my blood sugars – chips, brownies, crackers, etc.  The good news is that I seem to be able to eat these foods without too much negative impact on my blood sugars. The bad news is that eating these foods is not getting me any closer to my pre-pregnancy figure.

The balance between taking care of yourself and taking care of your baby

So the abovementioned topics are all things that new parents experience, but I can honestly say that having diabetes does complicate matters just a little.  Prior to having the privilege and the responsibility of caring for another human being I was pretty self-absorbed in my own care.  Suddenly my needs take second place to making sure I am meeting my daughter’s needs. On several occasions I have been ill prepared to take care of myself because I was too busy taking care of the baby. For instance I’m usually so good about packing snacks when I go out and about, but on one of my first trips out of the house I completely forgot to stock the diaper bag with anything in case I had a low blood sugar.  And guess what – I had one of those sweaty, shaky disoriented moments when you know your blood sugar is low and you don’t even check to see but you just know you need something.  The next day I stocked the diaper bag with glucose tabs.  I’ve also had several issues of low blood sugar after waking up to nurse in the middle of the night.  Now before I go to bed (actually it’s just a nap) I make sure I have several juice boxes, candy, a banana and other forms of glucose close by.

In addition to low blood sugars, I’ve also had some issues with my pump.  One night I was so exhausted and sleep deprived that went the whole night with the infusion set tucked into my pajamas rather than inserted in my body. Needless to say I was little shocked when I checked my blood sugar the morning. I think I even administered a correction bolus and it wasn’t until I got in the shower that I realized that insulin wasn’t even going in.  Prior to the delivery I was so diligent about getting some form of exercise most days of the week. Now with a newborn I am happy if we get a walk a couple times a week.  I do notice that walking is great for my blood sugars but sometimes I get so busy with all things baby that I run out of time to take care of myself.

All in all I’ve been pretty fortunate and our daughter is a good baby. I think most first time moms feel a little overwhelmed with a newborn, but diabetes definitely complicates the situation a little more.  I am still learning how to balance taking care of myself and taking care of a baby, but I can honestly say it is worth all the hard work and dedication.  Slowly but surely I can see my daughter becoming more attentive and interactive.  I am just waiting on that first “real” smile where she responds to my voice. I know my heart is just going to melt.

Thank you all for reading my adventures in pregnancy and diabetes. This is my last blog post, and I am so grateful that I had this opportunity. It has been very healing and therapeutic to share my story with such an amazing group of women.  I encourage you all to pursue all of your dreams and never, ever let diabetes stand in your way.