Pregnancy & Motherhood

Pregnancy & Motherhood

One Moment at a Time

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

The homestretch… the last leg… the season finale… okay, well, maybe not the season finale, but it’s here either way you say it. The third and final trimester. And while it’s nice to think that my little boy will be here, in my arms, in about 10-11 more short weeks, it’s also the scariest.

I know things have to be dealt with one day at a time. If there’s anything this pregnancy has taught me so far is that fact alone. But I am so much of a future planner. Thinking in June and July how I’m going to budget for Christmas. How to plan the summers to fix up our house to bring it more and more up to date, while fixing things that have broken over the year. About the only thing I don’t plan is meals for the week… which is my next project. The point being is that I like to have a plan. One that can be stuck to without much change. I like to know what’s coming and have a plan as to how exactly to carry it out and make things work perfect, as I know I am not a person that does well with sudden change. And that has been my hardest thing to let go of to gain more of a “go with the flow” attitude.

I knew with the third trimester would come some major insulin resistance. My endocrinologist already warned me that I could double, if not triple, my insulin intake during that time. Well, let me tell you, at 28 weeks now, I am now at the double mark and coming up to that triple mark… at least for bolusing. A simple breakfast this morning of 1 ½ cups of cheerios, 1 cup of milk, and two strawberries topped me out at 17.2 units of insulin… Something that at the beginning of my pregnancy may not have been but maybe 5 or 6 units. I think what shocked me even more is the fact that I had to give it in two separate boluses because my pump tops a limit to boluses at 15 units… which I’m seeing now I may have to raise to a 20u limit.

Cartridges that, when filled, could last 4-5 days, now last 2 – 2 ½ . But what do you expect when each meal ranges between 8-12 units (with breakfast being between 10-15ish) and daily basals now being 32u. That’s not including snacks or corrections.

Basal rates never stay the same more than 3 days for me now, increasing at slight amounts of 0.05-0.1u per hour, and at different times of the day. If you were to look at a chart of the peaks and valleys of my basal rate before pregnancy, it looks nothing like what I have now. Trouble times are different, save the morning “wake up” phenomenon.

And sites? This is something that is puzzling me, yet not really. Every site I have used the past 3 weeks has left me with a bleeder or bruise. Now, granted, I know blood volume increases a lot during pregnancy, but wow! It’s like playing a game of Minesweeper… you never know when you’re going to place one and it be a bomb of a bleeder. A bruise I had from three weeks ago is still there, but is fading a little bit every day.

One day, one hour, one minute at a time. It’s what I have to keep telling myself. Otherwise, I’d lose my mind. It’s easier to look at my diabetes management during pregnancy that way than looking at the big picture. Because the big picture is overwhelming and seems impossible. The only big picture I need to be focusing on is the one of my little boy… being safe and healthy.

The Best Mother's Day

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

May 9, 2011

 

Good morning, everyone! I hope all of the mothers reading this had a wonderful Mother’s day yesterday with your families. Yesterday, being my first Mothers Day (yes, he’s still baking in there, but we’re still counting it as my first one), Erik surprised me with season 6 of NCIS and a new picture digital picture frame to show off all of my pictures on.


Saturday, we went for our first 3D/4D ultrasound of our little one. It is amazing what they can do these days! Although he was sleeping most of the time, we were able to get a few good shots of his face. He sleeps like I do with his arms curled either behind his head, or his hands curled under his chin. His face is shaped like mine, but the features are his dad. Not surprising though with as strong as the genes are in his family. Either way, no matter which one of us he looks like, I’m completely in love now. Not that I wasn’t before, but this takes it to a whole other level. Actually seeing his face and his movements just has me in awe and completely love-struck. Though I wasn’t a Grinch before, I feel as if my heart grew “three sizes that day”, and I’m sure it will grow even more when I actually get to hold him and really see him when he’s born. And to get to see him the day before Mother’s day? That was the best thing ever!


We got a CD with all of the still images that were taken, so when Erik gave me the digital photo frame, I put all of the pictures from all of the ultrasounds on there, including all of those.


On the diabetes front, still nothing is making sense. One day I’m going everything to get blood sugars down, the next, I’m fighting to keep them up. But I’ve come to know that right now, nothing can be figured out, plan put in place, and it stay that way. Right now, it’s a constant change. Stress over anything is not needed during pregnancy, but especially over control. For me, I’ve had to learn to deal with things as they come one day at a time and stop worrying about what may happen tomorrow or the next day. The only thing that has really helped is having two basal rates. One for the days where I’m trending a little higher, and one for the days that I’m low more than I’d like to be.


Also, exercise helps too. I am trying to walk 1.25 miles at least three times per week not just for circulation and all, but also for blood sugar control. I have found that when I do, my night’s blood sugars are a little more manageable for supper and after. I also wake up with better numbers, which is a good thing since those are ones that fluctuate the most when I don’t walk.


Diabetes is rough. It’s even rougher with pregnancy thrown in the mix. But its in those moments that I am reminded just how precious life is, and how important the best control possible is needed. It’s not needed just for me anymore. It’s for him too.

 

To see one of the pictures from the ultrasound, click here.

 

It's Not Always The Pregnancy

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

This past week has brought more challenges than expected. From bad sites, to bloody-bruised ones, to sites that work a little too well. Could some of it be blamed on pregnancy hormones? Maybe. But I think these were mostly insulin and site problems.

 

After going through one site change per day from Monday to Wednesday last week, I thought I finally had a good one before going to my endocrinologist appointment. But, as it turned out, that one had hit a vessel and I had a massive bleeder (I say massive.. any site that takes longer than three seconds of pressure to stop for me, I call massive.) It was no wonder that correction bolus worked so fast! So, after I had ducked into a restroom to pull that one, I reconnected via my old site ( I always leave my old sites in until I know the new one is working.. just in case) and went in to see the doctor and then changed the site yet again once I got home.

 

Then I have days like Saturday. We had gone for a trip to the zoo with my sister in law and her family. I thought the walking around would be good, and it would give me a chance to take more pictures of things I don’t get to see in my back yard (I swear I’ve practice-shot any and everything back there!). You would think I would have stayed low or at least normal-low, but I stayed in the 200s. Finally, halfway through our time there, I figured yet another correction bolus (third one of the day) and set my pump to +20% basal rate for the remainder of the day. Finally, after doing this, I reached 122 by lunchtime.

 

Or things like last night happen… I had a pretty good day with blood sugars, not needing the +20% at all. Some sugars were a little high, but those could be blamed on my craving and giving in to chocolate chip cookies and milk. But last night, I got home and cleaned a few things before going to bed. I was also stressed about some things going on, and they were weighing heavy on my mind (hence the cleaning). When I finally stopped because I was too pooped to do anything else, my sugar was 80. So, I ate a snack and waited up in bed for it to come up…. Except it didn’t. I kept dropping…. Into the 60s then 40s.. then finally, I hit 28. I haven’t had a number in the 20’s since February. I freaked out not just because I had hit the 20’s again, but because I was at home by my self since hubby was working late and my glucose tabs and snack were just sitting in my stomach. I felt so full, yet nothing seemed to be getting through. My sister-in-law came and sat with me until I was back in the 80s, during which time I explained to her how to use the glucagon kit and where it would be if it was needed.

 

It seems basals and bolus rates are changing almost daily now. Some days more, some days less. I have come to learn to just go with the flow rather than getting upset that I can’t fix it and leave it. It’s a constant change, I have to be ready to take it… kinda like a hockey goalie. But one thing I have to remember is not every whacky number or weird pattern can be blamed on the pregnancy hormones. Yes, I’m sure a lot of it could, but it isn’t always the answer. Sometimes its just whacky because it’s diabetes. And diabetes likes to be a pain in the butt sometimes.

 

Stay tuned for my post next week. We will be going for our 4D ultrasound this week and I can’t wait to see what my little boy looks like so far and to share with all of you guys!!

 

(To see pictures from the zoo, click here! Also, here’s my 26 week photo.)

 

25 Week Appointment

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

April 25, 2011

This week not much has changed with the pregnancy nor with diabetes. It seems that I’m now on the uphill climb in basal rates and insulin-to-carb ratios to try to keep my bgs from being on their own incline. We did, however, have our OB check up on Thursday so I’ll recap on how things went for that visit.

 

We came in and did our usual wait for the doctor. The pre-visit blood draw was the same as they were going to test my A1c yet again (which I still do not understand why they have to check that every month… it’s a 3 month test, right?) except this time I asked for them to keep up with TSH, the thyroid hormone. My thinking is if I’m becoming insulin resistant and need more and more insulin, and the TSH typically increases later in pregnancy as well, why not keep up with that as well? So, since my veins were at their mercy, I let them grab an extra tube full to be sent off if the doctor so wished…and he did, thank goodness.

 

My weight is finally past my starting weight, and actually to the plus about 2 pounds, so the OB was actually happy with that. Not saying I wasn’t gaining weight as I should before, but I guess because I had lost so much in the beginning, the wanted to be sure I stayed on the increase now. Which is starting to be a hard thing for me to accept. I don’t want to see the scale because I’ve always been cautioned about weight gain and it scares me. But just like the increase in insulin, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not because I’m being a bad diabetic, it’s because I’m pregnant – I’m growing another little person, and with that comes a whole new world and perspective on what’s “good” or “not-so-good” with everything.

 

(Speaking of increased insulin, what is shocking to me and so hard to get over is that the meals that used to only take, say 5-7u of insulin to cover, now take 8-13u. And pasta?? OH. MY. WORD!!! We ate out at Olive Garden for my mother-in-law’s birthday this past weekend and I got what I thought wouldn’t be that much insulin to take, but after calculations? It ended up being 16.6u of insulin!!! I was floored! I have never in my life had to take that much at once for a meal. Granted, I did my combo bolus as usual for pasta and it turned out actually pretty well as I didn’t spike above 160 (SCORE!) and didn’t crash later (DOUBLE SCORE!!). Granted, it’s not always like that, but the spikes are getting better with the changes my endo suggested last week.)

 

When the OB came in, he looked over my chart, did some measurements, and basically said that I was doing very well with the pregnancy as far as he could tell and to schedule an appointment at four weeks. I asked why four and not two as I was told we’d step up to after this one, and he said that things are looking great, and he doesn’t see the need for me to come back that soon, but to know that after that, the appointments would probably increase really fast until I was coming twice a week just for non-stress testing on me and the baby. We also asked if he thought I’d go full term, and he said maybe, but we might only go 39 weeks depending on my health and the size of the baby. So, we might actually have a July boy instead of an August one. He cautioned me to go see an ophthalmologist to be sure I can push if we were to either go into labor naturally or be induced, so that will be yet another appointment I will be setting up here shortly.

 

So, the short, simple version is that we are doing well. Hopefully I’ll get my test results back this week and I can update you on that this weekend, as well as my endo appointment that I have coming up on Thursday.


 

Growing

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

We are now at 24 weeks, just two weeks away from the start of the third trimester. The baby bump is growing fast these days, and I’m at the point that none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit, save one dress (thank goodness since Easter will be next week and I can wear it one more time!).

 

I can tell BabyK is getting much bigger and stronger these days as his kicks are getting more predominant and he’s moving my stomach with him. Sometimes I can even tell what side he is on just by the shape of my belly. It’s odd to think back to being younger when I thought that all women’s bellies just grew round, not oval and moving with the position of the baby.

 

With the baby’s growth, I have grown and actually put on a few more pounds. I am now 2 pounds above my weight at the beginning of the pregnancy, and have put on a total of 12 pounds since the third month. These past couple of weeks has been where it has really started to show, especially with water retention. My ankles are always swollen and my hands are swollen mostly at night now. For the most part, I’m still comfortable, but I can tell as the trimester (which I keep wanting to call “Semester”, as if I’m still in school!) comes to a close, I’m beginning to understand why women are uncomfortable as they grow bigger into the third trimester.

 

My blood sugars are doing as well as can be expected. I still have to readjust basal rates at least once per week in my pump, but even twice last week. I have been trying to adjust them on my own some, though I learned last week that maybe it’s best to still listen to what the endo says. He is the one with the degree, after all. And, yes, I know most diabetics do understand their diabetes better than their doctors, but I’ve never dealt with diabetes and pregnancy at the same time, and I’ve still got to learn that the highs and lows aren’t always just from being diabetic, that the hormone shifts in pregnancy can throw them off too. Last week, I read my graphs and calculated what I thought I needed to increase my insulin to based on what my history as a diabetic was, but I was sorely awakened to know that I had over-done it and stayed low, 50-60 range, until I backed off just a smidge. And when I say a smidge, I mean like 0.025 – 0.05u less for certain rates. It’s almost as if I’m insulin resistant and sensitive at the same time.

 

As far as my meal boluses, doing a combo bolus for my meals does seem to help a lot more than the straight bolus for every meal. As long as I keep to my lower-carb multi-mini-meals and not the “big3”, my blood sugars seem to stay pretty happy. I knew Friday (pay-day) just how much when I ate out instead of eating packed meals throughout the day just how much it helped too. It wasn’t long until I went up and stayed in the 160-180 range verses staying in the 130’s like usual.

 

Granted, when I speak of changes I make, I do speak of my own trials and testing. I do not write this as a guide for anyone to use for themselves, as I am not a doctor, nurse, or certified diabetes educator. My endo knows my method of calculation and is ok with me making changes as needed, unless he sees they are not safe. If you are diabetic and pregnant as well, I do urge you to speak with your medical professional that handles your diabetes care before making any changes to your care yourself.

 

Weight and Weighing

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

We are now starting our 23rd week of pregnancy, and things are going pretty smoothly. My weight is staying on track, as well as my basketball-belly growth.

 

I have so far, by my scale, gained 10 pounds. I have gained back the 10 I lost, so technically I’ve “gained” 0, but considering I was somewhat overweight to begin with before pregnancy, I’m glad to have lost the 10 and just now gaining it back at the 5 month mark.

 

Of course, with weight gain is the increased need for insulin, not just the insulin resistance. We (my endo and I) have increased my insulin a little bit more, by 0.1 per hour and my IC ratios have stayed pretty well the same for meals. The only exception to this is how I program my insulin pump to give the insulin at meal times. Instead of programming it to give me the insulin all at once, I’m having to give a percentage up-front (70% for breakfast and 60% at lunch, snacks, and supper) and the rest over time, which also depends on the time of day (extending 1 hour in the mornings and 2 hours for the other meals). It is a lot of variables to keep up with, I’ll admit. And, at first, it didn’t seem to be working at all. But within a few days, my numbers evened out, and I wasn’t’ having the rollercoaster of blood sugars going everywhere.

 

My A1c came back right where we wanted it, 6.2. Considering we started off with an A1c of 6.7, this is a great thing. My target is in between 6.0 and 6.5, so I’m right at the middle mark. I’m hoping that with close monitoring and weekly faxes to my endo, we’ll be able to keep it right there. Also, my TSH (thyroid test) came back in range, so we know that since it was low before because my Synthroid was too much, that we need to start checking it closer so we’ll know when to increase the dose for the Synthroid.

 

Also this week, I bit the bullet and bought a weight scale for my kitchen. My husband and I have been stockpiling on food and taking lunches instead of going out for food for lunches and suppers to cut back on spending. So, since you don’t always have a package to look at to see the nutrition info, I’m pre-packing lunches based on weight to a set amount of carbs per meal and snack. Meals usually average 30-40g of carb and snacks are 20-30, depending on the food. Some fruits you can’t help but go over 20g because of the size, but when packing things like Chex-Mix, it makes it easier to know you have the right serving size.

 

The baby is doing great. He’s moving and scooting all around in there, and kicking me with all his might it seems. He has a pattern in his movements now too, so I can pretty well tell when he’s sleeping or awake. Most of his movements are from 9-10am, 2-4pm, and again late at night from 7-9pm. Granted, he probably moves in between these times, but these are the times he’s his strongest. I have to admit, waiting to feel him kick was something I always looked forward to knowing what it felt like, and it is very awesome to feel, but it’s also one of the weirdest things I’ve ever felt. Sometimes he kicks and punches, and I’ll feel it at the top and bottom of my belly. I just sit back and let him have some room to move and watch him move my belly.

 

Everything I’m doing to fine tune may seem to be a lot, but I can’t help but be OCD about everything right now. Sometimes I just want to give up and relax, but then I feel him move or kick, and I know that I can’t. I have to hold out just a little longer so I can know I did everything I possibly knew to manage my diabetes so that he’ll be as healthy as possible.

 

It's Starting

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

 

April 2, 2011

It has begun. That fun thing that women with diabetes talk about when they’re pregnant… Those dreaded two words….Insulin-resistance.

And for me, it has hit this week for sure.

I’m now at 22 weeks and basal rates have increased by about 0.1 - 0.15 units per hour in my pump, and boluses for meals, well, those are still a work in progress.

My endocrinologist knew this was coming soon, so he wasn’t as upset or shocked over the numbers as I was after printing them out and seeing them in black and white. I, on the other hand, have been an emotional wreck about them since seeing them all laid out. Guilt, aggravation, frustration, and total confusion have left me in tears many times this week because I’m not used to not being able to pinpoint a reason for something and fixing it. I’m not used to a blood sugar plummet or spike happening just because it can, not because of something I didn’t do right when figuring a bolus or scheduling exercise. This week has taken a big mental toll on me, and if it weren’t for a few friends in the Diabetes Online Community on Twitter, I think I could have easily gone insane. The biggest thing I’m having to remember is that when I’m figuring out what may have gone wrong, is that most reasoning that I knew before pregnancy doesn’t apply now. This is a whole new ball game with a different set of rules.

Another new component that I’m having to deal with along with the insulin resistance that normally comes along in pregnancy is the start of what could be gastro paresis. He said that not only is my uterus growing and putting pressure on the stomach, but the hormones associated with pregnancy can cause delayed food absorption. Lately, after some (not all) meals – low fat, high fat, complex carbs, fast carbs, any type of meal – I will still feel miserably full for hours. My blood sugar will fall into the low 30’s, I’ll treat it trying to keep from going too low, only for 3-4 hours to pass and my blood sugar will be on its way to the stars quickly. It’s not every meal that this happens, so I explained that it’s hard to know when to wait to bolus or to prebolus to keep from dropping low or spiking too high from miss-timed boluses. So, we came up with a plan. I am to use a combo-bolus (also known as a dual wave bolus) to where some, but not all of my insulin is given up front, and the rest is given over time. This way, we’re hoping to help both problems out. I’ll be faxing him blood sugars next week to update how it’s working.

I’m also starting to keep a log of every food, every bolus, and every prebolus time to send to him too. He’s probably going to hate me, but I am really doing it for myself. I’m trying to calm my brain from blaming myself for all the highs and uncontrolled numbers and prove to myself that I’m doing everything I can possibly think of to control my numbers and keep me and this baby healthy as possible. Going overboard? Maybe. But if it helps me keep my sanity right now, I’ll do it. After all, I need to keep as much of my sanity as possible at least until the baby comes, right? ;-)

 

 

Catching Up

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

March 26th, 2011

I am now 21 weeks pregnant – just over the half-way mark. It has been a wild ride up until this point, all of which I can’t share every bit of in this post, but I’ll try to give you a little glimpse month by month so far.

 

November: The Beginning

We found out we were pregnant on the 27th – my husband’s birthday. This month marked one year that we had been trying to conceive, and I wanted to try this one last month before giving it a break for a while. We had gone on a late anniversary trip at the beginning of the month, and I had hoped things would go right.

I took one test a week beforehand (my cycle is not a normal 28-day one – it can vary greatly from 21 to 46 days), and it had come out negative. My heart sank. I thought maybe we weren’t going to be pregnant this month and would start to try again after the holidays.

I had gone over to my mother in law’s house on my husband’s birthday while he was outside working to take her a few things. We discussed how tired I had been lately and it wasn’t like me since my blood sugars had been doing so well. She sort of raised an eyebrow, to which I immediately started to say “Nope, we’re not pregnant”, but instead I said “I don’t know – it’s a little early to take a test.” Shortly after, I left.

It started weighing in my mind that she could be right. I stopped by the store on the way home and picked up a test and took it as soon as I got home (in the afternoon at that). Within a minute, it turned positive. I couldn’t believe it. I was pregnant. I ran outside to tell my husband. We hugged, cried, and I looked at him and said “Happy birthday!”.

The next few weeks were those of joy and excitement – for finally becoming pregnant after trying for a year; to worry and fear – that even though my diabetes control was good, that I wouldn’t be able to handle the changes that were to come, bringing me into a world that I was not familiar with.. and it scared the heck out of me.

December: 4 - 9 Weeks

Not much changed physically during December. We went from finding out at 4 weeks in November to being 9 weeks by the end of the month. We had our first ultrasound December 21st and we got to see the little bean’s heart beat. That was the first time it really hit me – I really am going to have a baby. We both had tears of joy. I’ve never been so proud of a picture than the one of that little bean, even thought you couldn’t see much at all.

But as far as diabetes was concerned, I went from an average of 50u per day (total basal and bolus) to about 20. The “morning sickness” that lasted pretty well all day kept me from eating very much, and I quickly relied on things like glucose tabs fresh fruit, peanut butter, juice, and milk in small quantities to try to keep things steady for me.

January: 9-13 Weeks

Though not showing outside, I my stomach was getting firmer this month. It was slowly becoming more than just the positive pregnancy tests and the one ultrasound we had had done back in December to confirm the pregnancy that was confirming to ME that I was indeed pregnant. We did have a bleeding scare at 10, almost 11 weeks, that had us going to the doctor for a checkup and ultrasound to be sure everything was ok, which it was, thankfully!

Diabetes wise, the lows were still persistent. Averaging 18-20u total per day was something I have never seen before, and I was amazed. By this time, instead of gaining weight, I lost about 7 pounds from not being able to eat much. Most of my meals (if you want to call them that) didn’t even require a bolus, which was weird. I felt like I was being an irresponsible diabetic for not blousing, but I didn’t need it. I had a lot of close calls with the lows, many in the 30’s, and a few in the 20’s. One of which had me on my kitchen floor at 2am with my husband pleading for me to drink the juice he poured in a glass and was putting in my hands to drink. That night was the worst, scariest low I had had since I was about 7 years old, but thankfully I was able to recover without using a glucagon kit or going to the ER.

February: 13-17 Weeks

The second trimester is starting this month and my lows throughout the month start to not be quite as bad. I’m starting to dip to the 40’s, but that’s about it. Insulin needs are going up, which is a good thing, because even though I still have “morning sickness”/queasiness, I’m able to eat a little more than before.

This month I now have a growing little pooch sticking out, despite the total loss of 10 pounds. And in the 16th week, I felt the first little flutters of the baby moving around in there. Something that was totally joyful, awesome and tear-jerking all at the same time.

March: 17 weeks until now….

Whew! I told you it was a ride! January being my hardest month so far. And, yes, I know I have more challenges to come, but I believe with all of my heart they are worth it.

Gradually, my insulin needs have increased, especially in the morning hours. It started off with it just being hard to bolus for breakfast and avoid a spike to the 200’s, but now I’m waking up at 4-5am and again at 6-7 to bolus an extra “boost” of about 1u to keep me in an acceptable range until breakfast time. I know I need to change basal rates, but I’m honestly waiting on a pattern, of which right now there isn’t really one. My insulin-to-carb (IC) ratio’s have increased as well from 1:8 in the mornings to a 1.5 (almost twice as much insulin for breakfast! Wowza!) and daytime ratios have gone from 1:10 to 1:8. Prebolusing at the right amount of time and also spreading meals out from the standard 3 big ones and 2 small snacks to 5 small meals has been crucial as well in keeping a somewhat decent number throughout the day with the least amount of spikes.

Up to this point, I have only gained back 3-4 pounds, so if you use my lowest weight as my starting weight, I’m gaining right on track for my second trimester and overall weight-gain limit.

As far as the baby, we found out on the 23rd that we are having  a little boy! My husband and I are very excited, not only because we both wanted a boy, but also because the ultrasound technician told us that he looks great and right on track with his growth. He’s also getting stronger at kicking me, and you can see it from the outside now, which I think is completely amazing and weird all at the same time.

So, now that this eternally long second post has gotten you somewhat caught up to where I am now, I will start to post how things are going week by week. If you want to read more about my pregnancy so far other than what I have posted here, you can go hereand read all of my posts on my personal blog upuntil now.

 

Pregnancy Dreams Becoming A Reality

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

March 20, 2011

One thing that most all little girls dream of is one day growing up and becoming moms. They become little mommies to their baby dolls and mimic their moms by feeding, changing them, even rocking them to sleep.

 

This little girl had the same dreams. As I grew older though, the thoughts of being able to have my own children started becoming a dream that slowly started to drift out of my mind as a possibility because of my diabetes control stopping me from having children later. I can remember my endocrinologist appointments starting to include the talks about pregnancy later in life and how it was important to take control of myself then to avoid complications that might would interfere with pregnancy later. At one appointment I was very irritated about my diabetes control and by that time was sure that I didn't want to have children of my own, that I was fine with adoption. The nurse looked at me and said, "You know just as much as I do that when you find the right guy, you'll want to try for your own family". I can remember telling her that if I found the right guy, he would be okay with adoption. I left there resolved that adoption was the only way for me and that I would not try to carry my own children because of diabetes.

Fast forward about six years. After dating and dating, I finally met the man I wanted to marry. There was only one thing. He was okay with adoption, but he wanted to do everything possible to try for at least one child of our own. Reluctantly, I agreed. We were married, and I started my journey of trying for better control. It wasn't something that happened overnight. It took years.  I even gave up for a while, thinking I had tried and control was just something I could not attain.  

We later switched endocrinologists, and from there, my control got better. I finally had a doctor that "got" me and my diabetes and he helped me get things under control, and for the first time, I attained an A1c under 7. Pregnancy, then, for the first time became something that we saw as a possibility.  After a few visits and steady A1c's in the 6's, we received the okay from the endocrinologist and we then started our journey to become parents.

As of this past November, a year after getting the okay, we got a positive pregnancy test. We are now on our way to becoming parents. A dream that I had let diabetes take from me, I am now living with diabetes. And so far, it's been an amazing journey.

Life with a Newborn and Diabetes

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

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.