Heaven And Hope And All Things Good
One womans heartbreaking fight for her future child.
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
June 2008 — She is heaven and hope and all things good. Nestled snugly against me, my niece's breath whispers secrets that only angels can hear. She is new life. She is the reminder to me of what is yet to come, but what has eluded us so far.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes, it was during a time when specialists were no longer warning type 1 diabetics against pregnancy. Home glucose monitoring, better understanding of tight control, and doctors who worked diligently with future mothers created a new mindset – and many successful pregnancies. For me, it was a foregone conclusion that when I was ready to enter into motherhood, diabetes would be a part of the process, but that if we knew what to expect, my pregnancy would be a healthy one.
With that in mind, I decided to get my act together, buckle down, and talk to my endocrinologist about my future as a pregnant diabetic. Tweaking dosages, pushing for optimum control, it took a while to get to where all of the doctors could say: "Go for it! Let us know how we can help!" I found a team of specialists that would work with me – and each other – and it did help.
I knew I was pregnant before the stick triumphantly announced: "Congratulations! Two lines! Go buy diapers and set up a college fund! " In fact, my husband claims he knew before I did, and he's probably right. He watched smugly as I fell asleep on the couch at 6pm every night after quelling my cravings for salad – whole bowls of salad, which I normally never eat.
We did all the right things: called the specialists, had lab tests, adjusted basal and bolus rates, and told everyone that we were going to be parents. There was a lot of celebrating – and a lot of other actions. I slept a lot, daydreamed a lot, and hoped a lot.
Did you know that over one-third of pregnancies end in miscarriage? We didn't, until it happened to us.
We took solace in the fact that the doctors felt it had nothing to do with my diabetes, and that many women go on to have successful pregnancies. It was just, as they quietly explained, "bad luck." We mourned the loss, and continued to plan for our future family.
It happened again. Pregnant. Excitement, now tinged with an unspoken fear. Then the loss once more. We regrouped and let our hearts heal.
It happened a third time. I no longer believed that it was bad luck. I was angry at myself, my body, and my diabetes – even though the doctors reassured me that I had done everything right. We saw a specialist. We had vials of blood drained and tests done. All of the results came back "normal."
I was not normal. I am a diabetic, and the word "normal" was not part of my vocabulary. For once, I didn't want to be "normal" – I wanted to know why I was failing. All of the specialists and my endocrinologist shook their heads and sighed. No one knew why this was happening.
My last pregnancy, our fourth, ended like the first three. It doesn't get any easier. The pain is still the same, and the cries of "why" are not any quieter. There is no solace when I am told that my blood sugars were great and my A1C was exactly in range. I didn't want platitudes. I wanted answers.
Almost three years later, we finally have one. A new specialist took five vials of blood, and a test revealed a genetic clotting disorder that didn't show up before. I'm glad that I know about this, as I can take steps – just as I have done with my diabetes, to maximize my chances for a healthy pregnancy.
We are still trying and I promise to share the diabetic – and non-diabetic – days of my future pregnancy. I suppose I find it strange that the one aspect of my diabetes I had always fretted over – a successful pregnancy – has nothing to do with this disease.
Until then, I am overwhelmed by her beautiful eyes and perfect lips. I will cradle my new niece and allow myself to dream of our own heaven and hope and all that is good.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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