In Which Life Throws Us a Curveball
Pregnant? With diabetes? What do I do now?
By Kathryn Foss
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!
November 2008 — I have been carrying on nicely for the past few months with my low carb routine and doing a great job of getting my blood sugar numbers in a really great range. I may go kicking and screaming into new routines, but once I make it over the hump, I tend to stick with them. Now, I've had many challenges in life, and many blessings as well, yet rarely do they arrive hand in hand. But arrive together they did, on what started out as a normal day in October. I say it started out normal, because it was just like any other day in the Foss household. We got up, we went to work, we came home, I took a pregnancy test, and we ate dinner.
What?? Ok, ok! I slipped the pregnancy test bit in there! That is certainly not part of our daily routine at Casa de Foss! I only said the day STARTED out normal, yet it ended anything but, and based on the positive result of that magical little stick, our lives changed in an instant.
I think it's clear at this point in the game that I have a hard enough time managing my diabetes without the added stress of growing a baby. So although I was really excited about being pregnant, I was pretty freaked out about being pregnant with diabetes. I had no idea where to begin, and for type 2 diabetics, there is surprisingly little information on the great world wide web. Most hits involved diabetes developed while pregnant, more commonly known as gestational diabetes. In the end, I found a few helpful articles buried several pages deep, but not enough to really give me the knowledge and peace of mind I was looking for as I started this new journey.
A word of warning to those looking for information on the Internet in regards to being pregnant with diabetes - you will run across a lot of horror stories! For some reason, it's mostly the bad stuff that gets posted, especially on public message boards. I had myself good and freaked out that first week, and finally was placed on an Internet message board ban as I was imagining the worse case scenario for me and my yet-formed little one. Best advice? Take a deep breath and go and see your doctor! That is really the best place for reliable information!
Luckily for me and the unborn babe, Norway has really good pre-natal care for diabetics. I was instantly referred to the state hospital where I started out with bi monthly appointments. I was a bit nervous at my first appointment, as I was loaded with a lot of scary information I had procured from the Internet, namely my concerns about my blood sugar levels being too high. I felt I should be put on insulin immediately to save my poor child. The doctor quickly assured me that my numbers were not that bad, pretty good actually, and that he would prefer to keep me on my normal dose of 1000mg of Metformin and have me keep a journal of my numbers over the next month. He told me that pregnant type 2 diabetics often experience LOWER blood sugar in the first trimester and that the higher numbers, and thus the need for insulin, come later in the 2nd trimester or early 3rd. I was skeptical, but there was nothing I could do other than take his advice.
So away I went and over the next 3 weeks an amazing thing began happening. My fasting numbers started dropping! They are the lowest they have ever been as are my post meal numbers. In fact, they are totally normal. I find it quite amazing and it really helps give me peace of mind as it has taken away one of my primary worries and enabled me to just enjoy the thought of being pregnant, nevermind pregnant with diabetes.
Now I'll be honest, as a diabetic, I never thought I would have the luxury of saying the phrase "enjoy the thought of being pregnant," but with modern medicine, and a little bit of level headedness from yours truly, I find myself in the wonderful position of being able to just relax and join the ranks of normal women everywhere, as just another pregnant gal looking forward to the miracle of life.
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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As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...