After years of hope and hard work, theres a baby on board.
By Kerri Sparling
February 2010 — "A diabetic pregnancy is challenging. Having children will be a very difficult journey, and it might not be possible."
That's what they told my parents back in 1986 when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes was going to hinder my ability to have children, or so we were told. But at the time, I was a child myself, and didn't think much about how diabetes could impact my pregnancy.
But when I was about 21, my brother and his wife had a baby, and I was immediately smitten with my beautiful nephew. And I knew then that I wanted to have a child of my own, or at least to try. Even though I wasn't married and wasn't anywhere near ready to actually have a baby, I was already planning for it. I switched from multiple daily injections of insulin to an insulin pump in efforts for better blood sugar control, and I took a very active interest in my own health and wellness.
Four years later, I met the man who eventually became my husband. We dated, we got engaged, and we got married. And then it became real, this pursuit of parenthood. So my husband and I worked to get my body ready for a possible pregnancy.
And, gosh darn it, it worked.
There's a baby on the way!
Right now, I'm three months pregnant and filled with a hope and happiness that I didn't think was going to be possible in my life. After over a year of preparation and intensive diabetes management, after dozens of doctor's appointments, and after over two decades of diabetes , I'm actually carrying my first child.
Granted, I know the risks involved with a diabetic pregnancy. I've heard all kinds of stories about 19lb babies and yes, I've seen Steel Magnolias. And no, I'm not scared of all that crap. I'm aware, I'm careful, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep myself and my baby healthy. This is my diabetes, my life, and it's not following a Hollywood script or a medical textbook from the early 80's. I now have the tools and the medical team to help me achieve a healthy diabetic pregnancy, and God-willing, I will hold my baby in my arms next spring.
Diabetes management has taken precedence over everything these days. I'm monitoring my blood sugars through the use of my Dexcom CGM and testing my blood sugar approximately 15 – 20 times per day. I'm charting numbers, tracking carbohydrates, and seeing my medical team at the Joslin Clinic every two weeks. My blood sugar average on my meter has tumbled from 160 mg/dl to 110 mg/dl, and my A1C is clocking in at my all-time lowest of 6.2%. (I even called my mom to ask her if I ever had an A1C in the sixes before – "No, Kerri. That's the lowest you have been since your diagnosis. That's incredible!") My blood sugar control isn't perfect (the lows are intense and last for several hours, which was something I hadn't anticipated), but it's well within a safe range for my baby, and so far my pregnancy is progressing successfully.
And I am so, so thankful.
This baby is loved already, since well before my husband and I my husband and I got married and used to talk over dinner about our future family. We've loved our baby since the moment we took the risk to create him (or her) in the first place, and when we saw that first smudge of baby blob on the screen of the ultrasound machine, I was like the Grinch, with my heart swelling three times its size in matter of seconds.
"Having children will be a very difficult journey, and it might not be possible."
It has been a difficult journey, but one well worth the effort. And I am hoping with all my heart that the next six months go forward in good health. A diabetic pregnancy is possible, and I hope to introduce dLife to the newest member of the Sparling family next spring!
Visit Kerri's website.
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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