A Diabetic Birth
Every moment of my pregnancy was worrisome, but worth it.
By Kerri Sparling
August 2010 — I always wanted to be a mom.
When I was younger, I didn't fantasize about a big wedding in an ornate church with a fancy white dress. I never thought much about my wedding. But I did dream endlessly about my child.
Growing up, I wasn't even sure I wanted to have kids. It's hard to think about becoming a mom when you're still a child yourself. I knew I wanted to go to college, I knew I wanted to have adventures with someone I loved, but kids? It took me a while to get there. Once I had decided that I wanted to have a family, I planned way in advance. Before I even met my husband, I was already working to become a mother, changing my diabetes management plan from multiple injections to a pump. My focus became lowering my A1C in pursuit of a healthy pregnancy, well before I even walked down the aisle.
When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, the moment was one of instant elation and epic worry. I knew, from that moment forward, that my diabetes wasn't just "mine " anymore. It belonged to my daughter and I, for as long as she was inside of me and then, to a certain extent, after she was born. I needed to be in the best health to ensure that she could be in the best health. For almost nine months, every blood sugar was shared with her. Every day of good control was a success for us both, and every day of tough control was something I carried like a stone around my neck.
But she and I, with the tireless help of my husband and my brilliant medical team, worked hard for those nine months to stay healthy. Even when I was hospitalized with preeclampsia at the end of my pregnancy, trapped in an ante-partum hospital suite for a month, the focus was to keep me and my kiddo in the best health possible. I was so close to the finish line, and the hospital staff was determined to have me cross in good health.
Diabetes made my pregnancy harder than your average one, for certain. I spent the duration of my pregnancy worried about every blood sugar and every food choice. I visited my doctor every three weeks for several months, and once I was in the third trimester, I was seen every week. Although preeclampsia can happen to any pregnant woman, my medical team believes the condition was instigated by my pre-existing type 1 diabetes and mild hypertension. And although a scheduled c-section can happen to any pregnant woman, mind was scheduled due to my diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes had a hand in much of my pregnancy, and it was sometimes overwhelming.
But on April 15th at 9:09 am, my daughter came into the world. Three weeks early, via scheduled c-section, and 100% healthy. She is perfect, from her ten toes to the impossible amount of hair on her round little head. Her blood sugar was a little low after delivery (which is common for the babies of diabetic mothers), but after a few hours, she stabilized without issue. My husband and I went home, with our daughter tucked safely into her little car seat, just a few days later.
Every moment of this pregnancy was worrisome, but worth it. Because as I write this, my healthy and happy daughter sleeps soundly beside me.
I'm proud of what I've accomplished, and what I've created, despite diabetes. It can be done. Because if I can do it, anyone can.
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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