Every day in a pregnancy with diabetes brings on something new.
By Kerri Sparling
April 2010 — I'm a creature of habit. I sleep on the same side of the bed every night, I buy the same color toothbrush every time, and I can't bear the thought of not having my socks and my underwear match. (True story.) And these consistent kinds of habits served me well when trying to prepare my body for baby – being able to stick to a routine and do it day after day made controlling my pregnancy with diabetes a bit easier.
And thankfully, as I wrote two months ago, my husband and I were blessed with this pregnancy and now there's a baby on the way. All of my hard work and my strict adherence to "the routine" has paid off, and I'm happily watching my belly grow every week.
But. The routine? Pfffft – out the window.
Thanks to the magic that is a pregnancy with diabetes, there isn't a single routine thing about my day anymore. The basal rates I struggled to nail down last year are now being up-ended and switched around every few weeks. One week, I'm running too low in the morning and peaking a bit too high mid-afternoon. So after my endocrinologist and I make some tweaks, things settle down … for a few weeks. And then everything changes all over again. Highs where there were once lows, and insane lows where I was previously cresting up to 180 mg/dl. With the growing baby and the influx of hormones and all the other chaos that goes on during the course of the nine month gestation period, nothing is consistent anymore except for my craving for kiwis. (And cheeseburgers. Oh, and American cheese. Don't tell the dLife food editor – she'd kick my butt for eating this crap.)
Part of managing this pregnancy with diabetes is staying in constant contact with my medical team, so every two weeks I sit down with them and review numbers, blood sugar trends, and all the other diabetes vitals. And every two weeks, we make small adjustments as my baby grows and throws my control out of whack. Thankfully, my team at the Joslin Clinic knows how to manage a pregnancy with diabetes stem to stern, but still – it's hard for me to wrap my brain around changing basals and insulin-to-carb ratios every few weeks.
"Wait, so now you want me to increase my morning basal by 50%? But I thought we just lowered it last month?"
"Okay, so instead of exercising in the evening, you think I'd be better off getting my cardio workout done in the morning?"
"What do you mean, I can't eat lunchmeat unless it's piping hot?!" (This isn't exactly diabetes-related, but it's the one pregnancy no-no that's making me crazy. I'd kill a man for a cold turkey and cheese grinder right about now. And what makes something "piping?" Whoops – digression!)
But I do know that all this routine revamping is just a small part of how flexible I'll need to be once the baby arrives. Mornings of sleeping in or late nights out might be tough to come by once there's a sweet baby girl as part of my family. And on the diabetes-front, I know that my insulin needs will increase through the end of my pregnancy, but then could drop off dramatically once the baby is born. As a mom-to-be and a person with diabetes, I need to be ready to change at a moment's notice, because keeping myself healthy is the best way to take care of my daughter.
My daughter – yes, we're having a baby girl. I can't wait to meet this baby, and experience all the changes she's about to bring into my life.
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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