A Different Kind of T1D Mom – the heart knows no boundries

February 14, 2014By 1 Comment

In an effort to share the depth and spirit of those of us living with T1D who strive to not only be a healthy mom, but also find a way to have a healthy baby amongst many of life’s obstacles, I decided to ask two camp friends of mine to share their personal stories.  Abby and Cortlyn have each faced their own struggles in an up-hill battle to have a child while also taking care of their diabetes.  I hope you are inspired by their stories and perseverance.  Thank you Abby and Cortlyn for letting us into your hearts!

Abby’s Story I had to remind myself that to be able to watch my child grow up I had to take care of myself too.”

There are many ways to build a family. My husband and I chose to build ours through foster care. We started this journey about a year ago after I went on infusion therapy for my lupus. I have to go for IV infusion and the meds do not allow for me to carry a child. As many of you know with diabetes it can be risky to carry and with diabetes and lupus it becomes life threatening. It was a harsh reality that sometimes I still struggle with, but I needed to make a healthy decision. It helped that I have an amazingly supportive husband, understanding family, and a great team of healthcare professionals. We did a ton of research into private adoption, but we felt that there were enough children in our community that needed our home.

Each year there are approximately 250,000 children in Foster Care within the United States. 200,000 of them will end up going up for adoption sometime in their lives. That is a staggering statistic that made me think that it only takes one family at a time to make a difference for one of these children. So we took the plunge into the dreaded Foster Care system. It was a long three months full of classes, meetings and home inspections but it was worth it. I called this time in my life, my ‘paperwork pregnancy.’ In May we became licensed Foster Parents.

We were specific with our county that we wanted under the age of two, besides that we did not care. One piece of advice if you are considering Foster Care: keep an open mind. It is an incredibly stressful process and you will always feel like there is no end in sight, trust me I still do. We were quickly contacted for the child we currently have in our home. We fall under the category of pre-adoptive parents. That does not mean that our current little man couldn’t go back to his biological parents but chances are slim. We still have a long road ahead and a large court battle but we are up to the fight.

There are days when I think “Why am I doing this?” Having DSS in your home each week making sure you are properly caring for the child in your care, constantly in your life, feeling as if you and your husband have no privacy. It is an incredibly difficult process and there is always that feeling of “Why couldn’t I just get pregnant and not have to deal with all this.” I am helping a little boy who was born into a terrible situation live a better life, and when I think like that it makes it all worth it. When I hear him call me “Mama” or run up to me after a long day and wrap his wiggly little arms around me I know I made the right choice. I know why I am doing this; I know that he is my son.

The first month of being a mom was an absolute shock to my system. I found myself not having time to eat, so stressed out my blood sugars were all over the place, changing my pump sites was no longer a priority. I had to remind myself that to be able to watch my child grow up I had to take care of myself too. It was an adjustment, but I found that with the help of my husband and my healthcare team I was able to make being a mom and a responsible person with diabetes work. It is not easy but it’s a necessity.

 

Cortlyn’s Story “She asked how many kids I wanted and didn’t once put diabetes in front of it.”

In 11 short weeks I will be a mom. This is something that I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl. I have yearned to raise a family, to provide love, teach life principals and be a mom. When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of four, I was told that ‘having babies will be really hard.’ Why would this disease limit me? How could it? I knew I had to persevere and own this thing – and so I did. For the past 21 years I have been on a long road of owning my diabetes, not letting it get the best of me.

When I was about nine years old I knew that I was different than most of my friends. I knew there was a quality about me that they didn’t have, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. It wasn’t until I was in my early teens that I was able to define that – I am gay. I am lucky to sit here today and say that I have the most accepting family and friends I could ever ask for. I have had a very nurturing and supportive life. My parents and brother have continued to love me and push me to be the best person I can be, regardless of being gay.

A year and a half ago I married my best friend, Jamie. It was when I met Jamie that my desire to have a family really grew. She asked how many kids I wanted and didn’t once put diabetes in front of it. She knew that we were going to have a family and knew we were going to do anything to make that happen. The support I have received from Jamie towards my diabetes is indescribable. My A1C plummeted from 10.3 before I met her to 7.4 within the first 3 months of us dating. She pushed me, encouraged me and reminded me why it was worth it.

Shortly after our wedding, we met with a couple fertility doctors for consultation appointments. with both of us needing to fill the desire to experience pregnancy, we decided that Jamie would carry first to give me a little more time to get my diabetes in as tight of control as possible. After 6 months of unsuccessful IUI’s, last august we received our good news!

Any pregnancy related complaint my wife has is quickly followed with ‘oh you just wait until you’re pregnant!’  I realize how fortunate I am to witness this all firsthand and to imagine each step of it with diabetes. I have been lucky enough to have found an endocrinologist that is on board with Jamie and I. she is aware of our plans, and is working with me to keep my diabetes ‘as tight as possible.’

It has been hard to keep attention on my diabetes during the duration of Jamie’s pregnancy. We have been so preoccupied with each milestone, appointment and the general excitement that comes with your first child. However, on a daily basis I remind myself how crucial staying on top of it is, how much this year will pay off for the health and well-being of our children. I am nervous for stress that will come once our baby is here and how that will affect my control but I have accepted the fact that it will be a challenge and I can ask for help. I have all resources I need and it is up to me to utilize them. With the endless support Jamie and I both have, we cannot wait for our son to enter this world and to become moms.

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  1. Bob Bradley says:

    Thank you for publishing this story. My daughter Cortlyn benefited in so many ways during her years at Clara Barton Camp. I am very proud of all that she is!!!! Bob Bradley

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