Diabetes and Pregnancy Doesn’t have to be Text-Book Perfect to have a Healthy Outcome

February 5, 2015By 5 Comments

10384677_10152694137223175_3273891605447795925_nThose who follow my blog, know that I am, well, just a tad type-A/OCD/planning-type person who goes bizurk if my calendar is off. Call it a side-effect of managing a chronic disease for most of my life, or just call it my personality. I have learned over the years and through the many people I meet with diabetes, that we are not all alike in the way we handle our diabetes, we are still individual people with different styles as to how we manage life.

I have written a lot on my blog about my extreme measures for planning the perfect pregnancy…years/months in advance of actually conceiving. Remember, we get imbedded in our minds soon after diagnosis that a healthy pregnancy is only a dream. I reached out to a friend of mine that I know through diabetes camp (her husband has T1D as well), who has just had her second baby (both pregnancies were unplanned). With a positive and laid-back attitude and quick ability to get her blood sugars on track, she was able to enjoy two very healthy little baby boys without letting the ‘fears and the risks’ discourage her from embracing her little family.

Thank you Kylee for sharing your experience! It is so important for people to understand both sides of planned an unplanned pregnancies with diabetes.

I have always been a relaxed person. I have—for better and for worse—tended to manage my diabetes with the same laid-back style.  Although I have had my share of ups and down, I never let it ruin who I am or how I live my life. When my husband and I found out I was expecting for the first time unexpectedly my world was flipped upside down… for about an hour… and then we were on our new journey of parenthood.

            Luckily for me my husband also has T1D and is my biggest supporter.  When you hear the words “unplanned pregnancy”, I think everyone’s first thoughts are “how irresponsible…” The judgment is even worse when they find out I have a T1D. When I found out I was pregnant I knew I was going to be judged.  Not only did I not “plan” my pregnancy, I am also diabetic.  I knew how important it is for women with diabetes to plan their pregnancies for their own safety as well as the baby’s, yet I found myself faced with this dilemma anyway.

            I am now nearing the end of my second “unplanned pregnancy” with type 1 diabetes.  Although it may be hard to believe, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I, unlike most people with T1D, did not have the months or even years of planning and vigorous testing to get myself and body ready for a pregnancy.  So, for that hour when my world felt flipped upside down, I was terrified.  I worried about how everything was going to turn out and whether or not we were going to be able to go through with the pregnancy.  For as long as my husbanded I have been together we’ve been concerned about whether we would be able to have children.  It was always something we both wanted. 

           After reading online all the horror stories about what could happen to a baby when the mom has not had tight control of her blood sugars my husband and I were certain that we were not going to be able to go through with our pregnancy.  We assumed we would have to try again later when I was prepared. To our surprise, this was not the case.  I went to the endo and found out my A1C was 7.0.  None of the doctors seemed terribly worried, so I felt relieved. They told me that of course I had to work on getting it down for my safety and the baby’s safety but were sure to let me know that it was doable and I was going to have my baby in the months to come.

            Knowing that I had a little person depending on me to make sure he was healthy provided a huge dose of motivation for me to make sure my blood sugar was perfect.  Once getting in the routine of hourly blood sugar checks, it became second nature.  I managed as usual for the most part, checking and correcting, just more often than usual.  As a result, I was able to ensure that diabetes was only part of my pregnancy and did not consume my whole experience. To me my pregnancy was very normal with the exception of a million doctor’s appointments, but I welcomed the many ultra sounds and test to make sure my baby was okay.

           My first son was breach almost the entire time and because of that my doctor scheduled me to have a C-section. I was also very swollen the entire pregnancy but was not diagnosed with preeclampsia until the day I gave birth at 36 weeks and 6 days.   My son was born on August 26th at 8 pounds 6oz. and to my surprise did not have to go to the NICU, again something that I was certain was going to happen just because I have diabetes. We got to keep him with us our whole hospital stay.  I was and still am very happy with how my whole experience turned out.  As a person with T1D I had learned to fear pregnancy, but as it turned out, for me, having a baby was a pretty normal experience.

           As I near the end of my second pregnancy, I feel like a pro!  Knowing that I had done this before and what was in store definitely lightened the load of doubts and worries.  I feel ten times more relaxed about my diabetes and don’t let it consume my every thought.  I am instead focused on my new baby that is about to come into the world.  For both of my pregnancies I have had about the same A1C in the low 6’s the whole time. I consider myself very lucky and in two short weeks I’ll be able to say I have two happy healthy boys and I did it all with type one diabetes!

Update: Kylee and Josh gave birth to Miller Andrew a week after she wrote this article for me. Congratulations on another healthy baby boy Walsh Family!!

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Comments (5)

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  1. Elizabeth Shapiro says:

    Congrats to Kylee and family, what an accomplishment and blessing. Having a child and preparing for another is exhausting; can’t imagine how she did it AND managed T1D with such a positive outlook. Inspiring and happy story!

  2. Erica says:

    Congratulations Kylee!! Thank you so much for sharing! I cannot believe we are all in this stage of our lives – starting families of our own! I love hearing about everyone’s successes and achievements. Diabetes and pregnancy is TOUGH work. You, Regina, and everyone else who has gone through those grueling 9 months deserve great recognition. Reading your stories and experiences has been reassuring and comforting for me as my husband and I decide whether or not to conceive. We are both on the fence and I guess I’ll never truly “know” I’m ready, but knowing you have gone through this experience not once, but twice and have two beautiful children is all the more empowering!
    Best,
    Erica & Malcolm

  3. Diabetic mummy says:

    Hi Kylee,

    Thanks for sharing indeed! My pregnancy was semi-planned, semi-unplanned. As I am in my early 30s, my doctor said I should try and see whether I can actually conceive. At my previous diabetic clinic, they had drilled the strict HA1C requirements and although I was aware of them, I just thought – yes, what if I can’t conceive at all! Then before I knew it I was pregnant and became really worried about my HA1C – it was actually about 7.8 I think so at the high end but that could have also been as I had been pregnant for a couple of weeks already when the test was done. We did spend most of my pregnancy thinking this little one won’t make it because of my diabetes. Every time I had ketones, I thought that was the end of it (I read somewhere they can be really bad for embryos). I have birth last May and although our boy was a bit on the big side, he was alright in the end much to our huge relief.

    What I really also wanted to thank you for, though, is writing about having a second baby as a diabetic. For the past year and a half (pregnancy and since our boy was born) I have felt as if I have two kids already – diabetes being my second kid. It’s so tiring anyway and having diabetes just tops it off really! So hats off to you!

    Finally, just to add that it is really important to have a supportive partner. I am very lucky to have such a great husband and I think it takes certain caring and loving individuals to become partners of T1 diabetics.

    We are not talking baby number 2 yet but I’d like to think maybe we could have another one one day as having our son has been the best thing ever. Also as mentioned already, I suppose we know what to expect the next time round. We’ll see…

  4. Veronica says:

    Very Uplifting article. I think the most difficult thing for a T1D is getting past all of the comments
    you hear from people who really don’t have the right information.

    So happy all went well.

  5. Joy walsh says:

    Kylee happens to be my daughter in law. I also have T1D and try as I might did not have the success that Kylee had with her A1C results during pregnancy. She is an amazing example of how positive a pregnancy with T1D can be. Kylee is an inspiration to all and is an amazing mother. She fails to tell you some of the difficult days she experienced to make her boys a success story. stay as positive as Kylee and you can do this!

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