Diabetes and Sleep Deprivation

March 5, 2013By 3 Comments

sleep-deprivationDay 16 of captivity with this squeaking, grunting (sometimes screeching) little adorable nocturnal creature that is draining me of every ounce of sleep and love that I have available… and I don’t mind one bit.  I don’t care how exhausted I am, I would rather just stare at her than nap.  Figuring out where my diabetes management fits into this strange place of sleep deprivation and enjoying my newborn has been interesting to say the least.

I was standing at the kitchen sink at some odd hour of the early morning and had an itch on my side.  When I went to scratch it, I realized I hadn’t removed my old pump site from when I put a new one in over a day ago.  Wow.  I had been wearing two pump sites for over a day with no clue.  The good news was, I had remembered to change my pump site at all.  Being the OCD person that I am, in preparation for having the baby I created a check-list for myself that I could look at each day once she arrived, even when I don’t know what day it is.. this list includes such things as: changed pump site, did my husband change cat litter, did I take a nap today, and did I shower.  This kind of list is a necessity for someone like me, who has been trained, in particular over the last 9 months, to be hyper vigilant about my blood sugars.  Two weeks ago I was up to a total of 90 plus units a day, needing to change my pump reservoir almost daily, and now a full reservoir could last me an entire week since my insulin needs have plummeted after the birth.

Being okay with letting my blood sugars hover in the 180’s has been one of the most difficult things for me.  In a sense, I am needing to train myself that along with functioning on 3 hours of sleep, it’s okay to function with numbers in the high 100’s.  This is important right now, as I am breastfeeding around the clock, which has extreme unpredictability on my numbers.  Often times I can drop 50 points from beginning to end of a feeding session, and other times nursing has no effect and my blood sugars won’t budge without a bolus.  It has been a lot of trial and error.  I have to make decisions when I can barely see straight about whether or not I should bolus for a snack or for a high, and if it will get in the way of me nursing at 2am, which comes with its own set of frustrations.  Breastfeeding successfully was a goal of mine, and thankfully my little girl is taking to it (but not without a lot of pain and frustration in the first couple of weeks).  For someone with diabetes, breastfeeding has numerous benefits, beyond being the ideal source of nutrition for my baby, there is some research that shows it may even help to reduce the risk of my own child getting Type 1 someday, as it offers immune protection like non other.  At the end of the day, whether I was feeding her a bottle or nursing her, my blood sugars are still gong to have a mind of their own!

One thing with breastfeeding is that you are thirsty ALL the time.  This often makes it difficult for me to sense if I am low or high, as thirst has always been a symptom of mine for lows and highs.  The other day, I wasn’t feeling great, and checked my blood sugar, and beyond belief I looked down to see a number I hadn’t seen in probably 5 years… 465.  What?  Was my meter broken?  Did I have diaper cream on my finger that was skewing the result?  I cleaned my finger and checked again, nope, still 465.  I can’t even tell you what I ate or what I didn’t take for insulin that caused this.  I looked at my check-list to assure I had indeed changed my pump site recently, and then I looked down at my tubing and site, everything looked intact.  Oh no, would this be too high to nurse my little girl at the next feeding?  Would she think she was sucking on a lolly pop?  I have read various things about feeding when you have a high blood sugar, and for the most part, it’s not really supposed to have an effect.  I bolused, and knew I had at least an hour or so before her next feeding, so it would be coming down by then.

It’s crazy, how completely unpredictable diabetes constantly is.  Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, it completely throws you for a loop.  My doctors have told me to not stress out about any fluke highs, my baby is here now and she is healthy, and that is most important.  They know I have spent the last year being extremely buttoned up with my diabetes, and they expect things to go a little wacky now that my main focus is my baby.

For so long my rituals consisted of just taking care of me and my blood sugars.  Now, my ritual consists of : Check blood, treat/bolus, change diaper, nurse, burp, keep track of feedings and baby poops, check blood, treat/bolus, try to sleep 20 minutes… and REPEAT.

Filed in: Pregnancy and T1DUncategorized

Comments (3)

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Such a big factor to add into the multi-taking that is motherhood. You do it with style and grace. So hard to make those decisions on zero sleep, too, I imagine! Don’t worry, sleep will come back….eventually!

  2. Kristen Koneczny says:

    Regina, you are offering such amazing information for others! Enjoy your family!

  3. Veronica says:

    Just absolutely unbelievable! You are a great Mom.

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