Diapers, Drop-offs, Dancing …and Diabetes

December 9, 2014By 3 Comments

untitled87 Any mother from any generation will probably say that they deserve an award.  We are all super-heroes in our own right.  However, as the generations have progressed, so have the pressures, expectations and consequences of being the perfect wife and mother.  Somewhere in between putting on my super-hero cape in the morning and changing my reservoir late at night, I stop to take a breath.

For those of us with diabetes, being a mother (and a wife) who carry more than the weight of the grocery list on their shoulders is often completely over-looked.  For me, I am a perfectionist.  Having been diagnosed 24 years ago, at the age of 9, I truly believe shaped all of my high-strung, type-A, obsessive compulsive behaviors that make up my Tasmanian devil-like behavior as an adult.  When you are forced to come to terms with a chronic disease that you will live the rest of your life with, what choice do you have?  There are so many days that you just can’t control your blood sugars, no matter how perfectly you count your carbs or how many times you check your blood sugar.  Sometimes life just happens and doesn’t play nice with diabetes.

When I decided to become a mother, I wanted to plan well in advance for the daunting task of chasing down the perfect A1c for the best outcomes (more to come on that in a future blog).  What you forget about, amongst all the Endo appointments, prescription refills, and sensor site changes is that after that baby comes, your diabetes will be in constant competition for attention with an incredibly adorable and high-maintenance tiny person.

How do I, or anyone in my shoes for that matter, fit in diabetes management, a full time job, a busy toddler, a husband who is as needy a toddler (aren’t they all? Ha ha), family/friends, personal health and a second to relax?  I still don’t know how it all gets done, and frankly I am in awe of those who do it with multiple children and diabetes! We make it look easy.  No one, including our spouses, see’s through our tough exterior to the women who is trying so hard to not only contribute to the household and attempt to actually enjoy the fleeting moments of fun in life, but who is also trying so hard, and some days feeling like she has failed herself and those around her with poor diabetes control.

I try to go easy on myself, for those days when maybe I can only check my blood sugar three times instead of the usual eight that I desire for better control.  I try not to beat myself up when I take a quick manual bolus when I know I should take a second to just count my carbs correctly and use my wizard so as to avoid a low or a high while I am trying to put my baby to sleep.  I know what I know, and don’t we all.  What keeps me motivated to always do better is to know that as much as my little family needs me now, they will always need me in some way and wanting to be a healthy role model for my daughter is the best motivation I can have.

Some things I do to make the best attempt at managing my diabetes while trying to soothe boo boo’s, bake or do my bills are: I always try to keep a package of glucose tabs and/or juice boxes in my car and in the diaper bag at ALL times.  Lows are NEVER convenient when they happen, and being alone with my child with nothing to treat is not just unfortunate, it’s irresponsible of me.  I also try to keep low blood sugar supplies next to the bath tub.  My husband travels for work, and so for all those times when I am a “single mother”, I can’t tell you how many times a low has snuck up on me during tubby time with my daughter.  Wearing my sensor as often as I can helps greatly with avoiding these situations.  I also make sure I always have a vial of insulin and pump supplies both in my kitchen and in my bedroom.  Having a low reservoir alarm right before I fall into exhaustion in my bed at night or in the middle of dinner time are more annoying than the blood stains from the test strips at the bottom of my purse. *Note that any insulin left out at room temp for over 30 days should be discarded, so make sure to switch those spare vials out that you have as part of your emergency stash.

Next to the diaper caddy, I have glucose tabs for those frustrating situations when she is thrashing on the diaper changing table, I am low, and there is no one there to bring me juice.  In my jacket pocket (of a few of my jackets) are glucose tabs or some sort of fast-acting candy for the times when I drop my daughter off at daycare and get caught up in a conversation with a teacher, friend or removing the clinging cutie from my leg and a low creeps up out of nowhere because I bloused for the English muffin but never actually had time to eat it.  The times that I enjoy the most, when my toddler wants to dance after we eat dinner, and she asks for Shake it Off (Taylor Swift) or Jet Plane (John Denver)…just to name a couple of her favorites… I am swinging her around and she is laughing and moving her shoulders in a hysterical way that only a mother could love, the low hits.  Doesn’t it always hit at the most precious moments?

I try to move with the beat of the music into the kitchen, my daughter (who is learning to talk a rapid rate) says “Again, dance mommy?” and I say, “Mommy doesn’t feel good”.  Like a little robot she firmly states “mommies juice” as she patiently waits for me to finish my adult juice box because she see’s me do it enough, she already knows, before she can images876even count to 15, that mommy sometimes needs to take a break , even if she only gives me until the chorus kicks in.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Veronica says:

    Your description is spot on!!!! I so wish there was an easier way !

  2. Lindsay says:

    Very inspiring! I don’t have children yet, but I am so interested to hear your take on the prep before pregnancy. I appreciate hearing what it’s like to be a T1 mom

    • Regina says:

      Hi Lindsay,
      There is so much that you can do to prepare for pregnancy as a T1D, and there is enough information to fill an entire book! (Which I am hoping to find a publisher for very soon!). In a nut shell, the key things to prepare are: 1) Find a healthcare team you can trust, communicate well with, and will be encouraging and not harsh; this is a very sensitive time in your life and the last thing you need is your medical team making you feel any more guilt or worry then you already feel. If you can’t get an Endo that you truly love, find a great Nurse Practitioner, Diabetes Educator or Dietitian that specializes in T1D pregnancies. I also feel that proper diet and exercise are key to automatically help your A1c get down and relieve any stress while you are trying to conceive. I’m not talking crazy dieting or exercising; I just mean balance. If you aren’t someone who has every really liked a variety of fruits, veggies or fish, I recommend doing your best to clean up your diet and include some new foods that are high in vitamins and minerals and good fats. This will help prepare your body to be in tip top shape for conception. Yoga and walking are also key at relieving the stress during the sometimes scary process of conceiving with T1D. Most of all, DO NOT beat yourself up. Your A1c may not end up being perfect right when you conceive, but just know that once you know you are pregnant you will have more motivation then you could ever imagine! Best of luck!

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