All’s well that ends well – by Helen German
Most blogs I’ve read, or women I’ve spoken with, have been on the rollercoaster that is diabetes and pregnancy. They know once they had their little bundles of joy in their arms that it was all worth it – all’s well that ends well, right? Since being pregnant, I’ve been told this so many times, how it’ll all be worth it once baby is here.
And this is a brand new outlook for a Type one diabetic! Normally there is no end in sight! Sorry to be bleak, but it’s true. We all wish for a cure, and so much work is being done to find it, but we all just carry on. Yes, the cravings, the heartburn, the incessant need to wee, the back-ache, the uncomfortable nights, the headaches, the weight-gain…will all go after nine months. I will still be diabetic though.
This is why I chose to write a blog about my experience of Type one diabetes with pregnancy, from the perspective of ‘during’ rather than after. This is my journey: as it happens. So far, you’ve read about my worries whilst waiting for the pregnancy test result, to dealing with the fear and anxiety of the first trimester, to managing hypos, as well as the battleground that is eating and adjusting insulin.
I’m now 23 weeks in to my pregnancy. I’m still managing all the hypos and the changing insulin needs, but I’m also being firmly reminded every day that I’m pregnant as well as diabetic; my little one is wriggling and kicking around all the time. And there is nothing quite like it!
I’ve realised that once again diabetes has taken priority and I forget that I am actually pregnant as well as diabetic. This is a truly special time in any woman’s life, growing another little person. It is life-changing. I’ve written a lot about diabetes and how I think it makes pregnancy that much harder or difficult, but the truth is I don’t really know. I will never be just ‘pregnant’ without diabetes. I’m merely basing it on the general information I’ve read or heard about pregnancy and sharing how managing my diabetes works with it – or not with it, as the case may be.
It’s been hard separating the two, and I think that’s because they can’t really be separated. And as sad as it might be, I am ‘diabetic’ first and ‘pregnant’ second. I figured that the pregnancy will do what it’s got to do. There’s very little I can or need to do, except watch what I eat and just take it easy. But with diabetes, I cannot switch off from it for a minute.
As the baby grows and my belly gets rounder and bigger, there is a little worry at the back of mind. This week I read that the baby’s pancreas is developing. And so every blood sugar of mine that is out of target at the moment frightens me worse than before as I think of my little pickle’s pancreas trying to manage the extra glucose it gets from me. I’m sure most women will agree that when the baby isn’t moving, you panic. You find yourself tapping on your belly and calling underneath your top, “helloooo! Are you alright in there?”
But for me, I worry my little one has gone all lethargic from hyperglycaemia. I know only too well how horrible that feels. I find myself rubbing my belly and apologising and reassuring him or her that insulin is on the way! Oh dear.
In all of this so far, my most favourite pregnant moment has to be the 20-week scan. Everyone was asking if we were going to find out if it is a boy or a girl, but that scan gives you so much more than gender: we could see four chambers of a heart, a little stomach, the spinal cord, toes, fingers, the umbilical cord, and a cute little button nose… Seeing it wiggle around and shake its head as the sonographer tried to get a look at its face was simply amazing. And to think it’s only the size of Barbie or Ken doll! Long and thin.
So everything is fine: everything is perfectly proportioned and it currently weighs 12 ounces. And no, we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl! I skipped out of the scan appointment – and not just because I was bursting for a wee – but because I had seen with my own eyes that our baby is doing just fine. Diabetes and I are doing just fine! So far, so good.
All’s well that is going well…