permalink Six months before getting pregnant...

Well, here I am: thirty-four and three quarter years old, type one diabetic for twenty-two and a half years, realising that I can't keep pregnancy in the 'too hard', 'let's think about it later' basket any longer. My biological clock has well and truly kicked in.

I've been scouring the web for something real to listen to. Something written by a woman like me who has lived most of her life with less than spectacular blood sugar levels in favour of a more spontaneous existence.

But I find nothing.

Zip.

Aside from a couple of articles on the realitycheck site that I stumble on at page seven of the results listings, I find no information that even remotely echoes my own experience.

What I do find is page after page talking about the need for diabetic women to achieve amazing blood sugar control. Warning that if they don't, their babies will have a significant chance of being born with birth defects.

I am wondering about these birth defects. What are they exactly? And if you've not been able to keep your blood sugar levels in control in 22 years of unpregnant diabetes, how are you meant to do it with the morning sickness, hormonal variations affecting blood sugar levels and the added stress of thinking about everything that could go wrong?

How could I ever get my blood sugar levels low and stable enough to have a healthy baby?

I had always believed that the under 7.0 HbA1C recommended for pregnancy could only be achieved by giving up any shred of a normal life and living in an incredibly supportive nirvana land which would involve no work deadlines or stress, yet somehow contain enough life satisfaction to keep you sane. This is not my life.

I've had twelve fantastic yet pretty stressful years in the workplace. And many changes. The most recent change was having my position terminated along with a huge bunch of people from my organisation. I've been working as a researcher in the IT industry and this was fallout from the dot com crash. It wasn't personal but I took it personally - as my biological clock giving me a wake up call.

At first I relished the thought that I would be relaxed and free and could become healthily pregnant. That was before the new job offers came in and before I realised that hanging around with my blood glucose monitor while unemployed and trying for a baby, would be a sure recipe for depression. But how to find the middle ground?

Anyhow, this is my life right now. I have never had a HBA1C of less than 7.9 and most of them have been around the 9-10 level with quite a few higher. I see my endocrinologist next Friday to get my kidney and thyroid results and to ask him once again to tell me if it truly is within the realms of possibility for me to have a healthy baby without endangering my own health, and what I have to do to make it so. It will be the first time in my life that I have ever invited anyone into the doctor's appointment with me. My partner Michael is coming. If only men could have babies!!!!!



Note: This web site chronicles my two pregnancies with type one diabetes. Unlike most blogs, this is actually my first post, not my most recent. You can read through the rest of my pregnancy experiences using the links at the right of this page.

Posted by M.A. at 11:17 AM | Comments (12)

Comments (12)

Thank you so much to everyone for your posts. I love hearing from you :-)

As mentioned above, the entries in this web site are in the reverse order to most blogs. I did use blog technology to record my pregnancies but only published the diary or blog recently, after my second child was born. Hopefully that will clarify any confusion.

So yep, I actually did manage to get my sugars under control and to have two gorgeous babies :-)

Mary Anne

Have you thought about getting a pump? After 5 miscarriages I finally got a pump, had HBA1c averages of 5 (after 8.5 averages), and had a healthy baby girl at age 33years old. Best of luck with it all.

Check out http://www.diabeticmommy.com/, Great website. I am also a type one diabetic, and had a HBA1C of 9.5 when I got pregnant, but got under good control very quickly, and had a beautiful, healthy, baby boy. Good Luck!

Oh my, not painting a great picture here!!

3 points: 1)It may not be your life just now, but it could be if you gave yourself a chance! You need to ask yourself the question - Do I really want to have a baby? If you do, then you will find a way of bringing your sugars to the levels they ask of you - you will be soooo motivated to make and birth a healthy baby. If you don't then having a HbA1c way out of target is a great excuse not to even try!!

2) I had type 1 for 20 years and was just a bit younger than you when my clock started ticking, but felt the work involved in getting ready for a baby was not worth the effort, I just couldn't do it - or could I? My man came with me to see my Educator and his belief in my ability to make and grow his baby kicked me hard enough up the bum to take control of myself. Here we are 8 years later with not one but two healthy happy boys, I'm not the manic tester I was when pregnant, but do enough to know when to sort myself out to see my grandchildren!!
3) My educator gave me a book called \Diabetes and Pregnancy - Women's Experiences and Medical Guidelines', lets be honest not bedtime light reading, but good to read how other women started on this path and have an unpatronising medical explanation about what these women experienced - give it a try, it may have some answers for you.

I hope you follow the right path for you
Annie

Thanks for your comments Annie. I really appreciate them! If you read further you'll see that I too, got my sugars under control and had two healthy babies. It is amazing what you can do when you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant isn't it?

I feel really blessed to have my two wonderful kids now. They are heaps of fun and I think one of the blessings of having a bub when you've got type one diabetes is that you never take them for granted.

Great to hear that you've been able to keep your bsls under control since having children. Mine have been out of whack for awhile but I'm just getting them under control again. Yes the pregnancy and diabetes book was really good to read wan't it?

all the best, Mary Anne

Congratulations on your blog! It was very readable even to a non-diabetic, quite entertaining actually and I found it warm, positive and informative....a very rare combination but greatly needed by the sounds of it!

I'm sure it will be a huge hit and will help so many people out there in cyberland! It must be very fulfilling and rewarding to think about how you may be able to help so many people in your situation who have otherwise given up hope of having children.

Claire

I have read up to yoga bliss and am totally engrossed in your wonderful engaging, witty, informative,wise and courageous writings. Unfortunately dinner is ready. Going away for weekend. Can't wait to read more.

Absolutely brilliant

Thanks heaps Andrea for suggesting the pump. I did go on the pump three years before conceiving my first child and it made the world of difference in controlling my blood sugar levels.

I'm so pleased you have been able to have a baby girl and sorry to hear about all those miscarriages. That must have been very tough.

I'm not sure that people visiting the Up The Duff With Diabetes Site realise that I have actually published the entire story of my two pregnancies with type one diabetes here already. I'm blessed with a gorgeous little girl and boy in my life now. I published the journal I kept during my pregnancies using blog tecnhology but it's in the reverse order to most blogs, so the post you read
was just the first of very many on the site.

thanks so much for your comment,

Mary Anne

Kim, it's so good to hear that you had a healthy baby boy after starting your pregnancy with a HbA1C of 9.5. It must have been nerve wracking at time and I'm so pleased for you!! My doctor showed me a graph once that showed just how congenital defects increased with increases in the mum's HbA1C. There's no doubt that the increase is significant but the reality was that most mums did go on to have healthy babies, so your post to this blog is really important.

Enjoy that little fella! and thanks for posting,

Mary Anne

I'm sitting here crying tears of relief to have found someone who has had similar experiences to mine. I have two children ages 7 & 4. Both were healthy pregnancies after a big "okay" from my doctors before trying to get pregnant. I just took a pregnancy test today and the result was positive. The difference this time, is that I haven't had great control over my sugars for some time now, and in fact have several doubts about all of this. We recently moved to the UK from the US and I have yet to find an endocrinologist, dietitian, nurse educator or high risk specialist OB, and as I understand it the British standards for diabetes management are in a whole other language (think Celsius vs Fahrenheit). Anyway,thank you for writing this. I am sure to learn a lot, if only regaining some confidence in a healthy pregnancy.

Thanks so much for leaving your message Anne. How beautiful to have three children! I am one of four and despite the fact that I am stopping at two I think a larger family would be wonderful.

But yes, I do feel for you. It's extremely stressful knowing that your sugars have not been as good as you would have liked them to be. And I know that having an endocrinologist I really trusted was so helpful to me, allaying my anxieties, that I really hope you can link in with a good one in the UK as soon as possible. Not sure if you would consider this or have already, but there seem to be a lot of women posting to the forum at Diabetic Mommy from all around the world. You could possibly ask people in the UK in your area if they have any recommendations. I always think if you can find a clinic that specialises in Diabetes and Pregnancy you have the best possible care, but I know that is not always possible.

Do you know what your HbA1C (or equivalent) was on conception? I realise that most of the info on the web just says to get your sugars in great control before conceiving, but I remember seeing a graph of the increase in congenital abnormalities with increasing HbA1 (a bit different from HbA1C just to confuse things!) that made it obvious that although the risk went up, your levels could still be quite high and there was still a very high chance that your baby would be fine.

I'm going on a rave now, but I've also changed my thinking a little since I was pregnant with my first child. At the time I thought it would be more than I could bare to have a child that had some type of abnormality that was caused by my higher than ideal sugar levels. I still think it would be very difficult. But the question is, how would you even know if it was your diabetes? Also, I now have a number of friends who have since had babies with special needs and those kids are doing really well. Their mums didn't have diabetes. It was just a fluke. Another friend's bub was having multiple blood transfusions in the first week due to initially undiagnosed severe jaundice. My sister in laws baby was born at 25 weeks gestation (nothing to do with diabetes) and is doing really well too. Perhaps what I'm saying now makes everything sound even more daunting, but I guess what I mean to say is that things can happen to everyone. I've also learned that there are plenty of things to feel guilty about as a parent!! But so much we really should feel good about. And what a blessing our little ones are. But each situation is different, every family is different and has different levels of support available to them. I think every woman should be supported to make the choices that are right for her.

Anyhow, hope this hasn't been offputting. I really do wish you well and will attempt to dig up that graph in case you or anyone else is interested in looking at the stats for bubs born to mums with various levels of bsl control.

I would love to hear from you again if you feel like writing.

take care
Mary Anne

I am so glad I stumbled upon this page. I'm 26 and have been type 1 diabetic since 2001 (I know not as long as many who have written in here). I've been married for 2 years and ever since I got married, the whole concept of motherhood has been worrying me. I was at first terrified to fall pregnant thinking that my child would have diabetes from day 1. But a talk with my consultant calmed me (although he said my HbA1C should be 6.5 pre conception...I know...impossible!!). Still I thought I'd stop at just 1 baby and maybe adopt 1 more later. But now reading all these posts has given me such encouragement I cannot thank you enough. My nurse and consultant have been helpful but at the end of the day, they aren't type 1 diabetics. To have read about real life experiences has really helped me. i'm due a Hba1C test in 2 weeks...hopefully the results will be in a suitable range for me to start trying for a baby!!!

Thanks again.

Addy

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