Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Makin' a Baby; Oh Yeah! I Have Diabetes--Part I

So, my husband and I said one day in November 1999, “Let’s do it!” Literally. We had thought about having a baby for years and it was so easy to say, “We are going to start trying in a couple of years.” I had a great job that kept me busy, we loved our life. There was plenty of reasons to keep the future at bay.

Well, I was telling a friend and work colleague at lunch one day that we were thinking about trying to get pregnant in about six months. I included a litany of reasons and justification for the wait, as I always did. She had to work to catch my darting, justifying eyes and when she did she said, “Why don’t you just do it?”

I just looked at her for what felt like 20 minutes. “Do what?” I said. She looked at me and said, “Why don’t you just get pregnant?” My mind began to race with 10,000 reasons, excuses, and useless thoughts about why that wasn’t possible, now, but they quickly subsided. I was just given permission to procreate. No doctors warning me the diabetes makes it too hard, no mother worrying about me, just a quiet warmth in my chest; the kind You get when you know the answer is right in front of you and I said, “Hmmm. OK!”

I went home that evening from work, buoyant and bubbling inside. “Let’s do it!” I said jumping to give Marshall a hug. He was thrilled for more reasons than one. Somewhere between having a lot of fun and actual conception, Marshall and I talked a lot. He was worried. He was worried about me and my diabetes first and he had a nagging worry, “What if our baby gets diabetes?” I would respond lovingly and reassuringly, “What are the chances, baby?” I would then follow with statistics provided by the doctors; if Marshall had diabetes, we would only have a 25 percent chance of having a child with diabetes. He didn’t have diabetes, so our odds were seven to nine percent. Don’t you love statistics?

I got pregnant in one month, which was a TOTAL shocker. My mother spent a year trying to conceive my sister and me. I totally freaked out. After doing some math on a plane home from San Francisco where we were celebrating the Y2K New Year, I realized why I felt so bad. I felt kind of sick most of the trip and luckily, this kept me from overindulging during the New Year celebration.

We landed in Austin at 11:30 p.m. and I had to pee. I held it. I held it waiting for the luggage, waiting for the cab, waiting on the ride home (which was really fast with this particular cab driver). I ran in the house and found my pregnancy test and finally peed—THANK GOD! As I sat there with my purse still on my arm, my pants around my ankles and the cat meowing hello to me, two pink lines appeared. OH MY GOD. Oh my God, oh my God! What are we going to do? I AM PREGNANT.

I ran out to Marshall who was on the couch waiting for me. We were thrilled and in shock that what we did about 15 days ago would so drastically impact the next 20 (to 50) years of our lives.

What this meant in terms of my diabetes was total fear and paranoia for the first 20 days. I was terrified. I took my blood sugar every 20 minutes and it fluctuated wildly. For every reading outside of normal I felt like I was damaging my baby—I was a mess.

The first 20 days of my pregnancy were filled with guilt as well. Why did I do this and not get my blood sugars in perfect control first? What am I going to do to this baby with my blood sugar hitting 300? Then my friend, the one who said, “Why don’t you just do it,” told me to chill the hell out. She reassured that if I would just stop freaking out that everything would be fine. I was given permission to relax, like I forgot that was an option. "Of course, just chill out! I know how to do this diabetes thing. I can take care of myself and Marshall will help me." A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and sure enough, in the days that followed my blood sugars stabilized. It was almost as easy as that.


Chrissie in Belgium said...

Thank you for sharing! May I ask - am i correct in assuming that all went well with the subsequent pregnancy and birth and health of your baby? I had both my kids back in the 70s. Back then diabetic pregnancies were "scary" but mine turned out fine too! With some "work" from the diabetic Mom and a pinch of luck all turns out well. Years ago and today too. It is so important to not let yourself be pushed down by all the threatening words and to remain optimistic.

Wendy Morgan said...

Things went very well. My Dr. was scared to death. Baby was happy and healthy. I was overwhlemed and happy. Blood sugars weren't much a problem after her birth. She is a brilliant and lovely child; I'm fortunate to be her Mama.

Anonymous said...


Good blog - interesting and insightful. I read with interest, being on the front end and looking at it from the diabetic father's perspective. Have many of the same concerns.

Jodee said...

Hi! I loved your post. I have Type 1 diabetes and have given birth twice. Both of my kids are healthy too. I tested my blood sugar 10-12 times/day but it was certainly worth all of the trouble in the end! Congrats to you too!

Anonymous said...

thankyou for telling me the story and also my husband i ha ve been have trying to have a baby and also i am diabetic. Please tell me are there any options.