This is the theme for today’s post, as I join this 6th Annual Diabetes Blog Week. “What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could? Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of? Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?”
I have had type one diabetes for 39 years, and there’s nothing I can think of that I’ve wanted to do that diabetes has kept me from doing. One of the things I’m most proud of, was also one of the most challenging things I’ve done – having two healthy, beautiful babies. I never considered not having children, it was something I desired and knew I would do as long as I can remember. I simply knew I’d have to work super hard to keep my diabetes in perfect control during the 9 months of pregnancy. Easier said than done, of course!
This was back in 1990 and 1993, before CGMs, though fortunately, after blood sugar meters. I worked my ass off – probably the hardest thing I’ve done, keeping my blood sugars as near normal as possible, by eating at the exact same times, the same foods mostly, and constantly adjusting insulin doses as my hormone levels kept changing my insulin needs. I worked with a team at UCSF (which was mostly very helpful), and felt like keeping my A1C under 6 was my full time job for both pregnancies.
I was successful, and had two completely healthy baby girls, the greatest joys (and challenges) I could imagine! They both were large babies even with my excellent blood sugars, and I was deeply disappointed that they had to be born by c-section, having gone a week past my due dates with each of them.
At the time, I was a birth doula, and supported other women to have natural hospital and home births. In my own pregnancies, being considered high risk, and being told over and over all the dangers to my babies, I did not feel supported in having a natural birth. I was thrilled to have my daughters be born healthy, and though that was ultimately the most important thing, I still needed to grieve the loss of the kind of birth I had longed for.
My daughter’s never knew me without diabetes. Being a mom of babies and then young children, while managing my type one diabetes was occasionally challenging (like when I was low and had to eat something before feeding a crying baby, or finding good hiding places for the Peppermint Patties I ate for lows), though not as challenging as having teenagers!
I have found that anything I really want to do, I find a way to do, and diabetes doesn’t stop me!