Dealing with a Different Diagnosis

It’s not often that I wax poetic about the things I appreciate about life with Type 1 diabetes. Over the past 13 weeks, however, I’ve come to recognize that diabetes isn’t that bad, after all — mostly because I’m used to it.

After 21 years of diabetic livin’, I know how to navigate this world. I know that sugar-free candy is poison sent straight from the depths of Hades, that the simple act of waking up on a weekday is enough to give my blood sugar a swift kick northward. I know that I don’t really have to change the lancet every single time I prick my finger, that one or two rogue high blood sugars aren’t going to kill me or necessitate a foot amputation, and that sometimes the 15-15 rule is impossible to follow. Oh, and that the Bible Cure (along with the cinnamon cure) is total bullshit.

But now I’m pregnant! And in a cruel twist of fate, I still have diabetes — and I feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to be doing. I’m lucky enough to have some smart, supportive PWD mommies in my life, and that has definitely helped. As has my attachment to Cheryl Alkon’s Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-existing Diabetes, a pregnancy book that actually reads like a normal person wrote it. My Certified Diabetes Educator is more than supportive, and my main OB has total confidence in my ability to handle my blood sugar levels with my CDE’s input.

So why do I feel like there’s way too much information out there, and — at the same time — not enough?

Every pregnancy-related website has a series of simultaneously uplifting and condescending stories about bonding with your unborn child and enjoying your new extra-large boobs, right next to a Q&A about birth complications and a banner ad for one of 7,000 special doohickies I’ll need just to keep the baby alive after it arrives.

I’ve received recommendations and advice from real-life friends regarding hypnobirthing, epidurals, C-sections, inductions, doctors, doulas, Bradley Method birthing classes, day care, maternity leave, maternity bras, maternity pillows, maternity clothes, diaper selection, prenatal testing, genetic counseling, and a million other things that will probably keep me up for the next 189 nights.

They didn’t have Freaked Out and Very Confused Expectant Mother Parking. I checked.

I appreciate all the input. (Really, I do. I love it.) But I can’t escape the fact that there’s so damn much to process. And I’ve only dealt with this condition for a few months — not 21 years — so I can’t pick out the Dr. Oz and Halle Berry stuff from the Mayo Clinic and Mary Tyler Moore business. And even if I could, how do I know what’s right for me? After all, I’m sure those know-it-all fools at Mayo would expect me to change my lancet 6 times a day.

I like to think my bullshit detector is pretty refined, but all it takes is a cheesy picture of a baby in an Anne Geddes getup or a mention of placenta preservation to turn me off of what might otherwise be a reputable source of information.

I guess what I’m looking for, and what I’m afraid I won’t find, is the pregnancy equivalent of the Diabetes Online Community. I need a group of people who are simultaneously crazy and completely normal, who are non-judgmental and supportive and honest and will tell me everything will be okay — without throwing in a caveat about birth weight or getting sufficient calcium in my diet.

I just need someone to travel to this coming September, observe a happy and healthy outcome to this pregnancy, shoot back through the space-time continuum, and assure me that everything will be okay.

Any takers?

11 comments on “Dealing with a Different Diagnosis

  1. Sally Marchini says:

    Hi Jacqui – CONGRATULATIONS! I totally relate to how you’re feeling, as I felt the same when it happened to me, >10 years ago now, and I’m pleased to report that other than one bad night hypo where my hubby had to glucagon me, I was able to manage my glycaemic control well (remember added insulin resistance in 3rd trimester as baby grows) and he had NO diabetes-related issues. Keep up your healthy diet/weight and you’ll do well! 🙂

  2. Auntly H says:

    Everything is going to be so much better than ok. You will sometimes feel totally freaked out and confused and still, it will be wonderful. You can do this, too!

  3. Heather is right. You are going to be more than ok. You can totally do this. And whether or not you find a DOC for pregnant ladies, we are here for you all the way.

  4. Scully says:

    go lurk Princess of Pavement if you haven’t already. she just came out of the “closet” with her pregnancy. You both have wacky senses of humour. just saying!
    I’m so happy for you. I’m happy to follow along to watch another T1D mother have a healthy baby. cuz you can do this!

  5. Heidi says:

    Well, we’re almost travelling this road of T1 (22 years for me) + pregnancy (I’m currently 17 weeks into that journey) simultaneously, so feel free to contact me if you feel like it (hrosenqvist AT 🙂

    I’m sure we’ll both do just fine. My approach has been to just take one day at a time and not thing too far ahead. So far this has helped me to not freak out about what to expect 😉

  6. Stephanie says:

    There is a website for diabetic mothers:
    Might find some of what you need there…

  7. Katie says:

    Oh my gosh! I am so glad you posted on my blog, because until then I had NO contact with fellow pregnant T-1s. First off, thanks for posting a link to that book, I had no idea. Second, I’m totally freaking out… which I think is common. Third, many of my appointments that I do have are useless b/c they are more geared to gestational diabetes (a rant of a post coming up on that one). And finally, I think we’re due around the same time! I’m 13 weeks today! Eeee… can’t wait to read more of your adventure and hopefully learn some pointers along the way.

  8. 1littleprick says:

    Congrats, Jacquie! That is such exciting news! I’m sure it all feels a bit overwhelming right now, but I know you’ll do great.

  9. shannon says:

    i’d be all about that back to the future stuff, were i able to bend space and time to my will. all i can say, which is possibly of no help at all, is that when i was pregnant, i had the same difficulty separating the helpful from the HOW ABOUT NO. i got so overwhelmed trying to read every book (all of which seemed to directly contradict one another) that i finally just picked one i related the most to and ditched the rest.

    if you can’t find the pregnancy version of the DOC, i’d say just reach out to those who have been down this road before (which i’m sure you’ve already done). perhaps you and they are building that community right now that my own 12 yo daughter can turn to someday. ❤

  10. Kristina says:

    Ahhh, I totally would time-travel for you if I could! I’ve never been pregnant but I feel your pain, because I imagine I’ll be just as freaked out when my time comes. But I agree with Shannon: maybe you and other pregnant T1’s are currently paving the way for the rest of us. 😉

  11. Kristin Hartnagel Donaldson says:

    There is also a group on facebook…DMs supporting DMs (diabetic mommies). From my own personal experience of being T1 and have 3 DM pregnancies, these women are wonderful! We understand that sometimes you just need someone who understands…all of it! 🙂 Good luck with your pregnancy and feel free to look us up!

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