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?