Blood Glucose Control Suprises!
A couple of weeks ago I had my quarterly endocrinologist appointment. This was going to be the second time I'd seen my new doctor (Read about Kelsey's first visit with her new endo). At our first visit, my A1c was at 6.5% which was quite respectable a few months after giving birth. It was odd, but refreshing, not to focus too much on those test results. For the most part, my diabetes management had taken a backseat to the overwhelming joy (and work) of being a first time mother.
Lately, as I've mentioned here frequently, I've been eating pretty much whatever I want! I've continued to test my blood sugar roughly 10 times per day and maintained some of my habits from pregnancy. In contrast to the rigidly tight control of pregnancy (for more information on Kelsey's diabetic pregnancy click here), I felt like my blood sugars were all over the place. I'd recently altered some of my bolusing techniques to avoid some habitual lows, but, on the other hand, blood sugars in the 200 mg/dl range didn't set off the kind of alarm that they used to. All in all, I was expecting that my A1c was probably close to 7%. I anticipated that this appointment would be a much needed kick in pants for my blood glucose control.
Thus, I was completely shocked when my doctor walked into the exam room and announced, "Your A1c is 5.6%."
My jaw literally dropped and I asked him to repeat himself, twice!
"You've got to be kidding. I fully expected to be at 7%."
My doctor asked if I was experiencing a lot of hypoglycemia. I explained that there were a few lows a couple weeks back, but nothing really out of the ordinary.
"Wow," I exclaimed, "a lot of those habits from pregnancy really have stuck!"
According to the doctor, this isn't typical. In his experience, most new diabetic mothers let their blood sugar control go considerably after the baby is born.
Ever since that appointment, I've been wondering: what made my experience different? I've come up with a few possible contributing factors:
First, I had a wonderful team of doctors, CDEs, and nurses who helped instill new habits that served me very well during my pregnancy. Since I actually lost weight (I was ten pounds lighter after giving birth than I was before getting pregnant), I concluded that many of these changes were worthwhile to maintain even while I'm not pregnant. Most notably I've given up cereal completely and focus on eating more protein and less carbs at every meal.
Also, maintaining good blood sugar control wasn't something I did just for 9 or 12 months. I took at least a year to prepare my body and tighten my blood sugars before we conceived. Thus, I didn't associate that extra work with being pregnant and expect to give it up completely after Sienna was born.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, writing this blog has provided a constant reminder for me to focus on my diabetes control. We all slip up now and then, but knowing that I have a community to report back to helps motivate me to make the right choices on a daily basis. Being dubbed, an "expert" on a disease that requires such intense individual commitment from its patients is a bit daunting. I want to be healthy and happy when I share my experiences with all of you. Living with diabetes definitely takes its toll and having a community of people who understand the highs and lows, literally and figuratively, of living with this disease is such a blessing. Thanks for the support!