As I prepare my body for a second pregnancy, I'm constantly struck by how different this pregnancy will be from my first. While pregnant with Sienna, my attention was nearly always focused on my blood sugar. Other than the regular activities of life, I thought about my blood sugar control all the time! Maintaining tight control was the biggest priority for me, since it had a direct impact on the health and development of my child.
This time around, I will have two main priorities, the health of the developing baby and the well-being of my active daughter! I won't have the luxury of devoting most of my time and energy to maintaining tight blood sugar levels, what with an energetic, engaging little girl wanting me to read, play, push her on the swing, and perform all of the many other activities of raising a child.
I'm going to have to learn to balance the needs to two children, so I might as well start before the second one is born!
First of all, I think that patience is a good (although not easy) thing for my toddler to learn. If I can't jump to meet her every need instantly, she'll be okay. Therefore, I talk to my daughter about what I'm doing, and explain "Mommy is testing her blood right now," or "Just a second Sienna, mommy needs this infusion site to stick." Luckily, Sienna is very engaged and usually behaves patiently if I just talk to her. I'll have to increasingly employ this method while pregnant, when my blood sugar tests near 20 per day.
Sienna has already watched her mother do hundreds of blood sugar tests and insulin boluses. She's watched me apply infusions sites and refill insulin reservoirs. And the vial of test strips doubles as a fun rattle... I'll hand her the vial to shake while I'm testing my blood! The fact is, my diabetes will be a part of Sienna's life, and sometimes I'll have to take care of my health before attending to her immediate need, whether I'm pregnant or not.
Also, constant communication with my husband will help too. He witnessed my focused attention during our first pregnancy and knows what it takes to have a healthy diabetic pregnancy. Therefore, he's ready to entertain and care for Sienna whenever I need time to manage my disease. He's especially helpful whenever I announce that my blood sugar is low. He'll get Sienna occupied with something so I can treat my low in peace for a few minutes. This provides peace of mind for me, and ensures I don't take my potential mood swing out on my family!
This time around, the work of maintaining my blood sugar levels will be a family activity, although obviously most of the responsibility is on me. My plan is to communicate my needs and wishes to my family, so that they understand why my attention needs to be focused elsewhere for the moment.
My second child deserves the same devotion of care that I gave Sienna before she was born. Although the amount of time I have is limited, that doesn't mean the quality of care will suffer. The other major difference about the second pregnancy is that I have the experience of having achieved one successful diabetic pregnancy already. The techniques I learned during my first pregnancy are invaluable. I already know what works and what doesn't; it's just a matter of applying those skills and behaviors consistently. This time around I don't have to spend time developing a system.
Hopefully, the increased demands on my time will balance with the experience factor, so that the task of maintaining my blood sugars won't be more challenging this time. My fingers are crossed!
Published On: July 21, 2009