Understanding Diabetes During Pregnancy
In another of life's little ironies, my younger sister announced her first pregnancy a week after my miscarriage was complete. Thankfully, Dennis and I had grieved and processed our loss so we were absolutely thrilled to learn that we'd have a niece or nephew in nine short months!
My sister and brother-in-law weren't expecting to conceive so quickly, so I had several long phone calls discussing pregnancy in general with my sister. What a fun experience to be the older sister providing words of wisdom! Plus, I got to relive one of the most joyful, rewarding times of my life.
One thing quickly became apparent as I discussed due dates, morning sickness, doctor's appointments, and the like with my non-diabetic sister: how different high-risk pregnancies are from normal, uncomplicated pregnancies.
Diabetic pregnancies are so closely monitored, from the number of doctor's visits and blood tests to the repeated ultrasounds and managed deliveries. When I told Dennis that Sarah would probably have three ultrasounds during her pregnancy, he was shocked! As a husband of a diabetic, he assumed our experience of at least monthly ultrasounds was typical. Nope, honey, I explained, "We're special."
We had so many ultrasounds that when the technician once forgot to give us a printout of the baby, we didn't bother going back to get it. We practically have an entire photo album of Sienna in the womb!
When discussing food choices that would help ease her nausea, Sarah mentioned bagels and potatoes, neither of which I could relate to, since those types of carbohydrates were on my "forbidden foods" list. However, we do share a craving for macaroni and cheese during the first trimester! Unlike my diet of frequent small meals, Sarah travels a lot and is used to going several hours without eating and has had to adjust to snacking more frequently.
There are many pregnancy experiences that we can share, but it's interesting to see all the little ways that diabetes makes pregnancy unique. Even the fact that she was pleasantly surprised by her pregnancy is foreign to me, as my pregnancies were carefully planned and even required a doctor's approval to even get started!
In the end, each pregnancy story is unique and each healthy baby is such a miracle. It's going to be particularly fun for me to witness my little sister's first pregnancy and in the process learn what a "normal" pregnancy is like.