Why Being Pregnant & Diabetic Is a Full-Time Job

Amylia Grace Yeaman Health Guide
  • There’s no denying it—being a type 1 diabetic and pregnant is the equivalent of having another full-time job. I’d say it was a part-time job exacting a high emotional toll before now. After a devastating miscarriage last year, I worked very hard to get my bloodsugars in range and prepare myself, body, mind, and spirit, for another try at a diabetic pregnancy. It didn’t take long for us to become pregnant, and now that I am, it’s become my full-time job. Seriously.


    I'm spending most of my energy on checking my bloodsugars (10+ times a day), getting acquainted with my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to help me track trends, writing down all my bloodsugars, boluses, carbs, anomalies and typing up twice-weekly report of aforementioned info and sending it to my diabetes support team. I’m talking to the diabetes nurse at least twice a week, and going to appointments at the OB about every two weeks or so now.

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    Between the constant tweaking of my basal rates and carb ratios, I feel like I’m doing math constantly. Thank goodness I have an up-to-date insulin pump to help me track the ever-changing patterns and numbers, and a supportive husband who makes lower-carb meals and snacks and is always helpful when I’m too out of it to properly treat a low by myself (many, many lows lately—it’s a fine line between an in-range bloodsugar and a low, when you’re aiming for glucose readings between 60 and 95!).


    I won’t go into the hours spent on the phone with my insurance company and Medtronic trying to get bills paid, arrangements made, and services covered, but I think of the insurance and medical paperwork as a part-time second job. It really is. And it’s no fun. I think of all the fun things I could be doing this summer with that time instead of dealing with insurance companies and big Pharma and it drives me batty, but it's a fact of life right now and it's a necessary evil.


    On the plus side, I am happy to report that everything looks great in babyland, though, as I enter the 27th week of pregnancy. We had the last appointment of my 2nd trimester this week, and as I enter the home stretch (3rd trimester), the appointments with my OB and support team of diabetes nurse and high-risk nurses increase to biweekly, and eventually, weekly. I don’t know how other type 1 pregnant women maintain full-time jobs outside the home. It doesn’t seem feasible to do both.


    In addition, there is no denying that the stress and emotional toll of managing type 1 diabetes has detracted from my ability enjoy this pregnancy. I've had so many unexplainable highs and lows that have drained me and frankly, brought me to tears from time to time.


    Last night, for example, I went to bed with a 92 mg/dl and woke at 3am to a bloodsugar of 263 (!) for no apparent reason. Even after correcting for the high, when I woke four hours later, it was still at 150 mg/dl. I don’t know why. It seems my body needs even more insulin in the wee hours of the morn.


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    And because my weight has gone up a lot and I have quite a bit of insulin-resistance now, my basal rates have way more than doubled, and I’m on over 40 units of Humalog per day in basal rates alone, say nothing about my crazy insulin resistance, particularly in the morning, which makes my insulin to carb ratio 1:4. As you might have guessed, I’m not eating a lot of carbs. It’s just too scary to have to take that much insulin to cover a carb-heavy meal. And it’s just not worth it.


    While my A1C just came back at 6.1, I feel like all the energy, work, and dedication I’ve shown throughout the past six months goes largely unnoticed or unappreciated, and I can’t tell you how frustrating that is. I know how hard I’m working, and I know once baby girl is here it will all be worth it, but it’s going to be a long three months.


    Oh sweet baby girl, I pray you feel how very loved and wanted you are, and will someday know we did all we could to ensure a happy nine (or so) months for you in the womb before your arrival. But while you’re in there, if only we could do something about that anti-insulin hormone producing placenta! I mean, we need it, but anti-insulin? That’s a cruel twist of fate for us!


    I’ve got very good support. I see a therapist who is also a type 1 diabetic who has been through a diabetic pregnancy and she gets it. I have a great OB whom I love. My husband has been a parent thrice before and he is amazingly supportive and helpful. I’ve got mom friends who show me how to do things, and encourage me to no end. I’ve got a family that is excited and helpful and can’t wait to meet our baby girl. I’ve got all the technology you can have on your side while diabetic and pregnant…


    But still. Still I have this damn disease. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy to do the job of a pancreas, and it’s not easy to feel good about what I’m doing when I see numbers or trends that aren’t cooperating. When I feel like my body could hurt my baby girl—and I would give anything at all in the whole wide world to NOT ever do that to her. It’s a complicated balancing act. And yet I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.


    I still have diabetes, and likely always will. But my OB assured me our baby girl looks perfect, and that were it not for my name on the top of the report, she never would’ve known baby girl was the product of a high risk pregnancy or a type 1 diabetic mommy. In fact, she said we had the best looking ultrasound of the day, and that all the tests and results look wonderful and perfect. If I can keep that going for the next few months, nothing, and I do mean nothing, would make me happier.


    I love you, baby girl. And I can’t wait to meet you in a few short months. Until then, let’s keep growing healthier and stronger with each day.


    See you soon,




Published On: August 02, 2013