My journey to motherhood

On November 6, 2012 something happened that I had dreamed about for a long time and at times questioned if it ever would. I became a mom.

Trevor and I were married in 2005. After about 4 years or so of marriage we decided we really wanted a child. We were both in high-paying jobs and got serious about paying down debt. The main thing that stood in the way was my type 1 diabetes. I got serious about having tight control, but something was making that quite difficult. It’s called “dawn phenomenon.” Every morning I would wake up with super high blood sugar, no matter how tightly it was controlled the rest of the day. At least in my case, it didn’t have anything to do with what I was eating or anything like that. It’s caused by hormones. I worked with my doctor and adjusted my insulin doses times again and again. For years I set an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night to give myself insulin. It would start to seem better but never got to where I felt comfortable.

During this time I went through a lot. I was laid off from my job. Trevor was laid off from his. I had some friendships fall apart. The homes around us started to go into foreclosure. Friends moved away. Our garage was broken into and our car stolen. I watched many many friends have babies, and have more of them. While I was jobless many people mentioned it was a good time for me to have a child. It was so tough for me. I wanted to have a child, but I knew my health wasn’t where it should be to have one, and I was working on it, but it was just taking a long time. Any job decisions I made we always had to consider the “what if.” I like to plan ahead, so it was hard. Eventually I ended up in the perfect job for me, and I also got a new doctor (after mine left the clinic I go to). Finally the pieces fell into place and I was comfortable with where my blood sugars were. But of course at this time Trevor also was working in a job where he was often traveling and out of town!

I had been working on my health for so long that I had always expected that once we started trying we’d have no problem. We had waited long enough, right? But when you’re apart as much as we were, that complicates things. That year it was a tough Christmas for me. Another month had come and I was starting to feel like maybe I never was going to be a mom. But only a couple of months later it finally happened. I was so happy and yet so scared at the same time. I knew my pregnancy as a diabetic was high risk. It took me a long time to not be afraid anymore and to be completely excited and believe my dream was actually becoming a reality. While I was pregnant the diabetes part was so consuming that I barely had time to think about the fact that I was pregnant with my first child. They say that having Type 1 Diabetes is like a part-time job on its own. While pregnant I checked my blood sugar about ten times a day. I also kept a log of everything I ate and all my insulin doses I took. I had appointments with my endocrinologist, nurse practitioner, or educator every few weeks and every time there were adjustments made to what I was eating and how much insulin I took and when I took it. I had the “normal” amount of OB appointments until my third trimester. At that point I had appointments twice a week.

And everything was going great. Then when I was 35 weeks pregnant and at one of my regular appointments my blood pressure was suddenly high. The decision was made that I would be put on bed rest immediately. I was on bed rest for ten days before they decided to induce me. 24 hours later (at 37 weeks) I gave birth to Serena Lucille, and she was perfectly healthy. It took years of work to get to that point, and here she finally was! My life was forever changed.

I share this story because while I went through all of this I felt quite alone. Maybe there is someone else out there who may read this and not feel so alone. It was helpful to find a book about diabetes and pregnancy, but I still have not encountered another type 1 diabetic with dawn phenomenon wanting to have a child. I also share this because I now appreciate that I had this dream for a long time and I am so blessed to now be a mom. This is just the way things were supposed to work out for me, and today I am happy.

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