My Diabetes Inklings

The Privilege of Pregnancy

I wrote this post from the hospital after being induced. It was late and I was filled with such excitement and nerves that any sleep was impossible. I was a little over watching Netflix and playing games on my phone, so I was glad when my husband brought my laptop in on the condition. I never thought that there would be so much waiting around during birth!

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve been extremely conscious and aware of how lucky we are; lucky to have fallen pregnant and lucky to watch each milestone. I knew that each pregnancy symptom, no matter how terrible it may be, was a privilege that some dream to experience.

Dealing with diabetes during pregnancy certainly added another layer to the whole experience. At times being pregnant and managing diabetes sucked. There’s the added fear of how diabetes can impact the pregnancy and bub’s health (not to mention their entire future). On top of ensuring we eat the right foods and physical activity to support our health, we need to make sure our sugars are well and tightly managed. The physical and mental effort that goes into that is enormous, not to mention the guilt that plagues us when we feel we are off track.

On the flip side, as a high-risk pregnancy, I was monitored extra closely. It meant going into the hospital every three to four weeks for appointments, with more regular check ups closer to my due date. Each hospital visit would take 2-3 hours at best, not including the two hour round trip travel. I ended up taking a lot of days off work to make time for these appointments. But at each appointment I would be rewarded with the sound of my baby’s heartbeat.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I cherished every movement I felt from bub. Even if it sometimes was a hard kick to the ribs or a punch to the bladder. Each time I reflected on my pregnancy with my husband, we were blown away by the sheer wonder and miracle of life. I would often think about my little girl growing up to be a strong, independent, bright and sassy woman. What would her personality be like? How would she respond to the world we are bringing her into? I imagine her laughing, playing, crying and being angry and my heart swells with love and protectiveness over her.

At the same time, there is a tinge of sadness when I think of our child; especially when I think of all the little ones whose souls weren’t ready for this world and my friends who haven’t been as lucky as we have. I remember feeling the wave of emotions each period brought along with it while we were trying. It takes so much resilience and patience to keep pushing through.

And now while I’m sitting in hospital literally counting down the hours to meet our little girl, I can’t help but feel so overwhelmed. We have received so much love and support from family and friends throughout this journey and our bub has already (and will undoubtedly continue to be) spoiled silly by everyone around us. To say I am grateful and humbled doesn’t seem to be sufficient but it’s certainly a start. I know that whatever happens from here on in, we have one amazing village to support us on our journey onwards.

My heart is full ❤️
My Diabetes Inklings

Pregnancy During COVID Times

To be perfectly honest, it took a few months before really acknowledging and believing that I was growing a little human in me. All of this couldn’t have happened at a better and worse time while the world was falling apart thanks to a global pandemic. There was widespread panic in the early days when we were ordered to work from home, which was then followed closely by lockdown restrictions.

While healthcare embraced and transitioned to telehealth, my antenatal appointments became a lonely journey as my husband wasn’t allowed to attend any clinics or scans with me. My nearest and dearest missed out on seeing the growing watermelon I was smuggling around in person. And zoom meetings made it a little too easy to hide the pregnancy from the world, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Initially, I had planned on sharing the news once we hit the 12 week mark. Then a friend shared that they had miscarried, among other stories of friends struggling to fall pregnant. I felt guilty. Suddenly it didn’t feel right to share my news. It also always felt like I was holding my breath until we hit the next milestone before I told myself that I would feel comfortable sharing the news. So we never quite got there until the very end.

I thought this conflict was interesting because I had always wanted to share my journey of managing diabetes during pregnancy in real time. Both as a way to keep track of what was happening and reflect in the moment and to be as honest as possible through the good times and the challenging ones. My motto has been that we will deal with whatever happens but I wanted somewhere to write them all down. However, with the chaos around work and the pandemic, I think the larger part of me enjoyed the unique quietness around pregnancy I might never experience again.

It was almost blissful to roll through the pregnancy away from any spotlight and unsolicited advice/belly touching from strangers. Although the occasional stupid comment about having an “iso-baby” surfaced from time to time. Traffic and parking were rarely an issue when it came to hospital appointments. Working from home meant more flexibility for rest and saving money from having to buy a brand new maternity wardrobe for work (not that it really stopped the online shopping!).

The thing I struggled most with was the lack of face to face childbirth education classes, which had all been cancelled and replaced by online videos due to COVID. After spending the majority of my working day in zoom meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was watch educational videos online for myself. When I had finally scored a midwife appointment, I was bitterly disappointed to then be referred back to online resources again without any attempt to do face to face education during our consultation.

One thing for sure though was the fact that I would not have survived through this journey without my support network. Their advice, encouragement and excitement for bubs kept me going and I knew that no question was too silly with them (partly because they’ve been exposed to a million other silly things I’ve done in the past!). Goes to show that peer support is important no matter what area of healthcare you’re in.

My Diabetes Inklings

Our Biggest Adventure Yet

When I was in high school, my idea of a perfect life was to have a steady job somewhere and a family with two to three kids. I saw myself as a family focused person and couldn’t imagine being in position where my job and my identity would be closely intertwined. As the years went by, so did the years of study (and accompanying degrees) and ambition to climb the career ladder.

Sure, having children was something that still bubbled away at the back of my mind. I had no shortage of people around me reminding me of this. But there was always something else I wanted to do to “line my ducks in a row” before we got to that stage and I kept saying to myself that I still had time on my side. Besides, I didn’t feel ready to be a mum yet, I selfishly still enjoying life without having the responsibility to care for a tiny human.

2019 ended up being a massive year of “ticking off” the life milestones. It wasn’t long before my endo sat me down to have another discussion about planning for pregnancy. Because with diabetes, there is little in life you want to leave unplanned. I knew this was on the cards and it was one the reasons I had been trying to get on top of my diabetes management and my A1c within range over the past year. Except this time round, I left the appointment with an actual referral to a pre-pregnancy clinic.

I was a ball of mixed motions when my first appointment came round. There were nerves, excitement, trepidation and gratefulness for being accepted into the clinic in the first place. We went through all the usual information around diabetes and pregnancy; the risks involved (especially with diabetes), how the care process works and what the next steps were.

The endo I spoke with was beyond lovely to put my worries at ease and made me feel like I would be coming on board a very supportive team if/when I fell pregnant. I left the clinic with a long list of bloodwork to do, things to read (which I think are still sitting in my bag untouched), and action items to complete.

Everything seemed to be tracking well and we were given the official green light to start trying. The only thing that was odd was my thyroid function tests. It seemed to be jumping all over the place and my endo(s) couldn’t figure out why. My usual endo had put it down to the different pathology labs’ interpretation and ordered a repeat of the tests for my next appointment. Then my sugars started to play up and I thought it was because of my thyroid and stress at work.

Until my period tracker said that I was late…but it must be from the stress at work…

Three days later I woke up in the middle of the night (okay about 4am…) needing to pee. Then suddenly I thought “what if…”

Even though we had been trying for months, we had started to become a bit blasé about the whole “start a family” thing since nothing had happened so far.

But what if…

…the magic wands have spoken.

To be continued…