I scheduled an appointment with Dr. B, my endocrinologist, whom I like to work with, and took my husband along. I wanted to find out what I had to do to get pregnant, diabetes-wise. Once we had settled in and were finished looking my numbers over, negotiating and tweaking, I blurted out that I wanted to get pregnant. Should I meet with a high-risk OB now? Would she, Dr. B, still be involved? How low do my sugars really need to be? Can I have a natural birth? I tend to do this when I’ve been thinking about something for so long, blurt everything out in a nanosecond.
The only reply that I heard was, “we have to get your numbers lower, down to 6.0, maybe lower.”
“I can’t do that,” was my immediate response. (My numbers are in the low 7’s, with the exception of one miraculous 6.9)
“Yes, you can.” she encouraged. “You have a CGMS and an insulin pump, you can do it. I want you to come to the CGMS class this Friday. There was a recent study published that states that diabetics who are really familiar with the CGMS have better control.”
"Ok." I agreed reluctantly. And then, with little faith I asked, “But really, how many of your patients get their A1C’s down
She replied, “90-95% of my patients who want to get pregnant.”
We left the office and as I was walking through the doorway, I whispered to my husband, she must be lying. That can’t be true. 90-95%?
My husband and I have been training for Ragbrai (Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). It's 7 days, 433 miles, during one of the hottest weeks of summer in July. It is only two months away and has turned out to be a pretty good goal for the summer, because it means we have to train to get ready. I rode Ragbrai when I was 12 years old with my father (pre-diabetic days) and thus have some experience. However, managing my sugar while doing this type of riding throws a curve ball at me. My husband and I conquered a 40 mile ride today on the Northbranch Trail to the Chicago Botanic Garden. And what I'm discovering about cycling for long distances is that I need a lot of fuel. I ate a protein bar before leaving, drank some gatorade on the way, had a banana when we took a break and last, but certainly not least, I enjoyed some delicious chocolate peanut butter ice cream on the way home. My temp basal was at 40%. The best part of this is that I didn't take insulin for any of it! I think that's amazing. My cgms read a steady 95 the whole way. Which makes me think if I rode enough miles everyday, perhaps I wouldn't need any insulin. Isn't that interesting to think about?
I despise logging. The idea of having to carry around a notebook and pen everywhere I go to log my blood sugars, food, insulin intake, exercise, stress levels, menstrual cycle or any of the other gazillon things that could affect my blood sugar for the day is horrific. I have never been particularly good at it. I typically get all whipped up about it, do it religiously for 2-3 weeks and then forget my notebook on the kitchen counter for the next month. It’s hard. And I become an obsessive freak about recording my intake, 12 oz of black tea, 1 tsp of half and half or was that 2Tbsp?, two bites of a biscotti, half of a large banana, etc. Salads are the worst, there are multiple ingredients and none of them amount to more than an ounce: 12 cranberries, 5 croutons, 6 black olives, 2 shreds of cheddar cheese, 3 bacon bits and 23 leaves of spinach. Ugh! I cringe thinking about it.
With the advent of the insulin pump in conjunction with CGMS, logging has become much easier. I take my blood sugar and the result is wirelessly transmitted to my pump, I then enter carbs and bolus. If you have a minimed paradigm like me., all this data is stored and can be downloaded later for scrutiny. I love that! But, still where does the food and exercise logging come in? Sure you ate 45g carb for breakfast last Tuesday at 6am, but what was it? We all know that 45g carb triple berry scone is completely different from 45g carb oatmeal. Well people, I have found the answer and it is brilliant! Livestrong.com! All food and exercise can be logged on this website where the database is linked to the Calorie King and then exported into an excel spreadsheet. Also! Also, you can download the app onto your blackberry, or if you are cooler than me, your iPhone, and record food and exercise on the go or look up carbs at the last minute. It then syncs up with the online version. I find it particulary useful when I am looking at my cgms graphs to be able to reference what I ate for the day or what my activity level was.
While I am newly in love with livestrong.com and I highly recommend that you try it, I’ll offer a small list below of other apps that do similar things and may be of interest to you. This is not a comprehensive list.
2. Diet Organizer
3. Spark People
4. Ascendo Fitness
iPhone Apps (for the cool kids)
1. Glucose Buddy
2. Diabetes Log
3. Islet 2.0
I have great parents. The kind that always support you, no matter what crazy idea you come with (like when I wanted to move to Argentina for a year), while simultaneously not pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do. My husband also has great parents, the supportive type with no pressure. We are lucky.
A few nights ago, my husband and I were dining with his parents and discussing their 3 yr old grandchild, our nephew, when suddenly my father-in-law blurted out, “It would be nice if the grandchild had some cousins to play with.” And then he instantly apologized for being rude while my husband and I flubbered around with a response that went something like this, “well, um, we want to have children, and we’ve discussed the subject multiple times and we will, but, um, we don’t know when. Probably in the near future. In the next decade or so.”
NO ONE has ever asked me when or if I am going to have a baby. Not my parents, nor siblings, not my close friends or in-laws, until last night. I was starting to feel self-conscious about it. Is it because I’m a diabetic? Or is everyone just being polite? Are they frightened by me being pregnant? Or are they just trying to eliminate any pressure that they are so good at doing? Perhaps it’s because the only experiences they have with diabetes are negative. Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias didn’t exactly portrait diabetes in a glamorous light. And the one other person in my immediate family, my aunt, died of complications from uncontrolled type 1 diabetes at age 28. Do they know that Type 1 diabetics can have successful pregnancies? And that many of them do. A successful pregnancy where the baby doesn’t come out 5 months early with an extra nipple and a missing arm.
Little known to my father-in-law, by him blurting out this question, it has given me the go ahead. It was as if he gave me a vote of confidence. I want to get pregnant. (and so does the mister.)
This is the initiation of a blog about my life, my life with type 1 diabetes, my pursuit to become pregnant, and some other things that I might talk about. I am a pumper, a photographer, a wife, a cgms user, and an athlete. I haven’t met many adult type 1 diabetics in the 14 years that I have had the disease and I would like to change that.
I think a blog might be a good way to start. It’s private, whereas I can say things without having to gauge anyone’s initial reaction or facial expression, yet public, as in, the WHOLE world can read what I have to say. I’m not what you would call a center-of-attention kind of person, so I would not be likely to tell you some of what I plan to write here if you were sitting in my living room. Which is why I think a blog is the perfect way to be public and private at the same time.
My hope is to connect, share information, inspire, inform and be informed about living with Type 1 diabetes.