Sunday, October 24, 2010

let's get personal, dearest littlebird~

hey little guy,
You'll never know how much we love you. I hope you will. You are so wanted, so planned, so hoped for, so dreamt of...right now you're the size of a mango according to BabyCenter.org. (strange, they always give size comparisons to fruit for the pregnancy progress reports, haha) so I'm not sure how much you can tell about me, your mama, yet. But I hope you can at least tell how much we talk about you, how much we hope for you, and...did I mention, love you?
You see, your little mama's adopted. I've never met another person that looks, sounds, walks, or talks like me. Having you, with the man I chose to be with the rest of my life and especially because I knew he'd be a great dad...well, let's just say I've dreamt of your face for a very long time. I can hardly wait for the next 4 months to pass, when I can hold you up to my own silly face and say, why hello there! my first blood relative!
When I got diagnosed with type 1 in 2008, strangely enough, the very first thought that went through my head as the doctor said it was, does this mean I won't be able to have kids? My mind literally started racing. I knew what type 1 was, but I didn't know anything about having a baby with it, (Steel Magnolias, anyone? Boy, do we need better depictions of people with this disease in film or what?!) There I was, in what was supposed to be my last year of college, taking my hardest load of pre-medicine classes, so many dreams of working as a Family Med doc for the impoverished---and being sick as a dog (no, sicker; more like dying like a dog) and I felt like everything was flashing before my eyes. I even started thinking about things I hadn't thought about in anything but an abstract way; things like kids.
How will I reach my goals?
What about kids?
What the hell am I supposed to do with having type 1 diabetes?!
It was the biggest, are you kidding? moment of my life. But no, they weren't kidding. I'll let you in on a secret: I held it together all day long in that hospital, cracking jokes like I always do when people are freaking out (which I could tell they were) and acting like it was all gonna be ok for MAC, your dad. Well, I was so relieved when everyone left and the docs finally put me in a room for the night, stopped poking and prodding me (even for an hour), relentlessly telling me my sugars were still running high (duh) and not letting me eat, even though I was [literally] starving.
When they put me in that room and shut the light off, I curled into the fetal position and cried my eyes out.
I waited all day for that moment.
My thoughts raced around everything I thought I was losing (no, not dessert). I feared that everything I'd worked for---school, living true to myself, traveling, trying to become a well-rounded person---was all for nothing. You see, I always wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be the best mom I could possibly be and thought, how will I do all of this at once? I was 28 when I got diagnosed, it wasn't like I had another ten years to ponder how to go about it all.
Within a few months, the wonderful docs I had began gently bringing up the issue of having children. Taking my age into account, they asked if we wanted them and how it would be better to have them sooner than later (aka, after all my beta cells stopped helping even the tiniest bit). At first, I was in so much shock, I didn't know how to respond.
Me? Have a kid? Soon?
But that's when it hit me.
We only live once.
This one doc said, "I know this is hard to hear right now, but really, grad school's always there. But the opportunity to have kids...for women, that's not an infinite opportunity."
He was right.
Sure, I could adopt. I love adoption. I'm all for adoption. Hell, I'm adopted.
But again, I'm adopted. I don't know what it's like to have a blood relative around. It was important to me to at least try to have a kid of my own before opting for adoption. Maybe that sounds weird to some people, but not to an adult female adoptee.
So we started the slow process of planning a pregnancy with a disease that is inherently toxic to pregnancy: imbalanced blood sugar.
I fought the pump for a long time. It freaked me out, the idea of being "plugged in". And then, I got so sick of daily injections, I reached a point where I was willing to give it a shot (er, no pun intended). I'm so thankful I did. I started the pump in October 2009, all with the hopes of getting some better balance...for a pregnancy.
I spent the early part of 2010 finding my OB, my perinatologist, my pregnancy CDEs; all while keeping my blood sugar in balance. It was so overwhelming! As soon as we got the green light, we hopped into bed! (TMI: haha!)
And here we are now. Months later, expecting you, healthy so far. I have no regrets, no sadness anymore. In fact, I can honestly say it's all for the best. I'm even more empathetic to those in need, those with chronic disease, people who really struggle with their health, than ever before. Sure, it took me a while to adjust to the idea of flipping my plans. But that's also something type 1 has taught me:
You can do everything. You can work around everything life hands you. You can flip your life's plans around and it's no big deal. You never have to stop--- dreaming, living, loving, learning. You can do it all and still make time to check your [often annoying] blood sugar. You can have your cake---and eat it, too!
That, my little man, is what I hope I give you the most: a sense of adventure and ease and that you should never, ever, ever let the fight go out of you.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

week 21: things go wrong, things go right~

I can be really hard on myself.
Let me repeat that for effect:
I can be really hard on myself.
Throughout this week, I started to see my numbers transition in that way everyone warned me about, but I feel like that's all I've been referring to in my posts:
wow! Things are changing so fast!
wow! Things are so hard to keep up with!
And then I talk with my pregnancy CDEs and realize....this is it. This is me, pregnant.
And you know what?
We're doing ok.
If you're reading this, planning a pregnancy with type 1 diabetes---freaking out like I was a year or so ago, trying to understand this beast of a disease and asking yourself, "Holy crap, this sounds really, really hard, how the heck am I gonna manage this?"
Don't freak out.
I was so worked up at times, so mistrusting of myself. So overwhelmed at what my doctors said, my friends said, the research said.
The bottom line is (and I want you to trust me on this):
You can do this.
What is hitting me is that the best way to make a healthy type 1 baby is to get that A1c in range. Before you get pregnant.
(There's a lot of arguing about what number's best. Some docs say below 6% [hello freakishly scary lows!], some say 6.5% and below...well, Kerri Morrone Sparling over at the incredible Six Until Me blog had an A1c of 7% when she conceived, and her little gal is nothing but perfect. It dropped significantly due to the nature of the first trimester, but still, you get my point).
I sometimes get so worried about Littlebird when I have spikes or lows, and forget what my OB and perinatologist did when I came in for my first visit:
Nothing.
No, really.
They were so relaxed. Just wanted to touch base. Shake hands. Congratulate me on the baby. And then congratulate me on my A1c and say,
Of all the things you could've done right, it was get your A1c in range before conception.
It's all about the average, they said. Sometimes I'm not sure I believe this. Sometimes I think I don't want to believe it. How is it possible that it all comes down to an average? (ie, what if you're running between 200 and 50, of course your averages are gonna come out skewed somewhere in the middle...) Honestly, mine weren't like that. I conceived with an A1c of 6% and it was relatively what the EAG Guidelines suggest: an average of about 126-130. But that doesn't mean I didn't have my share of spikes and lows. They just weren't like that all day, everyday, every number. And now, as I enter my 5th month, this doesn't mean I haven't had my shares of spikes and lows.
But somehow, the experts are right. Overall, Littlebird is floating around in a blood glucose average of around 6% still (we'll see if I'm right next week when I get it checked again) and the ultrasounds are all showing him as growing smack dab in the middle percentile: not too big, not too small. So far nothing weird is going on with the anatomy of his heart, his spine, his brain; all the things diabetes could have a negative impact on had it been out of control before conception.
Who knows who's right at the end of the day about what makes the most "perfect" conditions [insert slightly sarcastic laugh here] for a successful type 1 pregnancy...but we can all guess the basics, to be sure. But you know what? I'll take what I've got so far. ;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Backblogging week 20: i'm getting high, er, you know what i mean~

Wow, that picture looks no different from last week's . Sometimes I wonder about these angles....I swear, in real life it's like I'm getting huge! Well, just in one spot, haha.

So this week, hmmmm, a lot like last week, I struggled with getting high again. Haha, it sounds like a confession in tokin' up. Uh, no.

I saw the CDE again and we began having evening phone calls where we'd see if the highs were a fluke (ie, wow, that was high. Let's change your site first and then see if it's hormones or just highs.) Such a fun thing to wait out. Me, sitting there, picturing Littlebird floating around in a bowl of sugar. Homemade, straight from me to you, buddy!
No, really.
We've been correcting and making enough changes that my averages are still stable. But it can really freak a gal out, no matter what your doctor and CDE tell you, i.e.:
Complications [can] arise after the A1C is over 6.5. Even then, this isn't in stone.
Great! What is in stone then?!
The CDE also told me that in the 7 years she's been leading the program at this perinatology center, she has not seen one case of diabetes-related birth complications in someone's baby. Phew. That was really, really, really good to hear. Actually, it totally made my day.

Another strange issue I dealt with this gloriously fun week of 20, was that my insertion sites can literally just fall off. No joke. People mentioned it happening, but I was like, How does your site just "fall off"? It's inserted! However, something's going on with your skin or something because the adhesive literally just...fails, and then poof! your site is out. Just like that. My CDE said it's very common for your sites to only last 2 days. Great. We all know how much fun site changes are. Hey, but I'll take it over multiple daily injections. Those suuuuuucked.

All in all, Littlebird and I are doing well. I finally felt him---it's still very slight. Just like little hello taps. But it's the most amazing thing; it really is. Also, while I stopped wearing the CGM because it made me bonkers (I was catching all my highs and lows long before the device would-- all that beeping made it my enemy); I may give it another try as the 2nd trimester progresses. So far though, checking my BG 12-15 times a day has been just fine to catch anything...the big thing is getting a hold of those post-meal numbers---are they high, are they low? and just taking care of it. I'm also trying to stay as active as possible and find some exercises specific to active labor (my approach) like extended squats and back exercises. Wow, it's so exciting how we really are working towards this one day---only to find that the party's only just begun! Oh my, how I can't wait to meet him!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Backblogging week 19: stability? eh, not so much!

During the first part of week 19 I struggled so much to keep my numbers in control. With me being the perfectionist that I am (not a perfectionist-friendly disease. Let me take that further: this is the absolute worst disease for a perfectionist to get) I tend to get into this self-blaming cycle where I continue to ask myself "what I'm doing wrong" (even when every damn thing was right). But I have the most wonderful CDEs over at the Center for Prenatal Development. The one is like, "I've been doing this a long time, Emily. You need to remind yourself that this is just pregnancy and diabetes. Fun, huh?"
That's one way to put it!
What's happening is that every few days my stable numbers then start to go bonkers again. Higher or lower, I start to really struggle with any food (salad, you're supposed to be my friend) any situation (walking around a festival: supposed to help, right? Nope) and even scenarios I gave no mind to before (being on the phone for a work meeting for a really long time made me crash just as much as if I was uh, there.)
Every 5 days now my numbers clearly need assistance. And it's all so slight sometimes. But I'm officially in the hardest part of a type 1 pregnancy: the 2nd trimester. This little guy's growing in size. Size means more insulin. More insulin means resistance. More resistance means ohhhhhhhmyyyyyyygooooooood to me. As active as I am, as healthy as I eat, I still need so many adjustments merely due to the hormones---which are all helping Littlebird to grow like he needs to. Gee, imagine if I had a working pancreas. Thanks, Peabody.
So by the end of the week, the perfectionist in me was having another bonkers situation and uploaded my CareLink data to my CDE to look at. She just made the slightest change in my insulin sensitivity and wow, it really helped. To think I'll possibly need adjustments to my pump every 2 days toward the end of this trimester just blows my mind.
The human body's fine balance of fragile and resilient function is nothing to be scoffed at. Imagining what a nondiabetic woman's body is capable of doing completely involuntarily truly amazes me right now---even as I attempt to mimic it as best as I can. Phew. But what also amazes me is how resilient these babies are. I mean, let's be honest. He's not in the "best" of conditions in there. Oh, I know, I know---my A1c going in was prime, my averages are still stable...but technically, he's dealing with a lot; a lot more than he should have to. But he's alright! (I'll tell him this when he's having a hard time in life: You can do it! You made it through that big test way back in 2010, remember? What? You don't? :) And this fact---that so far he is able to withstand a less-than-perfect environment---when even in the best of circumstances women have miscarriages for reasons only Mother Nature will ever know---just humbles and amazes me.
Sometimes I get so frustrated I feel like I'm holding on by a thread. But then I think of our little boy and how hard we're working for him and I just...well, can't wait to introduce myself.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Backblogging week 18: a really bad photo and oh my, am i domestic or what?!

Wow, behind on blogging again.
Surprise, surprise.
I'll keep this post short, since uh, I'm two weeks behind and there's really only one thing to tell you of amazing significance:

We're having a boy!

Yes, yes, by now many people already know the exciting news because I'm better at using facebook than I am at writing my own damn blog. But that's besides the point. The point is that he's doing really, really well (spot on average, not too big, not too small---hey, let's just say that size does matter with babies who have type 1 mamas!) and the anatomical ultrasound showed nothing significant...except, of course his little "boy parts" (as the perinatologist kept saying...I'm like, you're a freaking perinatologist. You should be comfortable with the terms vagina and penis by now, right?!) Haha, but seriously, it was amazing, and as usual, this little mama got tears in her eyes looking at her little one. My son.