Tag Archives: diabetes and pregnancy

Two Awesome Things Because of Diabetes

Diabetes-Blog-Week-300x80

Today’s Diabetes Blog Week prompt is:

Awesome things – Friday 5/13: In February the #dsma blog carnival challenged us to write about the most awesome thing we’d done DESPITE diabetes. Today let’s put a twist on that topic and focus on the good things diabetes has brought us. What awesome thing have you (or your child) done BECAUSE of diabetes? After all, like my blog header says, life with diabetes isn’t all bad!

Because of diabetes I was a more likely to have my hormones go out of wack and as a result I ovulate several times a month (instead of just once), increasing the likelihood that I get pregnant with twins or multiples, and since I got pregnant with twins, I was blessed with two funny and precious little people in just 8 short months. My husband and I were also open to the possiblility of kids as soon as we got married because my diabetes made me feel like I better have a child while I was healthy enough to do it. So we went from, “Ok, we’ll see what happens” to “What?! Twins?!!! Isn’t that a really high risk pregnancy for a woman with type 1 diabetes?!” “Yes, it is” said all the doctors. But years of diabetes has taught me to be strong and so I said, “Fine, I got pregnant with twins in the first place because I can do this!” and I buckled down for a few really long and hard months.  (Totally worthwhile by the way!) (And yes, coming up with something positive for today is not the easiest thing to do)

They are almost two now, but here they are at around 5-6 months old, playing peekaboo and laughing with each other.  (daughter is on the left, and son is on the right)

The Most Awesome Thing I’ve Done Despite Diabetes

  

This is a DSMA prompted question and a submission for the DSMA Blog Carnival. 

The most awesome thing I’ve done despite diabetes is start a family. 

Diabetes had kicked all the self esteem out of me to the point that when my now husband, wanted to go out with me in high school, all my self loathing led to a solid, “No”.  I worked hard to get past those issues and with patience and love from family and friends, I was eventually able to come to a more respectful place with myself and feel worthy of the man I loved.  Years later he was still thinking of me as more than a friend and shortly after, we married.

"OMG your stuck with me!"
“OMG your stuck with me!”

 

Then he and I were thinking about children but I wasn’t so sure it was in the cards for me.  In the short amount of time prior to having them, I had recurring kidney stones, ruptured ovarian cysts, and was told I may never conceive due to PCOS.  Then one month after getting married, I conceived twins!  Carrying two normal sized babies while having two vertebrae out of place was much harder than I imagined.  Carrying them while adjusting type 1 diabetes throughout all kinds of wild hormone changes and insulin need fluctuations was…well It’s one of those things; I don’t know how I did it but I’ve found we’re all pretty good at mustering all the strength in the world for our families.

"Hey, I know you!" "Yeah, I'm your little bro, thanks for not kicking me anymore"
“Heyyy, I know you!” “

 

"zzzzzzz"
“zzzzzzz”

 

"Everyone says you're a little guy but mommy carried you, she knows different!"
“Everyone says you’re a little guy but mommy carried you, she knows different!”

 

A Type 1 Diabetic’s Decision to Have Children

 

I’m surprised to find out how many men and women with type 1 diabetes feel having children is an irresponsible thing for them to do.  I understand many reasons for this.  I myself have felt that I would only one day have children if I could do it responsibly. 

For me, this meant acquiring tight glucose control prior to opening up a possibility for pregnancy and it meant not opening up a possibility for pregnancy if I didn’t have good glucose control or if my body was failing me. 

I feel blessed to have become type 1 diabetic at 11 years old rather than say, age one.  This means far less cumulative damage by child bearing age.  I also feel blessed to have found the right man at a relatively young age.  I used to think that I’d just adopt if the circumstances weren’t right for me.

Some people don’t want to have children simply because of the risk they might pass on their diabetes to their child.  I really understand this fear.  I had it, or rather, have it.  My decision in the matter was suppressed a little when I was told I’d probably never get pregnant and so after being surprised with having twins, I feel like it was “meant to be”.   I was nudged into having faith that no matter what happens, everything will be alright.  This doesn’t mean I don’t do mad amounts of research on how to minimize the risk for type 1 diabetes in my kids, though.

That is how it worked out for me and how I feel about my own situation.  When it comes to someone else’s decision, I like to think each type 1 diabetic knows themselves best and knows what the right decision is.  Or I hope so, anyway.

What I don’t think is right is someone telling me I’ve been irresponsible because I’ve had children.  Yes, I may have passed on a horrible gene.  I also might have passed down a musical genius gene from Frederic Chopin, since I’m related to him.  The point is, we can’t say that no diabetic should have children.  A life without suffering is not guaranteed no matter what our genes are.  And if you ask me, I’m glad I was born.  Yes, I’ve suffered, but that suffering created some of the best of me.  And it’s made my joys all the richer.  If I had the choice to start my life at 11 years old and do it all over again with diabetes, I would. 

What about you?  What do you think?

Diabetic pregnancy diet

 

My belly at my babyshower (6 months pregnant)
My belly at my babyshower (6 months pregnant)

 

 

First off, I’m going to assume that you want to take extra care while pregnant because you’re a diabetic and want to do everything in your power to keep your child safe.  Yes, there are women who eat anything and everything and gain 100 pounds while pregnant.  You know better and the fact that you’re reading this right now means you want to do your best.

I researched a ton while pregnant and even before getting pregnant (even though my pregnancy was unplanned).  I am a total worrier-not warrior, worry-er.  I felt that I should do everything in my power to keep my children safe (I had twins) and I wanted to have a non-guilty conscience should something go wrong.  Obviously I would be extremely sympathetic to the woman who did some things I wouldn’t and had something go wrong during her pregnancy because anything but sympathy in this case would just be cruel and illogical.  The point is we women are very sacrificial like this so I know you get what I’m saying.  I wanted to do everything I personally could stand to do right.

Anyway, I was really strict with how I ate.  I looked all around me during my pregnancy and saw all of these happy pregnant women, lounging in restaurants or parks, eating chocolate ice cream and deli meat sandwiches while drinking regular coke.  I was jealous of how relaxed they were.  I was pretty on top of things.  Especially when it came to blood sugar control-but that’s another post.

I can give you is reassurance in knowing that A:  I had out of control diabetes for over a decade before getting it well under control, B:  I had a twin pregnancy which is risky even for a non-diabetic, and C:  My babies and I ended up fine-which I hope can give you some consolation if you are feeling anxiety or worry over your own pregnancy as a diabetic.

Here is how I ate during my pregnancy:

The first trimester I was so severely nauseated that eating healthy was pretty tough.  I craved salads and carbs.  The salad part was easy and I would eat a huge salad about 3 times a week that consisted of:

-Romaine lettuce

-Iceburg lettuce

-Spinach

-Kidney beans

-Chickpeas (great source of iron which I was deficient in)

-Boiled eggs

-Carrots

-Onion (for some reason I craved lots of onions!)

-Green peppers

-Tomato

-Cheddar cheese

Dressing:  Extra virgin olive oil and vinegar plus salt, pepper, and lemon

(I would get these salads at Ukrops where I could build this huge salad in minutes!)

-Now a typical breakfast for me was 2 lightly fried eggs (sometimes raw in a milkshake) (salmonella is very rare in organic eggs by the way-I’ve had raw eggs for years and never had a problem)

Or-sometimes for breakfast I would have:

-A piece of toast with butter or cream cheese.  I didn’t have just any old bread though, I ate/still eat Ezekiel’s 7 Grain Bread which is made from sprouted grains so is much higher in nutrients and is low glycemic-great for us diabetics.  It also keeps me full for a long time.  Literally, one slice is good for my entire breakfast nowadays (keep in mind I’m naturally petite though so you may need 2-3 slices).

Let me pause right here for a second.  You may be thinking, that is all she ate for breakfast while pregnant with twins??  Yep.  I ate 3 meals, 2 snacks a day and kept everything small but healthy (except for my gigantor salads).  We are fooled into thinking that when are pregnant we need to eat, eat, eat!  Sadly, we don’t need but an extra snack a day.  If carrying twins, make that two snacks.  Pregnancy isn’t a time to go nuts with food.  It is a time to carefully eat what you and your baby need during this special journey.   It really feels nice to be almost back to normal once the baby pops out too ;)

That said, here is what a typical snack was: 

-Raw vegetables dipped in light ranch

-Fresh fruit

-Cheese (usually organic mozzarella sticks)

-More bread with butter (for some reason this made me feel really good throughout my whole pregnancy-this bread is also a miracle against constipation which I really didn’t deal with despite 2 iron pills a day for months)

I normally eat more different foods than the above but, during pregnancy lots of foods suddenly smelled awful and so I was forced to eat a lot of the same stuff.  (But, I did vary the fruit and veggies a good bit)

A typical lunch/dinner:

-Rice and black beans

-Chicken (I ate lots of organic chicken)

-Beef (I could eat it if it wasn’t cooked near me lol)

-Pasta (my mom made me a lot of different pastas which helped my nausea a lot)

I ate all of the above with some vegetable, my favorite was steamed broccoli.

I drank mostly water and caffeine-free tea.

As you see I ate plenty of protein and vegetables so that I’d have nutrient rich meals.  I would add rice, pasta, or legumes so that my body would have enough calories to do the big job it was doing.

What I strictly did NOT consume:

-No caffeine (this meant I didn’t even have a single piece of chocolate-boy did I miss this!  This also meant no caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, sodas)

-No corn syrup (this was hard because corn syrup is in so many things but, I think it’s worth staying away from)

-No artificial sweeteners (I’ve heard this is bad news during pregnancy and for health in general so instead of risking it I just did away with it).

-No seafood whatsoever (most seafood has far too much mercury and since it can harm unborn babies I chose to just not have any-what is 9 months anyway?)

What I limited:

-Non-organic food

-Non-filtered water

-Junk food (I had about 5 Hardees thickburgers during my pregnancy :D )

-Greasy or Spicy food (just because it made me feel like I was dying after eating it)

I was very careful with deli meats and soft cheeses like Brie.  It is best to know where your deli meat came from before eating it and it is best to not consume certain cheeses.  Just do a search to find out which those are ;)

Obviously some of these things are difficult to follow.  I think you should do your own research and think about what you can/can’t live without (I promise you can live without everything you think you can’t however ;)  But, just make a list of things you’re willing to sacrifice and follow that. 

-My splurge was ice cream-high quality ice cream like Haagen-Dagz. mmmm…..(but, I wouldn’t eat a pint a day mind you, maybe a pint a week, and the hubby helped)

In the end I’m sure you and the baby will be fine.  Remember, the best feeling is trying your best and having a great outcome.  The proud mama feeling will be a great source of strength for you once it’s time to change those never-ending diapers!

A note on guilt:  At 8 months old my daughter was diagnosed very allergic to peanut and egg, two allergies that cause a life-threatening condition.  This has changed our lives.  Some days I wonder if I could have done something different while pregnant to have prevented her allergies.  Yet, when I look back at what a decent job I did, I truly can’t figure out what I would have changed.  Maybe worry less?  Anyway, this is why you want to try your personal best :)  And try to relax!

So…Oh, is there anything I’ve left out?  Anything you would or wouldn’t eat while pregnant?  Share in comments, others desperately want to find out!