Most women begin their journey through pregnancy as soon as those little lines appear. As for me, I started my pregnancy journey eight months before those little lines would make their appearance, an entire year and a half before my son was born.
Living with type 2 diabetes, I already tried to live a healthy lifestyle, but I was nowhere near being prepared for pregnancy. Managing with oral medications, an okay diet and the occasional exercise, my A1C was hovering around 8.3. I needed to improve my blood glucose control to prepare for a healthy (but still high-risk) pregnancy. Working with my endocrinologist, I came up with a plan—that’s when my pregnancy journey truly began.
I overhauled my diet, began exercising five days a week and visited a maternal-fetal specialist for preconception counseling. As I got closer to my goal, I switched to insulin via multiple daily injections. Seven months later, my doctors, my husband and I felt prepared for a healthy pregnancy.
Finally! Those little lines appeared for me, jumpstarting “phase two” of my pregnancy journey.
Now that I was actually pregnant, it felt like the stakes had been raised. My blood glucose didn’t just matter to me anymore; there was another life affected by the number that appeared on my meter. Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the most joyous and exciting times of your life, but for me, diabetes was there, making me face reality and make tough decisions. People would ask what I found most difficult about pregnancy. One word: diabetes.
I couldn’t indulge in my cravings (Sorry, chocolate fudge Pop-Tarts). I had to try to work out even when I was dead tired and swollen. I had to poke myself with a needle and inject insulin every time I ate (which was a lot!). I had to hold myself—and my blood glucose—to high standards. I could not take a day off from diabetes.
One night, I stood in my kitchen crying my eyes out. I don’t remember what the number was, but my blood glucose was high. All I remember was the sweeping feeling of disappointment and despair. All I could do was stand there, worrying about how it could affect my growing baby and blaming myself for not doing better. My husband wrapped me up in his arms and told me, “You’re doing an amazing job.”
On April 25, 2017, I gave birth to my son, Tatum—a healthy baby at eight pounds, 12 ounces! I remember thinking to myself, “I did it!” I wasn’t referring to giving birth. I was thinking about how I made it through my high-risk, diabetes-laden pregnancy complication-free.
Now my focus is to stay healthy for him, to be able to chase him around the park, to demonstrate healthy eating habits for him and to enjoy this chubby miracle that I call my son.
-Lynda Jimenez, Associate Director, Online Strategy & Operations, American Diabetes Association
Questions about diabetes and pregnancy? Explore our online resources here.