Trying to stay sane

By | 8 November, 2012
Modern medical care for infants in action

Modern medical care for infants in action

If ever there was a short cut to madness, I think being pregnant and having diabetes may be it. The never ending pressure of walking a tightrope of blood sugar control, combined with the guilt of what might happen if you get it wrong could easily be overwhelming.

To try and maintain my sanity, I’ve decided to develop a coping strategy, which actually seems to be a reasonable approach to take at any time, not just during pregnancy.

  • First, remember that this is perfectly possible. It’s not as if I’m trying to single-handedly land a Ford Mondeo on Jupiter. Thousands of other people have managed this successfully before me.
  • I understand my diabetes (as much as anyone can) and the basics haven’t changed. So in theory I know what I’m doing. That should give me confidence.
  • Blood tests must not become an opportunity for constant self-criticism, so:

– I’ll celebrate the positives. Blood sugars in range will be greeted with the words “I am a diabetic genius” said in varying tones and accents to add a bit of variety.
– Out of range blood sugars will be greeted with a muttered swear word, from an increasingly varied vocabulary to relieve fury and frustration. Then rather than worrying about them, I’ll try to work out what caused it, what I can do to fix it, and how to stop it happening again. And if it appears completely random, I’ll highlight it to look at later in the context of a few days’ results to try and spot any patterns. In the meantime, just blame the dodgy pancreas and move on.
– This behaviour must be stopped after birth – because you just know that the baby’s first words won’t be “mummy is a diabetic genius”, they’re much more likely to be “**** **** 11.3 ****”

  • Let’s try and be rational about this. The recommended range for blood sugars in pregnancy is an ambitious below 5.9 in general, and less than 7.8 an hour after eating. And that’s what I’m striving for. But the world will not end if I am a 10 for two hours. My amniotic fluid will not suddenly transform into glucose syrup and cause no end of irreparable damage. Undesirable? Yes. End of the world? No. Try to maintain some perspective.

This of course all goes out the window when I’m shouting at my pump because I’m high and can’t work out why and it’s not coming down. But humour me, it makes me feel better to at least think I have a strategy for all this.

Any more tips for staying sane?

16 thoughts on “Trying to stay sane

  1. Anna

    Below 5.9 before and 7.8 after? How on earth are you achieving that? I managed more than double both of those blood sugars between waking up and breakfast!

    Tip of the imaginary hat, my friend!

    1. Alison Post author

      With some difficulty! Although it is doable, mostly by bolusing 3 days before actually eating anything and having apple juice on constant standby 😉

  2. Joy

    I don’t envy you, I’ve done it twice and it’s not much fun. But I had 2 healthy babies, who don’t appear to have suffered from my occasional highs during pregnancy. Size wise at birth the medical staff commented that they were big babies due to me being diabetic, while my non-diabetic sisters marvelled at my tiny babies – they had six between then and all but one was bigger than my girls.

    And if you want to wind your team up tell them you want a home birth!

    Going slightly off tangent has shoot up ever looked at colostrum harvesting for pregnant diabteics?

    Good luck with the sugars.

    1. Alison Post author

      When the midwife asked me where I’d like to give birth, I seriously contemplated saying at home just to see how far I could wind her up! But I felt so ill at the time I didn’t have the energy.

      Colostrum harvesting is on my list of things to fret over at some point – seems like a good idea, if a little hard to do from what I’ve read so far. Did you do it?

      1. Joy

        I did the second time round and it wasn’t too hard, and was worthwhile as we escaped hospital pretty quickly. If I can help at all please drop me a message.

  3. Annette A

    On the diabetes/pregnancy front I can offer nothing but luck, as I have no experience of it. But I’d imagine that landing a Ford Galaxy on Jupiter would be more appropriate…(I’ll get my coat) 🙂

  4. Emma

    I hear ya! I’m 15 weeks now and barely getting used to the constant franticness. It’s not helped by my bi-weekly appointments with a diabetologist pouring over every result over the previous two weeks and insisting there MUST be a reason for the random 12 I got at one point. Typical Type 1 is a pretty good pregnancy / diabetes blog ( Great to see another UK blogger talking about it!

    1. Alison Post author

      Ah yes, we only did the pouring over the results business once and I refused to play ball any more – I didn’t find it in the least bit helpful, useful or constructive to have a conversation about why I was an 8 rather then 7.8 after a meal.

  5. brian

    ‘The recommended range for blood sugars in pregnancy is an ambitious below 5.9 in general, and less than 7.8 an hour after eating.’

    Firstly, as stated this is recommended range – which usually means there is no objective evidence – I suspect 5.9/7.8 is the range of a working pancreas, with the results measured in a lab; and even then the outliers will have been discounted.

    This is then sold as a recommended range because they need a target to measure against and it’s the only target in town.

    Secondly, working to the decimal? ie 5.9 are you serious? Anyone who believes the numbers after the decimal point on a personal meter is just not in touch with reality – and needs telling so. This is not an IV sample taken and kept in pristine condition it’s a small grubby blob off a sweaty hand measured on a machine that has been dropped and kicked using a stick that has treated less than well; or a sensor that is out of date, contaminated with other bodily fluid or has a less than perfect electrical connection. The results are indicative at best to use them to compare directly against lab results ie 5.9/7.8 is just plain stupid.

    Don’t get me wrong, go for non-diabetic range but recognise that your measuring device (and they are the best thing since sliced bread) is not that good to believe to the decimal point or even the whole number in some instances.

    1. Alison Post author

      Quite, and if I’d have thought there was any point in doing so, that’s the conversation I’d have had with the Dr. But when someone is seriously trying to discuss with you why you were an 8 rather than 7.8, I figure they’re obviously an idiot, and it’s not worth the stress of even trying to educate them about the 20% margin of error on meters etc.

  6. katherine cromwell

    Think about all those lovely healthy babies that have been born to other diabetic type 1 mums years ago – without such tight control. Alison do not loose hope. I actually think that pregnancy is a real eye opener to all diabetics because sometimes you don’t have any control over your body and IF I AM 15 WITH KETONES THEN I AM ! You are monitored so much if there is any problem they will have you in!
    Years ago yes diabetic mums would have big babies but its generally the type 2’s or those with gestational diabetes who have the heavy babes because they hadn’t had tight control before even becoming pregnant.
    Alison my advice is manage your diabetes with the care and attention you always have your baby will be fine.

    1. Alison Post author

      Thanks @mustard that’s exactly what my rational brain would have said to anyone else in my position 🙂

  7. Tanieka

    It gets better. I don’t really remember pregnancy because I haven’t slept very much since the birth of my baby boy one year ago. DIabetes with a baby is a a trip! You have to decide who eats first you or the baby. A plus is that he eats most of my fruit so I am cutting down on my carbs. No, I did not have a big baby. But I had the best sugars of my life during pregnancy.


Leave a Reply to Alison Cancel reply