Friday, May 13, 2011

Awesome Things–DBW #5

Blogger’s major meltdown yesterday makes me wonder, did the DOC overload the system with our angry 10 things we hate about diabetes posts!  I worked hard on that post so I reposted it and now I am happy to present a much happier post about the amazing things that have come out of diabetes for me. 

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!

Where to begin . . . I have written posts in the past about some pretty awesome things regarding diabetes management. The discovery of insulin, animal insulin vs. cloned human insulin, blood glucose monitoring instead of peeing on a stick multiple times a day, pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring (you know, for some people!), stem cell research and not all stem cells come from embryos or umbilical cord blood. A couple years ago Heath told me that scientists are working on something interesting for diabetics. He said they have created these tiny computers that can be injected into a diabetic maybe once a year or so. The computers will regulate the body's blood sugars the way the pancreas did before it stopped working. So the computers will act as insulin when needed and other computers are designed to be glucose when needed. That is amazing to me.

Amazing things diabetes has brought us? The list is long.

What I want to talk about today is something I have mentioned many times before – my children. My children are my greatest accomplishment. So many people told me I couldn’t have my own children simply because I am diabetic. Oh yeah? Watch me! It was not easy. It was a lot of work to keep my blood sugars between 90 and 120 for 9 months. That’s tight control under normal circumstances but you take into account hormones, increasing weight, and the fact that the body is growing another person and it’s super hard.

I will never forget my best A1C when I was pregnant with Parker. It was 5.0%. I am so not kidding. I told anyone who would listen! My neighbor/friend across the street was a nurse and I had to tell her the good news. She was pregnant too and I remember her saying, “I don’t think my A1C is even a 5 right now!” (she was not diabetic)  A 5 is spectacular control. I was not surprised one bit when Parker was born 10 days early after a scheduled induction weighing 6 lbs. 8 oz. I earned that small baby! I will go to my grave believing that it was my fault that Gwen was as big as she was despite all the doctors telling me she was just a big baby. She was 10 days early after a scheduled C-section weighing 9 lbs. 4 oz. My biggest baby by a long shot.

Pregnancy is an amazing feat for any woman but I feel like so many people didn’t get what I had to go through as a diabetic.  I think that’s why I always want to go into so much detail about my pregnancies.  My way of saying, “It was hard, see?” 

The guilt over blood sugar control is intense.  I remember going in for extra tests and precautions with my second pregnancy. I was always told everything looked normal but having the morbid curiosity I do I would ask what could go wrong. I thought I knew everything that could go wrong. Until my endo’s nurse gave me the book When You’re a Parent with Diabetes at the beginning of my third pregnancy. I already felt guilty that I was pregnant without being prepared and I was fighting to get my blood sugars down. I did not need to read the chapter about the most jaw dropping horrible things that can happen to an unborn baby of a diabetic mother. At the time we only had one car so when I picked Heath up from the BART station I was quiet and depressed. When he asked what was wrong I melted into a sobbing mess. I cried as if I was mourning the death of someone, while driving home no less. I was convinced something was wrong with my baby and it was all my fault.  It didn’t help when a few months later we were told there were red flags raising suspicion that she may have chromosomal abnormalities and/or a heart defect.  Ouch. 

She was fine though.  None of the red flags materialized into anything other than a perfectly healthy baby.  All my babies were fine.  Miraculously.  I was able to successfully nurse the first two while my baby girl had acid reflux to the point she squirmed and fussed on a bottle.  I had to switch to formula or kill myself.  I went with the formula solution. 

I still can’t get those naysayers out of my head who told me I couldn’t have my own children.  I am so eternally grateful for the amazing advances in medicine that I could have three successful pregnancies resulting in three healthy babies despite all odds stacked against us.  I am so incredibly grateful for the practice of cesarean section births, which apparently is the only way I can deliver.  A diabetes myth is that diabetics have to have c-sections.  Not true.  I did because my body doesn’t progress during labor like it should.  Nothing to do with diabetes. 

I feel like a walking medical miracle because for so many reasons I would not be here today without the advances in medicine and science and by extension my babies would not be here. 

What has diabetes done for me?  Everything that matters. 

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