Motherhood Is Powerful
I recently looked back at the notes I kept in 2005, when my daughter was born. Though I remember a lot from that time, I had completely forgotten that my A1C in the third trimester was like that of a "normal" person: 5.2 percent. 5.2! I wish I had that level of control now.
Pregnancy when you have diabetes is hard work. But the motivation to take care of yourself (as you'll read in our "Baby Talk" and "Real-Life Stories" articles) can be equally intense. I was an engaged patient beforehand, but pregnancy made me a diabetes perfectionist. Every choice seemed to matter so much, and doing anything that might have a negative impact was unacceptable. For better and, in a sense, for worse, we are able to do things for our children that are much harder to do just for ourselves.
That's not to say that the constant monitoring—finger sticks, ketone tests, blood pressure checks, blood draws, ultrasound scans, and numerous other weights and measurements—didn't get on my nerves. In the womb, my daughter was a night owl (at age 4, she still is), which meant trouble at my morning checkups. The medical assistants who tracked her movements had different tactics for producing them: Sometimes they prodded my belly with a special buzzer; a few times they had me drink ice water and jump up and down. (Really.) In one scary episode, the ob-gyn had to send me to the hospital for further tests because the fetus just wouldn't get moving. But eventually she did, around noon—when she finally deigned to start her day.
All this medical scrutiny made me feel like the subject of some strange biology experiment, and yet I was thrilled by the science of it. I read dozens of books about pregnancy and quizzed the medical students who attended my appointments. And though delivery was not so delightful, I forgot the pain, the exhaustion, and the 30 hours of labor when that tiny, mewling newborn was lifted into my hands. That's when I realized that the responsibility of managing my diabetes in order to protect her didn't end when she arrived. In fact, it was just beginning.