In January 2011 my world was turned upside down with a diagnosis of type 1, insulin dependent diabetes. It is only now that I'm living day-in and day-out with the impact of this disease that I realize how easy life was before sugar was an issue... This blog is to help others understand type 1 diabetes and the journey I am going through because of it.
You know when you stop doing something for a while how difficult it can be to start up again? Even if it's something you love like exercise, cooking, flossing or ... writing ... it's just hard to get back in the habit after letting things slide to a tranquil, yet non-evolutionary stop. But as GV and I have been home for two weeks and she is growing ounce by ounce (up to 7 lbs 6 oz!), it's really about time that I get back on the horse and begin regularly writing again... So thanks to some persistent and much needed prodding from HB, here goes:
While I can rationally look at the calendar on my refrigerator and see that I was pregnant only a matter of days ago, it physically and emotionally feels like it has been ages. While I am still not entirely sure how to parent two kids at the same time instead of just one, it feels natural to have both GW and GV here and I love them both like they've always been the best part of me. All of the traumatic worrying and flaming mental "what if" hoops of the pregnancy are now seemingly irrelevant and inconsequential - which at the time I thought would never come to pass. Essentially, the magic "mommy genes" have once again kicked in and wiped the slate clean...
After my first dose of mommy genes back in 2009, I happily anticipated their wondrous impact this go around: the phenomenal disappearing act it makes of labor pain upon first sight of the new baby, the awe inspiring, tantrum-taming patience it provokes, the sleep-deprived juggling and plate-spinning it balances and don't even get me started on the gigantic seemingly oversized heart it straight up causes. It's like when the Grinch's heart grows three sizes in that one day - Dr Seuss must have mistakenly infected that green-goof ball with mommy genes!! But, in all seriousness, the biology behind child birth and motherhood amazes me in it's combination of emotional simplicity and physical complexity... there's nothing quite like it and, no matter how sympathetic a person you may be, until you've got 'em, you just don't really get 'em.
Big brother week one - October 2009
Little sister week one - November 2012
Actually, I must admit that despite having two children I still don't understand the breadth of impact mommy genes have on a person - especially on a broken pancreas. Don't get me wrong, I remember very well the differences between the before GW me and the after and I've done more than enough reading on the medical explanations of what to expect when you're diabetic and expecting to catch the gist, but these super-genes have still managed to surprise me in the last few weeks with their significance... namely their apparent panacea for insulin dependence. Okay, maybe that takes it a bit far... I wish mommy genes were like some hopped up version of stem cells or something that could actually cure diabetes, but the effects breast feeding is having on my body are a pretty darn good consolation prize.
So, breast feeding while diabetic is like constantly running or doing any other endurance sport because the body is perpetually burning calories and glucose to make milk. This means that there is an incessant risk for diabetic mothers to become hypoglycemic and, as such, results in a decrease in the artificial insulin required to maintain a healthy HgA1C. Combine this with the much lower presence of hormones in a new mother's body and you're looking at insulin rates that are at - and in my case, much lower - than pre-pregnancy levels.
On one hand this means that, if not careful or aware of on setting hypoglycemia, that there is an increased risk for new mothers to go into shock post-delivery (remember my third trimester hypoglycemia was abnormal). On the other hand, this can mean a very welcome return to eating carbs with absent minded fervor... for example (yes, this is seriously a big deal) I can eat upwards of six - repeat: SIX - miniature Heath bars just because I feel like it before my blood sugar will respond like they "ought" to. Now that I am reading this it sounds kind of wantonly gluttonous to eat that much candy in one sitting, but pardon me while I cackle at my new found ability to smuggle simple carbs past my pancreas! THANK YOU MOMMY GENES!
Now I doubt this new trick the mommy genes have introduced to my body will do anything positive toward me getting back into my other jeans, but hey, we've got to cut them some slack... they have me cooing and gooing over my sweet little girl (she's sleeping in my lap right now and so darn cute with her smiles - see video) and able to pretend I'm somewhat normal for the time being. Exercise is still four weeks off before I'm "cleared" to hit the pavement again by the perinatologist and there is plenty of time to cover that topic once HB and I've figured out our post-pregnancy work out plan. In the mean time, I'm going to continue enjoying my maternity pants, turn my insulin pump on ultra-low, and grab a candy bar -- I'd rather be snuggled up with these two kids than out running anyway!