Tag Archives: pregnancy in diabetes

The greatest accomplishment of all

I’ve climbed mountains, run marathons, traveled through various parts of the world, won writing awards, achieved As in chemistry, managed my disease to near perfection; all pretty awesome achievements.

But none of those accomplishments, not one, stand a chance next to the greatest accomplishment of my life.

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Little Ring is hands down the greatest, most impressive thing I have ever done – EVER! – with and without diabetes 😀

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* This is my fourth installment of Diabetes Blog Week with today’s topic being Accomplishments, big or small*

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Dazed and confused

One year later…

I went for a run, but this time there was no Big Ring running a few steps behind me (he was at home caring for Little Ring); there was no Garmin, but rather a beat up old Timex; there was no fancy free footing either, more like a deep gutted fear of the gremlins in the pavement looking to take me down; nor was there the beginnings of a thumb-sucking alien baby in my belly.

One year later…

I was so lost in my thoughts that I actually got lost (turned around if you will) coming back from my second run of the year on the boardwalk – a route I have walked and run for nearly four years, a route I frequent nearly every day, a route I bloody well LIVE on. It’s no secret I am majorly directionally challenged, but seriously, this was an all-time low for me. I was literally 2 minutes from home when I got so dazed and confused, I thought I had missed my turn off, and actually turned around to go back! But this run was no ordinary run.

One year later…

This run was the anniversary of the run when I went down into a 10.0 face first dive into the pavement (damn those evil gremlins!) just minutes away from home; when I was so green from the pain, both Big Ring and I were sure I had a broken collar bone; when Big Ring had to force me to eat an omelette (which by the way we also unintentionally had this evening :)) before heading to the hospital; when I spent three and a half hours separated from Big Ring waiting to get an x-ray – three of which I had the biggest, most exciting news of my life to share, but could do no such thing. (It wasn’t exactly something that could be texted!)

This run was the anniversary of the run I found out about my Little Ring 😀

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Beautiful night for a beautiful run with a beautiful memory.

TONIGHT’S RUN:

  • 5:15 p.m. BG before: 4.9 (3 Stoned Wheat Thins, no bolus)
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Distance: 4 minute intervals to a total of 12 minutes with 1 minute walking between each interval.
  • 6 p.m. BG after: 5.3

And yes, my friends, that ankle update is still on it’s way.

2013: the year I get my feet back

2012: There were no sun-drenched long runs, no personal bests, no races, in fact, there was hardly any running at all. And yet, it was a year I shall cherish for always.

It was the second week of January (the day after Big Ring’s birthday) that we found out (while running!) we had a little thumb-sucking alien baby growing in my belly. I had vowed to keep up with my running, and was sure I’d be able to run the 5 km Run for Water in May, and the first Starbucks Women’s Run in June, but unfortunately my body and blood sugars had other ideas. By mid March, I had retired my running shoes to the closet, in favour of hiking and walking shoes.

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Clockwise: Starbucks (WALK) for Women in June; hiking Lynn Valley in May; retiring my running sneakers in March.

It was a year full of all-day nausea, every nasty pregnancy side effect imaginable (seriously, I could make a book that would for sure get teens to practice abstinence!), weekly doctor and dietitian frustrations, strict guidelines and rules, worries and anxieties, butterflies and wonderings. And I wouldn’t change it for a second.

It was the year my thumb-sucking alien baby became my real life Little Ring. Huge hearts!


Apparently this is what my boys do when I’m slogging away at chemistry 🙂

And now, with 2012 gone, it’s time to look ahead to 2013: the year I get my feet back.

Remember this?

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Or how about this?

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this one with me trailing behind, but take note, it was taken within the first minute of the run 🙂

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Well folks, it seems Big Brother wants another crack at me. And if that’s not motivation to get my stubborn feets back in tip top shape, I don’t know what is. Bring it on Big Brother. Hehe 😉

Don’t kill Shelby, kill the movie

Steel Magnolias? A remake? Are you freaking kidding me? Who in their right mind would go out of their way to remake that gawd awful flick? I mean, unless they were bullied by a diabetic, or had a nasty run-in with a gang of diabetics, or just have a plain ol hate on for us T-1s, there’s no plausible reason for putting this movie out on the shelves again.

Strong opinion on something seemingly small to the majority, you bet I do!

When Steel Magnolias was released in 1989, I was a young, impressionable, fairly newly diagnosed type 1. And let’s just say, it probably wasn’t the best film for me to be viewing at the time. Thanks to this movie, I spent a good part of my adolescence thinking I would be punished with kidney dialysis if I made one screw up with my disease (and believe me, I made a LOT of screw ups with Dear Diabetes). I also spent years thinking if I ever got knocked up, I’d be on a one-way train to the worlds six feet under. And even if I opted out of having little kidlets, there were still many days where I believed I wouldn’t graduate into adulthood because of my diabetes – thanks to this movie.


With shots like these, it’s not hard to imagine how a 12-year-old could think she was next in line for the Grim Reaper to attack.

It was so bad, my moms sent me to counseling in my teenage years to help deflate my doomed diabetes anxieties. I mean, seriously, it’s not exactly the greatest feeling to think you’re doomed at any age, but my gawd to think it that young, not cool.  And it wasn’t until my mid 20s, when I really took control of Dear Diabetes and started looking more into the disease and stopped listening to those without the disease, that I realized stupid Steel Magnolias was just another diabetes “know-it-all” bully.

And yet, even with that revelation in my back pocket, to this day, if I hear mention of Steel Magnolias, I cringe; if I see a glimpse of the Southern belles in that teased to the nth degree hair salon, I flip the channel in a shaken heartbeat; and when, earlier this week, I heard of the remake, I went into a rage.

It doesn’t matter how new, or how modern, or how supposedly more knowledgable a face you put on this flick, it will always be the movie that stole a chunk of my childhood. Not cool. Not cool at all.

Hospitals, the sewers of health

Hospitals, a place of health? I don’t think so; they’re more like the sewers of health!

It had been years since I had had to stay overnight in a hospital prior to Little Ring’s birth day, and I don’t know if I’d forgotten what it was like, or just didn’t care back in the day, but I tell you, I haven’t felt quite so unhealthy as I did there in a long, long time. A three-day stay and my diabetes was on the most rickety roller coaster around.

The reason: The food.

The first nurse I saw was set on putting me on the diabetes meal plan. I knew this was a bad idea. I had learned years ago, on my first plane ride, never to opt for the diabetes-specialty meal over a “regular” person’s meal, because while everyone else was eating hearty sandwiches and Kit Kat bars, I was stuck grazing on carrots. That day, I swore never again. But this nurse, she was relentless, and was not taking my no for an answer. You’re a diabetic, you belong on the diabetes meal plan. And while I could have continued fighting, I figured I had bigger things to focus on (I was having a baby after all!) and so, I let it slide.

BIG MISTAKE!

In total, I had five meals plus snacks delivered. The first meal, dinner, I didn’t open as I was in the throes of labour when it arrived, but by the pitiful look on Big Ring’s face, I knew it wasn’t pretty. The next morning, when breakfast arrived, my belly was growling up a storm, I was ravenous and was ready to sink my teeth into a hearty carb and protein rich meal. But when I opened the container and was presented with two slices of the thinnest pieces of brown toast I’d ever seen and two cups of 2% milk, plus a slab of butter, holy crap, I was flabbergasted.


Are you freaking kidding me, this is what I get after that marathon?

Let’s take a moment here to dissect that sorry state of a meal: First of all, unless it’s chocolate milk, or milk that’s been saturated in Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, I won’t touch it. I hate milk, always have, so that was not an option. The toast, it was thin, cold, completely unappealing. There was no protein (again, the milk doesn’t count), no cheese, no peanut butter, no egg, no yogurt. So what’s that? One food group!!!

And when I looked at the menu to see if the carb counts for the toast had been supplied, all that was listed was my name, the type of diabetes I had (which, by the way, they got wrong!) and the total calorie count of the meal – no breakdown of carbs whatsoever. Hmm… when diabetics rely on carb counting, that’s not exactly the best breakdown. Sure, I could have guesstimated, but I like perfection, and by golly, a hospital should like it too.

Rather than guess the carbs on these pitiful meals, and feel starved and miserable for my entire stay, I opted to send Big Ring out for more filling feasts, and while they weren’t my preferred breakfast/lunch/dinner, and while they also forced me to guess the carb/insulin ratios, which had my blood sugars soaring and plummeting all day and all night, at least I wasn’t feeling food deprived.


Maybe hospitals should take a cue from running and cycling races!

Lesson learned: If you want to stay healthy, stay out of hospitals!

TSAB 3 of 3: But what about the diabetes?

So let’s review: so far we’ve covered Little Ring’s speedy arrival on earth, and the non-diabetes related hiccups that arose during the throes of labour, but what about the diabetes?

A girlfriend once told me, following the completion of my first marathon, that if I could do that, I could give birth to a kid no problem. And she was right… to a point. I did go into marathon mode when the time came, I breathed like a marathon machine, and just as I do when coming into the finish, I kicked my pushing up in the home stretch. But the thing is, none of that took into account the diabetes equation.

Unlike training for a marathon, I didn’t have months to condition my body or my diabetes for childbirth. And I felt completely unprepared, diabetes wise, going into the delivery room. Even though I attended a diabetes in pregnancy clinic for the last six months of my pregnancy, that clinic was geared more towards the pregnancy than delivery. The only information I was given for delivery day was to reset my basal settings as soon as the placenta was out as I would no longer require such high doses of insulin. They also gave me a sheet of suitable food options, only after I asked if I could eat or not. And when I asked about insulin settings (should I use a temporary basal rate like I do when running or should I keep it as is) they didn’t give me a solid answer.

Not surprising, the night before Little Ring was set to arrive, I was freaking out, frantically Google searching, tearing my house apart for the Pumping Insulin book, which I’m pretty sure has a chapter on pregnancy, but couldn’t find it for the life of me, and at one point, was close to tears thinking that after nine months of near perfection, I was gonna screw everything up on the last day.

But when it came time, a surprising calm washed over me. I knew how to do this. Sure, I’d never done it while giving birth, but there was also a time I’d never managed diabetes while running 42.2 km, and I did that just fine. The obstetrician agreed. One of the first things he told me after introducing himself was that I was in charge of my diabetes, noting that I knew my disease and how to manage it way better than any of them.

So what did I do? I didn’t reduce my insulin requirements, but I did test my blood sugars every hour on the hour, and when I wasn’t capable of doing it myself, I had Big Ring take the honours (Note: prior to this, Big Ring had never once tested my blood sugars for me in the 7 years we’ve been together… he did great ;)).

I went in with a suitcase full of applesauce, pudding, watermelon, chicken broth, and soda crackers, but aside from the crackers, I didn’t eat any of it. The last proper meal I had was at 2 p.m. (an egg salad sandwich and watermelon slices). Shortly after being induced, I had two biscuits, which didn’t sit well. And once labour started, an overwhelming feeling of pukiness hit me and the last thing I wanted was food.


It’s a good thing I brought all that food, though, because apparently they like to starve diabetics in hospitals! Seriously, this is breakfast???

Because I knew that high blood sugars could cause baby to have low blood sugars once out of the womb, and that low blood sugars could wreak havoc on me, the goal was to keep my BG between 4.5 and 6.9. For the most part, I managed that, not once going over 6.7. Anytime I had a reading in the 4s, I sent Big Ring off to grab me a hospital-sized orange juice. I tried a few crackers, but only managed a small bite or two before throwing them to the side. In the last hour, when my blood sugars plummeted down to 3.8, and I was growing sickly of the OJ, the obstetrician and I decided to hook me up to a glucose line, which kept my BG even for the rest of the way.

I had hoped not to endure such an intervention, but when I think about it now, it was probably the best thing I could do… I was going into the final stretch, and needed every ounce of energy I could muster to push out my big bellied baby – I did not need to be worrying about my blood sugars.

In conclusion: the biggest thing I learned throughout this pregnancy, including the labour and delivery, was simply to follow my gut. As much as I would have loved to have had all the answers laid out in front of me, that simply was not the case, and nine times out of 10, it was my gut giving me the solutions I needed. I’ve had this disease for 25 years. I’ve managed it incredibly well for the past 10 years. I’ve run marathons with it, climbed mountains with it, paddled boats with it, traveled with it, and now, I’ve given birth to the most handsome boy I’ve ever set eyes on with it.

One hundred per cent worth it!

TSAB 1 of 3: Blue moon

So, I guess I’ve got to stop calling him my little thumb-sucking alien baby, hey 😀

He did not come out with two heads or green antennae, I have yet to see him suck his thumb (although he is a fan of sucking his whole fist) and my gawd he is not little – 8 lbs, 10 oz and 20.5 inches long, which I swear are all legs! Mind you, calling him my Baby Cavendish or my Little Usain Bolt is not out of the question.


Just 11 days old, and he’s already got his victory pose down!

Last Thursday, I was induced, one week before the originally planned for induction date, and three weeks before his actual due date. Big Ring and I knew it could take hours, maybe even days before things got going, so we made sure we were prepared. Laptop, check. IPod, check. Girly book, check. Two magazines, check. Stack of DVDs (Ghostbusters and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, oh yeah ;)) check.

We didn’t need any of it.

Within 15 minutes of the cervidil, I started to feel pressure, 30 minutes in, cramping, 45 minutes the cervidil was removed for fear the labour was progressing too fast. It didn’t stop. At one hour, I was 3 cm dilated, at which point the super amazing obstetrician (I seriously can’t say enough good stuff about him and the nurse in charge of me that night) broke my water, figuring the babe was none too keen to continue hanging in the womb.

At 6 cm, my belly started to involuntarily push. I knew this was not good, but as much as I tried to stop it, at one point even lecturing it to stop, it would not. When the OB came back to check (literally minutes from the last time he checked!) I was 10 cm dilated. With a huge grin on his face, he announced to the room, “You’ve got a really nice cervix!” Now that’s a compliment I’ve never heard before 😀

Pushing Time:

Labour is the one thing that has freaked me out for years. Despite having a high pain threshold, the days and months leading up to this event, I was trembling. I for sure figured I’d be a complete wimp and be begging for drugs the second we rolled into the hospital parking lot. And yet, while it was painful and uncomfortable as hell, and I think I even joked at one point for Big Ring to remind me again why I opposed a c-section, it wasn’t the kind of tear-your-insides-apart, get-on-your-knees-and-beg-for-the-gods-up-above-to-make-it-stop pain. There were no tears, there was no howling, no morphine, no thought of an epidural, just a bunch of hits of laughing gas is all 😀

I kept my eyes shut for pretty much the entire time, and as soon as a contraction came I pushed, oh man did I ever push – once, twice, three and four times per contraction, face apparently beet red, veins in my neck popping like they never popped before. I was focused! And watching me, Big Ring said there was no doubt in his mind this kid was getting out naturally – there would be no c-section if my pushing had any say in the matter.

On Aug 30, at 8:59 p.m., with a blue moon shining brightly outside, after two hours of labour, plus one hour of pushing, my baby boy was out. “Open your eyes! Open your eyes!” the nurse and doc shouted. What I saw was the most beautiful, slimy, greyish, purple, wailing bundle being placed on my chest. It is that moment I know I will never forget.



Welcome to the world Little Ring!


And look, he’s already watching bike races with papa!