Having a baby is the most beautiful and endearing experience a woman can go through. Feeling how life evolves inside your body. Your imagination spinning. And love, you are full of love. Then, you hear the words: High-Risk Pregnancy. Three words that put your feelings into a hyper mode. Your maternal instincts in overdrive.
What is a High-Risk Pregnancy?
Risk factor classifies a pregnancy as high-risk, for example, medical conditions and age. I had both. Then add twins to the mix and did I mention I’m only 5 ft tall? Yep, tiny old diabetic me having twins.
If you have been reading my blog, you know that I’ve said I’m blessed with my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. Let me explain. Having high blood sugars provoke starvation on your body. Now imagine your body trying to grow life and at the same time sustain itself. In this scenario, I am not aware of having Type 1 Diabetes. At this point, I’m feeling awful like dying, going crazy and unable to explain what I am feeling. My body is competing with itself and with the baby growing inside of me. Guess who is going to be the loser of the fight?
The blood glucose test that doctors do on pregnant women is done at week 20, probably by that time it would have been too late for the baby. I am talking high blood glucose as in fasting of +400 mg/dl. Can’t imagine after eating a carby meal. At my diagnosis, my fasting reading was 498 mg/dl.
From the moment I found out about the pregnancy my priority was to make sure the baby was safe and growing correctly. Everything I did was with the baby in mind. At this point, I didn’t know I was carrying two.
Ultrasound Of Love
The day I went for my ultrasound, the lady doing it asked me if twins run in my family. Unsuspiciously I said yes. “Oh that explains it then”, she said and an electric wave moved down my spine. Followed by “Congratulations, you’re having twins”. I could only manage to cry. Yes, I was happy. Excited. Yet, I felt concerned.
Later my doctor, who is a wonderful one, explained the steps we needed to make to assure the babies were safe. I had to work harder than ever to maintain my blood glucose stable.
My OB/GYN was supportive and understanding. I love her dearly and appreciate all her efforts. Also, Dr. Bernstein book The Diabetes Solution was like my bible for managing my diabetes. Learn tons from him and his way of management. These two things helped me achieved a better management and a less bumpy pregnancy. Lastly, my faith in God helped me keep going strong, His love kept me grounded and His mercy made possible the pregnancy.
During this process, I learned that like in life, managing diabetes is an individual case and should be done on our own terms. Most importantly I learned what works for me and for my babies. Trying to avoid highs and lows was not easy. At that time I did not have a CGM (Dexcom) and I can’t feel when I’m (going) low. I would check constantly my BG, around 12 times a day.
Monitoring was a constant and gave me the knowledge I needed to make decisions about eating and exercising. I was still a greenhorn to the Diabetes world. A tough spot I was in, learning about a deadly disease in a life or death situation involving not only my own life but the life of my twins. I know, sounds dramatic. But many times I would get up in the middle of the night to check my BG and it was at a dangerously low level.
Those 36 weeks that I carried them were magical yet weary at the same time. I enjoyed being pregnant with them. Viewed past the hard work and worries and all the craziness that diabetes involves. I was not going to let it drain my enthusiasm and joy. Instead, it was a time for learning, caring, preparation and patience.
I stayed overnight for a morning delivery. Since my A1c was of 5.7 I asked to manage my insulin needs myself during my hospital stay and my doctor gave me the ok. The insulin needs had been fluctuating lately and managing it myself made me feel confident.
The excitement was unbelievable, I was unable to sleep. They made the preparations and off to the OR I went. Everything was ready. I was ready to greet my babies to this world. God had other plans. The anesthesia was not working on me. Waited for some minutes, still not working. Next step, full anesthesia. Count to 10: 1, 2…
It was almost 4 pm when they woke me up. I was in pain. Babies were in the nursery being taken care off. After they assessed me and cleared me, the babies made their arrival to the room. Time stood still. All the hard work paid off. They were beautiful.
What did I learn about my high-risk pregnancy? I learned the following:
- Checking your blood glucose is your best friend when it comes to diabetes management.
- A low-carb diet is a helpful resource. Best you can do is talk to your doctor about the kind of food is best for the pregnancy.
- Insulin needs vary through the trimesters of pregnancy.
- Yet tiresome, medical visits are necessary. At some point, I was doing 1 visit per week to different doctors and towards the end some twice a week.
- Sleep as much as you come, even if you don’t want to. Later on, you’ll regret missing out on that sleep.
- Be your own advocate. Is okay to trust your doctors but also do your research.
- Find a doctor you are comfortable with.
- Learn to listen and understand your body. It will make things so much easier.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Find your passion. My babies gave me the inspiration to do things that seem impossible.
- Don’t do things because you have to, instead do things because you want to.
- Love yourself. You deserve the best and only you know what the best is for you.
- Most importantly, enjoy your pregnancy!
Leave me a comment telling me how was your pregnancy, what struggles you went through and how you overcome them. You can send me an email if you prefer. Also, remember you can subscribe to the blog here.