The Trials of Early Pregnancy

The Trials of Early Pregnancyfeatured

The stages of early pregnancy for me can be summarized in one way:

“I’m between a rock and a hard place!”

Why, you may ask?

First trimester of pregnancy picture

This was taken at the end of my first trimester for baby #1… I look pale and tired and have a large belly from all the lows! But I’m happy deep down!

If you have type 1 diabetes and you’re pregnant (or have been),  you already know why.

In the attempt to get perfect blood sugars  – and yes, I mean perfect… if you look at the guidelines they really are asking for that – then you can expect that you’re going to have frequent hypoglycemia.

With baby #1 my lows got so bad that I didn’t feel them until I was in my low 3s (54 mg/dl)! Yikes!

And so, out of safety, I made the decision to have my husband drive me to work.

It was a big sacrifice and a little awkward since my colleagues knew I wasn’t driving. They starting making comments like, “it must be nice to have a chauffeur!”

Urrghh… oh the ignorance we sometimes deal with!

When my numbers became more predictable (and they did around week 15 or so), I started to drive again because I was having way fewer lows and my sugars were actually very predictable.

In fact, I’d describe my sugars as being more predictable than ever before during the 2nd and 3rd trimester of my pregnancy.

And that, my friends, is where the hope is. It gets better! In my experience, it gets easier than normal to manage blood sugars after the first trimester.

I really wish I’d known that in my first pregnancy!

You may be able to relate to this.

The reason is that there are hormonal shifts during a women’s menstrual cycle that can cause variations in blood glucose levels.

And these monthly shifts feel like a roller coaster you didn’t agree to ride!

But in a pregnancy, the hormones change slowly and more steadily. Making blood sugar management (in my opinion at least!) easier to get a hold on.

3rd trimester pregnancy photo

Here I’m looking a little more vibrant as I entered my 3rd trimester… it got so much better. My husband of course is the handsome man:)

Even in the 3rd trimester with lots of insulin resistance, I found the increase in basal and bolus was about weekly and was predictable. It wasn’t wonky and erratic like the first trimester.

Baby #2?

My husband and I are planning our second pregnancy. So until I can do a pregnancy test to confirm things, I have to assume for a few weeks that I may be pregnant.

And that’s what I’ve been doing. Since the baby’s formation starts right away, I’m trying to get those elusive perfect sugars.

But it’s hard…

In the last week I’ve had over 10 hypoglycemic episodes and I’ve already gone from feeling my lows around 4.5 mmol/l (81 mg/dl) to now feeling  them in the low 3s mmol/l (54 mg/dl)!!

And the crazy thing is that I don’t even know if I’m pregnant! 

If I’m not, then I will likely run my sugars slightly higher (i.e. aim for non-pregnancy targets), with the purpose of getting my hypoglycemia awareness back. And then we’ll try again next month.

But my sleep is already interrupted. While I’m waiting to order some Medtronic Enlite Sensors, I’m waking up once or twice at night to check my sugar.

Case in point…

Last night I woke up a 3rd time with a low around 2 am. But it made no sense! My sugars have been stable throughout the night over the last week. I even went to bed with a sugar of 6.2 mmol/l (111 mg/dl).

Then I woke this morning with a high of 13.9 mmol/l (250 mg/dl). I guess I ate slightly too many gummy bears (it’s so easy to lose count…especially when you feel like you’ve been fasting for a week!).

So I’ve stocked up on nuts… pistachios and cashews to binge on when I’m low and feeling famished! This prevents me from going to…well basically anything in the fridge. (Note to self: I should put a child safety lock on for me… not my son!)

Can you relate to this difficult time during pregnancy? Any tips?

About the author

Melissa Shannon

Melissa Shannon is diabetes obsessed! She's a diabetes nurse, diabetes advocate, and person with type one diabetes. Melissa loves sharing stories about life with diabetes and is a passionate speaker and diabetes evangelist. Melissa's motto is: "Let's not let diabetes rule our lives, let's have diabetes to go!"

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