Having Type 1 Diabetes, I knew that the moment I became pregnant, I would be labeled a high risk pregnancy and knew it would be difficult. To be completely honest, there were a few years there that I had accepted in my heart and told my husband that I might not ever be able to have biological children, yes adoption is something still on our hearts!
After having a miscarriage in February 2017, God really opened both my husband and my heart that when it comes to pregnancy, He is completely in control and all we can do is live our best self, taking care of our health each day!
This high risk pregnancy has been beyond difficult, far more difficult than I expected, but it has taught me so much and for that I am thankful!
Navigating a high risk pregnancy as well as currently living in a foreign country, Spain, has been a full time job for me but I know that when our sweet daughter arrives in a few weeks, it will be worth every difficult, painful, stressful, fearful and tear-filled day over the past 10 months.
Looking back over these past months, I wanted to share what I have learned in managing not only a high risk pregnancy but also a diabetic pregnancy (more on the specifics of Type 1 diabetes & pregnancy here) and I truly hope this encourages many women!
Managing a Type 1 Diabetes, High Risk Pregnancy
Stay away from the google
Google is the best and worst right? In pregnancy, especially a high risk and diabetic pregnancy, stay AWAY from it completely! Don’t be embarrassed to call your doctor even if you question seems totally silly or approach a friend who is a nurse if you have one! Managing stress in pregnancy, especially high risk, is KEY and filling your mind with worry or a false diagnosis from Google is only going to bring more stress, affecting you and baby!
For me, I had to even stay away from pregnancy books for the first 24 weeks because I felt so sick and reading about all the things I should be doing was stressing me out. I do highly recommend THIS pregnancy book!
Tighten you friend circle and sphere of influence
People do mean the best, most often, but wow everyone has opinions when it comes to pregnancy and I might add sometimes people just say the strangest things to pregnant women!
Keep those who are influencing and guiding you during this difficult time tight and make sure that they are filling your mind not only with accurate information but also encouraging, positive vibes! Emotional stress and guilt is never needed, but especially in pregnancy it should be avoided.
This might even mean you have to stop hanging out with negative people for a little while and that is ok!! This is the most important time to take care of YOU and never feel guilty for that.
Know that because you are high risk, does not mean something will be wrong with your baby
This is GOLD and something I have found to be true, at least up until this point. Being labeled high risk does not mean that your baby will have a negative outcome—it does means that you will have extra appointments, tests, ultrasounds and probably a team of specialists. You will require more monitoring and it will be more work on your part, but do not fear the label “high risk.”
I will say, the extra ultrasounds and fetal heart echos (in depth heart exams) are all added bonuses in my mind of being high risk because you get to see your sweet little baby more often!
Do the best you can in any given moment
Pregnancy brings many ups and downs, especially for me dealing with a diabetic pregnancy and constant blood sugar issues. There were days that I simply could not control my blood sugar, no matter what I did and that is not a reflection of efforts on my behalf, simply of pregnancy hormones interacting with Type 1 Diabetes.
My team of doctors sweetly reminded me of this and said you are not doing anything wrong, this is totally out of your control!
During the first 22 weeks, I was very sick and could barely eat most days. One particularly bad phase after surviving on saltines and ginger-ale for 4 days I finally had the strength to eat a bit of food. I knew I needed to get good fats and proteins in my, but didn’t want to throw up all my food. So this grain-free, low carb girl when to the local bakery and bough 2 fresh croissants, took them home and slathered them with butter and a side of farm fresh scrambled eggs. That was the best I could do in that moment and I chose not to feel one bit of guilt!
Don’t compare, know that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side
I would go on social media and see cute, smiling pregnant women who acted like pregnancy was utter bliss. Meanwhile, most days I could barely make it out of bed or walk my dog and my husband was deployed for most of my first and third trimester.
A friend told me, “You never know who is smiling in a photo, than later crying in the bathroom.” Your story and your pregnancy journey are YOURS—whether pregnancy is easy or difficult for you, doesn’t make it right or wrong…it only make it yours.
Keep in mind, especially with social media, that a picture isn’t always an accurate representation and you never truly know the whole story.