Coping with my type 1 diabetes throughout my pregnancy was a lot harder this time around. It didn’t come as easily as it did the first time around and, although I was still within the recommended guidelines, I didn’t always feel I was doing my absolute best when it came to diabetes management. With that in mind, I full anticipated blood sugar carnage once JJ was born.
Insulin is a hormone, and the hormonal changes after birth can mean all sorts of funny activity with your sensitivity to it. That, combined with breastfeeding, can mean a few weeks of just riding a blood glucose rollercoaster. I had a plan in place though, and on Friday I had my first diabetes clinic appointment since JJ was born to see how I was getting on.
With my insulin pump I have the option of various basal profiles. Before I went in to labour my consultant and I discussed what would be best for me after delivery, and I decided to set up a basal profile identical to the one I was using before I got pregnant. After JJ was born I was taken off the sliding scale and I reattached my pump, setting it to run on that profile.
This worked well for me for the first week. Even with breastfeeding and expressing I didn’t have a particularly high number of hypos, but I think that was because I wasn’t really living my “real” life. I was in hospital with JJ and spent most of my time sat on the hospital bed waiting for time to pass. I wasn’t at home chasing a toddler, going to the park, doing dishes or laundry. It gave me a week to recover though, so I can’t complain from that respect.
Once I got home I very quickly noticed a difference. Simple tasks would knock me hypo and I soon found myself running a temporary basal rate constantly. After a week it was clear that it wasn’t going to change, so I changed all my basal rates and reduced my bolus ratio’s too. Ever since that day it’s been relatively plain sailing.
My latest pump download shows that I had 3 readings below target – but that doesn’t mean they were hypos. My target is currently set as 5-6 mmol/l and so even a 4.9 is counted as below target, even though it is a very acceptable number.
I have often found that with my diabetes, the more I focus on it the harder it becomes to manage. I KNOW what to do, when to test and how to count carbohydrates. I tend to get the best management if I go into autopilot and just do my thing. Don’t dwell on each blood sugar reading, just make the appropriate dose adjustment and move on. Having a newborn and a toddler in the house is ideal for providing the sort of distraction I need – I just don’t have time to fret over diabetes!
Taking my focus away from diabetes did mean that going in to my clinic appointment I genuinely had no idea what sort of “result” I was going to get. Thankfully I needn’t have worried, my DSN laughed when I walked in to see her after my blood tests and said it was basically a formality this time as my hbA1c is 41 mmol/mol (5.9%). That’s not quite at non-diabetic levels but it’s about as close as I’m going to get. In short – whatever I’m doing seems to be working.
I would usually point out that I don’t mean to brag – because I don’t – but I also don’t think I should apologise for doing well with my diabetes either. Everyone’s diabetes varies, and just because I have managed to regain tight control so soon after having a baby doesn’t mean that everyone else can or should do the same. These early days with a new baby are all about survival!
Why not join our Facebook Group which is hub for women with all different types of diabetes. It is a safe place to ask questions, share knowledge and be open about how you are coping.