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Successful Pregnancies with Type 1

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I was 17 years old and senior in high school when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Rocked my world. I knew nobody at ALL that had diabetes. And all I knew was that it meant you couldn't have sugar anymore. (Yes, I know that's not true..but that's all I thought I knew back then.)  That was a little over 24 years ago (go ahead, do the math. It's ok. I'll wait.) The admitting doctor looked at me and told me I'd never be able to have children. I believed him, because he's the expert, right?  So for years I was super sad because all I'd ever wanted to be was a mommy.  Fast forward many years and I realized that was not, in fact, true. And it IS very possible to not only get pregnant, but to have a successful pregnancy, even though I was living with diabetes. I had to be very diligent about getting and keeping my A1C down, but I am happy to report that in 2007, I found out I was going to be a mommy for the first time. I delivered a healthy baby boy in 2008. I was watched like a hawk by my team of doctors, but we made it to 38 weeks and baby and I were both 100% fine.

Fast forward to 2012 and we decided to try again for one more. This time we needed to use IVF (that'll be another post) and we found out we were not only pregnant, but wait for it ..... I was pregnant with TWINS.    I was watched even more closely this time.  I was also 38 years old by this point, so that was a factor, but I made it to 36 weeks and 5 days and delivered two more beautifully healthy boys.   

I only wish I had resources back in those early years following my dx to reassure me that I could be a mom.  But I didn't, and I can't change that - we just didn't have things like forums, or blogs, or the internet for that matter. ;) We had incredibly awkward "support groups" at the local hospital but those just didn't do it for me. So if you ever feel isolated and feel like you can't see your dream of becoming a mom come true .... I hope you read my story, I hope you feel a little more encouraged now.  :)

posted Jan 27 in Conversation by Aggiem0m (490 points)

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Aggiem0m, this is an awesome story.  Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
answered Jan 27 by KarenG (16,340 points)
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Back in 1982, I was told exactly the same thing - Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis meant no pregnancy for you.  It was hard to push that to the back of my mind at 11 years old!  It's stories like yours that give hope to other Type 1 (and Type 2) women.  I had one miscarriage at 35 years old and then had a successful pregnancy at 36 years old, going to 38 weeks with my daughter.  Of course, in addition to the constant monitoring of blood sugars and diet, there was the "mother with advanced maternal age" factor in there as well.  Everything went well and when I think back to time when I was told that I couldn't have a healthy, successful pregnancy - I'm grateful to be able to prove that wrong.  Thanks for sharing your story!
answered Feb 1 by Tracy H (330 points)
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This is an amazing story and an inspiration to any woman living with diabetes who wants to be a mother. Thank you for sharing!

Diagnosed at 18 years old, I was told in the ICU that I would not have children, something I guiltily carried with me for many years. I later met an endocrinologist who convinced me that I could have children, that women with diabetes has successful pregnancies all the time. He was right (and shame on those who told me otherwise when I was so young). I got pregnant with my son at 31 years old, delivered at 32. My pregnancy was a careful one - with lots of monitoring. But the outcome was success. The worst I experienced was heartburn and some high blood pressure. When my son was born via c-section at 38 weeks, he was taken to the NICU due to fluid in his lungs, nothing diabetes-related.
answered Feb 6 by anna (2,890 points)
edited Feb 7 by anna
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I've been living with type 1 since I was in the third grade in 1955, long before any thoughts about pregnancy. At the time of diagnosis, my parents were advised that if I was careful, I might be able to live another twenty or so years. Flash forward to 1968. Because my fiance and I had talked about our desire to have children, I asked my MD if the possibility even existed for me to carry a successful pregnancy. He told me it was possible, but I'd need to be very careful about my diet and activity. In 1968 I was still using animal derived insulin, there were no home glucose monitors or even A1c's. We married in January, 1969 and a little more than a year later I was pregnant. We were both students, in our senior year at the San Francisco Art Institute. The first trimester of my pregnancy I suffered from morning sickness long past morning. When I was able to attend morning painting studios the smell of oil paint, mineral spirits and turpentine made staying for the whole four hour class most difficult. Before mid-terms, I arranged with my instructor to paint in our apartment and bring the work in for the class critiques. I was going to my OB's office for labs, first every three weeks and later every other week. By the start of my fourth month I noticed that by the end of the day my ankles were swollen. I normally did a lot of walking because we didn't own a car, but because of the edema in my legs and ankles using buses and then cabs became necessary. June 20th we graduated with Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. I was very pregnant and huge with a large beach ball stomach. I'm only 4'10", so at that point, I was almost as wide as I was tall. Three and a half weeks later, after an office visit provided evidence that my blood pressure was becoming extremely high I was told to check in to the hospital. Two days later my water broke and at 6:30 the next morning, July 20th, our 7 lb. 15.5 oz, 19.5" 6 weeks early baby girl arrived by C-section. She's now all grown up with three teen aged children of her own.
answered Feb 6 by Janis (1,270 points)
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I was diagnosed in 1992 at the age of 8, and growing up, talked to my slightly younger sister about having her carry a baby for me since I wouldn't be able to do it myself (I think we were watching Steel Magnolias...). Luckily, my step-grandmother was also a Type 1 diabetic, and we used to talk about how she would manage the disease as a kid (huge needles you needed to sterilize and re-use, judging your sugar by the ketone sticks), and we also talked about her healthy daughter, my aunt. So I knew I could do it! I'm now raising two beautiful children, a boy and a girl, after refreshingly uneventful pregnancies (and more doctor's appointments than I could count!).

I think being able to share our stories like this should be included on the lists of technological strides made in diabetes management!
answered Feb 8 by vholcomb (620 points)
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Anna - I also had so many doctor's appointments! But I was ok with that, because it meant I got to see my little guys more often. :) I also had very bad heartburn. With the twins, my dr finally had to write me an Rx because Tums wasn't cutting it anymore.  I made it to 38 weeks with my first son, and with the twins I made it to 36w5d. C-Sections with both.  

I did have problems gaining weight with both pregnancies - the boys took everything I ate.  With the twins, I lost some weight in the beginning and the dr told me I needed to get in calories however I could - so I drank a lot of Sonic mini milkshakes :)  I also had to start drinking Glucerna shakes, to get extra calories. Total with my first son I gained 17lbs and with the twins I only gained 22 lbs.   Not by choice, though!
answered Feb 8 by Aggiem0m (490 points)
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I was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 19, in 2005. I have always wanted to be a mom, so when my husband and I got married I started talking with my doctors about making that a reality. We have been trying since last July, and while I haven't gotten pregnant yet, it is so encouraging to read all of your stories and to know that a healthy pregnancy can happen!
answered Mar 14 by Webigail14 (160 points)
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Wow! Thank you for sharing! I was a bit of an odd case. I was actually diagnosed at age 23 when I was 6 weeks pregnant. My A1C was 13.8, and was admitted to the hospital for a week. This was very scary for us as we were told that there could be many issues along the way since my A1C was so high. With the help of my incredible medical team with once or twice weekly appointments we were able to keep my levels under control with multiple insulin injections throughout the day and checking my levels at least 8 times a day. Throughout most of my pregnancy I was able to keep my A1C level around 5.3-5.7. We made it to 38 weeks before I was induced, and delivered a healthy 7 pound 15 ounce little boy. Hie is now 5 months old and thriving. I can only hope that he will be diabetes free for his life to come.
answered Mar 17 by lennemane (220 points)
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