Pregnancy & T1D: Laura's Story P.3
JDRF employee, Laura Ciccarelli, was one of the many amazing women to participate in the creating of the JDRF Pregnancy Toolkit. Laura was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) when she was 13 years old.
In this three part series, we ask Laura all about her experience with pregnancy. From family planning to managing her T1D, Laura shares her experience with us.
Concluding the series, we look at the emotional side of pregnancy and T1D and how Laura was affected.
How do you plan to introduce T1D to your child and when?
This is a tough question and not something I thought too much about. I think I assumed I would answer questions as they arose. I will not try to hide my T1D because I think it will be important for my child to understand everyone is different. Just like Daddy and Mommy are different, I have something that makes me different from others. In the long run I hope this will help make my child more compassionate when he goes to school or meets other kids who may be “different” than him. I think the best approach is to acknowledge that Mommy needs medicine and explain what you can, depending on his age when he starts asking questions.
How have your feelings and emotions been affected with managing your pregnancy and T1D?
The hardest emotion for me has been guilt. Although I know a higher than perfect blood glucose level was not going to have catastrophic effects I couldn’t help feeling like I wasn’t doing my part as a mom if I wasn’t doing what was best for my baby. I admit to having a few teary breakdowns from burnout but they wouldn’t last long and I would remember I have a job to do. Something about being pregnant brought a new purpose to my diabetes control, even when I was tired I felt like I had more drive than usual to pick myself up. Giving up or a “break” weren’t an option I would give myself.
My best advice is to involve everyone on your medical team first, and put in some work before becoming pregnant. It will make the first few months feel easier as you will hopefully have a bit of a routine and your numbers will be in a position where you are not working to lower them but rather maintain. The beginning is also the most overwhelming when you know the important parts of your baby are developing, so knowing you have some sort of control will help give you piece of mind.
Also, don’t be afraid to have your doctor on speed dial! This is a very important time and your medical team is your best resource. Ask as many questions as you need to, share your records with them, make appointments more regularly, and do whatever you think will help you. This time is about you and your baby so set yourself up for success!
A Great Tip
If you are using an insulin pump, make sure your infusion set is in your arm or another location above your waist that you are comfortable with before you go in to labour. If you end up delivering by C-section your infusion set will not be considered as “sterile” if it is on the lower half of your body where the procedure takes place, and will have to be removed.
*This interview was conducted when Laura was 29 weeks pregnant as part of the research used to create the JDRF Pregnancy Toolkit*
With the help of people like Laura, JDRF has created a Pregnancy Toolkit which outlines disease management goals for pregnancy, as well as how to obtain the best possible support from your healthcare provider at every stage. Get your copy of the JDRF Pregnancy Toolkit.