My Pregnancy with T1D – by Kayla O’Connell

There is a myth that exists around women with diabetes not being able to have a healthy baby, which makes stories like Kayla’s all the more important. In this Global Postcard from Canada, Kayla shares the ups and downs on managing her pregnancy with type 1 diabetes. 

In the same year that I celebrated living ten healthy years with type 1 diabetes, I celebrated our soon-to-be here baby boy. While I wish those two were two separate entities that never collided or came up in the same conversation – that isn’t the case. When I look back ten years ago, when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at almost nineteen years old, I recall a very specific question, “Can I still have a baby with type 1 diabetes?” while the answer was “Of course!” I realize now they did not elaborate on how much diabetes plays a role in pregnancy. 

I knew that diabetes was going to be a challenge, because frankly it is a challenge even without pregnancy.  The biggest difference is that now your blood sugars have an even deeper connection to your emotions.  As soon as I see that my blood sugars are trending up, I panic.  Not in the way I’d dread before and then resume on with whatever I was doing, but in a way that I now felt incredibly guilty. I felt as though I was doing something to harm or that it was completely my fault when really, all of us with type 1 diabetes know, diabetes does whatever diabetes wants to do.

I need to thank technology because without diabetes technology, this would be much harder.  I don’t even want to know how many injections I would have taken by now if I was on multiple daily injections (MDI). To all the type 1 ladies that came before me and had babies without diabetes technology, my hat goes off to you!

My first trimester was quite “easy” because at most I was having quite a few lows that were easily corrected with juice boxes.  I likely drank as many juice boxes as a child’s entire year of preschool in that first trimester, but fixing lows was quite easy to do. They were also manageable lows, thankfully. As time has progressed and my baby boy has gotten bigger, my insulin needs have greatly increased and when I say greatly increased, I mean I am taking as much insulin as I would imagine a large, large, large man would take. Diabetes has most definitely gotten a bit harder to manage, as compared to just sipping on juice boxes throughout the day. I’ve still managed to keep a desirable A1c that I am praised by the doctors for, but all the praise in the world, and I still have moments where I can’t get some stubborn blood sugars to drop as fast as I’d like. 

I’m now in my third trimester. The best part of all of this hard work, of course, is that I would do anything for this little baby of mine.  I will take all the insulin I need, check as many times as I need, wait as long as I have to in the waiting rooms to see the specialists, I will do whatever it takes. 

Follow Kayla’s blog for more stories about her life with type 1 diabetes:

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