When I first fell pregnant it felt as though the magic 12-week mark, when we could more 'safely' announce to the world that we were expecting, was light-years away. Managing my secret 'pregnancy diabetes' around colleagues and friends was tricky, but strangely exciting, like an affair with none of the sordid details. By day I carried on in my job, exercise routine and social circle as usual. By night I would sneak away to hospital appointments to discuss growing babies, bellies and basal rates. Bat-Anna and her new double life were in full swing.
But with the 12 week mark now upon us, we got to announce to the world that we two were to become three, and that the extra tummy 'pooch' (attractive, much?) and enormous(er) cahunas I was lugging around with me came with purpose. We got to see our little growing bun, now less kidney-bean shaped and looking just like a little person, and were re-assured that we had passed the first round of testing for congenital birth defects. At this point some of the many clinicians I was seeing would tell me I could stop taking my increased (5mg prescription strength) dose of folic acid. Some however told me to carry on for a while, so I did, right until 20 weeks.
During the whole pregnancy the first three weeks of the second trimester on the sail into the unknown were the most easy-going. Insulin sensitivity drifted off, giving a well-earned rest from the 45 minute hypos brought on by the final days of the first trimester, and now knowing there was a healthy kicking baby on board, life seemed to go back to normal. My new normal, anyway. At about 12 weeks the placenta starts to function for itself, and the change in not only symptoms of pregnancy like spontaneous day-sleeping and ravenous carb-mania, but also the more predictable blood sugars, made for a veritable day off.
At the point we started to tell people was the first time I really started to feel pregnant, seeing as bat-shit crazy blood sugars are often all in a day's work for us D-champions, so even though I knew the hypo marathons were baby-related I had to repeatedly remind myself that's why. But at week 15 the first flutters started to happen and my growing waistline and pride in becoming a parent was matched only by the growing insulin resistance which started to hit me at around week 18.
By week 20 I was raising my insulin at certain times of day (between 2am and 5am) three to four times weekly, as my dawn phenomenon (when I am already most resistant to insulin) went into overdrive. I would often have to notch up my overnight rates every 2-3 days, trying my best to leave a day in between to monitor my efforts. FYI, if you can resist upping them daily you deserve a medal - one I will personally craft for you, but its worth it when you don't have to deal with monster hypos from over correction. It was around this time that I truly saw the value of my Animas Vibe pump and Dexcom CGM into their own, because despite being 4.5 months pregnant not once had I had to wake my self up at night to try basal testing (the world's most futile during-pregnancy task) because my beloved Dexcom was all over that shit.
|Yayyyyy, my blood sugar today is perf.....oh. Ok
It was around this time of pregnancy that I also learned to make peace with the odd highs and lows. While traveling with my baby-daddy in New Zealand I had worn out the asphalt in many a campsite by walking at un-Godly hours through the guilt that a blood sugar of 12 or 13 mmol would give me in the pit of my stomach. But the 20 week 'anomoly scan' had shown me that my body and overallgood control had so far given me a healthy, perfect baby, untouched by the blasted condition I carried around with me. Some days I nailed blood sugars and insulin resistance, others I 'failed' miserably (or so I felt). Some days were a bizarre mix of good and bad. But every day was a day on the countdown. I earned to tell myself that every day - be it good or bad - was a day I nailed. And if I wasn't aware of my hard work paying off in the steady HbA1c and healthy scans I was pulling in, then the first true 'kicks' my kid gave me at 22 weeks, were all the sign I needed, because my kid clearly had something to say on the matter.
The second trimester was tough, in ways completely different to those in trimester one. Instead of being pro-active in my preparation for pregnancy, keeping secrets, dealing with insulin sensitivity and hoping to reach that 12 week mark safely, I had to learn how to be reactive, flexible, self-forgiving and most of all, to enjoy it. Any time I needed a reminder of why I was trying so hard in my day-to-day life I just looked at those moving images of Baby McP, and any crappy day was forgiven.
I was now two thirds of the way through baking my bun and my daily mantra of 'test-change-review-repeat' felt a little like an annoying 2013 rave song, but kept me sane when the words 'routine' became a thing of the past, now replaced with 'constant change'. The second tri certainly did a superb job of keeping me on my toes, but my new normal was somehow, working out just fine, one day at a time.