Pregnancy and Type 1 Diabetes - Part 1
I remember early this year my old Diabetes Nurse asked me if I planned to have children. I said I would one day, but that it wouldn't be on the cards for a good while yet. We had a generic conversation about the impact of Type One on pregnancy and how difficult it can be to manage. I didn't really think much of it - I had been told a few years ago that I would struggle to conceive naturally and that I would need to 'get on with it' sooner rather than later if I wanted to try for a baby...
I moved to Kent in August this year. One of the first things I did when I arrived here was to submit my registration forms with the GP so that I could be referred to a Diabetes Clinic. Three weeks after submitting the forms, I still hadn't heard anything back.
On 7th September, after a late period and a niggling thought in my mind, I took a pregnancy test convinced that my body was doing its usual and messing about with my period. I was cycle day 39 (I've been as late as cycle day 48 for no known reason before). I was shocked that a blue cross appeared almost immediately. Shell shocked, I went straight to Darren with the test in hand and burst into tears. I was shitting myself while he was ecstatic.
The tests came in a pack of two so the next day I took the other just to be sure... Yep, definitely pregnant.
I contacted my old DSN as I had no GP or Diabetes Team in Kent yet. She gave me some advice and told me to try to contact the GP to see if they will see me anyway or even as I'm Darren's partner (he's registered with them too). Being Type 1, she said they have a Duty of Care to see me as a 'high risk' pregnancy.
When Darren called, they point blank refused to see me as I wasn't registered with them yet despite them having my registration paperwork. They also said they couldn't give a timeframe of when I would be registered. I Google'd what else to do and realised I could self-refer to the maternity unit at the local hospital. I filled in the form and within a day had heard back from a Diabetic Midwife who referred me to the hospital for an early scan as 'Diabetic's are much more likely to have ectopic pregnancies'.
I planned to keep the pregnancy a secret for a while as I was so new in the prison. However, the Diabetic Midwife informed me I will need to be seen every 2-weeks by the Diabetes Clinic to monitor the pregnancy and my sugar levels. I told work and was immediately removed from prisoner-facing duties.
The day of my scan at the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU), I was wracked with nerves. I had no idea what to expect, but also convinced that I would have an ectopic pregnancy. I have come to learn that you always end up fearing the worst in pregnancy...
I had the trans-vaginal scan which was uncomfortable but okay. Almost immediately they found the baby exactly where it should be along with a foetal pole, yolk sac and even a tiny little heart beat! They dated me at around 6 weeks pregnant.
A couple of weeks later, I had my booking in appointment with my midwife and also the first of my appointments with the Diabetes Clinic. They completed a blood test and told me my latest HbA1c was 43 mmol/l!! I was over the moon with that.
At 12 weeks, the Diabetes Clinic started me on a small daily dose of Aspirin. Apparently Diabetics are much higher risk of Pre-Eclampsia and Aspirin helps to minimise the risk.
My glucose levels were pretty good, but I lost my Hypo-Awareness which is common in pregnancy. I was having a lot of hypo's at night so my basal insulin was reduced slightly.
Despite some nausea and absolutely AWFUL acne, I got away pretty lightly in my first trimester to the point I convinced myself I was no longer pregnant and had had a Missed Miscarriage 🙈
My 12-week scan rolled around very quickly. Once again I was so anxious and gutted that Darren couldn't come with me (f**king COVID). I had the screening bloods taken and was laying down for the ultrasound before I knew it.
The Sonographer found our baby straight away, merrily wriggling away and heart pounding nicely. I couldn't believe the difference between the egg yolk from 6-weeks ago and baby I saw on screen.
Our baby clearly takes after Darren and is stubborn as the Sonographer struggled to get the measurements she needed. After jumping around a bit, she finally got what she needed. She told me everything looked absolutely fine and dated me at 13+0 weeks.
I got home on cloud nine but soon received a call from the hospital regarding my screening results. My heart sank into the floor. They went on to tell me everything was fine apart from my screening for Pre-Eclampsia which came back high-risk. PHEW! I already knew that and was on the Aspirin to minimise the chances of it.
We finally could announce our pregnancy now I was firmly out of the first trimester and had a happy, healthy baby growing in me ❤️