Tuesday, November 16, 2010

World Diabetes Day: The Late Edition??

I know, I'm a week or so late for the diabetes blogathon, and I know that I have not blogged since July (?!?! Really!!?!). I DON'T know what my deal is. I'm in a slump of sorts. I've been trying to figure it all out for months.

Maybe it's because before I got pregnant, I didn't really have a good diabetes routine. I didn't focus much on it. I checked here and there and bolused along those same lines, but it wasn't a focus for me. It was just there, and I had to deal with it to function, but it was certainly not a priority.

It was certainly not the priority it became once I was pregnant... maybe the better term would be obsession. I obsessed over it. I checked 25 times/day the first two days I found out I was responsible for another life. I cried when I had blood sugars of 130 for more than 30 minutes and I checked my CGMS every 10 minutes, at least, even when I settled down a bit. It was easy, though. Well, not easy, but it was worth it. All of the time, dedication, the finger pricks, the huge CGMS needles, the site changes... all of it was so worth it. It was for her. So why can't I do it for ME?

Well, here are my 6 things I'd like for you to know about diabetes, and they do all somewhat run together, but here they are:

1. There are no real rewards.

Sure, living, and especially living without complications, is a reward. But it isn't tangible. It isn't like we get a gold star or a tootsie roll at the end of a hard day's work. And even then, it isn't a guarantee. Even if I do everything I should, I could still have complications, and diabetes could still kill me.

I think that is why it was easy when I was pregnant...I was working toward a goal, a very tangible, perfect little reward. But now, and before? Well, I am already living, and shouldn't that just be a given? That I get to continue living, without having to FIGHT for it every.second.of.every.day...

2. It doesn't stop and it will never end.

...Diabetes is all day, every day, there are no breaks, and there are no vacations; the further you try to run, the harder it will hit you. There is no escape. It's always on my mind. I'm always calculating, wondering, and waiting. I never know when my next low will hit me, when the next time I'll be shaking all over, unable to focus or think clearly, covered in sweat, and faced with the fear that this may be the one that gets me...

3. It is scary.

...This may be the one that knocks me unconscious, the one that I'll never wake up from. The one that will leave me helpless, and maybe I'll have my daughter with me, or maybe I'll be alone. Or maybe it won't be that quick, maybe it will just debilitate me, leave me blind, or require amputations, or dialysis... These are not always conscious thoughts and I certainly don't live in fear... but the reality is always there, no matter how deep I try to bury it, and that reality won't go away, no matter how hard I try...

3. It is HARD.

...To do well is far from easy. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of time, a lot of thought and calculation. You have to always be on your A game, never slacking or losing track. There is no mindless snacking, or getting too busy to eat. Things that other people take for granted are the things that keep us alive. One wrong move, one guesstimation that is off can send us spiraling out of control. So we have to be determined, and dedicated and check check check to make sure we're on track, but that is no guarantee that we will be. No matter how hard we try, there is no such thing as truly getting it right...

4. I'm never in control and I'll never really get it right.

...Even when we're at our best, we're always susceptible to things going wrong: bad sites, bad insulin, wrong calculations, getting sick, and the list goes on. The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as total control. We are never really in control of anything... Diabetes always has the one up. So sometimes I just don't feel like fighting it anymore. What's the point if it's a losing battle, if it's a battle I can't win...

5. The fight is worth it and despite it all, I am truly happy.

...I guess the thing is, I'm not in it to win it. I'm in it to keep fighting, and it isn't a losing battle, just a continuous one. Life isn't guaranteed, diabetic or not, but every day I get to spend with my daughter, and my husband, and my family, it's worth it. That IS my reward, and they are certainly tangible. So what if the fight doesn't end, who said having somthing to fight for was a bad thing? It keeps me on my toes but it doesn't take away from my happiness. I have so much to live for and couldn't ask for more out of life. I don't want anyone's pity or for anyone to feel sorry for me. I don't need that, because, I'm okay. I'm truly happy. If given the option to remove diabetes from my life, would I take it? Yes. In a heartbeat, but then I would never have come to appreciate the value of a good fight, or the million other lessons that diabetes has taught me, and I certainly would not understand how close the bond can be between people who have never even met, but who rely on each other for support...

6. Together, we are strong.

I have never known a more powerful group of people than the group of diabetics that we have in our online community. I am proud to be a member, and even when I feel weak, I can feel the strength of our group and know that it will be okay; we may fight our own individual battles, but we also fight together... and that is powerful, and to me, having that kind of support, makes having diabetes a breeze (most days!).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Life After Baby....

Wow, what a complete whirlwind the past several months have been! Kate is now 3 1/2 months old (or 15 1/2 weeks :)). She is growing like a weed and she somehow gets cuter every day! I love being a Mommy, yet somehow it still doesn't feel quite real.

I was talking to Brad about this yesterday. I never thought I would get pregnant, either because I couldn't or because I shouldn't, but I did and I had the most amazing, uneventful pregnancy imaginable which resulted in the most perfect miracle I could never have dreamed up myself. I find myself looking at her sometimes and just wondering if this is all real, but it really hasn't hit me yet. I don't think I've absorbed the magnitude of what has happened in our lives... Considering I have not slept through an entire night since Kate was born (and only once have I slept for 6 hours in a row!), I still cannot form complete sentences that make any sense, I reread typed words and sentences and realize nothing makes sense and words a mismatched and misspelled (sorry about that), and I find myself unable to speak of much other than my precious daughter, you'd think it would feel real... but how do you erase a lifetime (or so it feels) of doubt about whether this day would ever come?

Please don't get me wrong, it's a good feeling, a comforting one and I cherish every minute of my time with Kate. Sometimes I just look at her and my eyes well up with tears and I think my heart is just going to explode with love for her. I try to soak every moment in, because I also know that I may not be able to give her a brother or a sister one day, for all the same reasons I thought I'd never get the honor to meet her and be her Mommy.

I also know that just because she is here now and she is no longer dependent on the constant care of my body to help her to grow and thrive, that she is still dependent on me and to ensure that she can grow and thrive in this world, I have to continue to take care of myself. I also know that I don't want her to watch me neglect my diabetes and then have one of my greatest fears come true, that she is diagnosed with diabetes as well. I know that regardless of if she is diagnosed, I have to be a role model for her, just in case. If she is diagnosed, I want her to know that there are worse things, and that diabetes doesn't have to be so bad, because, heck, her Momma has it and is doing just fine. I want her to know that life with diabetes is still life, and a heck of a good one.

I also know thatI want to stick around for a while, and to do that, I have to make sure that I am taken care of. I've got years and years to watch my baby grow up and transform from a tiny baby, to a sassy little girl to a strong woman, and then one day, to a Mommy herself. I want to watch her and support her through it all.

But my goodness is it hard! It's something I didn't read about or hear about when talking about pregnancy and diabetes, although I suppose I should have figured it out. I will say, that keeping up good control after giving birth and welcoming this tiny little baby into our lives is HARD and my diabetes is once again on a back burner. After being so diligent, I am amazed at how quickly I've forgotten it. I suppose my main problem is that I feel like I don't have time to check my blood sugars, especially when I have a crying baby on my hands. I feel like I can't just put her down to check, especially if she needs me or if she's busy talking away and laughing at me. I don't want to miss a moment, even to check my blood sugars. I am also still breastfeeding, although I was never able to do so exclusively, unfortunately. I often wonder if my out of whack blood sugars had something to do with that... Gaining control of my daibetes is something I've been really trying to work on over the past several weeks; I know it is important. I mean, if I want another baby one day, my future child will depend on it. And Kate still depends on it, too. She will always depend on me to step up and take care of myself, no matter how tired I am, or distracted I am. She needs me now and I don't want her to have to go around telling people that her Mom had diabetes and has X complication because she didn't take good enough care of herself. It would absolutely break my heart...
I suppose all I need to do is know that when I am neglecting myself, Kate is feeling neglected, too, and she is likely making this face at me:
BUT when I am doing my job and making sure my health is taken care of, and therefore that she is taken care of, I'll be getting many many more of these:
Now that should be motivation enough!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Back to Work After Baby

Whew, what a whirlwind the past three months have been!! There is so much that I want to write and talk about, but who knows if I will ever get the time or opportunity... I hope I do! These include more details on how my c-section actually went down, and some about the recovery, a lot about breastfeeding, and even more about being a new mom with diabetes (whoo, and is it harder than I thought it would be!!).

I feel like I have barely had any time to keep up with all of my wonderful OC friends and now that I am back at work... I will actually have time to do that! (Sad, huh?) At least that is one thing that I am actually excited about with my return... It has been pretty hard so far, though. I came back last Wednesday, and have cried every day since, even when I think I won't. Kate is at daycare, and I think she is happy and doing well there, but I miss her so much. I hate that I am not there to see her perfect smile, her wonderful pout, and even those sad little tears. Its hard knowing that I am missing it all... The thought is always in my head that I was so blessed to have had Kate, but can I really hope for more?? I suppose that fear of not being able to have children never goes away, even after our first little miracle has arrived safe and sound.

In other news, I love being Kate's Mommy... I am figuring out all of her little quirks and getting to know her wonderful personality. She is starting to "talk" and laugh and is the most precious little thing. I can't believe she is old enough to do most of the things that she can now do, because I still feel like she should be this tiny little newborn! It's true, they really do just grow before our eyes!
Here are some new pics of my beauty:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Diabetes Side of Things

I suppose the best time to blog is probably in the wee hours of the morning, after Kate's middle of the night feeding... how did it take me so long to figure that one out?!

I want to blog more about how the diabetes side of things are going since I've really neglected doing that. I want to eventually write about how the c-section went and then the first few days with Kate, but really just haven't had the time to do it!

Speaking of time, I feel like my diabetes has really fallen away from my focus now that I have all eyes on Kate. I feel like I don't have time to check like I should and sometimes even forget to bolus for food... I mean, how long does it take to check my blood sugar and bolus with my pump?? It's just hard because I usually have her in my arms, so it makes it pretty difficult.

Kate is 9 weeks old today and is only napping for a grand total of around an hour to two hours at the very most during the day, so I have very little time for myself! I don't know how she is getting so little sleep, but she is!

I am really trying to make diabetes part of my focus again throughout my day, because it is important and necessary, especially since I am still breastfeeding. I want to be around for my little girl, and would like to eventually have a couple more little ones, but I have to re-focus and get back on track!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Most Beautiful Smile I Have EVER Seen :)

I know, I know, it has been way too long since my last update!! I have tried updating before, but it takes so long to type my updates out (several days) that they have been deleted, and for some reason not saved in drafts, before I could post them!! I guess that is what my new life as Kate's Mommy is going to be like :)

Kate is 8 weeks old!! I just can't believe it! I feel like just in the past week or two she has grown so much... we've watched her transform from a tiny little newborn to a chunky precious baby! AND over the past several weeks she has slowly begun to work on her beautiful smile and started showing us little bits and pieces of it last week when she showed off her final product... and goodness is it beautiful! She's starting to laugh now, too. It is amazing how from the very moment I wake up in the morning, my main goal for the entire day is to see Kate smile!

She is also starting to coo and talk to us, which is so much fun. The first time she did it several weeks ago, I was so taken back by how much I loved the sound of her precious voice!! I was looking forward and excited about her cooing, but I had never thought about the sound of her voice as one of her "firsts" to look forward to! What an absolutely beautiful sound that !

Kate had her two month appointment and she is now 10 pounds and 3 ounces and is 22 1/2 inches long. We went with our list of usual questions, one of which always includes "how cute is too cute?" but I know the answer to that one :)

We have also been traveling and making sure Kate is getting out and about. We've driven the hour and a half to spend some time with my parents when she was 3 1/2 weeks and then a week or so later again when our a/c went out at our house (see Kate without a/c in her bouncy chair... in her crib for her night without a/c on the left; she sleeps this way every night, although usually covered up) and also the 5 hour drive to see Brad's parents. It was so much fun and it was so wonderful to get out of the house!! I never thought I would enjoy just getting out and seeing the light of day as much as I have!!

Kate has also continuing to roll over, which still just amazes us! Brad loves to show everyone her neat little trick and we are just so impressed with her. She still continues to amaze us with how strong she is and how well she holds her head up. She is also so alert! We recently took our first Mommy/daughter trip to Wal-mart and she just looked around at all the colors and things the entire time! She loves getting out of the house, meeting new people, and unfortunately, she seems to really enjoy shopping!! She is just so good and is a wonderful joy! I can't help but have this crazy, scary feeling that she will be crawling and moving before we know it!! Yikes!! :)

So, that is some of the things we have been up to. I will make sure to try to update you all more often, but it really is so hard! Kate is only taking two or three 30 minute to 1 hour naps during the day (but has been sleeping 5 and the 4 hours during the night!), so that leaves me with very little time to do much (I now have a toothbrush/toothpaste downstairs, as well as upstairs)!! But, I wouldn't rather be doing anything other than spending my days with her... waiting for that smile!

Please know that I do think about you all very often and the only reason I am looking forward to returning to work is that I will have more time to catch up with how you are all doing, as well as share more on what is going on in our lives. I really do miss you all!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Almost one month later...

I cannot believe that my baby girl is almost a month old already!! Time really does fly and it makes me sad that she'll never be this little again, but I know we have so much fun ahead of us!

We are doing well and enjoying our time together while I am home (yep, already dreading the return to work :( ) and we trying our best to figure out the Mommy and Daddy thing ;) She's made it this far, so we must be doing something right!!

Brad is an absolutely wonderful Daddy and Kate has him wrapped around her very long little finger already! Brad has a way to make Kate fall asleep and is so gentle with her; he can even make her stop crying by, get this, holding her tiny little hand!! They definitely love their Daddy/daughter time and I love watching them!

Kate is such a joy and is a wonderful baby. She makes us laugh and smile all day (and night) with her feisty little personality and all of her funny faces and little grunts...and boy are there lots of them! My favorite is when she yawns really big, and then she follows it with a long grunt and a face scrunch, all in one silly flowing action. She is also so alert and will open her eyes wide and just gaze around her. I know she can't see much quite yet, but you'd swear she could.

She is also so strong! She cranes her head back and turns her head from side to side and she can even roll from one side to the other. She can hold her head up for an impressive amount of time and can even lift her little body off of us when lying on our chests....and has been for a couple of weeks!! We definitely see a lot of determination and a dose of stubbornness in her, too. Kate is definitely a spunky little thing and is just so full of amazement. Every day we are so incredibly in awe of her and we are already so proud of every little thing she does!

Breastfeeding was a challenge at first, but we are doing better now... it is definitely one of the most difficult things I've ever done, mainly because it was so important to me and I had no clue what to expect, so I was constantly second guessing myself. What I thought was an inability on my part to satisfy her ended up being her love to pacify on me! Introducing a pacifier was a lifesaver for us, even though I was extremely hesitant at first, since "they" say you shouldn't! But, she does fine with it and I am feeling better about all of it. We do still have to supplement her with a few ounces of formula at night, but we are trying to stop that, too... although, we will see how that goes!

Even when there are no more lights in the sky and all is quiet in the world except for in our little house, we can't help but smile and laugh at our precious little Kate. What an awesome adventure we are now on, one that I am sure will bring lots of ups and downs, but mostly lots of love and happiness in our hearts and in our lives. Brad and I are just so thrilled to have Kate with us and we cannot wait to see the little person that she will become!

Thank you all for your love and support and we can't wait to share this incredible new journey with you all!

P.S. - If there is anyone out there who has questions about diabetes and pregnancy, or just questions about life with baby, please please don't hesitate to let me know. I am certainly no expert, but I am happy to be an open book about my own experiences!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Baby Kate is here and goodness is she a beauty! :)

That's her furrowed brow expression at 2 days old...oh Mommy and Daddy are in BIG trouble!

Whooo, what a whirlwind it has been... Kate is napping and I finally have few minutes (seconds...??) to catch everyone up. I have not watched tv or been online since her birth... and no I can't imagine what I've done all that time either, especially since only 2 -3 hours/day has been sleeping... so here it is, my precious girl's "birth story":

Kate arrived on March 31 at 12:42 weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces and is 19 3/4 inches long. She's beautiful and more than I could have ever imagined! I went ahead and decided to have a c-section due to a more controlled environment and my retinopathy. You were all right, even though I was extremely scared of the surgery, it wasn't so bad after all and once I saw my beautiful daughter, it didn't matter anyway.

I am having trouble breastfeeding and it has been quite a challenge... one of the things I wanted most was to be able to breastfeed, but it doesn't seem to be coming naturally for me. I've gotten about 2 hours of sleep each night since she's been born (is that normal?!?) and am pretty tired, but trying as hard as I can. I am not giving up easily, but know that it may not work out... she is continuing to root around even after I feed her and never seems to be satisfied, but i don't know if it is lack of milk or if she is starting to pacify herself at the breast because she frequently falls asleep right when I put her back on. I guess we just have to figure it all out and I keep telling myself that regardless of what happens, she will be okay.

I just wanted to give you a quick update while I could. Kate is just so precious and it has definitely been love at first sight and even though we are struggling a little, she really is just perfect in every way and even in between tears and sleep deprivation when I see her little face, I can't help but smile and even with the exhaustion, frustration, fear and anxiety, this mommy thing is pretty awesome!!