Monday, February 20, 2012

In Sickness and in Health

During the second appointment with my endocrinologist, he asked me if there was any possibility that I might be pregnant.  I remember being caught off guard by his question and answering, "No."  Looking down at my left ring finger, he probed, "Any possibility at all?"  I had thought at the time that he was one conscientious doc.

During my third appointment, my physician's associate, RL, - who I *adore*.  This woman emails me and calls me just to check in and immediately responds to questions and concerns.  I am blessed beyond measure that she is part of my health care team - told me that once I was pregnant, I would need closer and more frequent monitoring.

What I knew about pregnancy for Type 1 mothers was based entirely on these two interactions: that it was a question of some concern, that my blood sugar control would need to be tight, and that I would need to visit my endo much more often.  So when my fiancé - M - called me at work that day and asked if I had read the literature on pregnancy for Type 1 mothers, I replied, bewildered, ""  It was at this point that I realized I may have been naive to think that the hardest part of diabetes was determining the carbohydrate count of combination foods.

A quick internet search taught me about the havoc that uncontrolled blood sugar during the first trimester can wreak on a fragile fetus' developing organs.  How the growth of babies exposed to high blood sugars in utero could complicate natural childbirth.  The medical intensity of pregnancy and childbirth rendered my dream of a natural childbirth, possibly a water birth in my own home, rather absurd.

I sat alone at my desk in my office and cried.  I mourned the ease with which I had anticipated experiencing pregnancy.  The days when the biggest concern M and I had was how many children we wanted to have.  Despite my tears and a profound sadness, it was less a sense of defeat than of unfairness.  I knew I could do it.  Yet, I didn't want it to have to be so hard.

M asked me if he could call RL.  He wanted to understand what diabetes meant for our future - for my longterm health, for our dreams of a family.  What he would mean when he told me on our wedding day that he would love me in sickness and in health.  RL told him it was hard to know.  She had seen women with fantastic control have problems and those with poor control give birth to healthy little children.  And, her experience was primarily with Type 2 women and she wasn't sure to what extent these experiences applied to us.

Despite the pain of that day and the ones following it, I know that they've enriched the vows we'll be making to each other in less than three weeks' time.  In sickness and in health.  I do.

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