Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy: “Healthy and Happy”

As most of you know, there was a time (not so very long ago) when women with type 1 diabetes were universally told they couldn’t/shouldn’t have children. Of course, we know that medical opinion on this topic has changed and physicians now tend to make recommendations about children based on each individual’s health and diabetes control, with many beautiful babies to show for it!

Today we’re reminded of that change by JaQuita Sampson, Senior Training and Education Specialist here at Medtronic. JaQuita has lived with diabetes for 29 years and last year around this time, she and her husband welcomed their first child, Justice, into the world.

Happy Mother’s Day to JaQuita – and to all our moms!

Looking back over this last year has been an amazing experience for our family. We welcomed the addition of our newest member who will celebrate his first birthday in just a few weeks. To watch our “little guy” crawl, mumble his first words, take his first steps and now approach his first birthday – that typical picture of a baby’s first year of life – is thrilling. Who would have known that just a year ago, my husband and I were anxiously preparing for the birth of our son?

To be honest, we were both scared because there were so many unknown variables. Even though we planned for the pregnancy (I was in pretty good control of my diabetes prior to the pregnancy), I was still very nervous about the possible outcomes. For those of you who know what it’s like to have type 1 diabetes and hear the words “you’re pregnant”, you know it can be a frightening yet exciting experience.

For me it was frightening because after 28 years of having diabetes, I didn’t know how my body would respond to the demands of the pregnancy and how such conditions might have an impact on our unborn child. It was exciting because we had been blessed with the opportunity to be parents. Going into the pregnancy I knew that advances in diabetes research and management have made it possible for women with type 1 diabetes to expect successful pregnancies resulting in healthy babies, with little or no additional risk of complications for the mother. It was hard accepting this considering I had not always been on top of managing my diabetes. I was responsible for making sure I did everything humanly possible to manage the “controllables” (blood glucose numbers, counting carbs, my insulin pump and CGM, exercising, routine doctors’ visits etc.) especially during the next nine months. It would all be critical to help ensure good outcomes.

Throughout the pregnancy we had our ups and downs with managing BG levels and the “morning” sickness – which was actually nausea and vomiting that lasted not just during the mornings but all day for about eight months of the pregnancy!

Even as much as I controlled all those “controllables”, it felt like a roller coaster ride trying to manage it all. I was extremely exhausted and running out of fuel.

I had an all-star health care team that was with me every step of the way, including:
  • My endocrinologist, making pump adjustments and watching BGs closely
  • My OB-GYN, monitoring the ultrasound activity and the overall progression of the pregnancy
  • My perinatologist, helping manage the high-risk pregnancy and ready to address any problems should they emerge.

At 32 weeks I was placed on bed rest as a precautionary measure due to an elevation in my blood pressure, swelling in my feet and ankles and an undue amount of stress. My health care team was closely watching the progression, and by then I was in the doctor’s office two or three times a week. At 37 weeks I felt a little more at ease knowing that we were almost out of the woods. If we delivered at anytime we would be fine. We had almost reached our goal. Everything was progressing nicely and a C-Section was scheduled and planned at 38 weeks.

On May 17, we delivered a beautiful, healthy 7lb 8 oz baby boy!!! Now we could breathe a sigh of relief…..He was the most precious blessing I had ever laid eyes on!

As I reflect over this last year, it seems like it was just yesterday we were anxiously awaiting his birth and now we’re celebrating his first birthday. Happy Birthday Justice!!!

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