By: Katherine Marple
My baby girl had just been born. I was in the postoperation room after going through a cesarean section. My husband went to get my parents, who had been waiting for twelve hours in the waiting room. A nurse laid my little girl in an incubator next to my bed and checked her blood sugar, which was normal, in the mid-40 range. Fifteen minutes later the nurse checked her again, and it registered in the mid-30s. I watched as the nurse fed my baby her first ounces of food. I was still too numb to even know that I had legs, much less to be able to wiggle my toes.
My daughter spent her first night in the nursery while they fed her formula every three hours to get her blood glucose back into normal range. After I had been without her for six hours, the nurses brought her into our room and she slept on my chest. We both felt comforted to hear each other’s heartbeat. When my daughter wasn’t lying with me, my husband held her on his chest. During our five days of recovery in hospital, we held her almost constantly, and I breastfed her in the hope of giving her immune system a boost.
The first few days postpartum, I injected only half of my pre-pregnancy insulin dosages.
Despite my fear of being unable to heal after surgery due to my weak immune system, I was up and walking around my recovery room within one day. I took pain medication every three-and-a-half hours for a week after surgery, and I felt only tugs on my stomach from muscles trying to replace themselves. Now, six weeks later, I feel pressure at the incision site only when I stretch to my full height. Otherwise, I’m functioning exactly as I was before I was ever pregnant. I couldn’t have asked for a better recovery.
Would I do it again? With regard to labor and delivery, the answer is a resounding yes. It’s the pregnancy itself, with all its complications and difficulties, that I’m uncertain about. I experienced so many close calls from the insulin shock comas and pre-eclampsia. Every day I flipflop between having a second child and adopting our second child. It’s still early to decide, though, as our first baby is just a month old.
My insulin needs are within units of what they were before pregnancy. My weight is back to normal, and my strength has returned. I’m cooking, caring for our child, exercising, and back to what’s otherwise known as normal.
In early adolescence, I was told that I would never be able to have a child because of my type 1 diabetes. But I’m here to tell you that it can be done. My baby is completely healthy and so determined that she brings tears to my eyes just thinking about her. She is the combination of my willpower, her daddy’s loyalty, and both of our hopes. She is everything that I ever hoped she would be: strong, happy, and healthy.