It’s not easy going through pregnancy, fully knowing that you’re diabetic even before you were pregnant. Lilly shares her story of how she went through her pregnancy two decades ago, a few years after she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
Lilly Engu, 54
I found out that I am a Type 1 Diabetic when I was only in my early twenties and I got married a few years after that. After getting married, my husband and I were not prepared for a baby as we were both very worried about the pregnancy risks in my condition.
Besides that, we were also worried that without proper monitoring and extra precautions taken, the chronic illness may put both myself and my baby at risk of various complications. Having Type 1 Diabetes does not mean that you can’t be pregnant but it’s just that you really have to be very vigilant and prepared because of the heightened risks involved.
It was only when I was in my early thirties that I felt like I was more knowledgeable about diabetes care. By then, I was also ready and was willing to take up the challenge of Type 1 Diabetes pregnancy life. It took me a while to get pregnant as I was not successful after a few attempts with the gynaecology. With the recommendation by a friend, both my husband and I started to take Chinese herbs for about a week and finally, I have successfully conceived a baby.
Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy
As a Diabetic patient during pregnancy, I had to start my pregnancy life with much more self-discipline and self-management compared to any normal pregnant mother. Every single day, I had to plan my diet to make sure that it was a balanced diet for both myself and my child.
What’s most important was making sure that my sugar level was not too high, the monitoring of sugar level takes place several times a day. It takes 4 to 8 times before and after breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as before sleep. After I got pregnant, I also had to increase the number of insulin intake from 2 times to 4 times a day.
The constant process of keeping tight control of blood sugar levels can get extremely tiring and stressful at times. Aside from that, I had to follow up on appointments and scans with the obstetrics and gynaecology. Despite it sometimes being quite stressful, I was very lucky to have my parents and my husband to support me from the very beginning.
Giving Birth through C-Section
So far throughout the entire span of 9 months, my pregnancy progressed without any major complications at all. I had no problems such as morning sickness, Hypoglycemia or Hyperglycemia as I kept telling myself that I had to take good care of myself in order to have a healthy and cute baby.
At 35 weeks of pregnancy, I was awake early in the morning due to the water break and was ready to deliver the baby. The doctor made a quick decision to deliver my baby through a Caesarean section surgery because of the sudden dramatic rise in my blood pressure. With that, I’ve finally given birth to a 2.9kg healthy baby boy.
After the Birth
As my child was a premature baby and was born from a diabetic mother, he had to be put into an incubator for a few days as well as go through several tests. The results of the tests were thankfully alright as he only had jaundice which was only temporary and had no other major cognitive deficits or developmental abnormalities.
As for me, I still had to go back to the hospital to follow up and to clean up my wound due to an infection. Even though the process of cleaning up the wound was quite intense for me, I still felt it was all worth it when I saw the cute little face of my child.
For more birth stories, please visit Motherhood.com.my.