In less than two months, Jamie and I will be welcoming a baby boy into our family. We’ve named him Cooper Jamison Schuh… and we can’t wait to meet him. There is so much joy in our lives right now and we are truly blessed beyond anything we could imagine.
But, as with most things in life, type 1 diabetes (T1D) has a way of casting its shadow onto everything in our lives – even the most joyful things. Having T1D makes pregnancyhigh-risk. We’ve come a long way since the days of “Steel Magnolias”, but diabetes still makes pregnancy harder, riskier, and more complicated than it would be otherwise.
In fact, when Jamie and I first saw the two pink lines showup on the home pregnancy test, I wept. All I could think about was the two days of inexplicably high blood sugars I had experienced the week prior, which might have caused all kinds of damage to this tiny baby. I HATE that T1D cast its shadow on that moment when we should have been experiencing pure joy.
The good news is that – so far – it looks like our baby boyhas been protected and is healthy. Butkeeping him healthy has been very challenging. During the first trimester, it is normal for women with T1D to start producing small amounts of insulin again…something my body hasn’t done in over 25 years! So that meant lots of scary lowblood sugars. It meant waking up 4 to 5times a night to eat fruit snacks to bring my blood sugar back up into a saferange.
And now, during the third trimester, it is normal for women with T1D to need three or four times as much insulin as usual. Crazy! My body has become resistant to all of this insulin, which has meant a frustrating, uphill battle to prevent high blood sugars that can be so harmful to baby Cooper. While I wish I could be eating ice cream and pickles without a care in the world, every bite of food I eat has to be carefully measured and the number of carbohydrates has to be precisely calculated.
Next week, I will go from my current routine of a weekly doctor’s appointment, to appointments twice a week, so the doctors can make sure that Cooper is still safe. T1D will make labor and delivery more complicated, and even breastfeeding will require all kinds of extra work to make sure blood sugars stay in range…but it will all be worth it and I am grateful for the technology and the medical advancements that have made it possible for me to have a healthy pregnancy so far.
If all of this hard work was all it took to protect my son from T1D, I’d gladly do it all again 100 times over. But, even after all of this worry and effort, until we find a cure, T1D will continue to cast its shadow on our lives. There will be times when my son cries and I will have to make the awful decision to treat a low blood sugar before I go pick him up. Cooper will have to learn that certain snacks aren’t for him because they are for mommy when she’s low. And I wish it weren’t so, but the fact that I have T1D means Cooper is at risk to have T1D as well. It is statistically unlikely, and I pray it never happens, but Cooper is 20 times more likely to have T1D than a child whose parents do not have T1D.
But JDRF is working to change all of this! Progress is being made in the area of prevention – so that one day we won’t have to worry about Cooper or any other child getting T1D. And huge advancements are being made in how we treat T1D –so that in the future women with T1D can experience pregnancy free of the burdens and concerns of blood sugars that are too high or too low.
This is why we are participating in the JDRF One Walk on Sept 27. And we’ll be walking for Cooper and for the future of our family. We hope you will support us.
Our goal is to beat what we raised last year - $3,600 - and I know we can do it. Please give! No amount is too small. Every gift is significant and will help to make the shadow of T1D disappear.