Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Part II, and My Diabetes Life Story

As a special birthday treat to begin my 28th year of life, I'd like to tell you more about myself (um, I promise I'm not a total narcissist?).

I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 9. Fortunately, my mother is an ER physician and recognized the signs and symptoms of diabetes. It helped to have a cousin who had been diagnosed a few years prior. My family cut short our summer vacation to bring me home and check me in to the hospital. And not a few of my older siblings inwardly groaned at the number of pit stops we had to make on our 11-hour drive home!

I was quite proud of my diabetes. I told all of my friends about it. Once I was checking my blood sugar and giving shots myself, I was happy to show anyone who asked. I was on a regular/NPH regimen. I was also a pretty normal teenager. I remember an A1C below 8.0 being a good number. I had very few A1C values below 7.0, and probably only one below 6.0. At some point, I think during my sophomore year of high school, I upgraded to Lantus/Humalog regimen. The doctor I saw in high school and college (1998-2006) did not like the insulin pump, because he thought it was not worth the money. I had a diabetes buddy during high school who also did not have the pump, and also had similar blood sugars, and our common experience was pretty normative for me. He is in Mongolia, on horseback, a destination of his own choosing, for the next couple months (I mention it because if you're the type, you should pray for him).

During college, I got into midwifery and read everything I could get my hands on. I followed around a homebirth midwife in my hometown one summer, and spent some time with my aunt, who had been a homebirth midwife in Oregon. I did not see any births, but a few prenatal visits. I spent a day with some CNMs. Mostly, I spent a LOT of time trying to understand why midwives do what they do.

After graduating from the University of Virginia, I got married and moved to St. Louis, Missouri. New town, new doctor, new diabetes buddy! Our neighbor happened to be Jenn, my friendly co-blogger, and this was a match made in heaven (though not the romantic kind). Two things happened, diabetically speaking, when I moved to St. Louis: 1) Not being on an insulin pump put me in the same category as dinosaurs and antique furniture and 2) I got to watch Jenn go through pregnancy as a diabetic woman, and it gave me a real leg up when it came time for me to go through it. I got an insulin pump and started thinking about how to manage diabetes during pregnancy.

I called around to OB/Gyns, and eventually found one that I loved. He was a maternal-fetal specialist, but was not part of a hospital practice. He attended all his high-risk deliveries himself (very midwife-like of him!), and he was very respectful of my experience as a diabetic, my ability to monitor my own blood sugars, and all the research I had done on pregnancy and childbirth. When I came to him for my first prenatal visit in 2008, my A1C was 8.something. I kicked my butt in gear and the next measurement was 6.2! I went in for a ton of Linktesting, but he didn't mess with me unless he actually SAW something wrong, rather than just assuming the worst would happen and intervening to prevent the worst case scenario. I was hospitalized overnight at the beginning of my third trimester because of concern that my placenta wasn't supplying enough nutrients to my son, but in his infinite wisdom, my doctor sent me for a second opinion. I was then sent home on bedrest for two weeks and had no further problems. You can read my son's birth story here.

I turned up pregnant again when my son was 8 months old, and you can read about my pregnancy adventures here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. You can read about my childbirth adventures here, here, and here (there was a lot to say, I thought).

Happy birthday to me!


  1. I've been reading your blog for a little while and decided to finally comment and say THANK YOU (to both you and Jenn) for sharing your stories so generously. I am type 1 and currently 8 weeks pregnant with my first baby. Your experiences have given me hope and encouragement, not to mention lots of education on the subjects of type 1 diabetes and natural childbirth. Thank you and please continue blogging!

  2. Congratulations, Lauren! We are excited for you and our prayers are with you during this sweet time of life. Please let us know if we can talk about any questions or experiences that arise :)

    And my dearest Beth, in my humble opinion (laughing as I type) paragraph 5 about the things that promptly happened when you moved to st louis needs a 1.5 in between "1" and "2"... something along these lines...."1.5: I shared all my midwifery knowledge from college with Jenn and she promptly got knocked up" :) You're the best, and HAPPY Birthday!

  3. Congratulations, Lauren! You are in for a fabulous ride. And you're not crazy for wanting to do it this way. You can always contact me at beth (dot) g (dot) turner @ gmail (dot) com if you have any specific questions about our experiences with interventions, testing, blood sugar management, etc.

    Fear not, Jenn. I still take credit for Jack. Just not usually publicly, because you know, it's a little presumptuous. :)