« BSparl's Birthday: Part Three. | Main | Break Glass In Emergency. »

A Day in the Life of a New Mom with Diabetes.

For D-Blog Week, Karen challenged the diabetes blogging community with a week's worth of blog prompts. Today is "A Day on the Life," and I've decided to focus on my new life with BSparl.  (Because if I tried to pretend that motherhood isn't affecting my diabetes, I'd be lying my face off.)

DING!!!  Game on.

A day in the life of a mom with diabetes5 am:  Alarms?  We don't need no stinkin' alarms.  Because now we have little baby girl who wakes us up at all hours of the night. 

When BSparl starts to fuss from her bassinet, either Chris or I leans up to check on her to make sure she's okay.  Since Chris usually does the 1 am feeding with a bottle, I try and do the 5 am feeding.  Since I'm breastfeeding, what I need to do first is check my blood sugar.  Anything less than 120 mg/dl and I'm snacking while she's eating.  I start this feeding at 98 mg/dl.

5:15 am:  BSparl is done with one side.  I switch her to the other side to finish eating, and I brush the foil wrapper that the fruit snacks came in to the floor.  

5:45 am:  BSparl is fed, burped, changed, and tucked back in.  I test my blood sugar again - now I'm 74 mg/dl and the Dexcom is showing a bit of a drop.  I wander out to the kitchen for peanut butter and a piece of toast.  (Not froast.) 

7 am:  Up again, only this time because the Dexcom is blaring at me.  49 mg/dl.  WTF?  Breastfeeding has very unpredictable effects on my blood sugars.  Some mornings, it doesn't make me low at all.  And then other mornings, it makes me plummet.

7:30 am:  BSparl and Chris are asleep in the bedroom, so I settle in on the couch with my laptop and a cup of tea.  My goal?  Answer some emails, write a blog post, finish some stuff that always seems to be due and I'm chasing the deadlines of, and use the breast pump to stash some milk for BSparl.  My insulin pump tubing sometimes gets tangled up in the breast pump tubing.  Which makes me think I'm wearing too many freaking pumps.

9 am:  Husband and daughter emerge, both sporting the same furrowed brow of the morning.  BSparl needs to be fed again, so I test my blood sugar to see where I'm at.  145 mg/dl - thank goodness.  Enough with the lows.  Bring on the BSparl!

11 am:  All of a sudden, it's almost noon, and I haven't eaten anything since 7 am.  I also haven't answered a single email.  Or finished the article I needed to finish.  My mornings are usually spent testing my blood sugar, feeding BSparl, changing her diapers (which have baby Sesame Street characters on them, which makes me laugh.  Because what do you call "Baby Big Bird?"  Little Bird?), and doing laundry.  I test my blood sugar - 118 mg/dl - and thank God that it's not pinging all over the damn place today.  Because some days it does. 

High Noon:  Still haven't eaten.  I force myself to stop and devour a Greek yogurt.  Blood sugars are holding steady.  But my pump site is aching a little - when was the last time I changed out the site?

Noon-thirty:  BSparl and I investigate the site.  Well, she hangs out in her bouncy chair on the bathroom floor while I take a look at the infusion set.  Looks fine - edges are peeling a bit - but it's only been four days.  Even though the reservoir isn't anywhere near empty, I opt to change the site because it's achy.  And because if I don't do it now, while I'm thinking about it, it will be another full day before I remember.  With all of my focus on BSparl and adjusting to life as her mommy, sometimes diabetes takes a wicked back seat.

1 pm:  New infusion set is in, baby girl is getting a bottle of breast milk because my own breasts need a break sometimes, and I still haven't answered one single email.  Is this why people take maternity leave?  I need some coffee.

2:15 pm:  Thirsty as all hell.  Test again - oh, that's nice.  233 mg/dl.  Frigging pump site change ... did I forget to take a little 0.3u bolus before pulling the site?  That seems to be the only way for me to avoid post-site change highs.  But of course, I had forgotten to do that.  And now I'm basking in the warm warming glow of a high blood sugar.  FanTAStic.  Still haven't eaten lunch, and now lunch is on a further delay due to the high.  I bolus down the high.

2:45 pm:  Dexcom shows that I'm dropping.  Meter confirms the same - 177 mg/dl.  Thing is, with the baby now out of me, I'm trying to figure out what my body's insulin needs are.  And that's tricky, because with breast feeding, I am never able to do an accurate basal test.  I have an appointment with Joslin in two weeks (for my 6 week follow up after surgery/birth), so I'm trying to log blood sugars to give my endo something to go on.

2:46 pm:  CRAP!  I haven't logged any blood sugars in three days!  With BSparl in my arms, I open up my laptop and try to find the spreadsheet.  I locate it, and then try to scroll through my meter memory and type the blood sugars into the spreadsheet using one hand.  BSparl decides this isn't a good time for her, and she makes a sound not unlike a can of shaving cream being deployed.  (She is a delicate, fragile, pooping flower, this child of mine.)  Diaper change time!

3:30 pm:  Lunch.  Finally.  Blood sugar is 109 mg/dl.  Lunch is a turkey and cheese sandwich, even though I'd much rather go low-carb these days to help lose the pregnancy weight.  But without carbs, I'm low all the time after feeding BSparl, so carbs it is. 

4 pm:  Time to head out to the grocery store and then to the post office.  BSparl hangs at the house with her dad while he works, and I test once more before getting into my car.  167 mg/dl.  How is the post-prandial that high?  I counted those stupid carbs.  My insuiln:carb ratio, I thought, was settled back into 1:12.  I need to test that ratio again, but no time today.  Must run errands.

4:04 pm:  As much as I love my daughter, I felt guilty blasting the Beastie Boys while she was inside of me.  Without her in the car, I can crank up the volume of the music again.  So i do.  As I head to the grocery store.  Damn, my life is a thrill a minute.

5 pm:  Walking out of the store, I realize that my Blackberry has been pinging for three hours and I haven't looked at it yet.  Checking the emails, I see that 75 emails have come in since 7 am.  And I STILL haven't answered a single one.  Whoops.

6:30 pm:  It's time for BSparl's dinner.  And then we read a book together - I like Dr. Seuss, but sometimes we read other books because I can only make my mouth navigate words like "Th'need" so many times before I start to either giggle or accidentally spit on my daughter while reading.  

7:45 pm:  Chris heads down to the gym and I prepare to go when he gets back.  (No, I'm not really "exercising."  Can't for another two weeks, due to the c-section.  But I can go for walks on the treadmill, so that's what I do.)  I test my blood sugar (139 mg/dl) and get all my crap together for the gym:  Dexcom receiver, meter, cell phone, reaction treaters, and that ever-elusive pair of workout pants that actually FIT. 

9 pm:  Back from the gym, blood sugars are steady for once, and BSparl is napping.  FINALLY, I answer some emails and finish up that article.  Oh crap - dinner!  I find something in the kitchen that doesn't require much assembly.

11 pm:  I realize that, since 5 pm, I've either fed BSparl or pumped six times.  How is that even possible?  Sure does account for the unpredictable blood sugars, though.  My body is in a constant state of "feed," making trends nothing short of chaotic.  And I have to be honest - I'm not sure I have the mental bandwidth to wrangle in diabetes and motherhood with any kind of precision these days.  Working off of very little sleep, and trying to understand the new swell of hormone changes in my body, is frustrating as hell.  Diabetes fine-tuning isn't my top priority these days.  I just want to coast as safely as I can at the moment.  (Note to people who may want to lecture me about my own health: Back off for a few weeks before you run cryptic commentary.)

Midnight:  What am I thinking, still awake??  BSparl will be up in two hours for her 2 am snack.  I'd better restock the bedside table with low blood sugar snacks and call it a day.  

Midnight-thirty:  Whoops, forgot to test.  94 mg/dl.  Dexcom confirms it's a steady number.  Off to bed!

Game Over ... until 5 am.  :)


You are doing an amazing job! New Mommyhood is hard enough and throw the D in for good measure and you have yourself a handful! You are doing fantastic Kerri and tell those 'health-stalkers' to back on up, away from the new mommy!!!

Wow!!! I'm exhausted just reading this! Yeah, I wouldn't be worrying about my own numbers right now, just trying to stay out of the extremely low or high range would be enough for me. (No cryptic commentary here...:) Thanks for sharing your day! All of this is great info for us T1s wanting to become mothers too. :)

Oh boy! even with diabetes thrown into the mix, your day sounds remarkably like that of all new moms. You stand there scratching your head thinking "where did my day go?" And the lack of eating - something I think we ALL go through. It's hard work trying to learn how to cater to every need of a little person and still take care of yourself. It's a skill that no one really prepares you for.

This too will pass, and pretty soon you're going to feel like life is a lot less chaotic . I PROMISE.

Holy moly! I don't have kids yet, so I can't compare, but to me, you're doing an awesome job! Just remember, its supposed to get a LITTLE easier.. eventually :)

Ha! I've been waiting for a "too many freaking pumps" comment from you...

Sounds exactly like I would picture it. Still trying to get pregnant, but I will enjoy your experiences while I wait! I had no idea pumping would cause so many lows...how frustrating!! Hang in there...your doing a great job!

Sounds about right. Don't stress about your blood sugars too much. As someone said above, just try to avoid the too low and the too high. You're doing fine!

Hi Kerri - I've been reading your blog for a while but haven't commented yet. Thanks for documenting all of this for the rest of us who hope to be in the same situation sometime soon. :)

I tend to also work very hard at good control and get frustrated with myself when my numbers aren't where I want them to be. I read something posted in an online diabetes group a while ago that I try to take to heart, especially at times like this when things are changing so fast and "control" is a moving target: "test, treat, and move on." When you do recognize trends (like needing to eat while nursing if you're below a certain threshold) that's great, but a lot of the highs and lows are likely going to be pretty random. Test, treat and move on - and don't beat yourself up about it when things aren't perfect.

It sounds to me like you are a pretty typical mom. I mean besides having to deal with the Diabetes. You are doing awesome though! I don't know how I would do it. Thanks so much for sharing.

I remember those days of constant feeding. I feel as though I have stepped back 6½ years as I get up every 2-3 hours to check A's new pump! We will survive!

Brings me back to where I was 2 years ago! Yeah, it's freakin' hard and you just don't have time to focus on diabetes. Go easy on yourself and remember that in a few months things will mellow out and you can get back in the groove. Just remembering to eat is hard enough, let alone trying to make sure your blood sugars are perfect. Go for 'acceptable' and get back to the babe. :-)

First of all, happy first mother's day, Kerri!

Secondly, as someone above mentioned, this sounds remarkably similar to my experience as a new mom (but in my case there was just the one pump to deal with). ;) I especially enjoyed your "delicate, fragile, pooping flower" description. It's funny cos it's true!

I'm tired for you. Whew! If I hadn't been working outside the home, I might have tried breastfeeding longer than I did. I'm glad you get the chance to give it all you've got. Now I'm hoping there is a little leftover for you, with a little bit more sleep mixed in. Of course you will rarely get the chance to sleep the sweet sleep of oblivion now that there is a little one to listen out for, but I hope it improves soon!

Busy busy Mommy. :-)

You are doing great, Kerri.

You are such an awesome mom Kerri! I am so impressed with how you are handing things. BSparl is one lucky girl!

WOW! I have two kids and I remember being so tired between breastfeeding and getting up at night. With the addition of D you really have your hands full.
I remember reading how breastfeeding is the most natural, beautiful thing you can do. To be honest it was hard work for me and the beautiful part I can certainly question. I found it painful and uncomfortable for the first two weeks. I am glad I did it and in retrospect it was special. It is the healthiest thing for your baby and that is what kept me from giving up in those first few weeks.
Anyway, I have a sort of unrelated question for you. In your post you mentioned your infusion set and changing it after only four days. I am told to change S's every 2 -3 days and it is a real challenge for me. That may sound pathetic, but I have a hard time keeping track of it sometimes. Do different Dr.'s have different recommendations or does the pump or infusion set that you use allow you to leave it in longer? I noticed a similar comment in someone elses blog and it got me thinking. If you find time, which I understand is limited right now, I would love your opinion. Thanks - Yvette

My head is spinning just reading this post!!!! You are a super hero, for sure!!! Hmmm and not one single line about tripping over Siah - has she changed her mischievous ways??

Your day is jam packed!! Thanks for sharing it! I didn't know breast feeding could make you go low. Its great to know these things for my future babies. :)

i loved this post! i am a PWD who is currently almost 23 wks. pregnant with my 1st, and i appreciate you giving me a look into the future, i am sure that my days will look fairly similar once the baby arrives...sounds like you're doing a great job!

No cryptic commentary from me, just a comment that it's refreshing to see that T1 mommies seem to have similar challenges :) Once BSparl sleeps through in 6+ hour stretches you'll feel like a different woman. I swear that it improves your sugars too. I'm impressed that you're back at the gym - that is some commitment :) And like someone else has already said - acceptable is good enough for now. It's hard to accept 'acceptable' after being instituionalized to be so perfect (I remember freaking if I was 20 off my ideal) - but for now, as long as you're all safe, that's what matters.

You saved me the twenty minutes it would take me to write up the exact same day. *giggling* You are doing a great job, Kerri, and know that you are not alone!!! :D BabyBL is zonked out next to me while I attempt to connect to outside world via my iPhone...

It makes me so happy that you call it ''noon thirty'' and ''midnight thirty'' too :)

Congratulations for everything with your daughter! From the pictures you've posted she's beautiful. :) I'm glad everything is going well.

Sounds like you are doing way better than I ever could :) keep up the good work. You are a super Mom!

Go Kerri! You are doing good!

Wow, I am exhausted just reading this post. You are incredible! Being a new Mom is so much work but being a new Mom with D....Wow!! You're doing a great job and you're a great role model as always!!

Wow, you are a brave and hard working woman. Thanks for writing and sharing. I won't have a baby any time soon, but this is so insightful and love-filled, that I had to keep reading.
Great work Kerri, you're gonna be fine. Lots of love in the Sparl household.

Sounds like you're doing great. I also got "nothing done" (except caring for a tiny individual who needs me to do everything except poop for them, and trying to take care of myself so I can do that). It's only temporary and it will improve (well, at least progress to the next stage!) And for the unsolicited advice: I'm sure you've heard it before, but try to nap when the baby does, at least a little bit.

Hey, this is the first I have commented, I just found your blog and I applaud you, I have had type 1 for 24 years now, and I had my daughter almost 12 years ago, (I just turned 34). Time goes SO fast, enjoy every crazy exhausting minute!!! The first 6 months are REALLY rough on the blood sugars, I breastfeed also. I also had a REALLY difficult pregnancy, just SO blessed to have a healthy daughter, and resonably healthy me! But believe me it is SO SO worth it, as I'm sure you know, and things DO get back to some kind of normal with your body and blood sugars with some time. Hang in there, and I applaud you!!!

Kerri -- reading this brings back memories. I'm type 2 but was doing multiple daily insulin injections while pregnant and nursing and this brings back memories.

Breastfeeding is a massive calorie burner -- I was down to a really low weight for me when my little girl was about 6 months old an exclusively breastfeeding -- so my very carefully offered advice would be to not focus on weight as much given EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE UNIVERSE YOU ARE TRYING TO MANAGE AT THE MOMENT. You are still you whether your pre-pregnancy workout pants fit or not.
Think about what your body has just done, and what you're asking it to do, and then ask if giving yourself a bit more time to get back to where you were, weight-wise, might be a more energizing stance to have.
Weight can go up and down, but I know from experience that those baby days last just a really short time. Enjoy them as much as you can!

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)