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The Suck.

Bright?  Not me these days.While motherhood is going well and I'm completely in love with my daughter, I'm reminded, daily, that diabetes doesn't care if I've slept or if I have carefully counted carbs or if I've just changed my infusion set.  Diabetes doesn't give a shit about my schedule.

It's The Suck.

Like last week, when at 4:30 am, my "alarm" went off - also known as BSparl starting to fuss and wail from her bassinet in our bedroom.  Not a problem.  I woke up, tested my blood sugar, and saw that I was 176 mg/dl.  That number (albeit spiky) works just fine for feedings, so BSparl and I spent some quality time hanging out, having an early snack, and debating where exactly the sun hides behind the trees before it starts to poke out.

We both went back to bed around 5:45 and slept until the next alarm went off - the Dexcom BEEEEEEEP!ing wildly at me at 8 am.

"Do not wake up the baby, you."  I grumbled while fumbling for the receiver on the bedside table.  "LOW.  Under 55 mg/dl" was the warning it was flashing up at me.  While BEEEEEEEPing.

"Shhhhhh!!"  I unzipped my meter case and deftly stuck a strip into the top of the machine.  I wasn't sweaty, my brain was functioning fine (aside from shushing inanimate objects), and I felt physical capable.  Maybe the Dexcom was just being finicky and throwing lower numbers?

"36 mg/dl"

Well shoot.  Not a whisper of a symptom, either.  I got up from the bed and wandered out to the kitchen, where Chris was making his protein shake.

"Can you keep an ear on the baby?  I'm 36 and just want to grab some juice," I said, opening the fridge door.

"Of course."  Pause.  "What?  You're 36??"

"Yeah.  No symptoms, dude.  Not even one."  I chugged a few sips of grape juice and put the bottle back in the fridge.  "I feel fine.  The Dexcom woke me up."

A blood sugar of 36 mg/dl without a single symptom, other than a wailing Dexcom and a bit of a groggy feeling.  But, in true diabetes form, once my blood sugar started to rise, I felt the symptoms acutely. 

"I feel pretty bad right now."  Shunk.  "Fifty-six.  Why do I feel worse at 56 than I did at 36?"

There's no rhyme or reason to diabetes.  The symptoms of lows and highs change with the seasons, it seems.  And they come without warning, these numbers.  Sometimes it's a hormonal or emotional surge that sends numbers pinging.  Other times, it's a little, teeny technical glitch that sends thing spinning.

Like two nights ago, when I bolused for a snack and felt a damp spot on the side of my shirt.

"What the ..." and I probed with my fingers and felt that telltale wetness around the gauze of my infusion set.  I tugged up the side of my shirt and gave the spot a sniff - yup, that bandaid smell.  Frigging infusion set was leaking some how.  No symptoms, though.  I wasn't thirsty, I wasn't lethargic, and I was actually just about to head off to the gym.  I felt pretty okay.  Problem was, I hadn't tested in about four hours, nor had I peeked at the Dexcom.  So basically, I didn't have a clue what was going on in my body. 

I tested my blood sugar and a 423 mg/dl grinned back at me.   

(Have I mentioned Yosemite Sam yet in this post?  Suffice to say, I rocketed through a list of curse words that would have caused Yosemite Sam to give me a frick-a-frakin' high five.)

New site, quick injection with an orange capped syringe from the fridge, a ketone test (negative), and an hour and a half later, I was down to 195 mg/dl.   But I was pissed.  Because during the course of my pregnancy, I maintained an A1C between 6.0% and 6.5% and I busted my butt to keep myself controlled.  But now, with my body reacting to adjusting levels of hormones and a serious lack of concentration due to a truncated sleep schedule (read:  no sleep 'til Brooklyn, with Brooklyn being college, I think), I'm all over the map. 

I'm frustrated with my control, or lack thereof.  Trying to figure out my post-pregnancy insulin needs and taking care of my little girl have become a full-time endeavor, and I'm not getting it completely done on either front.  I have to buckle down.  These epic lows and highs are not fun, and are wrecking havoc on my healing body. 

Next week, I'm back at Joslin to see my endo.  Diabetes needs to take center stage until I can get things under better control.  It's my priority.  I need to get back to logging, to testing every hour and a half or so during the day, to actually cooking meals instead of just snacking when time allows, to changing my infusion set when it's due, not when it's convenient. 

... after diaper changes, of course.  And breastfeeding.  And BSparl laundry.  And pediatrician appointments.  And 3 am feedings.  And that occasional moment when I lock the bathroom door and look at myself in the mirror with determination and say, "Get it together, Mommy."  


Oh Kerri - you are so doing the best you can! Every Mom goes through this - the endless 'Time Suck' that is motherhood, and now diabetes too. I can send you positive thoughts, but don't want to tell you that I understand, because I only get the mommyhood, not the D. I wish you well getting back on track.

Just remember, you are doing fantastic! I can't even imagine how hard it must be with lack of time and lack of sleep. Keep it up, you are doing great Mommy! :)

Kerri - do NOT get down on yourself. Making a baby is big hard work. Your body is still trying to figure out what the hell just happened to it. You're not even 6 weeks PP. I can't talk about the diabetes stuff at all, but the mommy stuff, we all have this feeling at some point where we think "what on earth did I just do?" and then...around week 7 or 8 or so, that weirdness all lifts. You're at the worst of it all right now. It's only going to get better. I don't know what's going to happen with your BG's, but I think things will seem a lot clearer very soon.

My sister went through the same thing with her three kids and three diabetic pregnancies and while they are 6, 4 and 1, it's still a struggle to prioritize the D when everything else seems more pressing. I know it ain't easy, but you just do the best you can and remember to take care of you--an extra min of baby crying though painful to hear will be okay if it means you can test your bloodsugar, etc.

You're doing great!

Something's got to give here, and perfect control is probably it. Let us know if the endo has any ideas on how to incorporate the blood sugar stability issues of breastfeeding into your routine.

I remember those days Kerri...I had mine 13mon apart and with the big D lol...I remember very vividly when we lived in the apts and the kids were maybe 5m and 1.5yr -ish... Dan having to dumpster dive to get one of my glucose monitors because I "WAS DONE"...ya a little psycho but funny now,sorta?!...BIG HUGS! Mommas can only do so much in one day...

I love you a little bit...and am so living that same life. You're not alone. I fed the child the other night and then thought to test because I felt "a little high"...424. WTF? I looked at the baby and asked her if she had enjoyed her ice cream - b/c that had to be what it tasted like. She just grinned and cooed. I am so with you on trying to get the hang of these new insulin requirements!

Kerri -

I bet you are doing a great job! Trying to keep your blood sugar in check with breastfeeding and hormonal changes after pregnancy is really tough!

And no, diabetes doesn't care about your schedule - ever! It doesn't care if you are sleep deprived, or if you have to get out the door to go to the peds. office or preschool. It's a pain in the a**, but you are doing a great job!


*zoning* I'm still mesmerized and watching your stick figure juggling man. So cool!

Anyhoo, what a crazy ride you're on right now, huh? I have no advice to give because I'm not a mom. But I will just say thank you so much for being so open, honest, and real with us. It's certainly refreshing, and we all hope it slows down some later for you.

Ah, yes, the suck that is diabetes! Son isn't allowed to go to bed without being at least 100, so he ate 1 apricot and woke up with a sugar of 346!

Just remember, it is okay if they cry for a few minutes while you are testing or curing a low or whatever. Babies are okay....for awhile to cry. Sometimes they even need to cry just to exercise those lungs. Don't beat yourself up over it and neglect a bad low or high.

You are a complete star. That's it. No more I can say. Star, that's what you are!

Not that I know from personal experience, but they say being a new mom is hard all on its own. Throw in Diabetes and I'm sure you are doing the best that anyone can. Things will level out and you'll figure out this balancing act. You're too determined not to.

Thank you for being so open and honest. I'm not a mom and I have only had diabetes for 2 years, however, when I am babysitting children (I'm a summer nanny), sometimes they just have to cry. I realize that if I don't take care of myself - do the extra blood sugar check, drink the juice, grab the glucose tabs, etc. - I can't 100% take care of them. They will be fine for the extra 30-60 seconds.
You have a "routine" of checking your blood sugar whenever you feed BSparl -- maybe try to find something else that's "routine" (as in something you do multiple times a day even if not a regular schedule) that you could test at too. Something that lines up with her schedule. This way you get in more testing. Not sure if that makes sense... but in my head of crazy thoughts it does - however, again i'm not a mom.

hang in there! you're doing great :) and stay positive!

It's hard, hon. Even though you love it - love being a mom and cherish those 4:30am feedings because you know they'll be gone soon.

It is SO hard to be a Mom AND Diabetic. Grabbing those juice boxes while Low while breastfeeding. Picking up the screaming baby and only after picking her up do you realize that you feel weak and crappy from either an unexpected High or maybe yet another Low.

I stupidly find myself putting off treating my low (or high) because I've gotta get the munchkin her breakfast cause she's screaming at me from her highchair. I've had to sit back recently and 're-evaluate' my priorities once my recent endo appointment (15months postpartum) showed a 9.3 A1C.

My Munchkin and Hubs need me to focus on Diabetes and take better care of me - to be there for them. Such a hard balance, to figure out, though!

You'll get it. It's all a learning experience just like being pregnant. :) You're doing great!

It's ok to let her cry for a couple of minutes, It's ok if she has a stinky, It's ok to take care of yourself first. She needs you to take care of yourself first.

Since you have never had a baby without having diabetes you might not realize that what you feel is pretty normal for having a baby. I do not have D and have two kids and I certainly went through periods of time where I was a mess and felt like I was not taking care of me. It comes from a good place because you love that little being so much. I just want you to know that it's not just because of diabetes that you feel like you are not taking care of you - it's sort of the early days of mommyhood. Having said that you obviously need to realize sooner than most that you are not any good to your little baby if you are not healthy, so as hard as it is, sometimes you need to come first. I don't want to sound like a know it all, but often times people don't express how very hard it is to be a mom in the beginning and how important it is for mom to take care of herself too. Good luck - Your a great Mom and take care of you.

You know everyone's different and that's important. So, I'll just tell you, I can't remember when I started getting lows that I could easily handle even though it seemed as if I should be flat on my back. Was it with kids? maybe. Maybe it's our blessing. Sometimes, you have to see the good side of it. Like a 36mg/dl that you can wake up from and go to the kitchen and drink some juice. The residual effects are there, but knowing you can talk and comprehend and act is the best feeling when your baby is down the hall counting on you.

Whether that phenomenon sticks around or not, you'll adjust and learn to manage.

Hope things smooth out for you soon. *hugs*

Being a mom is HARD! And having diabetes only adds to the mix. You're doing the best you can! Take care of yourself first when you have lows or highs and don't be hard on yourself when your sugars aren't perfect. It was so tough for me the first few months! You'll get through it. :-)

Oh, Kerri. You are doing such a fantastic job. I think the year after having a baby is filled with all sorts of physical (well, and mental and spiritual) changes. With diabetes, we are even more aware of the changes because it shows up in our numbers.

Anyway, you have done a really powerful job of expressing what it's like to be a diabetic mom. Thanks so much for being our very articulate voice.

Good luck with your appointment tomorrow.

That is some serious juggling dude. But if anyone can pull it off, it's you.

Take it easy!

Kerry, you're doing just fine! There's nothing more challenging and difficult to balance than the first weeks of motherhood, diabetes or not! You have your priorities right, don't beat yourself because are unable to reach a perfect balance, it will come with time and practice, for now, take one day at a time and don't compare your pregnancy diabetes management with your current management, it's unfair! A lot of things have changed since then!

I dunno about the lack of sleep-due-to-bubs part, but I sympathise with you about the fluctuating highs and lows. They suck!

I often find that I don't get symptoms for either lows or highs until about 5 - 10mins after a blood test. My endo has explained it as my body being slow to catch up.

Wow, I have no idea how you can juggle it all. I'm exhausted just reading your post. All new Moms with D should automatically be shipped a Mary Poppins, at no cost to the D Mom of course. We'll send the bills to the drug companies.

Hi Kerri,
Hang in there. The Suck eventually gets replaced with the Sneak Attack as childhood progresses. For instance, one day last week I crawled back to the house with the Dex beeping wildly after crashing to 44 during the last mile of my run. No one was home! I was thrilled that I could beep, sweat, be grumpy and possibly eat a whole box of Cheerios in under five minutes with no witnesses. The phone rings. "Mooooooooooom" my teenager sobbed, "the three year old I am babysitting won't stop crying. Quick! Tell me what to do!" AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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