Sunday, 29 January 2012

The joys of morning sickness! (and lime pickle, kiwis and crisps)

I had a strange breakfast egg experience yesterday morning which reminded me I definitely needed to write a post about the dreaded and hideous morning sickness. (Warning - you might want to avoid this post if feeling queasy!)

I have been lucky enough to be 'MS' free since before Christmas (when I was about 12 weeks) but this weekend mid-breakfast a wave of nausea filled over me and my husband's lovely poached eggs on toast ended up straight down the loo. I felt so bad, five minutes before I had been nagging him to make sure the eggs were cooked properly when in the end it didn't really matter after all. My theory is it's eggs, a similar thing happened a few weeks ago with boiled eggs but that time I managed to ride it out.

My morning sickness, or for me 'morning nausea' started to kick in when I was about 6 weeks pregnant. It started very gradually and was probably at its peak between 8-11 weeks. Those of you who are pregnant or have been pregnant will know it has a very deceiving name as in fact it can strike at any time of day. Mine was definitely worse in the morning but definitely not restricted to morning only. I only vomited twice and both of those times it was before breakfast and was just retching bile rather than anything else, but I was still prepared and carried a paper bag (a Happy Birthday gift bag in fact) with me in my hand bag just in case.

As soon as the nausea started I stocked up on ginger biscuits and ginger tea, but these were short lived, what I found most about my morning sickness was I had immense cravings for certain foods, but come a few days later I had gone off them completely. Ginger biscuits were replaced with malted milks, which were then replaced by rich tea which were then replaced with dark chocolate digestives. I didn't really have any problem with eating during these weeks when I felt sick (unlike some people) in fact I was the opposite. For several weeks I absolutely loved crisps - tucking into a pack of beef monster munch one day at 10.30am I was trying to hide the crunching noises paranoid that my colleagues had noticed my weird eating habits. I would go to Boots in the tube station on the way to work and salivate over the selection - what did I fancy today? Salt and vinegar were a must at first then I went onto the more meaty flavours or sometimes the cheesy puff variety. I also strangely went off tea which for me was a big deal and again I thought would surely signal something odd was going on to the girls at work. But apparently they didn't twig.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues I had was that I also went off water. Plain water, just water, that I used to drink non-stop and never go anywhere without a bottle. This obviously wasn't good and probably led to this crisp craving, dehydrated and craving salt. I did find drinking ice cold water helped a little, but most of the time I just wasn't that thirsty. And when I was I wanted lemonade, orange, fizzy drinks. Even now I am definitely not drinking as much as I used to, especially in the evenings, but perhaps not such a bad thing as I would probably need two toilet breaks a night.

I read up about morning sickness a lot when it struck me and it seemed there were two theories about why it occurs - the increase in hormones and/or low blood sugar. I definitely found I felt more queasy when my BG was 4-5mmol/l and below, but this is the target you need to aim for pre-meals so it does make life more difficult. I don't know if women with diabetes suffer with worse morning sickness, it was never mentioned to me by any of my nurses or doctors but would be interesting to find out.

Most mornings when I was in the height of sickness I had a piece of banana before I got up properly which helped slightly, at least enough for me to function and get showered and then slowly force feed myself my breakfast - it felt like having a permanent hangover. Normally an hour after waking I would feel okay enough to leave the house but not always. Luckily I was able to work at home when I felt really bad and in the end I actually told a few of my colleagues earlier than I had planned (at about 9 weeks) as I was feeling really rough and lethargic a lot of the time.

I also read the horror stories on the internet about the poor women who suffer with morning sickness throughout their whole pregnancy and I thought please don't let that be me!! If you are one of them I sympathsise with you. I have already thought that if we have a baby number two I will completely dread going through morning sickness again - they say every pregnancy is different though so I guess there is hope yet. Luckily mine did ease off and come Christmas thankfully I was getting back into eating normal foods again.

When I started to tell people I was pregnant so many people asked me if I had started having cravings yet, I felt like a broken record repeating my stories about crisps and chip shop chips and lime pickle. Yes lime pickle! I had an urge for it combined with Pringles. And for about two weeks I really wanted a McDonalds burger (I hate McDonalds most of the time) one day I gave in and we pulled into a drive thru', it was heaven, especially the gherkin and mustard. It hasn't all been junk food though I also had a stage of oranges and a good few weeks of loving kiwis.

Now I feel a million times better and I hope the 'MS' leaves me alone for the rest of my pregnancy. I still have a packet of crisps a couple of times a week, but I'm not daydreaming of them like I was a couple of months ago. Biscuits are very firmly still on the menu though and of course a nice cup of tea!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

17th week coming to an end...

17 weeks + 6 today, which means another day closer to the anomaly scan when we will finally find out if little bump is a boy or a girl, but more importantly that everything is going okay still. I keep thinking about finding out the sex and I forget that more crucially this will be a big moment in seeing how the baby is developing and whether it is healthy. Having heard so much over the years about the complications that can arise in early pregnancy when you have diabetes I feel like so far we have had too smooth a ride and keep expecting a hiccup soon.

I thought I would post a pic of my growing bump. Dad-to-be has been taking a picture each week since 12 weeks so expect a back catalogue and more to follow soon. Some days I feel massive (I know I will feel much bigger than this!) other days I forget until I catch sight in a mirror and I think wow this really is happening.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

HbA1C at 16 weeks (...and a gold star for me!)

I'm 16 weeks+4 at the moment and yesterday I had an appointment at the pump clinic at my hospital.

My HbA1C when I fell pregnant in September was 7.0% which I was assured was fine for pregnancy but I knew lower than this (in the 6's) would be even better. When I did bloods in December it was 6.9% so some head way, if minor!

Yesterday I was tested again and couldn't quite believe it when the Consultant told me it was 6.5%! I was so pleased. I keep finding myself saying lately 'that's the lowest it has ever been!'

My Consultant said I had a gold star, if I wanted a double gold star then we could fine tune even further but there was a risk of lots of hypos. I'm not sure if I can beat this one though, I would be more than happy to remain at 6.5% for the rest of my pregnancy.

(Star graphic courtesy of:

Monday, 16 January 2012

The magic numbers

When I found out I was pregnant one of the first things I had to adapt to was new blood glucose targets. Extreme tight blood glucose targets. What felt like unachievable blood glucose targets.

These targets were one of the first things that my Diabetes Specialist Nurse told me when I contacted her to tell her I was pregnant. In the UK (and it may vary between hospitals and care teams) the current recommendations for pregnancy are:

3.5 mmol/l to 5.5 mmol/l before meals

No higher than 7.8 mmol/l 1 hour after meals

For me these new targets were a shock to the system. My initial thought (and slight anger) was why I hadn't I been advised to practice these tight targets in preparation for when I did fall pregnant? I would recommend this to anyone trying for a baby at the moment, fair enough when you do fall pregnant your hormones might mean your blood sugars are all over the place but even if you just practiced for a week it might be some help when it does happen for real.

In the first few weeks every high reading I saw on my blood monitor set my mind into thinking about what I was doing to the little creation growing inside of me. And to the outsider I think they thought I was over worrying but then being told so much about the complications of pregnancy when you have diabetes - miscarriages, deformities - who can really blame me? I am sure I wasn't the first and I won't be the last.

Now at 16 weeks I am definitely more relaxed, I think it was ever since I had my 12 week scan and I was reassured that everything was developing well. But I still struggle in particular with THE 7.8, the special, elusive number!

I was speaking to a colleague/friend the other day who is currently going through IVF and has type 1 diabetes, her first question was 'how do you get your blood not to go above 7.8??!' It's a good question and I am sure some people manage this easier than others - no carb, low carb, low GI. For me the latter was the only option, when I suffered awful nausea in the first few months I just had to eat anything I fancied. I was endlessly recommended porridge and toast and every now and again I could manage it but most of the time I wanted the higher GI enemies – cereal!

Luckily being on a pump (I'm on Animas) has meant that I can really adapt my carb to insulin ratios and my basal rates and try to prevent the post meal spikes. In my case my blood glucose does come down, past the 7.8 and lower but this happens two hours after, not one hour! And when it does come down I then have to eat about 20g of carbs without insulin to keep on going till my next meal without a hypo. And there are some days when it is bang on target or below, some days I stress. There is debate about whether this is okay to be on target two hours later, in fact I had a lengthy discussion with my Consultant about it today. There are plenty of arguments for it being okay, especially if your hba1c is in target. In fact he told me that even if you don’t have diabetes your blood glucose can be above 7.8 an hour after eating, it is normal, phew!

It takes time and effort (as is often the case with diabetes) to try and achieve these tighter targets and if you're a bit out one day then it's about trying to figure out why then moving onto the next day with a fresh start in mind. And maybe you can't even figure it out sometimes these things just happen! I never thought I would be able to get as good control as I have now but I have, we just have to try and get there a little bit quicker when we have a baby inside us as time isn't on our side. But hey imagine how easy this will all seem when we aren't pregnant? It will be a breeze. Diabetes and breeze? Perhaps not!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Happy (diabetes) Birthday To Me!

Today is my 'diabetes birthday'. I was diagnosed on the 9th January 1998 so exactly 14 years to this day. I'm not sure if everyone else can remember the date they were diagnosed, for me it seems pretty much engrained on my brain.

I can still remember waiting in the hospital to see the doctors and getting a can of pop and a chocolate bar from the vending machine, how little did I know about diabetes back then!

It probably doesn't come as a surprise to hear I don't celebrate this occasion like a normal birthday - no cake, candles, cards and I don't make a note in my calendar of the day but every year it comes around and I some how remember and take note. My life without diabetes gets further away as I get closer and closer to having had diabetes longer than I haven't had diabetes, which does feel kind of strange.

Happy birthday to me then and anyone else should I say 'celebrating'? their diabetes birthday today!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

I’m back...and pregnant!

I’ve decided to ‘re-launch my blog’ I hope you like the new look. Hello again to those who used to follow my blog and welcome to any newcomers!

I always thought that when I did become pregnant I would like to write about it as I find personal accounts of being pregnant with type 1 diabetes are few and far between whether online or in good old fashioned print (especially those that are UK based). So that’s what I plan to do here.

I hope my journey through my first pregnancy, which I will document here over the next 25 weeks or so will help others with diabetes, others who are pregnant and don’t have diabetes and perhaps those who have neither will just find it entertaining and interesting to read and look at. (I’ll be continuing with the theme of lots of random pictures to illustrate my posts, why not it is my day job!)

When I thought recently about writing this blog I wondered whether I should write with a three month delay and go back to day one when I found out we were expecting a baby, or even earlier, the trials and tribulations of trying for a baby when you have diabetes. But I feel like I would like to take you on a real life journey as it really happens. So for that reason I am going to blog pretty much in real time and will recall some of those early events and happenings over the next few weeks to get you up to speed.

I hope you enjoy it!