I didn’t expect that pregnancy wasn’t nine months long, but ten. Those perpetuating the rumor that pregnancy is only nine months long, I beg you to stop. Because when ladies – the “pregnati” I like to call them – crest up to the eight-month mark, only to realize that there are eight weeks left to go? We cry. Sometimes we just bust out crying. Because pregnancy is forty weeks long, and when you divide forty (weeks in total) by four (weeks in a month) … well, even I can do that math. It equals ten. Ten months.
I didn’t expect to be so intimidated by the task of creating a baby registry. Aisle after aisle of intensely cute items that looked like bomb parts to me. What is a Boppy®1, and why do I need one? How exactly is that little sock going to stay on her teeny foot? How many bottles are we supposed to have? Or burp cloths? (Burp cloths threw me for a loop, because the burps I am most familiar with do not require wiping up afterwards.) And would the tubing of the breast pump tangle up with that of my insulin pump?
I didn’t expect to find so much laughter in the clothes I was buying for myself. “Hey, another pair of jogging pants?” my husband would say, and we’d both collapse into a fit of laughter, knowing that the last thing I was even entertaining as an option was “jogging.” The same went for “sports bras,” unless you count “fetus cellular arrangement and expansion” as a sport.
I didn’t expect it to be so easy to regularly test for ketones, but it was, since I had to pee every fifteen and a half minutes. Which brings me to the “I didn’t expect my bladder and my uterus” to be in such close proximity in there. Who engineered that?! The more my daughter grew, the more my womb pressed against my bladder. The people who worked in all of the coffee shops and rest stops between my home in Rhode Island and my doctor’s office in Boston knew me by name, because I stopped in every few days to use the bathroom en route.
I didn’t expect to drink orange juice by the carton to indulge a craving instead of treating a low. But it was one of the only cravings I had when pregnant, and it was intense. I’d walk by the display of orange juices in the grocery store and be drawn in by the bright, sunshine ray-decorated bottles. For a brief moment, my husband and I entertained “With Pulp” as a potential middle name for our daughter.
I didn’t expect my husband and I to start speaking solely in numbers. “Thirty-eight!” I’d yell. “Thirty-eight?!” he’d respond, opening the jar of glucose tabs and counting them out into my hand. “Seven?” “Seven.” And after the low subsided, we’d count how many weeks until delivery.
I didn’t expect to realize that all pregnancies are a bit “complicated,” and not just mine because of my type 1 diabetes. Everyone’s experiences vary, and information overload may come with any pregnancy. We, as women living with diabetes, may get some added bonus worries, but the end result of our pregnancies may be just the same as the pregnancies women who don’t live with diabetes experience: a healthy baby. (And I didn’t expect to feel so empowered by that realization.)
I didn’t expect to love, so much and so intensely, someone I hadn’t yet met. Even when she was just a hope I held closely in my heart, I loved her. And once she was alive and growing inside of me, that love grew with her, developing into something so intrinsic and so deep that when she was born and placed into my arms, I didn’t worry about not knowing how to feed her yet. Or how to put a diaper on her. Or how to snap the little snappy things on her onesie. I didn’t expect to feel so calm, and so right, and so at home with such a fragile creature, but I did.
I expected us to fall in love, and to be a family. And we are.
Kerri Morrone Sparling has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1986, and is the creator of one of the first diabetes patient blogs SixUntilMe. She is a freelance writer, global public speaker, and lends her voice to many diabetes-related publications, conferences, and causes. She is constantly inspired by the diabetes community. Sparling lives in Rhode Island with her husband and their daughter. Sparling is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
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© 2013 The DX: The Diabetes Experience