Attack of the Postpartum Lows
The twins have arrived! (Well they are almost a month old now, but keeping up with my blog has been impossible to say the least!) I will share my birth experience here at a later point.
This post is to talk about being a brand new mom, living with type 1 diabetes, and how much postpartum/birth of children can screw with hormone levels, creating some pretty nasty blood sugar levels.
The first two weeks following their birth, I felt like a blood sugar rockstar. Was my diabetes gone? Did my pancreas suddenly start working again? Boy did it feel like it! I ate generally whatever I wanted and didn’t need to bolus for most of it. I even had two slices of pizza (yes, two) without taking any bolus insulin and somehow managed to keep my blood sugars below 130mg/dL. Seems like childbirth cured me!
This week has been one of the toughest weeks in my diabetic life! Not only am I taking about a quarter of the insulin I was prior to giving birth, but I’m constantly snacking on juice, granola bars and peanut butter to keep my blood sugars stable. Saturday morning, I was doing my 6am twin routine; diaper change then feed baby A, diaper change then feed baby B. I was congested and didn’t feel myself. I asked for help so I could get some rest. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law came over around 9am, and I went to bed.
I totally forgot that my Dexcom had been ripped off overnight, and was so tired that I also forgot to test myself. I fell asleep quickly. My moher-in-law said I started snoring very loudly, and started making noises signaling something was wrong. Hubby was working, but told them to give me juice or something to get my blood sugar up. He knew the signs, and knew I was having a very bad low blood sugar. I was unable to swallow, so the juice was only making me choke. My husband arrived, and shortly thereafter, the paramedics arrived. I was given a glucose drip (dextrose) in my veins, which helped me to regain consciousness. I can recall the conversations everyone had, my husband yelling at the paramedics about why it took so long for them to arrive, but in my state of consciousness, I couldn’t express myself. They needed to turn off my insulin pump! And I just kept being told to “relax.”
The dextrose IV made my blood sugars skyrocket, but I was able to regain consciousness and mobility. I was asked to go the ER, but my husband and I didn’t feel the need. Plus, we now have infants to think about, and it just wasn’t feasible. We closely monitored my sugars thereafter, and all went back to my new normal.
I followed up with my endocrinologist. He reduced my basal rates again, and told me to continue to not bolus for meals. I followed instructions, ate a normal dinner and didn’t bolus for anything.
Before going to bed at 11:30pm that night, I tested my blood sugar: 125mg/dL. Baby A was still fussy and wouldn’t go to sleep. I opted to make him a bottle, stuck him in a boppy pillow on my bed (where my husband was already sleeping) and started to feed him.
Around midnight, I started showing signs of another hypoglycemia attack. My husband said I drank a juice box, and he turned off my pump. My husband tested me: 28mg/dL. He continued to watch my dexcom and my sugars still weren’t going up. He tried giving me glucose tablets, which I didn’t (or couldn’t?) swallow. At that point, he decided that he needed help from paramedics and dialed 911.
The paramedics arrived, once again gave me an IV drip with dextrose. I was more quickly able to come back to my normal self. This second incident was less time to recover, but a much more eye awaking experience for me.
Here I am thinking I’m superwoman for balancing my new twin mom life, my diabetes, all while on verrry little sleep! I guess this second incident was the real realization that I need to take care of myself first, then worry about the babies. They are going to cry. They are going to fuss. They are going to need a bottle, or a nap, or their binky, or need a diaper changed. They will forever need something from me. But I need to make sure I am good first. I need to be slightly more selfish to take care of myself so I can continue to take care of them. It’s not as easy as it seems, especially when they are screaming, but if momma isn’t good, nobody else will be either.