Now that I am approaching the end of my pregnancy, I’m mad. In the Diabetes Online Community, we spent a lot of time talking about diabetes stigma and the differences and similarities between the different types. But one thing that isn’t talked about much is the stigma surrounding diabetes and pregnancy. The default go-to is that if you have poorly controlled diabetes you will have a big baby. This makes me so mad.
Last week, I had a pregnancy scare. I had intense pain in my right side (after feeling a ton of pelvic pressure the day before mixed with some stomach issues). Of course, my OB was out of the office that day but the nurse told me I should come in right away and so I ended up seeing a different doctor. I was NOT a fan of this guy. He looked at my stomach and told me that I was really big and that I was really pregnant, no kidding buddy! He then consults my chart and sees that I am diabetic and he goes on to tell me that poorly controlled diabetics have big babies so I must not have good control of my diabetes.
If you want to make a pregnant T1D mad, that is definitely the thing to say. I was so livid. I have spent the past 31 weeks stressing every minute of every day about my blood sugars and carb counting. I hired a CDE on retainer, costing me almost $1000 out of pocket so that I could email her every week and make adjustments to my blood sugars. I had an A1C of 5.4 last time I got blood work done and that’s even better than some non-diabetics! You want to tell me that because my son is measuring 2 weeks ahead, you can make the blanket statement that I don’t have good control of my diabetes without even knowing my history of how this pregnancy is going?!
As if that wasn’t bad enough, he continued to talk! My regular OB had made a comment in my chart that I wanted to try for a VBAC. The substitute doctor told me that based on my baby’s size, he would not recommend a VBAC; he would recommend another c-section and that he thinks the baby should come no later than week 38. First off, I didn’t ask him his thoughts. My regular OB and my high-risk OB are monitoring my pregnancy and they will advise me on what’s best when the time comes. My first came at week 38 so I am sort of thinking that is what will happen this time around but if I can go to week 40, I really want to try to. At my last regular OB appointment, she told me that as long as my blood sugars were looking OK, we could try for week 40. This was music to my ears because with my previous pregnancy, they didn’t want me to go past week 39.
Luckily, all was OK with baby. Cervix was closed and the doctor thought I had just pulled a muscle. Not surprising since I have to carry my 33 pound toddler around! However, my interaction with the doctor is only one example of the stigma with diabetes and having a big baby.
I see it in my diabetes and pregnancy Facebook groups. One girl commented that her baby was measuring 28% and she said, “Take that diabetes!” I was so upset over her comment (thanks pregnancy hormones) because my baby is measuring 95% but I could also say take that diabetes because my last A1C was 5.4. Why does she think she is combating diabetes because her baby isn’t measuring as big? Why is having a big baby seen as such a bad thing?! Also in my T1D and pregnancy Facebook group, people are always asking the question about how big was your baby and a lot of comments are on how their babies are bigger.
My sister and I were big babies and we were girls. My cousins, who are boys, were both over 10 pounds and born to non-diabetics. My husband is also a big guy and my first son was almost 11 pounds. I really think having a big baby is just in my genetics. Maybe diabetes plays a part somehow but it’s not because of my blood sugars since my blood sugars are that of a non-diabetics. I don’t think I could have a small baby no matter what I did. If I wasn’t diabetic, I would most likely still have a 10 pounder. I wish instead of people being afraid about having a big baby or making comments about how big the baby is, they would just think wow you are a really comforting vessel for a baby to grow big and healthy in. Why is having a big baby not a good thing? I provide such a good home for my baby that he is able to thrive in my belly. Why are T1Ds so afraid to have a big baby (I guess besides the whole having to give birth to a big baby)?
At my 31 week growth scan with the high-risk OB, my baby was measuring 4.5 pounds. That is in the 95%. Some people give birth the 5 pound babies so the fact my guy is almost there is pretty shocking. However, he is thriving in his environment. I am doing everything possible to have a health pregnancy and a healthy baby. I don’t need some doctor telling me how I’m going to give birth to a toddler. I need a doctor to tell me that I’m doing a good job.