Almost fifeteen years ago I birthed my first child. My first pregnancy was an incredible journey, the beginning of an incredible journey that would alter the course of my life in more ways than one.
I was twenty years old when my daughter was conceived. My boyfriend, N, and I were recently engaged and had been living together for awhile. We were both attending college, he was a year ahead of me, and were pretty happy with our lives. Our plan was to be married in June of 1995.
Sometime in 1994 we attended a music festival at the Gorge Amphitheater, along with my sister and her boyfriend at the time. We were camping out in tents, enjoying our youth and freedom. I felt tired and semi -nauseous. I remember clearly, lying next to my sweetie in our tent, I believe it was early morning, and saying to him, "Either I have the flu or I'm pregnant." I was irritable and grumpy. I remember throwing a fit during the afternoon, demanding that we leave early. Poor boy, he tried so hard to be understanding and still plead his case for wanting to stay. (I was great at throwing fits in those days!)
I don't recall how much time passed between the music festival and the night I took a pregnancy test. I do remember being at my friends apartment. We were having a girls night while N and his friend were out for a guys night. I was feeling jealous and resentful of N spending time with his other friends and I think we had some kind of arguement early that day. (We argued often when we were younger). I was pretty sure something was off with my body. I suspected pregnancy and had purchased several pregnancy tests. I don't remember how many I took, but I know it was more than one. They were all positive. What an amzing rush of emotions... awe, fear, apprehension, elation... I called N and told him over the phone. Looking back on it that probably wasn't the best way to break the news, but I was so overwhelmed, I remember wanting to share it with him right away, so that I wouldn't feel so alone.
N handled the news well. He has always been a calm and steady person, one of the many (foreign at the time), qualities that attracted me to him, (and still do). In truth I have a terrible memory. I have forgotten so many of the details of so many events in my life, but I know N and I were commited to having our baby and to sticking together to do it.
Thus began my first journey into pregancy and what a rollercoaster ride it was. Only three years earlier, when I was seventeen years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (Insulin Dependent). I'm not sure how I got hooked up with my OB. I know I was on the state's Basic Health Plan, so I had to go through the whole rigamarole of getting set up with DSHS medical coupons. What a difficult and depressing journey that was.
Being on state assistance is so much work. If you do not have compassion for those who need it then you should at least have respect for them. Jumping through all the hurdles, filling out all the paperwork (this was before the internet made online forms easily accessible, to those of us luck enough to have access to computers), traveling to all of the different sites, putting up with all of the people, keepingtrack of all of the people, making infinite #'s of phone calls, being pushed from one person to another, being treated like a second class, or no class citizen, all of this requires an incredible amount of determination, patience, and willingess to be treated as less than to have your needs met!!! And while running that rat race and jumping through all of those hurdles I was a full time college student, new diabetic, a newly pregnant young woman, and I had it so much easier than so many.
I liked my doctor. A rare and blessed gift for me because I struggle with issues of trust in authority figures, especially when it comes to my own health and well being. He was a diabtetic himself and one of those rare human beings who listens well, communicates well, and offers information as if one had a choice. Ahhhh.....
The first time I showed up for an appointment I discovered I had my dates mixed up. They had me scheduled for a different day. I felt like such a failure. I cried. I don't recall if I had to reschedule or if they were able to get me in that day, but I do remember thinking it was a terrible way to start a relationship with a doctor. (Feelings of shame and worthlessness plagued me in my youth. I still struggle with them, although less and less). But we were able to develop a positive relationship. I learned a lot from him and from a nurse who worked with him. She was also diabetic. I think she was a diabetes educator but I can't be sure. She was able to spend quite a bit of time with me. Helping me learn about nutrition, managing blood sugars, and she helped me learn how to use my insulin pump.
I was able to get an insulin pump early in my pregancy. My grandfather, a wealthy doctor himself, bought my first insulin pump for me. At the time I belive it cost nearly $4000.00, none of it covered by insurance. Insulin pumps were still fairly new on the scene at that time. The pump made a huge difference for me. I was better able to manage my blood sugars and maintained my A1C in a fairly healthy range throughout my pregnancy.
To Be Continued.......