IVF and Type 1 – A New Journey Begins
Editor’s Note: This is the first story in Katie’s series.
When I was first diagnosed with type 1 in 2011, at the age of 25, the first question I had was, “But, can I still get pregnant?” The nurses assured me, that “yes,” I’d still be able to have a baby of my own, but I’d be considered a “high-risk” pregnancy. I’d have to keep close monitoring, eat healthy, have more check-ups with doctors, etc. All I needed to hear was “yes.” As long as I can remember, I’ve been excited about the idea of being a mom. And, with my husband and I both living far from home, my desire to have a family of my own in our new home has only increased with time. I was relieved to hear that my diabetes diagnosis would not derail that dream.
My husband and I got married in August 2014 and knew we wanted to try pretty soon afterward to start our family. I started using a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) system and worked to keep my blood sugars in a tight range, cut out “cheat meals” where I could, read anything and everything I could get my hands on related to type 1 and pregnancy, all to prepare for when it’d be my chance to have a baby.
Six months after we started “trying,” there was still no baby. Because we both have underlying health conditions, we went ahead and each visited our doctors to see if there was anything that could be inhibiting our ability to get pregnant. To make a long story short, we learned that the medication used for my husband’s autoimmune disease meant that we would not be able to conceive naturally. Luckily, he had prepared for this possibility, “banking” a sample in 2007, per his doctor’s recommendation.
This now meant that fertility treatments, specifically IVF, would be our only option to have a biological baby. I wish I could say I took this news in stride, but in reality, I wanted to stomp my feet, pout and scream, “Enough!” I felt like we had been through enough, and didn’t understand how yet another obstacle had been placed in our way. But, now that I’ve had time to let the dust settle, I know that we’re luckier than most that have found ourselves in this situation. My husband had the foresight to plan for this setback, we have families that are willing and able to support us emotionally and financially and we live near one of the best fertility clinics in the country.
As we embark on this new journey, I think my life with type 1 has me more prepared than most for the grueling IVF schedule that lies ahead of us. Daily injections? Come on, that’s nothing to someone that relies on an insulin pen at least five times a day. Mood swings? Sure, it’s called a Monday fighting high and low blood sugars. Daily monitoring? My life IS monitoring, just see my Dexcom and the pile of test strips next to my meter at all hours of the day.
I can say without hesitation that living with type 1 has made me a stronger person. In November, when we begin our first IVF cycle, I know that it’s because of my four and a half years of living with type 1 that I’ll be able to face each challenge with positivity, forgive myself if things don’t go as planned and know that each day is a new opportunity for something great to happen.
I’ll continue to write to provide updates about our process with IVF, the role type 1 plays in our fertility treatments and hopefully share a baby photo or two at the end of it all!
Read Part II Learning to Live with Fear, Type 1 & Fertility Treatments, Part III First Cycle-What I never Imagined About IVF Treatment and Part IV The Waiting Game