So I'll start at the darkest, but probably truest beginning - the aftermath of my 1993 diagnosis. Big Nan (the pediatric RN/CDE who was my first teacher in the ways of the D) had decided we needed to have a discussion about The Future When I'd Be an Adult, because she wouldn't always be the person in charge of educating me about my disease and how to live with it. Part of this instruction was, of course, about having children. Now, I was diagnosed shortly after the DCCT ended. It wasn't quite the diabetes dark ages, but people were certainly still incredibly misinformed about how well someone could live with the D. So Big Nan told me horror stories of deformities, of the suffering that came from being in the body of a Type 1 diabetic. She even showed me pictures. Me, a recently diagnosed, terrified 15-year-old girl. I honestly don't know if this was an attempt to scare me about sex as a teenager in general or if she legitimately thought I should not have children because all attempts to do so would end in horrible tragedy. What I do know is that I was so incredibly scarred by this meeting that I ultimately stopped seeing her, and was utterly convinced that I would never be able to have children.
The next beginning - WAY more cheerful - is a shorter story. I met someone, we loved each other, we married. He believed in me and my ability to take care of myself, trusted in my dedication and downright stubbornness, and somehow taking the next steps of going on the pump and getting down to brass tacks to start our own family didn't seem so futile.
The real beginning came in early December, when I took a pregnancy test early one Saturday morning and blearily had to do a double-take: it was positive. And that launched a bit of a downward spiral. I wish I had been all happiness and excitement, but I was just all terror and doom. All I could think of were those horrific pictures from Big Nan's book. Every bite of food I ate was like a bite of poison, every out-of-range BG was a source of anxiety. All I could feel was dread and guilt, counting down the days until our first OB appointment in late January when I was sure I would be told something had gone horribly wrong and it was all my fault. There was a lot of sobbing fits in the shower, and poor B was at a loss - I couldn't find excitement in myself and, since we were waiting to tell anyone until the end of the first trimester was safely over, he was stuck being the sole, lonely voice of happiness. The appointment came and went, a reassuring whirl of hearing an actual heartbeat, watching the fetus move, and taking home an excellent ultrasound photo. But I was still scared, of course. I'd look at that little picture and all I could think was "Oh, please don't let me be hurting you."
So the happiest beginning is probably today, of course. It starts with this:
The waiting room at my maternal-fetal OB's office.
Today was the day we found out the new addition to Team Hoffmanderson is a girl. More important - and the reason today was the happiest beginning - is this is the first time since I've known I was pregnant that I was actually able to feel the first, tiniest glimmer of hope that I, as a 17-year veteran of Type 1 diabetes, just might be able to have a healthy baby. All of my tests have been normal, my kidneys are doing well, my heart is fine, my thyroid levels and A1cs are in range, and best of all? We had an anatomy scan and my MFM OB found the results "incredibly reassuring" - at 15 weeks and 6 days, we're too early to be cleared for heart, spine, and face, but nothing catastrophic was found and anything found later is going to be "less severe." It sounds bleak, I'm sure, but it's all sunshine and puppies as far as I'm concerned - we're not out of the woods, but we're on the way out. I'm still scared, still nervous about the fetal echocardiogram, still worried about that next anatomy scan in four weeks. But simply knowing that there's a very worst to put behind us is a huge weight off my shoulders.
So on to the joyousness! It's a girl! A Hoffmanderson to add to the clan, a little girl who's bound to be a spitfire, who I already know will hate candy-pink, and who will look just righteously adorable in a pair of stripey leggings and this gift from her aunt: