I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on the 4th of July in 2000 when I was 15-years-old.
I was drinking copious amounts of water and any other fluid I could get my hands on and then going to the bathroom almost immediately. I even drank litres of orange juice when I came home from school – I was also training for swimming and gymnastics at the time and keeping a lot of symptoms hidden from the amount of exercise I was doing, but I didn’t realise.
Then one day I became incredibly ill and went to my GP who recognised the symptoms quickly and sent me straight to the Emergency Department.
From my mid 20s I was constantly reminded by medical professionals that I would possibly struggle to fall pregnant and should be trying for a baby sooner than later. In fact, new research from Amcal’s 2018 Diabetes Care Review has found that more than one in 10 Australians hold the belief that people with diabetes shouldn’t fall pregnant at all* – that’s just not the case.
Being in a relationship for over 10 years and married for four, I decided to go off the pill but we weren’t actively trying to fall pregnant. I was told the chances were low so my expectations weren’t high. I had taken a couple of pregnancy tests and they came back negative. Again, I wasn’t too concerned as I assumed it wasn’t going to be easy. Then, after three or four months, I took another pregnancy test and it came back positive.
The first thought that went through my mind was disbelief, I couldn’t believe that I was actually pregnant. When we counted back to figure out when we’d conceived, I thought to the occasions where I was more active than ever. I had achieved four personal bests in the pool (as I’m a keen swimmer) and also went on a snow trip where I was skiing each day. Little did we know we were expecting.
My mum didn’t believe me at first when I told her. I got a thumbs up from Dad and Pop was over the moon because it will be his first and only great grandchild. My friends and colleagues were also excited. Naturally, it’s been a complete life changer for me.
Devin Arbenz has Type 1 Diabetes. This is a day in her life:
Over the years I’ve absolutely experienced feelings of anxiety about falling pregnant. I would ask myself questions all the time: Will it be difficult for me? Will it be achievable? What if it doesn’t happen at all and would I be OK with that? How will I still be able to have a family? I did nothing to deserve this.