Type 1 Diabetes & Pregnancy

Photo: Getty Images

If you have Type 1 Diabetes this picture accurately describes your day to day life. If you’re pregnant and have Type 1 Diabetes you feel like this describes every minute of every day! My biggest piece of advice for anyone that is pregnant with Type 1: YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE!!!! You need a big team of people cheering you on and helping you through the ups and downs, because the changes your body is going through will make the roller coaster ride even more wild.

I am so grateful for my wonderful husband that I’ve already bragged on before, but he was a rock for me by constantly reminding me to take my prenatal vitamins, drink enough water, and telling me how loved and capable I was. Not only that, he came to all my appointments with me, which doesn’t seem like too much to ask, but I can’t remember if I mentioned that we live in a small town in southeastern Utah. Therefore, we don’t have any endocrinologists in town and drive about two hours to see one. As a high risk pregnancy, my endocrinologist referred me to an OB also in Salt Lake, which meant we got to drive the two hours to each appointment and two hours back. So let’s just say, my husband deserves a gold star for being such a trooper in all of this.

When we first found out we were pregnant, I had so many emotions…excitement, joy, happiness, extreme gratitude, and to be brutally honest, fear. This was a whole new territory of uncharted waters and I was terrified. I immediately called my endocrinologist, but was told that she was moving to a different hospital (even further than the two hours we already had to drive from our house to see her), and so I was referred to her PA. Thankfully, her PA turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Did you know…if you have hyperthyroidism and you get pregnant, your baby is taking all of your thyroid hormone from you, so you need to take at least 30% more of your medication the minute you find out that baby is growing inside of you? Well, if you didn’t you are not alone. I didn’t know either, and my thyroid levels were supposed to be under 2.0 and I was at a 10.0, which made me even more tired and sick than I already was just from the pregnancy alone! YIKES! Well, thankfully, after seeing the PA, she let me know that very important piece of information and that made me feel like I wasn’t completely crazy for feeling so terrible in the first 10 weeks of my pregnancy.

I also was so thankful for the switch in doctors because she got me on a pump (I use the Omnipod Dash) and she gave me the freedom to change my basal rate and ratios daily if necessary. She advised that I set my range to 70-130 (this is important during pregnancy and I have found that even post pregnancy, I like trying to keep my sugars in this range) and make tiny adjustments when I started seeing my blood sugars go up for more than 24 hours. I had never had a doctor empower me like this. Before, I would always wait the three months before making adjustments to my insulin doses and I couldn’t believe what a difference it made. Also, no one knows your body better than you, so.logically, I should have been making these small adjustments all along instead of just waiting for my doctor to tell me when it had already been months of high blood sugars!

Finally, during my second and third trimester, my new endocrinologist checked in with a biweekly phone call and looked at my Dexcom info just to make sure that I was doing okay. Now that is what I call quality care, am I right? I am truly indebted to her and will forever be thanking God that the other doctor decided to move and I ended up in her care.

Along with my new endocrinologist, my OB was also an amazing part of my team. His daughter has Type 1 and so he knew exactly what I needed to grow and deliver a healthy baby. Two other people on my team that actually don’t even know they helped me all nine months of my pregnancy were Ginger Vieira and Jennifer Smith CDE who wrote: Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes: Your Month-to-Month Guide to Blood Sugar Management. This book was a goldmine and helped me through each month of my pregnancy with all of their tips and advice. Additionally, all of my family and friends praying for and checking in on me were a huge reason I had a successful pregnancy, and of course we can’t forget the big man upstairs that orchestrated all of this to begin with and gave me the peace and strength I needed to live OTR/T1 while pregnant!

Life Updates

It’s been awhile since last posting. I guess you could say life got in the way, but I am not complaining. I’ve still been living OTR/T1, but it has definitely looked a lot different. It seems like even when I’m not running physically, I’m still “on the run” because of the endless tasks I need to do to take care of myself (doctor appointments, insurance calls, checking Dexcom, bolusing to stay in range, changing pods, making sure there are enough snacks in your car/bag, and the list goes on and on).

A few months after my husband and I got married in February of 2021, we decided that we were ready to start growing our family. My diagnoses of diseases over the years (T1D – age 7, Celiac Disease – age 11, and Hypothyroidism -age 16) made me believe it would be really hard for me to conceive and bring a healthy baby into the world. If any of you have had these same fears, you are not alone.

I am thrilled to tell you that we welcomed a very healthy baby girl into the world on March 15, 2022. She could not be more perfect and I could not be more thankful that I had God and my family on my side (not to mention the hundreds of other people in our corner praying for us, the amazing doctor and nurses at the hospital where she was born, as well as my endocrinologist that called me biweekly to check in and make sure I was managing everything okay).

Fast forward and our little angel is already 10 months old! Every day my heart is full of gratitude for the gift of new life and for what a blessing she is to us. I have to admit that after having her, it took me a few weeks to recover and start moving/exercising again. I did a good job while pregnant to make it a priority because the minute I saw the arrows on my Dexcom going up I would jump on my NordicTrack treadmill or take a walk outside; however, I am not back to running at least a few miles a day like I did pre-pregnancy. I hope one day that it will be on the top of my list again, but for now I am busy chasing my little one around.

I am learning that being OTR/T1 looks way different right now, but that’s okay. I know that this is just a season and that I will eventually get back to my regular running schedule that makes me feel so healthy and alive.

In my last post before I got pregnant, I mentioned that my A1C was 5.5 and I can happily say that through my pregnancy and even postpartum it never went above 6. The last time I had it checked it was…5.5 and it still amazes me when I hear that number! How is it even possible?!?!? I ask myself the same question. I am amazed at this newfound control that I have over my T1D. In the next few posts I am going to outline what it looked like to be pregnant, our baby girl’s birth story, and life postpartum. I hope whether you have T1D yourself, or if you are reading this because someone you know/love has it, that my story can help and encourage you and/or your loved one.

Stay tuned! 🙂

Celebrating Non-Diabetic Level A1c Numbers!

90 Day CGM Average: 118mg/dl

In the last 90 days, my average glucose was 118mg/dL. In the last 14 days, my average glucose was 112mg/dL! I am writing about this because this is a HUGE VICTORY for me. As you can see from the chart below, I am officially not just considered “well-controlled”, but am in the non-diabetic level!!! My current A1c for the last 90 days is a 5.5, which is my lowest EVER.

From the time I was diagnosed until I was a junior in college, my A1c used to range anywhere from 8.5-10, which is obviously terrible. However, during my junior year of college I took a nutrition class and began running on the beach, thanks to the fact that I attended the beautiful Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. Thankfully, these two simple steps helped lower my A1c to the 7-8 range, which was better than before…but still not great.

How is it that someone can have diabetes for 20+ years and not learn how to control it? This is such an important question and there are many factors that play into why it was so hard for me to control my levels all those years. I could go through and blame all the things stacked against me, but the bottom line is that it was difficult and I didn’t have the support I needed to keep my levels in range. I used an insulin pump and went to the doctor every three months, but that was definitely not enough…especially when my doctors would tell me that I should just take more insulin and that would help improve my A1c.

In all my years with diabetes, it wasn’t until I met my now husband that I can confidently say it takes tough love, discipline, and a will to live a long, happy, and healthy life to get my blood sugars where they should be and keep them that way. This man pictured above saved me from myself, and I will forever be grateful to him for helping me properly manage my diabetes. I remember one of our first dates when he came to Los Angeles to visit and after dinner I asked him if he wanted to get ice cream on our way home…and he said “Well, I don’t want it if you shouldn’t have it.”

He didn’t know much about diabetes then, but at the least…he knew having an ice cream would probably be too much sugar for my body to handle. The crazy thing is, in the 20+ years that I’d been living with diabetes, everyone wanted me to feel normal. The truth is when you are diagnosed with this life altering disease, you are no longer normal and should not follow the same narrative someone with a working pancreas does. I already posted about my three keys to Living on the Run with Type 1, but want to stress again how important it is to:

1) Accept the fact that when you are diagnosed with T1D, your life will drastically change.

2) Find someone or something that is worth living for and commit to living a more disciplined life.

3) Keep your blood sugar in range (whatever that means for you – mine is technically 70-140, but I typically like to stay between 75-105) with minimal peaks and valleys.

That’s all for now. I hope you will comment below if any of this resonates with you.

Thanks for Reading,
Stephanie Sampinos

From: “Why Me? How Can This Be?” To: “On the Run! My Life is Not Done!”

I don’t know about any of you…but when I was little and especially when I got to my teenage years, I would find myself wondering…”What I did to deserve Type 1 Diabetes? Why do I have to suffer? Why do all the other people I know have a functioning pancreas? How is it that everyone else around me can eat candy, fast food, truly anything they want and feel great and I feel HORRIBLE?! How is it that I have to constantly to be calculating what carbohydrates are going into my body and remembering whether or not I took my long acting insulin or how to do this math equation: high blood sugar – 150 divided by 40 = ????? (especially when math and science are not my strongest subjects).” Not to mention I tend to focus on the big picture rather than the small details, so counting the exact number of carbohydrates I eat and dosing exactly the right amount of insulin 20 minutes before I eat definitely does not come naturally to me.

The amount of thought and intentional effort it takes to manage Type 1 Diabetes is completely overwhelming, so I imagine you might possibly be feeling or have felt what I described above. I often want to scream “IT’S NOT FAIR!!!”…actually if you ask my family, I think I may have screamed it not once, but over and over again as I let this disease get the best of me.

Truly, being diagnosed with T1D is not fair. However, what I’m writing to tell you today is that your life is not over. We have a choice every day to live with the “Why me? How can this be?” attitude (and let me tell you from first hand experience…it is a difficult and sad way to live), or we can change to an “On the run! My life is not done!” attitude that sparks growth, change, and joy despite the present circumstance.

I am an educator, and there is a lot of research these days about Mindset and what it takes for students to overcome challenges. One of the most important factors in student success is a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, it is difficult to overcome obstacles. However, with a growth mindset people see challenges as a way to grow. My challenge for you today and every day is to adopt a growth mindset in regards to Type 1 Diabetes. My hope is that it will enhance your overall health and happiness. I created these little posters below as a visual reminder to steer clear of the fixed (red) thoughts and be reminded of how this disease is helping me to grow (green).

Growing up in the Greek Orthodox Church, I was taught to have faith in a God that has called us according to his purpose. I was reading a book called Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray yesterday, I came across a chapter entitled As Your Strength. I want to leave this quote with you to remind you that though you may be weak, He is strong.

Christ teaches His servant to say, “I take pleasure in infirmities. ‘Most gladly…will I…glory in my infirmities’ (2 Cor. 12:9).” The Christian thinks his weaknesses are his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God; God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that gives us our claim and access to the strength of Him who has said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

I think I could easily give up and not live life on the run with Type 1. I could sulk and feel sorry for myself, wishing life were different, but then I think about how blessed I am to wake up every day. How I have the choice to put one foot in front of the other despite my circumstances. How I am able to channel my inner strength. How I am able to better understand my body and the beautiful, intricate system that God created out of the dust. It’s truly miraculous.

I can’t tell you honestly that I am always in the growth mindset and on the run, but I can tell you that my life is significantly better and I am much happier in the days that I choose to see my T1D as an opportunity to grow. I want to leave you with this little poster the ABC’s of growth mindset to encourage you in your journey.

Thanks for reading. Comment below and follow me if you want to partner with me in always putting one foot in front of the other and living life on the run with Type 1! 🙂

The 3 Keys to Living: OTR/T1

Unlocking your potential and being your best you can be challenging no matter your circumstances, but I have found it is especially difficult if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Hence, today I want to talk about the three keys to unlocking the potential we all have inside us to live on the run.

🔑 #1. Accountability: I start with this one because like I said in the last post, I lived for so long telling people that I was taking care of myself and I was honestly just pushing my diabetes under the rug so that I would feel “normal”. Therefore, when people find out that I have T1D, most of the time they are shocked because I do my best to hide it and never really talk about it, mostly because I don’t want any extra attention or pity because of it. However, what I am learning now is that the more I talk about it, the more I am held accountable to it. I have always felt like I can take care of myself on my own, and I would always play this same dialogue in my head: “I am responsible, I am fine, I don’t want anyone to worry about me. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t feel great, but I never will know what it feels like to really be healthy again because of this disease.” If you have had these same thoughts, please know that it is SO important to be honest about where you are and to have someone or a group of people that will hold you accountable in every step of your journey. I always say that no one should ever have to do anything alone…especially if they don’t have to. I encourage you to reach out and find some accountability partners, not tomorrow not a week or month from now, but TODAY. Seriously…choose anyone that truly cares about you and your well being…for example, me, your doctor, your best friend, your family, whomever you choose that won’t nag you but will love you through the ups and downs and hold you accountable. Things truly are much better when shared. Our society doesn’t really push this message, but I am here today to tell you that the more accountability you have, the better your life will be and you will have so much more motivation to take care of yourself, your health, and your body. Which brings us to our next key…

🔑 #2. Motivation: There used to be far too many days that I had ZERO and I mean Z-E-R-OOOOOO motivation to live on the run. I always felt sluggish, I was carrying extra weight, and I felt like no matter what I was doing, I was never going to look like I wanted to look or feel happy and healthy. I also felt like when I did get up to exercise my blood sugar would go low and then I would have to eat and then what was the point of exercising in the first place? Not only that, but then my blood sugar would go back up and it was just a constant cycle of highs and lows. Then, during my junior year of college Pepperdine University, something changed. I took Nutrition 101 for my science requirement (because in my humble opinion science isn’t my strongest subject), and it seemed like the class I would have the most success in at the time. Little did I know it was EXACTLY what I needed to spark some internal motivation to have a better relationship with food, exercise, and my own personal health. I remember going to the beach one day (since you can do that when the university you go to is less than a five minute drive) and thinking instead of just laying here (which is what I was used to doing), I put one foot in front of the other and began going on short twenty minute walks. Those short walks turned into longer forty-five minute walks. Those longer walks turned into walking a minute and running for a minute, which turned into running for five minutes, and then ten, and then thirty. Before I knew it, I was starting to see my body change and was on the path to a healthier and happier me. There are so many different things that can motivate you, both internal and external. So for me, my nutrition class was my internal motivator at the start of my journey back to a healthy me, and running along the ocean was definitely an external motivator. I encourage you to find your own internal and external motivations, to live life on the run. Write them down and treasure them. They surely will not be the same every day, but recognize them, be grateful for them, and when you don’t feel like putting one front of the other, they will be there to remind you to stay strong and to never give up!

🔑 #3. The Right Tools: I end with this point because once you have your accountability and motivation, the right tools are essential to live on the run. I am amazed at the technology we have these days compared to what I was working with when I was diagnosed at age seven. The first tool I highly recommend if you do not use it is a continuous glucose monitor. I use Dexcom and as you can see from the picture below, it sticks right on your tummy and communicates with your phone to constantly monitor your blood sugar. I used to use an insulin pump, but after living in Arizona and constantly having it overheat in the summer, I decided to go back to regular injections. Once I went off the pump, I actually felt like I had more self-control and made smarter food choices because I was putting a needle in, not just pressing a button. My doctor keeps recommending I go back on the pump, but every time we talk I tell her that I don’t mind the injections. About two months ago she recommended I use a new product called the InPen. I love it. It also uses bluetooth technology, like the CGM so that I know how much active insulin is in my body so that I am not stacking my insulin. I encourage you to check out these two tools and if you have any questions about them, comment below. There are so many tools out there, so it can be overwhelming to know which ones are best…but I will continue to share ones that work for me, and would love to hear about ones that work for you!

Living On the Run with Type One: OTR/T1

Welcome! I am thrilled to share my journey with you and come alongside you wherever you are in your journey. Tuesday, May 12 marks the launching of this blog to provide support to those who are battling (or have a loved one who is battling) Type 1 Diabetes. Visit My Story to read about the inspiration behind this blog. I hope by writing this I can share the things I am learning day by day that help me maintain homeostasis within my ever changing body.

For my first post, we are going to focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Living with Type 1 Diabetes is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. For those of you that don’t think you are runners, don’t worry. I wasn’t either. I could hardly run even a mile in my high school and beginning of college years. (Yes, I was that girl in my freshman PE class that dreaded running a mile…I would cut corners, say I did five laps, when I only did four…you get the idea). I didn’t realize until my junior year of college that by cutting those corners and skipping that final lap, I was cheating both my health and well being. Further, I wasn’t just doing it in PE class, but I was doing it in so many other areas of my life, meaning that I was unable to properly manage my blood sugars. I was truly on the path to destroying the beautiful life that I had been gifted.

As time goes on, I’d love to share with you all the details of the rollercoaster I have been on since being diagnosed in August of 1998, but for now I just want you to know that as impossible as it may seem, you have the power within you to put one foot in front of the other and live On the Run with Type 1.

I will leave you today with this quote:


I also encourage you to download the free NRC (Nike Run Club) app! It is one tool that I began using on my journey to putting one foot in front of the other on the journey to a healthier me.

Feel free to comment below, share this blog with anyone you know that may benefit from reading this, and connect with me on the Contact page so that we can hold each other accountable to always be On the Run with Type One! 🙂

Steph Stamas