"For many women with Type 1 diabetes, pregnancy is a time of stress and risk. So much so that some diabetic women are advised not to have children at all," shares EAC client Chrystal, who just delivered her second child! She had perfect control of her blood sugar throughout both pregnancies and attributes her success to her Early Alert Canine and “love of her life,” Leslie.
"My A1C is 4.6, my levels are 91% in the range between 70 and 120, and my nurses tell me that my A1C and my numbers are actually better than non-diabetic pregnant women as well as just regular diabetics who are not even pregnant. I'm part of so many support groups and people always ask how I get such great blood sugar control? The biggest difference I can identify between me and other pregnant diabetics is that I have Leslie. I haven't met one other pregnant diabetic who has an alert dog yet.
The reason I attribute my healthy pregnancy to Leslie is that she does not stop alerting and she's always on top of it. When I’m not pregnant, she keeps me in a range of 80 to 150. Now that I’m pregnant, she keeps me at 70 to 120. She won't let me go to sleep unless she knows I’m in that range. When you’re pregnant, your base rates change every three to four weeks as you get bigger and bigger, which makes it even more challenging. But she’s always on top of it.
And no, I didn't train Leslie to keep me in a different range during pregnancy. She just did it. I do feel like Leslie knows that I'm pregnant. I've been paired with Leslie for more than 10 years, so she's very in tune with my blood sugars and just did it naturally on her own. She does highs and low alerts. And she's pretty consistent. She's never inaccurate. All my doctors and nurses love Leslie, and they're always happy when she comes to appointments. For my last pregnancy, she actually came with me to the hospital. I ended up having a C-section, but they didn't mind that she was there, right by the bedside. She was in the labor and delivery room for the first night with me.
Maybe my story is different from a lot of other diabetics in that I was able to have a normal pregnancy and birth, with no NICU time for my first baby. A lot of women with diabetes decide not to have children because doctors make us fear all the complications and additional appointments, and tell us how the baby can be negatively impacted by our sugars.
With the pandemic, we as diabetics were more isolated than other people because of our immune system. It’s even truer for me because I am pregnant now during the pandemic. So I’ve avoided contact with others, which makes isolation worse. Having Leslie is another layer of emotional support during this time. I talk to her all the time and she's always just comfort for me. She's there with me even when I've been isolated at home by myself. I tell her every day, every single day, that she's the love of my life. This dog has given me an opportunity to live the most normal life possible and experience everything to my fullest capabilities without any restrictions.
Now Leslie is getting a little bit older, and she's slowing down. I get concerned about my life after her because I'm so attached to her and she's helped me through so much. I can't even imagine what life would be like without her. She’s my queen."
Chrystal and Leslie's story is featured in a blog post by Spot Pet Insurance. Click here to read more: https://spotpetins.com/service-dogs-to-the-rescue/.
Update: June 2022
In June of 2022, our community came together to celebrate the life and mourn the loss of EAC Leslie. Chrystal and "the love of her life," developed a partnership that will continue to inspire us all. May she rest peacefully, knowing that she leaves behind a legacy of love that will last forever.