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Hoag Helps Women with Diabetes Make Motherhood a Sweet Success

‘Eating for two’ means eating twice as carefully

Overcoming any challenge is rewarding. For women who prevail over the challenge of diabetic pregnancy, the reward is particularly Sweet Success.

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 10, Lindsay Lawrence has faced down incredible obstacles to achieve amazing results: Told playing sports would be difficult, Lawrence went on to become the Mater Dei High School Athlete of the Year and received a full volleyball scholarship to Northwestern University. She has become a leader and advocate for diabetes education, and she is an unstoppable bank executive who doesn’t let her insulin-dependence slow down her busy schedule.

But pregnancy made her nervous.

A founding board member of Hoag’s Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center, Lawrence, 32, says she remembers talking to Kris V. Iyer, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E., who oversees the center, in the months after her wedding about how anxious she was about the prospect of starting a family.

“When you grow up with diabetes, you have the movie ‘Steel Magnolias’ burned into your brain,” says Lindsay, referring to the 1989 film in which a diabetic woman dies from complications following childbirth.“ Dr. Iyer said, ‘Don’t worry. When the time comes, we’ll be there to help you.’ ”

And they were. When Lawrence and her husband, Chris, were ready to start a family, she enrolled in the Allen Diabetes Center’s Sweet Success program, a state-affiliated program for women who have diabetes while they are pregnant. The program helps women like Lawrence who have diabetes before pregnancy, as well as women who become diabetic during pregnancy, a condition known as gestational diabetes.

Lawrence was seen by perinatologist Menashe Kfir, M.D., who gave her the “green light” to start trying and monitored her baby’s progress. Her endocrinologists, Dr. Iyer and Francis Rhie, M.D., kept her accountable for her blood sugar. Obstetrician Lisa Karamardian, M.D., coordinated all her care, and diabetes educator Sheri Yates, MSN, RNP CDE, LEC, was the rock that kept her grounded and focused.

“Sometimes when you’re dealing with diabetes, the emotional piece gets overlooked, but Sheri was wonderful,” Lawrence says. “She took the time to get to know me, and when I’d get down on myself if my numbers weren’t going the way I wanted them to, she really dove into the details with me and got creative. I could shoot them an email whenever I had a question, and they’d get back to me within the day. It was incredible.”

Today, Chris and Lindsay have two healthy toddlers, daughter Addison and son Grayson. The babies were born without complications, a credit to her hardworking Sweet Success team.

“I knew it became a village that took care of me,” she says. “It seemed insurmountable at the time, but at Sweet Success they hold your hand and you get their undivided attention. It makes you feel like you’re not alone on the journey.” ?