JoAnna Goebel refused to let diabetes stop her from welcoming a healthy baby into the world
When soon-to-be moms find out they are pregnant, many are eager to share the happy news with loved ones. When JoAnna Goebel learned she was expecting, she got on the phone, too. One of her calls wasn't to a family member or friend, though, but rather to the Diabetes Technology Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
"I knew I needed to connect with them right away," says JoAnna. "I found out I was pregnant on March 4, and I called them on March 4."
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 19, JoAnna realized that pregnancy posed unique health challenges for her and her baby. She was focused on overcoming those challenges. And with the help of her Mayo Clinic obstetricians and staff in the Division of Endocrinology, she¬†was able to do just that. On Oct. 24, 2013, JoAnna¬†delivered a healthy six-and-a-half-pound baby girl, Isabella, just two weeks shy of her due date.
"I understood that being diabetic and having a baby would put me in a high-risk category," JoAnna says. "But it's not like it was back in the 80s. People often think of the movie 'Steel Magnolias.' That's not the way it is anymore. I was bound and determined to stay healthy throughout my pregnancy. The wonderful care I received at Mayo Clinic helped make that happen."
A team of four obstetricians specializing in high-risk pregnancies met with JoAnna and her husband regularly to track the baby's health throughout her pregnancy. And Patricia Scalzo, a nurse practitioner in the Diabetes Technology Clinic, helped JoAnna monitor her diabetes and adjust her medications as needed.
Technology made communicating with her Mayo Clinic care team easier. JoAnna uses an insulin pump. Through a software program on her pump and on her glucometer, a tool she uses to test her blood sugar, she could download the data from the devices onto her computer. Between her monthly appointments with the Diabetes Technology Clinic, she sent the data to Scalzo through a secure Internet connection, called CareLink. Scalzo reviewed the numbers and sent JoAnna any necessary adjustments that she needed to make on her insulin pump settings.
JoAnna also stayed in touch with her care team through Mayo Clinic's online patient portal, which allowed her to send messages to any of her Mayo health care providers.
"The level of monitoring was pretty intense. But Patty and the rest of my team were always there for me," says JoAnna. "I could email her any time I had any questions or concerns about anything I was going through. With the doctors I saw in OB, I felt like they all really knew me and my husband well. It was very reassuring to know when I went to Mayo that I would get such great care all the time."
JoAnna's own hard work and dedication to her health and the health of her baby throughout her pregnancy made a big difference, too. She checked her blood sugar levels multiple times a day, carefully watched her diet, made changes to her exercise routines, and regularly went to appointments with her health care team at Mayo Clinic. In the end, it all paid off.
"I want other soon-to-be mothers or wanna-be mothers who have diabetes to know that it takes some time and effort, but having a healthy pregnancy is not impossible. It is very do-able," says JoAnna. "I am so happy I had such great care from the people at Mayo. To go through it with their help and have a healthy baby was great. Isabella is five months old now, and she is wonderful."