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After three long years of infertility, Kayla became pregnant in 2021 after her first round of in vitro fertilization treatment.

Kayla was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) during her routine glucose screening. This came as a shock, as she had no family history of GDM. Kayla was extremely nervous after receiving the GDM diagnosis because of the difficulty she and her wife, Morgan, had getting pregnant. She was immediately referred to SDRI and met with Dr. Kristin Castorino, Senior Research Physician, and Jamie Creason, Perinatal Nutrition Specialist and Certified Diabetes Educator.

Kayla worked with the SDRI team, Dr. Castorino and Jamie Creason, modified her diet, increased her exercise, and tested her blood sugars daily. However, Kayla quickly discovered that her changes in diet and exercise were not enough to keep her blood glucose in a safe range. She felt defeated and discouraged that her efforts weren’t yielding the positive results she wanted.

“I was so discouraged. I worked so hard to maintain a healthy pregnancy, but it was not working. Dr. Castorino and Jamie came to my rescue. They helped me implement a better plan to keep my blood sugars in range.”

Dr. Castorino worked closely with Kayla to design an insulin-therapy plan to minimize out-of-range blood sugars and prescribed a continuous glucose monitor.

Kayla grew up in a large Polynesian family. She worried how her new diagnosis would impact her interactions at family gatherings because of the strong cultural ties to food; it is how they show love to one another. Dr. Castorino and Jamie Creason gave her tools to navigate family gatherings successfully. Kayla’s family always made healthy food accessible to ensure she didn’t miss out on anything.

“Everything I had experienced at SDRI was just phenomenal, from the responsiveness of the team to the diabetes care,” said Kayla.

“Dr. Castorino told me about a research study at SDRI testing the accuracy of continuous glucose monitors in women with diabetes during pregnancy, and I immediately signed up,” said Kayla. “Everything I had experienced at SDRI was just phenomenal, from the responsiveness of the team to the diabetes care. I was interested in giving back to SDRI in any way that I could, in appreciation for the amazing care I received.”

Kayla and her wife welcomed a beautiful and healthy baby girl, Vonne Puanani, on November 28, 2021. Kayla shared, “We are profoundly grateful for all the support and care we received from SDRI.”