34. The Happily Ever After…

When people tell you how quickly your wedding day whooshes by, you never believe them. But before I knew it, the DJ was playing the last song and I was running from a conversation by the toilets to squeeze in one last dance with my husband before the lights came up and the night came to an end.

It was a spectacular whirlwind of a day, and if I’m honest I’m still piecing bits of it together. Trying to work out where pockets of time went and why I didn’t get to spend as much of it celebrating with my husband as I’d of liked. At first I blamed diabetes: it took a while for me to get into range with the excitement of the day, then there were the drinks and the fact that I had to bolus with correction doses at times (when the canapés arrive and your handset is nowhere in sight, you’re fine going for that ‘after bolus’ right?). But, in the end, my T1D really didn’t take up much time at all. A few people did tell me to get off my phone when I was checking my BGs or bolusing – it was fun seeing their surprise when they realised it was part of my diabetes management.

Something I will never forget from the day, is hearing my Mum’s speech, where she spoke about my diabetes and all the wonderful gifts it’s brought into my life. Looking around the room and seeing friends I’ve made through the diabetes community as she said all of this meant so much to me. I can’t deny that I was also a little shocked to discover my Mum reads my blog…

Our wedding day was so much of what we wanted it to be: people were chatting, laughing, dancing and celebrating. The atmosphere was filled with love and happiness and I hope everyone who came, took a little of that home with them. But the day was so much more than that for Matt and I: not just the day we became Man and Wife, but the day we got to show all of our friends and family how happy we make each other, how committed we are to each other and how unequivocally in love we are. The road to the wedding hasn’t always been the easiest, but Matt and I have gotten over the bumps together, stronger, more appreciative of each other and definitely more in love… and I didn’t think I could love him more than I already do.

 

 

I’ll finish with an excerpt from my speech;

“Matt, thank you for handling my heart like it’s the FA cup. I promise to cherish yours like it’s a good cup of tea”

 

Nx

 

DISCALAIMER: THIS IS A SERIES OF BLOGS I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT KALEIDO. IN THE INTEREST OF BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT I WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL THAT I’M EXCITED TO HAVE BECOME A KALEIDOER. THIS MEANS I AM FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO GET TO TRIAL THE KALEIDO INSULIN PUMP. WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED THEIR UK RELEASE WAS IMMINENT, KALEIDO ASKED FOR KALEIDOERS AND HAVING BEEN KEEPING A CLOSE (AND VERY INTERESTED) EYE ON THEM FOR SOME TIME, I GOT IN TOUCH. I FEEL REALLY LUCKY THAT THEY’RE ALSO LETTING ME USE THEIR PLATFORM TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES OF LIVING WITH T1D WHILST PREPARING FOR MY WEDDING DAY. THESE BLOGS WILL BE SHARED ON MY OWN SITE ALSO.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DM ME.

All images copyright Author

 

33. Preparing For The Wedding

Well here we are, the wedding is so close now the excitement around us is palpable. I’m not sure I’ve allowed the excitement to set in yet, there’s still so much left to do that I almost forget how much I’ve prepared.

There have been so many things to consider over the last 2 years of planning that actually factoring in things to make my diabetes management easier on the day has fallen into general wedding category rather than being something set apart. I like thinking of it like that I suppose, my T1D is part of me after all so treating it the same way I have my dress or my hair makes sense.

The first thing I arranged was how to literally manage my T1D on the day and from a technology point of view, my Kaleido pump has been my saviour. I can’t imagine an easier way for me to ensure insulin delivery and manage varying basal needs in a wedding dress. In the run-up to the big day though, I’ve found myself being very aware of which sites I use, sometimes I bruise or the residue from the hook and loop patches takes a while to wash away so any visible sites have been off-limits. I’ve also wanted to avoid my legs, my planned wedding day sites to avoid causing lypos or anything else that could impact insulin absorption. I’ve also timed my set changes to make sure I’m wearing my turquoise pump on the day…something blue is tradition, right?

When it came to planning the menu for the day, I thought about ways we could make sure I was able to guesstimate as closely as possible for all the delicious food we were selecting, I think at one point I googled pocket scales thinking that would be the way forward, then I realised we could work more closely with the chef. We had a few meetings and conversations with the event team and then I asked if the chef could come along to our final details meeting, the same chef that when we had our menu tasting earlier in the year, had sent each of my courses up with a message telling me how much the carbohydrate count of each course weighed, enabling me to work out my insulin requirements. It felt emotional to meet him in person, I think anyone with T1D gets quite used to the terrifying need to guesstimate for meals we haven’t prepared ourselves. So it’ll come as no surprise that I literally cried when he said it wouldn’t be a problem to work out the carb content for each dish. I’ve reviewed the carbs and they all look in order and I’m so pleased I asked the question.

We’ve also thought about hypo management, not just for me, we have some incredible friends from the Diabetes community joining us, so behind the bar will be 150ml cans of coke for those moments the dancing gets the better of our BGs.

My final prep has been to have a good chat with my diabetes team about ways to manage my BGs on our wedding day. I usually set myself quite a tight target range so their first piece of advice was to relax this a bit, so I’ve changed this across all of my devices. The next piece of advice was to have someone keep an eye out for any signs I might be high or low, someone who knows me and the signs and can help me with this task without feeling like I’m being babied. And lastly, as my team sent me off with best wishes for a forever of happiness, they reminded me to just enjoy the day… and send pictures!

Nx

 

DISCALAIMER:: THIS IS A SERIES OF BLOGS I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT KALEIDO. IN THE INTEREST OF BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT I WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL THAT I’M EXCITED TO HAVE BECOME A KALEIDOER. THIS MEANS I AM FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO GET TO TRIAL THE KALEIDO INSULIN PUMP. WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED THEIR UK RELEASE WAS IMMINENT, KALEIDO ASKED FOR KALEIDOERS AND HAVING BEEN KEEPING A CLOSE (AND VERY INTERESTED) EYE ON THEM FOR SOME TIME, I GOT IN TOUCH. I FEEL REALLY LUCKY THAT THEY’RE ALSO LETTING ME USE THEIR PLATFORM TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES OF LIVING WITH T1D WHILST PREPARING FOR MY WEDDING DAY. THESE BLOGS WILL BE SHARED ON MY OWN SITE ALSO.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DM ME.

All images copyright Author and Ettington Park Hotel

32. Body Image and Wedding Dress Shopping

So let’s talk about the dress in more detail shall we? Whoa, not that much detail, I still want to surprise Matt when I walk down the aisle. No, I want to talk about all of those body niggles and worries that every bride to be experiences. You know, the ones that lead to the majority of brides feeling like they have to go on a diet or extreme workout plan ahead of their wedding? I get it, it’s the day when you’re photographed the most in your entire life and you want to look back and see the image you have in your head in your photos, but what happens when you feel you have barriers to doing that?

 

My own personal relationship with my body image is chequered at the best of times and in the run up to wedding dress shopping it took a real nosedive, the reason behind this was definitely related to T1D. 

 

How would I wear my pump on the day? How would I access my insulin pump? How would I manage my diabetes? Could I manage to lose weight before the final dress fitting? Could I get back into being more active ahead of the wedding?

 

The last 2 were big ones for me, and probably the real reason why my body image nosedived. I realised I was chasing an ideal of other peoples perception of perfection and that was so unhealthy. After all, Matt proposed to me as I am so who would I really be losing weight for? Did I honestly want to look at wedding pictures and see someone I wasn’t familiar with? I spent more time than I should of thinking about this and made some decisions that helped me get to the wedding dress shop to find my dress.

 

1. I stopped looking at pictures of dresses in magazines
2. I stopped watching Say Yes to The Dress
3. I decided to choose my dress without allowing my pump to be a barrier
4. I spoke to my diabetes team about using a different insulin pump for my wedding
5. I wouldn’t choose a dress with the mind set “It’ll look better when I’ve lost some weight”

 

So, I fell in love with a dress and I brought it almost a year ahead of my wedding date. I then needed to find a solution for my diabetes management on the wedding day and I was fortunate enough that Kaleido became a very real possibility for me. That first day, and pretty much every day since has seen me more invested in being more active, because I have so little baggage and don’t have to worry about what to wear to accommodate my pump. The temporary basal function is so easy to find and use that I’ve rarely forgotten to use it ahead of a walk or a swim. It’s all been so natural, I guess that’s what happens when you get to cut the literal ties that were binding you.

 

My first dress fitting came around a week after starting with Kaleido and I didn’t even think about having tech attached to me, a very different experience to buying my dress., where I needed to detach my pump. I also realised that I hadn’t spent a year worrying about my weight or starting an extreme workout plan that would take time away from my daughter and fiancé. Instead I’ve spent that year planning a wedding, making sure my diabetes management is catered for in a way that will enable me to just enjoy our wedding day and most importantly, I’ve learned to feel more at peace with the body I’m in. It’s mine, it’s not perfect, it may not be the prettiest, but it houses a person who loves and is very loved. What could matter more?

DISCLAIMER:
THIS IS A SERIES OF BLOGS I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT KALEIDO. IN THE INTEREST OF BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT I WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL THAT I’M EXCITED TO HAVE BECOME A KALEIDOER. THIS MEANS I AM FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO GET TO TRIAL THE KALEIDO INSULIN PUMP. WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED THEIR UK RELEASE WAS IMMINENT, KALEIDO ASKED FOR KALEIDOERS AND HAVING BEEN KEEPING A CLOSE (AND VERY INTERESTED) EYE ON THEM FOR SOME TIME, I GOT IN TOUCH. I FEEL REALLY LUCKY THAT THEY’RE ALSO LETTING ME USE THEIR PLATFORM TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES OF LIVING WITH T1D WHILST PREPARING FOR MY WEDDING DAY. THESE BLOGS WILL BE SHARED ON MY OWN SITE ALSO.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DM ME.

All images copyright Author and Kaleido

31. And so it begins…

Leading up to Friday 6th September 2019, I felt such excitement and a smidgen of apprehension all at the same time. I’d developed such high expectations of what the Kaleido could do for me. Aside from the ability to control the pump remotely (a big win on the wedding dress front), I hoped this teeny tiny piece of colourful technology would help me overcome many of the body image obstacles I experienced every day. Of course the biggest expectation was always that it would be the most effective management tool in my Diabetes Kit.  

Since returning to MDI in March, I’ve found that my weight increased and I found I needed more glucose to treat a hypo, I also shied away from a lot of exercise for fear of hypos. I knew that Insulin Pump Therapy would make a difference, having experienced it before; I was looking forward to experiencing the difference Kaleido could make to all of that.

 

When Jayne from Kaleido arrived, it literally felt like she came bearing gifts. From the bags the pumps were in, to the boxes; opening it all up was such a lovely, non-clinical experience, which is such a rarity when Type 1 Diabetes lives with you. Our every day is lead by clinical decisions; we spend a large proportion of our lives with medical professionals in clinical environments and so this really was a breath of fresh air. It made me feel like I was at the centre of this process rather than my Diabetes.

 

We spent time going through the kit and various functions, using the guidebook; which is colour coded to match the handset screen options (so helpful when you need info quickly) and having a few dummy runs at filling the cartridge before we did it for real. Filling the cartridge, fitting it in the pump, inserting the cannula and then attaching the pump was all new but it went smoothly and this time, when the handset confirmed “orange pump connected” I didn’t cry as I had at previous pumpstart, instead I felt empowered and raring to go.

 

In fact I was so raring to go that that evening, we went for a family dog walk. I was running after my 16-month-old daughter and laughing at her holding the lead; I chased my dog through the long grass and I held my fiancé’s hand as we watched our 2 girls exploring the nature reserve near us. The temp basal worked a treat and so did the extended bolus when we had pasta for dinner. We spent lots of time walking together over that weekend, my family, my Kaleido and I. Immediately I felt a sense of freedom I didn’t expect, a weightlessness; emotionally and physically. No longer did managing my diabetes feel like a chore, but more of a choice* and I cannot wait to try my wedding dress on at my first fitting.

 

 

*This is the best metaphor I can find for how I’m feeling and in no way am I suggesting that Diabetes, or it’s management is a choice.

DISCLAIMER:
THIS IS A SERIES OF BLOGS I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT KALEIDO. IN THE INTEREST OF BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT I WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL THAT I’M EXCITED TO HAVE BECOME A KALEIDOER. THIS MEANS I AM FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO GET TO TRIAL THE KALEIDO INSULIN PUMP. WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED THEIR UK RELEASE WAS IMMINENT, KALEIDO ASKED FOR KALEIDOERS AND HAVING BEEN KEEPING A CLOSE (AND VERY INTERESTED) EYE ON THEM FOR SOME TIME, I GOT IN TOUCH. I FEEL REALLY LUCKY THAT THEY’RE ALSO LETTING ME USE THEIR PLATFORM TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES OF LIVING WITH T1D WHILST PREPARING FOR MY WEDDING DAY. THESE BLOGS WILL BE SHARED ON MY OWN SITE ALSO.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DM ME.

All images copyright Author and Kaleido

30. My Fiancé and her T1D

When I first met Niki I had no idea she had Diabetes, not that it mattered to me of course, but it wasn’t long before I found out when we went for a coffee at the café and she took insulin for it. Some of my family members have Type 2 Diabetes and I’m ashamed to say that I never really took the time to find out more, all of that changed the minute Niki whipped out her insulin pen within an hour of meeting her. I have a greater understanding of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, I now understand what it takes to manage this condition on a day-to-day basis and the many thought processes involved. I understand that there are many dangers and I watch my fiancée keep herself alive every day, that’s not scary anymore, it’s the reality for her and she does it so well.

 

Aside from being the worlds foremost expert in Niki’s T1D she also has the most amazing human qualities which she readily extends to strangers. One of my favourite examples of this is when Niki took infusion sets to a complete stranger one evening because they’d travelled to Oxfordshire and had forgotten their spares. Niki didn’t hesitate to do this for someone she’d never met before and this is typical of the caring and nurturing person she is. She’s the most caring person I know and this also shows in the social media family she’s part of. There’s masses of support to be found there and Niki is very prominent in making sure people can find that. The friendships that have been made there are many, and I’m so glad I get to count these people as friends too now. (Not to mention my relief that they all approve of me).

 

 

After just 5 weeks of being with Niki, we travelled to London to get her first insulin pump. It was a stressful day for me, I knew the hopes and fears she had for this method of managing her T1D and I didn’t want her to be disappointed. All those concerns disappeared upon seeing the tears of joy roll down her cheeks as she officially began pumping insulin, I knew in that moment the relief she must have felt at having the ability to calculate her boluses more accurately and the freedom she hoped the various functions would give her. Sadly, that first pump hasn’t always made life easy for Niki and my heart has broken watching her struggle and breakdown because of it. There are always other considerations in addition to the standard daily thought processes Niki has, where to place the cannula, how to dress to accommodate it, what to wear to be able to access it. The Kaleido has already eliminated some of the pump related clothing issues for Niki; she suddenly owns dresses…without pockets!! I’m seeing her begin to feel more confident and comfortable in her own skin, especially around her Diabetes Management and it’s so good to see that again.

 

I see the Kaleido has the chance to give Niki the freedom to choose how she lives her life, because even though she is absolutely amazing at everything she does, especially keeping herself alive everyday, this will go a long way to helping her actually live it.

 

Written By Matt – Fiancé to Niki & Dadda to Moomin

 

DISCLAIMER:
This is a series of blogs I will be writing about Kaleido. In the interest of being open and transparent I wanted to share with you all that I’m excited to have become a Kaleidoer. This means I am fortunate enough to get to trial the Kaleido Insulin Pump. When they announced their UK release was imminent, Kaleido asked for Kaleidoers and having been keeping a close (and very interested) eye on them for some time, I got in touch. I feel really lucky that they’re also letting me use their platform to share my experiences of living with T1D whilst preparing for my wedding day. These blogs will be shared on my own site also.
If you have any questions, please feel free to DM me.

All images copyright Author and Kaleido

29. Why Kaleido

When I realised I would have to go wedding dress shopping, amongst the obvious anxieties and body image issues was the worry of what I would do with my pump in a wedding dress? Did I go wedding dress shopping with the need to be able to access my pump being a box to tick? Or did I, on this one occasion vow not to dress for my pump as I feel I need to do every other day? I chose the latter and I cannot tell you what a difference it made when I found my dress. However, I then had to try and come up with a solution to managing my Diabetes on my wedding day.

For me, I want to be able to pump. I don’t know how the emotion and excitement (or the copious amounts of dancing and delicious food and wine) of the day will affect my blood glucose levels, and the functionality of an insulin pump for me allows the flexibility I feel I need to manage that a little more discreetly than usual. My actual pump though doesn’t allow me the freedom I need to do that in my wedding dress. It would mean I am tethered to what feels like a breezeblock on the day I want to listen to my heart and not my pancreas. I would also somehow need to be able to access my pump to bolus, adjust basals etc. So whilst there are a myriad of solutions for some, like wearing it in a pouch on your legs or having a special pocket sewn into your dress, none of those were a solution for me. I was at a loss and really struggling, would this mean I have to inject on my wedding day, perhaps making my Diabetes more visible than I want it to be to others and me on such a special day?

So I began looking at other pumps the way most brides-to-be look at wedding shoes. There were a few that looked like they had potential, but once I laid eyes on the Kaleido I felt like I’d found the perfect wedding day accessory. Not only is the Kaleido pump beautiful to look at, (the colour choices are incredible), the functionality and size were winners for me, the pump itself is small and unobtrusive. With the added bonus (which felt like finding out the wedding shoes are in the sale), of the ability to fully control the pump remotely and with an equally good-looking handset that bears little resemblance to a medical device. You can choose whether to wear the Kaleido as a patch, pocket or bra (the ladies will understand) pump. Kaleido is made by people who understand what it’s like to live with T1D, and from the first moment I had contact with them, I felt like I was dealing with humans who are invested in people with Diabetes having the freedom to put Life, and the big events within it, at the forefront.

When my wedding day comes, I want to be Niki, The Bride. I’ve a sneaky suspicion Kaleido will play a very special part in making that wish come true.

Nx

 

You can follow my Wedding/Kaleido journey here

The Kaleido website is really informative (and easy to navigate) with a variety of blogs, videos, and other resources to help you find out more about these lovely people bringing colour and choice into the world of Diabetes Tech. 


DISCLAIMER:
This is the first in a series of blogs I will be writing about Kaleido. In the interest of being open and transparent I wanted to share with you all that I’m excited to have become a Kaleidoer. This means I am fortunate enough to get to trial the Kaleido Insulin Pump. When they announced their UK release was imminent, Kaleido asked for Kaleidoers and having been keeping a close (and very interested) eye on them for some time, I got in touch. I feel really lucky that they’re also letting me use their platform to share my experiences of living with T1D whilst preparing for my wedding day. These blogs will be shared on my own site also. 
If you have any questions, please feel free to DM me. 

All images copyright Author and Kaleido

27. Happy 18th T1D….

It feels somewhat surreal to be sitting here, on the precipice of parenting a 1-year-old and reliving the memories of events and emotions leading up to my daughters birth (which I promise to write about at some point), and realising that on my 17th Diaversary I was being induced. I wasn’t being induced because my little Moomin was overdue, or because of complications with my pregnancy, but because I live with T1D and a baby born around the 38th week of pregnancy tends to have better outcomes. I remember sitting in the dazzling May Bank Holiday sunshine, in the unusually quiet grounds of the hospital having a picnic, knowing that the process of my baby’s arrival had begun. I remember thinking how serendipitous it was that this much dreamed about moment (becoming a Mumma, definitely not labour), was happening 17 years to the day that Diabetes came into my life; serendipitous because without my T1D I would not have met my incredible Fiance/MoominPapa.

Living with Type one diabetes is not easy, it’s full time and no two days are the same. The last 18 years have certainly been a literal rollercoaster, it gets you emotionally, mentally, physically…..there is not a part of your life that isn’t affected by it or which it affects. I admit I’m weary. At 18 most parents are letting go a little to give their children a smidgen more independence; I feel sometimes that my Diabetes is regressing and needs more attention. A little like an older sibling may react when a new baby comes into its life. It is petulant, defiant and it’s demanding so much of my time and thought processes that I feel Mumma guilt when I have to treat a hypo or correct a hyper and Moomin is speed crawling towards me calling “MumMA, MumMa”. But I know this exhaustion is temporary, there are always better times ahead and just as a new parent has moments of wondering how they can go on amongst the exhaustion of suddenly existing solely for this little life that has come into the world, so do those living with a long term condition. It’s not just OK to have moments like this, periods of time where you just coast along in the hope that you’ll catch your breath and be able to forge ahead with the level of gusto and enthusiasm you had before. Nope, it’s not just OK, it’s normal, it’s expected, it helps you survive and more importantly, it’s human.

Throughout the years I’ve never really marked diaversaries, possibly because of my initial misdiagnosis and the resulting lack of understanding of the impact this condition would have on my life. Sitting here now, reflecting on the impact it’s had on my life over the last 18 years, I actually can’t help but focus on the friendships, the opportunities, the support and the strength it’s given me. This one will be spent doing last minute preparations for Moomin’s first birthday but considering the part, Diabetes has played in her arrival….perhaps that’s the most appropriate way of saying Happy Diaversary?! (Plus we still have some leftover cake from her Naming Ceremony/Birthday party at the weekend so I’m not really breaking any rules by not doing anything specific right?).

There’s so much I’ve learned on this 18-year journey, and I’m certain there’s much more still to absorb, for now, I’ll leave you with this;

The Pessimist Sees Difficulty In Every Opportunity. The Optimist Sees Opportunity In Every Difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

 

Until next time…

Nx

 

Images are copyright of the Author and courtesy of Google Images.

26. Dear Aunty Natal, I just want some parts of this to feel normal…

It’s an interesting word, one that provokes thoughts of the majority and something that doesn’t stand out, but what exactly is normal when it comes to delivering a baby when you have Type 1 Diabetes? You’ll still be told you can choose where you have your baby and asked about what interventions you are and aren’t willing to have, you can choose between a vaginal or cesarean section delivery. There will be plenty of talk about normalising the experience as much as possible with regards to lighting and room set up and having your choice of music etc, but not many of those conversations, in my experience so far include discussions about what you, as the mum-to-be will possibly be feeling further down the line about the type of birth you’re advised to have because you have Type 1 Diabetes. If it’s something that’s weighing on your mind, then you’re of course encouraged to discuss it at any point during your pregnancy, but you might find you don’t feel sufficiently empowered or even informed to lead that discussion. For me it happened when we attended an antenatal class, ours was run by NCT but there are other options that could be on offer in your local area.

I feel that some of the decisions I made early on in my pregnancy have paid dividends in terms of allowing me some semblance of normalcy, and the ability to feel that, for the most part, my pregnancy has been about Moomin and I, not always my T1D and as a result, for the most part pregnancy has been incredible. It’s allowed me to not feel exempt from conversations with other mums to be or new mums, which before I was pregnant I feared could be the case. It’s also given me the headspace to just enjoy being pregnant, even those not so pleasant pregnancy symptoms and niggles; because my body is doing something incredible. All those times I’ve thought of my body as broken because of my T1D, I’d never paid much attention to the bits that aren’t “broken” and it’s a pretty amazing realisation. Ironically, the way I achieved this was by choosing to have my antenatal care solely with the Diabetes Ante Natal Clinic with no community midwives involved. Yes, I’ve had more appointments, but it’s less than I would have experienced if I’d had a “shared” care plan. It’s also meant I’ve avoided seeing someone who perhaps doesn’t know an awful lot about Type 1 Diabetes, it was frustrating enough at my booking in appointment where the midwife voiced many common misconeptions which held relevance to Type 2 Diabetes or Gestational Diabetes, because at that moment I’d become Mumma Bear who needed to ensure any risks to my baby were minimised, I also didn’t want to have to spend my pregnancy correcting Healthcare Professionals, I’d have to do it enough with people who knew nothing of any type of Diabetes as it was. At our NCT class in March, the course leader asked me if she should get some different snacks because “perhaps biscuits and fruit might not be very helpful in managing my BG’s?”. Firstly, I have to say how much I appreciated her asking in this way, the language she used wasn’t assuming I can’t, she was trying to accommodate me which was hugely refreshing for someone who didn’t know much about Type 1 Diabetes. I have a go-to response when people ask what I can and can’t eat:

“As long as I can access the carb content of something, or get close to guessing it, I’m able to give myself insulin to enable me to eat anything I want. With my insulin pump, I can basically make my body do what yours does.”

By the end of the course, the final part of that statement was; to my surprise, used to empower me and reduce some anxieties I was having about giving birth; “I can basically make my body do what yours does”. As you can imagine, that had a pretty profound effect on me and made me question the birth choices I had accepted as my only choice very early on in my pregnancy. My primary concern is still and always will be getting Moomin here as safely as possible, with me in one piece at the end of it too, but now I’m thinking more about the individual elements that make up the 3 stages of labour and what might be best for Moomin, Matt and I; both in those moments and in the long run. Additionally, I think I feel so lucky that I haven’t felt being pregnant with Type 1 Diabetes singled me out from any other pregnant woman, that now, as we approach the final furlong I just want to find a way to normalise those final moments of my pregnancy.

The current plan is for me to be induced somewhere between 37 and 39 weeks. I am completely ok with this, I understand the reasoning for it and that it gives Moomin the best chance of a good start in this world, and I have been comfortable with this as a plan since I pee’d on a stick in September 2017. I have also tried to remain realistic about this being a situation which cannot be controlled, and that whatever my wishes or plans, things may need to change to make sure Moomin and I get through this ok. What I became anxious and reluctant about was spending upwards of 24 hours, in the early stages of labour on a ward with 3 other mums to be nearby. No ability to climb in the bath when I want, distract myself with some Netflix binge-watching or a snooze in my own bed, to feel like I was exposed when at my most vulnerable and to be somewhat forced to share one of the most precious and profound moments I’ll ever experience as a woman; with a group of strangers who’d possibly be feeling exactly the same way. I also feared that Matt would be sent home when visiting hours came to a close and I wasn’t in active labour; we live around an hour away from the hospital and I was petrified that if things started progressing quickly, Matt wouldn’t be there when our Moomin arrived in this world. None of these had been things I’d thought about in great detail until we attended NCT. on the second day of the course, I spoke to our course leader about these concerns, mostly hoping she would know more about the hospital and could advise a little from experience. She wasn’t able to help from that perspective, but by day three she told me about some different options for induction which may be available to me. She explained that my statement “I can basically make my body do what yours does” had made her wonder why I couldn’t explore some alternatives. So, feeling empowered I had the discussions with my team, knowing the likelihood of some of what I was asking for wouldn’t be possible and therefore a little apprehensive; but armed with the mentality that “my body can do what yours does”, I plucked up the courage and began a conversation.

As expected, not all of what I was asking is possible, but I am massively reassured, my concerns have been turned into a plan and the date has been set – the weather even looks favourable. Ultimately though, I feel I’ve been able to create something that feels a little less clinical when I think ahead than it would have done if I hadn’t asked, something that still feels wonderfully scary but more comfortably so without the extraneous concerns, and not a chance Matt will miss a thing. I feel like that’s another win for normalising as much of pregnancy with T1D as possible.

Nx

 

Images are copyright of the Author and courtesy of Google Images.

24. A little rant from a T1D Mum To Be…

“Hello! So is it a big baby then?”

I hadn’t seen this person since August last year, at which point I was probably about a week pregnant and didn’t know it, I’ve also got engaged since then and finally feel more settled living in a new town; yet this is the greeting I get. “Is it a big baby then?” not “Let’s see the ring” or “How’re you feeling?”, not even a comment on my lovely bump, which at 34 weeks I was really excited to show off in my new “party dress”.

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34 weeks pregnant

I don’t think I’d feel so irked if that was the only occasion that day it’d been said, or the only time during pregnancy I’d heard this myth being perpetuated by someone I then attempted to educate. However, if I’m being honest with myself, I’ve known since before I even met Matt that when the time came for me to become a Mumma, I’d have to “manage” hearing people’s thoughts on the giant baby I’ll give birth to because I have Type 1 Diabetes. What I hadn’t prepared myself for was how offensive I would find having that assumption thrown in my direction. I appreciate the people saying it often don’t know an awful lot about Type 1 Diabetes, and this is why I take a deep breath, bite my tongue and then attempt to help them understand. I, unfortunately, have to do that without trying to elicit an apology from those people for the feelings their comments stir up in me, which sometimes impact me massively.

This far too common misconception comes from the fact that many women with any type of Diabetes are often induced or have a C-Section between 37 and 38+6 weeks into their pregnancy. Historically the reason for this has been given as Fetal Macrosomia, which the Mayo Clinic describes as;

 “a newborn who’s significantly larger than average. A baby diagnosed with fetal macrosomia has a birth weight of more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces (4,000 grams), regardless of his or her gestational age”. 

And of course it is one of the potential risks women with any type of Diabetes faces when pregnant, it is also one of the primary risks that motivate us to achieve those blood glucose results that resemble a straighter line than that of someone without Diabetes, often before we even fall pregnant. It’s also one of the things that potentially scares us about becoming Mumma’s when we start planning a pregnancy, so there’s a lot of emotion tied up in the big baby misconception. The truth of the matter is, that whilst it is a risk women with Diabetes face when pregnant, it is one that doesn’t automatically apply. Many women with Diabetes, Type 1, in particular, have babies of an average size and weight, who grow consistently and steadily throughout pregnancy because we are equipped to manage our blood glucose to within an inch of its life. This is something I did prior to pregnancy and my micromanagement has stood me in very good stead for the demands pregnancy would place on my T1D. I won’t sugar coat it; it is hard work (and that’s coming from someone’s who hasn’t really changed their approach), pregnancy will throw variable insulin sensitivity, resistance and possibly some new hypo symptoms to name but a few; at you BUT that’s no different to T1D without pregnancy and it’s a little easier to work through those challenges when you know the most likely reason behind it. 

The risk of a big baby isn’t only confined to women with Diabetes, I know people that have had 10lb babies and there are no pancreatic failings within their lives. Just as I know women who’ve had to be induced or have a c-section before they reach full term because there are risks to them or their baby if they don’t do so. Ultimately pregnancy is an unpredictable time in our lives and we have no control over it – diabetes or no diabetes.

I want to touch very briefly on some of the other reasons for Mumma’s with Diabetes being advised to deliver before they reach full term, (because I appreciate too much detail isn’t for everyone, I will leave it up to you to look them up in more detail yourselves). Put simply; it’s down to maximising positive outcomes for Mumma and Bubba and among those include avoiding placental failure, shoulder dystocia and stillbirth, these are of course in addition to the usual risks any pregnant woman may face towards the end of her pregnancy.

So, why am I so offended when people assume I’m having a giant baby? The fact that I’m not is reason one; Moomin has a nice, steady, consistent growth right down the middle of

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I should probably know more about what those acronyms mean….

the centiles, (the only time in our child’s life Matt and I will concede to using the word “average” in relation to our exquisite little human), at our 32 week scan they estimated Moomin to weigh around 4lbs – hardly giant. For me though, the more emotive reason I feel offended is because of all the hard work that has gone into keeping my baby safe and as unaffected by my Type 1 Diabetes as possible. The tears I’ve cried through the days of massive insulin resistance fearing my high BGs would impair my darlings development, the relief I’ve felt when putting even harder work and persistence into bringing those BGs down finally pays off. To summarise, to me when someone talks about me having a big baby it feels as if I’m being accused of not doing my absolute best for my child. I know I have been, I know I still am and I know I will continue to do so for as long as there is breath in my body. I also know the people saying these things say them from a place of misunderstanding and that needs to change within society at large.

I’ll keep chipping away at that where I can and I hope you’ll all join me in helping to dispel some myths and increase awareness when you have the opportunity.

In the meantime Thanks for reading my little rant.

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Images are copyright of the Author and courtesy of Google Images.

 

 

 

 

19. On the 12th day of Christmas and the 4 months since….

I wish I could tell you that by day 12 all was wonderful and marvellous and I had my basal rates sorted, my ratios and correction doses accurate and on the money, but alas; on day 12 of this pump start journey I wanted to throw it out of the window.

I was told that this officially makes me a pumper!

4 months on and I’m still fine-tuning, but that’s OK; I’ve spent 15 years doing MY Diabetes one way, so it stands to reason that it would take me some time to adjust to doing MY Diabetes a completely different way, along with some other discoveries……..

I’ve accepted that the smooth lines of Libre’s and CGM on Social Media aren’t the daily reality for everyone and so I must stop judging my own reality by these, in doing that I was creating barriers to praising my own undulating (instead of spiky) lines when they happened, even if only for a couple of hours. 

I’ve learned that literally saying out loud to my boyfriend, “I’m happy with MY Diabetes over the last few hours” makes a mammoth difference to how I feel about MY Diabetes in that moment.

Working with some wonderful professionals, I’ve acknowledged how difficult MY Diabetes journey has been and how isolated I have felt during the last 15 years. By acknowledging all of that, I’ve also acknowledged and am learning to celebrate how well I have managed MY Diabetes pretty much alone in those 15 years, how strong I have been; how strong I AM.

I have a permanent mental post-it note in my head that reads: “When someone who doesn’t have Diabetes and knows nothing about an insulin pump, assumes it’s an artificial pancreas and the minute you connect your issues will be gone, don’t let that make you feel like a failure. Educate them about YOUR Diabetes instead”! (It’s one of those bigger post-it notes).

I’m learning to unlearn, sounds daft I know, but just as you do with driving a car I developed certain “habits” around how I managed MY Diabetes on MDI. Now, as much as there are new “habits” to learn, the old habits need to be unlearned.

I accept and celebrate my bruises – they mean I’ve kept myself alive for another 3 days thanks to my battery operated pancreas and whilst they’re bigger, more regular and a little more sore than the occasional bruise I’d get on MDI – the volume of bruise causing activity associated with MY Diabetes is greatly reduced.

I’m more mindful now than ever about where seatbelts meet infusion sites, or how waistbands sit and move as I wear them. I’m getting used to considering and planning bath or shower timing and set changes, in addition to considering and planning activities and Temporary Basal Rate requirements so that I’m in charge of MY Diabetes at all times. 

I still struggle and have meltdowns over what to wear, but now I just blame MY Pump!

It’s not easy, you have to be organised and mindful and resilient, but we all do that on a daily basis anyway. I didn’t begin my journey to IPT because I thought it’d be anything less than hard work, I went this route because I wanted the best treatment for my Diabetes after 15 years of “winging it”. If I could achieve what I know I will achieve with an Insulin Pump on Multiple Daily Injections, I wouldn’t be attached to my peacock feather coated little box 24/7. MY Diabetes Consultant asked me last week if I was Happy with the decision to move to Insulin Pump Therapy, my answer was:

“Yes, because although there’s not much change right now, I am hopeful and certain that the change is on it’s way and it’ll be well earned!”

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