A Day at the Museums

The Museums in South Kensington – most especially The Science Museum and The Natural History Museum – were staples of my childhood. I remember many a school trip – soggy sandwiches and broken down coaches included- and family day out spent happily at both, so it’s natural that they were both on the list of “Family Days Out To Look Forward To” before Thomas was even born. However, with one thing and another, we hadn’t actually got around to taking him until last weekend. And having now taken him, I’m glad that we waited a while. We were able to go without a pushchair in-tow (which simplifies everything) and Thomas was properly interested in so much that was on offer, participating not just in the interactive areas for young children, but also asking questions about everything he could see.

Having asked Thomas if he wanted to see rockets or dinosaurs first, we headed straight to the Science Museum. I had heard the same advice over and over again that the main areas to go with little ones are the basement and the fourth floor, but of course that wasn’t accounting for Thomas’s obsession with steam and engines. The enormous working steam engine in the entrance hall captivated him for so long that I began to think we’d never get away. It was only the promise of more engines that succeeded, and he was in seventh heaven when he discovered “Stephen” (Stephenson’s Rocket) “Billy” (Puffing Billy) and “Emily” (a great big steam engine with a passing resemblance to “Emily” from Thomas and Friends) plus plenty of others. We spent a good while on a gallery which housed a number of small scale models of trains and other machines. At first he was a bit put out that they weren’t moving, so he was absolutely ecstatic to discover that some of them did indeed move if you pushed a button! The cars and space rockets were also a huge hit with Thomas, and of course, there was plenty to interest me including old dental units, an early radiographic machine and a three dimensional model of pig insulin. But visiting museums with kids is very different to visiting them without: your own interests get rapidly sidelined, of course!

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We didn’t make it to the bubble show that everyone has been raving about, but we did see a rocket show up on the fourth floor that Thomas really enjoyed. It was probably pitched at slightly older children, with explanations of Newton’s Laws of Motion, complete with audience participation demonstrations. However, the show was extremely well done in that it also kept Thomas’s attention throughout without dumbing down. To my surprise he found hydrogen explosions absolutely hilarious, and was not at all phased by the loud bangs or rockets being flung across the room. (This is the kid who still covers his ears if a particularly loud car approaches, and screams blue murder if anyone dares to use a hand dryer in his vicinity!)

We also spent quite a bit of time in the Pattern Pod, where the interactive floor was a big hit, and also in the Garden in the basement.

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We headed to the Natural Museum in the afternoon, although to be honest, Thomas was already showing signs of being pretty tired and possibly a bit over stimulated. However we’d made the mistake of mentioning that he could see a dinosaur, and he damn well wanted to see it! Dinosaurs are another area of unpredictability with Thomas. He sometimes cowers in fear at anything dinosaur related on television, but at other times loves it. The diplodocus in the entrance hall was definitely loved. So much so that he begged to “see more dinosaurs now”. However, when we got round to the entrance to the main dinosaur exhibit, he got very unsettled – probably because it’s quite dark and noisy – and asked to go. We decided to cut our losses and head home before a great day ended up with a massive meltdown.

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He has asked all week about the dinosaur, though. And for the first time in ages, I chanced putting Andy’s Dinosaur Adventure on Cbeebies on for him. The last time he saw an episode several months ago he screamed until it was turned off. This time thought he was very excited by seeing “the big dinosaur skeleton” and seemed to get quite in to it. So I think we’ll be back to the Natural History Museum again before long!

As the mark of a good day. Thomas actually fell asleep on me on the train home. This is the kid who never, ever sleeps during the day unless he is utterly worn out. It’s become my goal to get him so tired on days out that he sleeps happily, and this time it worked! Definitely a good day had by all.

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Five Minutes of Fame in Mother and Baby Magazine

This month, I’ve received my five minutes of blogging fame! You can find me, sharing my secondary infertility and IVF story, in the October edition of Mother and Baby Magazine.

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According to them, I’m a “Woman Redefining Motherhood”, which is a lovely way to be described. As much as I may have blanched when I heard the headline, I suppose I have to admit that it does fit. I have had to reshape my vision of motherhood based on the circumstances that we’ve found ourselves in. It also seems a very apt description for the other bloggers in the same feature – Alice who writes very successfully about single motherhood at More Than Toast  and Emma, whose blog Treatment For Ted supports her fundraising for her son who suffered a brain injury at birth.

What I think all three of us have shown is that motherhood takes many forms, and often it doesn’t turn out quite how you might have imagined, planned or chosen, were choice something that were possible. But blogging can certainly be an invaluable aid and support no what your journey.

And even if you don’t write a blog yourself, finding others who have written about the issues you may be facing can be enormously helpful too. My story may not be as “inspirational” as the others, but I’m still glad to have had the opportunity to share it with a wider audience. Secondary infertility is surprisingly common, and becoming more so, but it’s still rarely talked about, smothered by the assumption that “you’ve had one child, you’ll be able to have another.” I’d be delighted if my writing could reach and support even just one more person going through this issue in silence.

Mother and Baby Magazine is on sale now.

(And no, my surname isn’t really “Love”, “love”ly as that would be! The magazine selected that name for me, since I don’t share my real surname online!)

Drugs! (Or, Here We Go Again!)

So this week I took delivery of two giant boxes of drugs. The drugs for our third, and final, round of IVF.

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I’ve been a bit hesitant, over the past couple of months, about sharing the exact details of this round of treatment. I wasn’t sure if blogging it “live” in previously cycles had been more of a help, or an extra source of stress – particularly when things went so badly in cycle two. Certainly I wanted the option to keep it all under wraps until the fat lady (hopefully me, with a big pregnant belly!) sang. But gradually, as the weeks have gone by, I’ve found myself letting information slip out, and actually, I’m comfortable with that. I value the support it brings. (So if you feel able to cheer me on, then please, please do!)

So here we are. Two huge boxes of drugs and tomorrow is a date with the dildo-cam for my baseline scan. After six weeks on the pill, in order to precisely time this cycle to coincide with time off work for me and the availability of our consultant to personally perform all my scans, and assuming that all is well with the scan, tomorrow the cycle kicks off properly.

People keep asking if I’m excited. I’m not sure excited is the word. Of course I’d still much rather be falling pregnant in the way nature intended. I don’t want to have to be doing this at all. Injecting all the drugs and dealing with the side effects, having a painful egg collection procedure and an undignified transfer of the resulting embryos back in to their natural home. And after two failures I’m nervous and apprehensive. Especially knowing that this really is the final roll of the dice. But then, in a month’s time, I COULD BE PREGNANT. This is a chance. Yes, it’s our final one, but no matter how small it’s still a chance. And yeah, that bit is exciting.

It’s fair to say that we’re throwing everything we can at this round. The drugs bill this time started out considerably more than for previous rounds, although with some successful shopping around I managed to shave over £700 off. It’s still a huge chunk of money, and even I was a bit shocked at the sheer amount of stuff. In addition to higher doses, we’ve also added two new drugs, and for most of the cycle I’ll taking three injections a day. I’ll be mixing human (natural) and recombinant (engineered) goandotrophins to stimulate my ovaries, and I’ll be using a mixture of natural hCG and a drug to force my body to release natural lutenising hormone – the ovulation hormone – as my trigger shot. This contrasts sharply against the recombinant hCG I’ve used in the last two cycles and that I strongly suspect may be behind my high numbers of immature eggs.

Our consultant has also agreed to do the entire cycle personally, from baseline to transfer (assuming we get there!). It’s normal for scans to be performed by different nurses, but obviously this introduces inter-operator error. The consistency of having one person who now knows me really well for the whole cycle was the deciding factor in staying with the same clinic. I’ll admit after two failures we did look elsewhere, but none of the other clinics could offer us much different and had the massive disadvantages of being further from home (more difficult and stressful to get to) and of not knowing, or understanding our case, or me as a person.

My consultant, on the other hand, gets me. He fully accepts that my insomnia cure of choice is searching Medline and attempting to learn to do his job. He and I work well together, and far from being offended by me making suggestions, or responding with the arrogant air of one who believes the professional always knows best, he seems to like the fact that I question, and challenge him. Many of the changes we’ve made this cycle have been as a direct result of studies I’ve read and suggested we adapt to our circumstances.

I’m feeling positive about the changes we’ve made, and the fact that we’re not simply trying the same thing again and hoping for a different outcome.

But only time will tell. The next four weeks of time, to be specific.

The roller coaster starts here. Wish us luck.

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash

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I’ve written before, recently, about taking Thomas to the theatre and how much he seems to enjoy it. After The Tiger Who Came to Tea, the second trip I had lined up for this summer was to see Peppa Pig’s Big Splash at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. It’s a while since I’ve been to the Churchill, but it’s a venue firmly linked to my youth as I used to attend plenty of productions there both with my school theatre group and also with my parents. It’s a really lovely, spacious auditorium, and they tend to have a fantastic line up of touring and pre-West End shows to choose from at reasonable prices.

Peppa Pig is a relatively new thing for Thomas. Having been obsessed with Thomas and Friends since before he really watched television, there has been little room for much else until recently. To be honest, I could have done without the little pink pig coming in to our lives, with her snorting and her muddy puddles, as, truth be told, I find her pretty irritating! And after watching multiple episodes back-to-back during our chicken pox quarantine, even the music sets me a bit on edge now. However, Thomas loves it, and clearly actually gets something from it, as the story lines in Peppa episodes have often been a springboard for his own imaginative play ideas. (There is no road that has not been dug up in our near vicinity!) So I booked the tickets for him, and accepted that I’d have to sit through it.

I have to hold my hands up though, and say that I was impressed. I actually enjoyed myself, and not just because Thomas was so obviously having a ball. The show was actually really good, engaging for young and old(er) alike, and no where near as irritating as the television shows. All the familiar characters were represented as puppets voiced by their operators, and the voices were fairly faithful to the familiar television ones. Mr Bull popped up to “dig up the road”, Daddy Pig was, of course, “a bit of an expert”, George’s dinosaur went missing, resulting in much “waaaahing” and there was plenty of singing including some rousing rounds of everybody’s favourite “Bing Bong Song”. And, of course, there was lots and lots of splashing in muddy puddles and jumping up and down for everyone!

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This was the first theatre production that we’ve been to that had an interval, so I treated Thomas to the traditional ice cream from a tub. This was also partly in reward for the fact that he was incredibly good about not pestering me for the plastic tat they were flogging for nearly a tenner a pop. This was probably my one frustration with this particular show, but I suppose I can’t blame them as they have a captive audience and it’s all business, after all! I understand that it’s a normal part of these touring theatre shows and, sadly, being merchandised at is a now a normal part of life! Of course his own ice cream tub wasn’t quite enough, and he also wanted to share steal mine too!

This post is not sponsored. We paid for our own tickets and all thoughts and opinions are mine (and Thomas’s). I would, however, highly recommend that you go to see the show if you have a little Peppa fan. Peppa Pig’s Big Splash continues to tour the country until January, with more dates promised – see the website for more details by clicking here.

What Do You Do All Week?

Sometimes, when I make it to the end of the week and look around me to see the devastation of un-done housework in my home, the incomplete piles of laundry and the empty kitchen cupboards, even I wonder just what exactly it is that I do with my time? Pre-Thomas I worked five and a half day weeks, kept up a successful sideline in freelance writing, found time to keep my house nice and chores done and still had time for hobbies and other enjoyment. It’s certainly seems true that children, or even just a single child, change everything and can take up an awful lot of time.

For the sake of recording real life, the way it really happens, though, I wanted to take some time to actually examine what I do do with my time in a fairly typical week. Because sometimes I allow myself to get overwhelmed and feel like I’m failing at everything, succeeding at nothing at all. It can easily feel like I haven’t actually done anything, just because one or two things I’d intended to accomplish remain incomplete. I let the guilt cloud in and imagine that I’ve let Thomas do nothing but watch Toy Story for hours on end, even when sense tells me that it plainly isn’t true!

So here is a sample of what I got up to last week. Although it includes a couple of atypical occurrences, there is usually something else unusual that crops up in other weeks. I suppose you could say they are ordinary extraordinary moments.

On Saturday we were up bright and early (read 5am) as usual. I should really have so many more hours to do things, since we get up these days at a time we most definitely would still have been languishing in bed before we had Thomas. But those early morning hours aren’t always my most productive, and Thomas is usually at his most demanding in terms of creative play. Last Saturday I had some “me time” meeting a friend for lunch in London. We all went up on the train together and my boys headed off for some fun riding various forms of London transport – this is Thomas’s idea of a heavenly day out. They had to rush back in the afternoon to meet the builders who were due to start work on propping up the back of our house on Monday, to get the scaffold tower up. I enjoyed an afternoon by the river, eating burgers and drinking wine, plus catching up on all the gossip. I was still home in time for bath time and story time though, and spent the evening doing work-rleated stuff.

On Sunday we fitted in a supermarket trip, then went to visit friends and their week old baby girl. Thomas had a lot of fun with their older daughter, who is his age, and more of our friends turned up with their daughter too. We drank tea, and had plenty of baby snuggles, which was way better than staying at home doing housework. I managed to squeeze in a run in the evening.

On Monday our building work started. Fortunately, given the amount of dust created, I was at work all day. My lunch break was taken up picking up prescriptions, a trip to the bank and other errands that had risen to the top of the “must-do” list. The evening was spent clearing up much of the dust created during the day!

On Tuesday I’m not at work. Thomas was due to move up in the 3+ class of his regular music class. This was a pretty big step, since in the 3+ class the children go in on their own rather than with a parent. Moving up was the suggestion of the teacher, who has known him since he was 3 months old, but since he was going to be the youngest in the class, I still felt a bit nervous. As it turned out, he couldn’t have been more eager or excited and I was told afterwards that he was totally focussed on the session the entire time and really enjoyed it. He came running out shouting “Mummy Mummy” with the biggest grin on his face to back that up too. It was a bittersweet moment – another reminder of just how much he is growing up. The walk home was pretty slow as he stopped to look at every leaf, twig and stone that caught his eye and we’d only just got through the door when our lift arrived to drop us to a play date with NCT friends. I finished up the day with another run. I’d say it was a pretty good day for Thomas, and me too.

On Wednesdays I’m usually at home with Thomas, but this week I spent the morning taking nearly ninety impressions of teeth for sports mouth guards at a local girl’s school. It was a pretty intense morning where we worked literally non-stop, and had quite a bit of pre-teen girl hysteria to deal with (they tend to set each other off!). I found out the following day thought that the lab were very impressed with my imps and not a single reject, so I guess it was a good day at the office! Ian had taken the day off to spend with Thomas, so in the afternoon we had a family trip to the park and a quick Starbucks date. I then had an appointment with the stirrups at the fertility clinic to have my endometrium scratched. So that was as fun as it sounds. (For which read, not at all.)

Thursday is a work day, but got off to a stressful start. Thomas wasn’t well. I think this is often the most difficult part of being a working parent – the juggling act that comes when they are unwell. A whole day off work is not only incredibly expensive for me (I’m self-employed) but also stressful because it means rearranging so many appointments and we are currently so busy that we have literally no where to rebook them. I hate letting people down, and I hate the fact that staff at work also suffer the fall out. Fortunately I managed to get a doctor’s appointment fairly early. He has an ear infection (again) and by that time Calpol had perked him up, so I was able to drop him at nursery and head in to work. (Cue, more guilt!) I knew there was a risk I’d have to leave again to pick him up, but even seeing some patients was better than nothing. Fortunately we made it through the day unscathed! I spent my lunch break attempting to shave some money off my extortionate IVF drugs bill by shopping around. Thursday evening I was on my own as Ian was out. I fall asleep on the sofa really early feeling grotty and it was only when I woke up I recalled having accidentally pulled out my insulin pump infusion set several hours earlier. Unsurprisingly my blood sugar is really high – the reason why I feel awful. Insulin and water on board, I have an early night.

Friday is another work day. Where I can walk to work on Monday’s and Thursdays, Friday is more of a rush as I have to get the train. I crammed in getting my fertility drugs ordered during my lunch break today. The best part of getting the train to work as far as Thomas is concerned is that I have train tickets, so we can visit the station on the way home to see the trains, even if the ticket barriers are closed. We watch the trains for a bit and meet Daddy from his train, as he makes a special effort to get an earlier one on a Friday. I squeeze in another run and then finish up a few projects I have on the go.

Back round to Saturday and I’m working this week, so that is my morning taken up. I get home around half one and we head out to get our filthy car washed. (Thomas loves going to the wash down! And judge all you like, but yes, we get our car washed at a hand car wash. Why would I spend my precious time getting wet and grubby when someone else is willing and able to do a better job of it for seven quid?) And then another quick supermarket trip to keep the cupboards topped up. The remainder of the day is devoted to the long-neglected housework so we end the day with a presentable home again. I end up dealing with a “Call Service Error” on my insulin pump, which involves a long phone call, but eventually is sorted.

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When I look back at it like that, I realise just how much I do manage to get done. The early starts and middle-of-the-night wake ups have a lot to answer for when it comes to my energy levels, so it’s unsurprising that some evenings it’s all I can do to get dinner made and the bare minimum of essential tasks done. Thomas is actually getting a lot of my time, and Ian’s time too. He actually gets to participate in a huge range of activities most weeks, even if we don’t have a big “day out” or trip planned – this week he had his music class, a play date, two park trips, riding his bike, painting, plus plenty of trains, cars and duplo. My work is stressful, and in many ways more-so for being part-time as I can no longer carry things over to the next day the way I once did, and I always have the stress of ensuring I’m away in time to pick Thomas up. I’m still managing to fit in exercise. And actually, I’m still managing to fit in a reasonable amount of relaxation time, including watching the odd television series or DVD.

I”ve wondered, in some of my more irrational moments, whether part of the reason we’ve not been able to have more children is because the universe thinks I’m making too much of a hash of raising the one one we have. I do sometimes wonder how on earth I’d cope with the the two or three I wanted if I feel like just one is sometimes tough. But obviously, I would. After all, you don’t know what you can do until you have to do it. When you have to do it, you tend to get it done! And I really think that I am managing to keep all my balls in the air right now, so I’m sure I’d squeeze in another if it was tossed to me!

So yeah, that’s what I do all week…. and I’m linking this up with the lovely Hannah over at Make, Do and Push

Two Years of Trying

This month marks two years of trying for our second child.

The child who could have been fifteen months old now. All chubby cheeks, wobbly legs and new adventures. The child who could have been around a year old now. Just getting on the move and exploring everything by stuffing it in their mouth. The child who could have been six months old now. Just beginning to explore solid foods, but loving lots of milky cuddles too. The child who could still have been nestled warm and safe inside my swollen belly now, but soon to make their entrance in to the world.

The child who could have been any age in between, but instead does not yet even exist.

There are still moments where I find it hard to believe that we’re here, in this situation, but in almost every other moment of every day I’m faced by reminders of what we don’t yet have.

I spent one sunny afternoon this week at a playdate with NCT friends. Amongst our number, the newest addition was just ten days old – a tiny, scrunched up and utterly adorable newborn baby girl. I love newborns as much as I ever did, but I find it a challenge to cuddle them, to inhale their newborn scent, without letting a fat tear plop on to their tiny heads. As the afternoon passed, as I sat on the floor helping with jigsaw puzzles, it hit me that I was the only one unencumbered in that activity by a second small person. That, despite being the first to begin “trying again”, I’m the only one to have not yet achieved it. My son does not have a little brother or sister in common with his friends. Whilst he may not yet care, I do. Desperately.

The nursery pick up has become fraught with danger for me, as it seems each day another of Thomas’s classmates’ mums has given birth. I bump into them in the doorway, with their infant carriers swinging from one arm, their toddler clasping their other hand. Everyone, children included, coos over the baby, whilst I slip in to retrieve my son, trying hard not to cry until we’re safely around the corner on our way home. “Are you sad Mummy?” Thomas asks, and my heart breaks more thinking about what I might have allowed him to miss out on in the last two years. Not by not having a sibling, but by the extent to which infertility has infiltrated my life, and how that may have affected the kind of person – and kind of parent – that I’ve been.

At work, I’m faced with patients who sometimes forget that I’m not their friend, and that perhaps I don’t wish to discuss personal details of my life outside work with them. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been asked about baby number two. Or even told “You can’t just have one!” or “You’d better hurry up and have another” with an undertone of something terrible to happen if we don’t. I’ve written before about the awful presumption of these questions and statements, and how rude they truly are. Even if we weren’t infertile, one child could well be plenty for us and it wouldn’t make us somehow inferior people or parents. But when you can’t actually create that baby, it’s hard not to take these comments that way at times. It’s hard to keep brushing them off, over and over and over again.

Two years seems like an awfully long time to wait for something that you really, really want, especially when patience has never been your strong point and when there is very little in your control that you can do to help you get it sooner. The old saying “good things come to those who wait” is hard to accept when wonderful things are coming to so many people around us with so much less waiting on their parts. I can’t help the flash of anger and frustration I feel towards “accidental” pregnancies, or towards those families who’ve managed to give birth to a couple of children in the time we’ve been trying to make just one. Please don’t think badly of me for that. WaiTing is wearing.

Time is supposed to be a healer. To help you cope. Accept. Move forwards. But if it weren’t for Thomas, it would have felt very much like time had stood still in the last two years. And far from healing me, the passing of time has just made it harder and harder to accept that this still hasn’t happened. The longer it goes on, the angrier I feel myself becoming. The more people I find to resent for their fertility.

The more I am edging towards self destruction.

I won’t do that, of course. And in no small part I have Thomas to thank for that. I’m so glad that I have this wonderful little guy in my life and so thankful for every last inch of him, and every tiny quirk of his enormous personality. In the time I’ve been trying to give him a sibling, he’s learned so much. How to walk. How to talk. How to count. And now, he’s beginning to teach himself to read, astounding me with the number of letters he recognises and sounds he can associate with them.

It just reminds me, though, of what a really long time two years is. It’s not just the passing of each season twice. It’s enough time for a baby to grow in to a child.

I almost can’t stand it any more. But there is still nothing else to do but go on trying. Go on hoping. Go on waiting.

What to Say to Someone Newly Diagnosed With Diabetes

As a person with diabetes, I can’t help but experience and involuntary spark of sadness every time I hear about someone else being diagnosed with this condition. True, it’s not the death sentence that is was a hundred years ago, but it’s still a life changing diagnosis, and one that I very much wish no one else ever had to receive again. When the person is someone who I know well, the spark becomes a full blown fire. And a couple weeks ago, it happened. For several days after hearing the news, it came to mind repeatedly. Uninvited and irrepressible, a mixture of shock and sadness flooding my thoughts. But amongst that was also an odd sense of, I guess, responsibility. I knew that somehow, I needed to find the right words to say. I felt a weight of expectation to know how to make this all seem a little bit better. It was something I wasn’t totally sure that I could do.

Here’s the reality: I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of three. I literally do not know any different than living with diabetes. My diagnosis is pretty much my earliest memory, so I have no specific knowledge of what it’s like to go about daily life without the intrusion of wayward blood glucose levels, finger pricks and injections. My newly diagnosed friend is in her early twenties. She’s used to a life full of carefree fun and spontaneity. She’s at the start of her career, and just gaining full independence from her parents, making her own way in the world.

I don’t know how that feels.

To have your life turned upside down overnight. To have so much that you’ve taken for granted changed. To have very recent memories of a life where carbohydrate counts don’t matter and routine is a foreign concept. To have to suddenly learn to integrate medical procedures in to your day to day.

I was afraid of not being able to empathise with that experience. Not being able to offer any kind of support because it all seemed so far away from my own experience. And add to that the thirty-one years of gradually accumulated diabetes knowledge that I sometimes take for granted, and I was very aware of the gulf between me and my newly diagnosed friend.

I suppose I didn’t want to scare. Or to overwhelm. Or to assume. I wanted to find a way to be supportive without trivialising it, but without making it seem like the worst thing in the world. As always it’s striking that fine balance between showing how eminently possible it is to live well, and fully, whilst making it look fairly easy, and understanding that actually it is serious, and it can be hard work at times. Most of all, I didn’t want to be annoying. I didn’t want to pop up as the person knowing all about diabetes and feel like i was piling on pressure or judgement in any way. I must admit that in a selfish moment, it occurred to me that I would now be seeing on a day-to-day basis someone who will (eventually) have lots of their own knowledge about diabetes and that there would be a possibility that I would begin to be judged for choices, actions and bad habits (hello, never changing my lancet) that others don;’t know enough to judge me for. That thought made me aware of not wanting to be the one putting the pressure on, or seeming to be watching as she finds her feet.

In the end though, it was that thought that saved me. Because when I replayed it over to myself, I realised what I have gained: someone who will also understand diabetes intimately.

What I actually said, when the moment arrived, came completely naturally. It came from my heart, and the tears I choked back as I started were absolutely genuine.

I told her that everything will be OK. It will be different, but it will work itself out, although that will take time. I told her that it would be hard work, but that the rewards are absolutely worth the effort. I was able to share some of the crap things people will say and a way to develop a mindset to ignore them (plus a couple of cutting comebacks!). I was able to help reassure that numbers aren’t something to panic about, or feel guilty about, but are simply information to help us live as well as we can and make the best choices. We talked too about family pressures. Being a mum myself now has helped me understand the desire to take away anything bad from our children, and to always worry about them. I hope I was able to offer some insight and help with the feelings of being over closeted by a parent having experienced now from both angles.

Most of all, however, I was able to simply reassure that I “get it”. I understand. Two short, and powerful words. Our exact experiences may be different, but I know what it feels like to prick my fingers multiple times each day. I know that injections are the easy part, when others recoil in horror and say they could “never do it”. I understand the fear of hypoglycaemia. I know what a high blood sugar feels like. And I’m able to be there as much, or as little, as needed for a advice or a moan, or to celebrate a triumph that only a person with diabetes can understand.

And that really cemented the idea of my own gain. Blessed as I am to have several friends with diabetes and to know where to look for support online, I don’t currently see any of those people on a daily or even weekly basis. Suddenly, after all this time, I’ve gained an ally too. And far from fearing that I’ll be judged, or watched more closely, I feel like part of a team. Someone close to me understands what a middle of the night high blood sugar does to your mood on waking. Someone close to me has the little telltale black dots on the tips on their fingers. Someone else understands what it means to want to control something that does its level best not to be controlled. There is no substitute for camaraderie.

I didn’t need to worry about what to say. “I understand” was enough.

Vibe CGM Graph