We started antenatal classes last week. This makes everything suddenly feel very real. The NHS run class was really good, a nice bunch of people and a great midwife leading the session. But at the back of my mind throughout was a feeling of “this would be a lot easier without diabetes”. They went around the room and asked everyone what their biggest concerns about birth were. Predictably most people said pain. I considered being honest and explaining to the room that my biggest concern is the fact that I have to play at being a pancreas on top of the whole having a baby business which feels a bit like trying to run a marathon and sit your maths A-level simultaneously. And it worries me that by having to multitask to such an extent I risk making a mess of both of them. And I don’t consider full outsourcing of the diabetes to the NHS to manage as an option because I’ve tried that before and they messed it up, and this is too important for that to happen.
Ultimately I decided that probably wasn’t quite the emotional outpouring the midwife was looking for when she asked the question of the group, so I gave the accepted answer of pain which allowed her to move seamlessly into her session on what marvellous drugs they have nowadays.
But the session did trigger a pitiful attack of the “why me’s?”. Because as I listened to how if you’re classed as low risk (I’m not) you can make use of the wonderful birthing pool (I can’t) and how you’ll focus on nothing but the contractions (great, but I don’t have that luxury, I need a spare braincell for the pancreas bit too) it did make me feel a touch bitter and twisted. This happens rarely, but hubby dealt admirably with his ranting wife when we got home and agreed that indeed life isn’t bloody fair. The why me’s are normally resolved by a bottle of red, but this time we had to settle for hot chocolate. Nowhere near as good, but it did the job. After a satisfying tantrum and a bit of a sulk I’ve stopped whinging and have got back to being grown up about the whole thing.
In more positive news, my diabetes team took me completely by surprise this week. I went to my usual appointment and was met by the consultant and the DSN who wanted to have a joint session with me. This is not normal. I braced myself. And they left me completely gobsmacked. They felt it was time for us to go through my diabetes plan for my birth, because they know I have strong views on how I run my diabetes and they want to make sure the whole team is briefed on that. How fabulous, a proactive care team with an understanding of what their patient needs.
And even better, their proposal was almost identical to what the husband and I had been developing in our own conversations – basically, we’ll handle the diabetes between us using my pump and CGM. And if we need additional help, we’ll ask for it, at which point they’ll move me on to a sliding scale. For a c-section, we’ll manage the diabetes if it’s done under epidural, but if they need to knock me out, the diabetes is all theirs.
I wrote up the plan, emailed it back to them and they’re going to brief the whole team involved. What a great example of personalised care, and an unexpected joy that we all agree on the same approach without the need for an argument. Happy days.