Six weeks ago I gave birth to the most wonderful, beautiful little bundle of fabulousness and I have been floating around on cloud 9 ever since. For once, nothing anybody can say has taken away from the magical experience of having total responsibility for a newborn baby.
But I am angry. Something is doing its damnedest to detract from this experience. Something which I have, for over 20 years, refused to even acknowledge is worth an ounce of my worry. It is getting its disgusting, unfair, all-consuming claws into my life in such a negative way and I need a break.
I need a break from the sleepless nights. My beautiful daughter sleeps like an angel for at least four hours at a time, feeds, then dozes back off to sleep. I don’t need a break from her. I need a break from waking up multiple times a night, soaked with sweat, slowly reaching the realisation that I have gone hypo, again, and it is that which has forced me awake.
I need a break from reaching ‘medical emergency’ levels of low blood sugar multiple times a day. I need a break from swinging between those lows to the headache-inducing, insatiable thirst-causing highs that inevitably follow.
I need a break from the constant, incessant thoughts of how high or low I am and what I need to do to get to where I need to be.
I need a break from being constantly chastised by a battery operated machine, telling me I am, regardless of a lifetime of effort, still ‘doing it wrong’.
I need a break from hospitals, from well-meaning doctors who have no real life perception of what this condition is like to have as an unwanted life partner, telling me what it is I need to be doing as if my endocrine system is aware of the textbook protocols.
I need a break from getting up to feed my precious daughter, only to be stopped from instantly soothing her by a flashing array of LED lights telling me that a machine needs calibrating. How the hell have I got to the stage that a piece of electronic equipment has to come before my child’s needs? If it isn’t that, it’s the bastard voice in my head telling me that I really should be doing my insulin first, before spending a mere 15 minutes feeding her. Plastic pens and synthetic hormones force their way to take precedence over the most important thing in the world to me.
I need a break from the mental torment of being pleased that I am able to produce plenty of milk to keep our growing little lady thoroughly satisfied, and knowing that so much production is bound to be followed by hypos. Four hypos in the last twelve hours, to be exact. I need a break from the voices battling in my head, telling me it’d probably be better for my health and sanity to feed her formula and leave my endocrine system to calm down, arguing with the voice that tells me I know I should breastfeed her if I am able. For now, I refuse to let a condition which I resent so vehemently have any more of an impact on Aoife’s first few months than it is already having and so will continue to breastfeed her until such a situation arises which makes it impossible.
I need a break from being forced into wasting time I should be spending with her, instead having to mess around with medication. I want to devote my short period of maternity leave to her, not something which I have already had the displeasure of spending 24 years with. Just give me a few months with my daughter. Stop interfering.
I need a break from putting a brave face on. This is perhaps the hardest point to broach. I am incensed that such a pointless, pathetic condition has lead me to finally, almost 3 decades in, admit that it is beating me. I know that, once this period of time has passed, whether it lasts a week or a few months, I will return to my usual Boadicea-esque stance on the matter and I will continue to give it the disrespect it has always given me. But for now, I am sick of it. I am sick of it being such an over-riding presence in my life. I am sick of it encroaching on my time with my little miracle. I am sick of it impacting on my happiness at a time which otherwise is the most magnificent time I have ever had the luck to experience.
As much as I could sit and wallow in self pity at the moment, there is a small blue-eyed girl who is providing the biggest distraction from the ceaseless demands of the condition and suddenly, even if it is only for a moment, it all goes away. All she is aware of is the fact I am here and I intend to be here for a very long time yet. I am all too aware that not everybody is afforded such unparalleled luxury and so for them, for Aoife and for my own sanity, I will continue to refuse to let this vexatious condition be a fourth member of our perfect little family.