A MESSAGE sent on social media by a mother of two teenagers led to a touching reunion with the consultant at Basildon University Hospital who cared for her when she was expecting her children.
And now Lisa Hudson, who was diagnosed with diabetes during both her pregnancies, is giving support and encouragement at classes held at the hospital for other mums-to-be in the same situation.
Diabetes in pregnancy can cause complications for mother and baby, including large birth weights and traumatic deliveries. In rare cases it can be fatal for the baby. Thanks to the expertise of Mr Amaju Ikomi, obstetrics consultant, and maternity and diabetes nurses, both Lisa’s sons were born safely and are now in excellent health, as she is.
But Lisa, now aged 46, never forgot the care she received. When she recently joined Twitter, she saw a message from someone she knew, praising the care she had at Basildon Hospital.
She said: “It inspired me to send a message to the hospital too. I have always thought it’s important to praise good services, and after all these years I wanted Mr Ikomi and his team to know how I felt. I still have such gratitude to the NHS and the staff at Basildon Hospital.”
In a tweet to Basildon Hospital, Lisa said: “Just wanted you to know/tell Mr Ikomi that even 16 years after he looked after me, I still remember him with gratitude.”
Lisa’s message was passed to Mr Ikomi, who said when he received it: “The message was especially poignant as it was sent on the first birthday anniversary of my late father and mentor, who passed away last year. Her reaching out in this way was profoundly moving.
“On reviewing the records, Lisa’s case came flooding back. She was one of our gestational diabetes maternity patients under my care in 2000, the year I started working at Basildon Hospital, and 2003. Both pregnancies had significant obstetric complications but she and babies emerged with good outcomes. It’s so nice to receive feedback after so many years. It would be great to know if she and the children remained well all these years.”
Lisa’s oldest son Luke was born five weeks before he was due, weighing seven pounds 12 ounces. After a short stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) she was able to take him home. Her second son Joe was born by caesarean section at 38 weeks, weighing nine pounds 12 ounces.
Both boys are now fit, lean and active. Lisa is no longer diabetic and makes sure she and the family maintain a healthy lifestyles.
Lisa recalls: “I had not been diabetic before I was pregnant, and knew very little about it.
I tried really hard with my diet, but unfortunately did not manage to control my blood sugar.”
L-R: Luke, Lisa and Jo
Lisa was supported by specialist diabetes nurses, but since then diabetes midwife Joanne Hoare has set up classes to teach women how to manage if they are diagnosed with diabetes when they are pregnant.
At the Educating Gestational Diabetes sessions (EGGS) women receive advice on diet and are shown how to use a testing kit to check their blood sugar levels three times a day. If their level is high, or they have any concerns, the women have a direct line to call a midwife or nurse.
The maternity department invited Lisa to come and meet Mr Ikomi again, and she agreed to give a talk to one of the EGG groups, and answer questions about her experiences. Lisa will also appear in a short film to be shown at the groups, so that she can continue encouraging other women with gestational diabetes.
Lisa told the group: “I wish I had been able to attend these groups. My care was brilliant, but talking to other pregnant women in same situation would have reduced the isolation I felt.
“You have so much support here that continues after the birth; there is no need to be scared.”
She explained that making small changes in her lifestyle, such as cutting out white bread and ready-made sauces high in sugar, has not been difficult but has made a huge difference.
Joanne Hoare added: “It can be feel doubly scary being pregnant, then being told you have diabetes. It is fantastic to hear Lisa talking from the other side and showing that if aim for the do-able, not the impossible, you can make such a difference to your health.”