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Shared experience

“I felt more trust in my own body”

Nina Willer has spoken to us about taking part in the AiDAPT trial, which studied the effect of using hybrid closed loop technology during pregnancy.

Nina Willer, who used hybrid closed loop technology through pregnancy, and her child.

I have been lucky enough to experience two very different pregnancies. During my first pregnancy eight years ago I used capillary testing, setting alarms every two hours through the night. I stopped driving and made sure I was accompanied overnight throughout the pregnancy for fear of a catastrophic hypo.

I felt like I was constantly chasing my tail trying to keep on top of the highs, and no matter what I did I couldn’t get on top of the lows. It was a never-ending cycle which took its toll on my relationship with my diagnosis and at times made me really resent my diabetes.

Life-changing technology

When I got pregnant for the second time, I had been using Dexcom for a few years with great effect so I felt like I had the best grasp of my diabetes and could not improve much further. However, I started on hybrid closed loop at eight weeks and everything changed. I felt so much more confident in my glucose levels remaining in target.

Every single day for that pregnancy and since, I have woken up in target. I have had a huge reduction in hypos. I have had to eat less to maintain my diabetes levels and eat what I want, when I want. This has meant I gained less weight and was able to stay more active which helped in so many other ways. I felt more trust in my own body for the first time in ages and confidence that I was doing my absolute best for my body. When my glucose levels would increase due to the pregnancy hormones, I could see the app working harder and making changes. It was so reassuring.

Seeing improvements all-round

Throughout the pregnancy I felt so confident in the care I was receiving, I knew that my doctors could see exactly what was going on, from when I was bolusing to when I was having hypos, my total daily doses etc. It meant that my clinic appointments were more meaningful, I could lead the discussions and we could talk about the things that mattered, instead of trying to explain the intricacies of what I was doing each day. I quickly learnt how different carbohydrates and proteins and fats would affect my levels and made improvements myself, to how I ate and bolused, between appointments. All of this has changed how I manage my glucose levels long-term.

Since starting on hybrid closed loop and receiving the incredible support throughout my pregnancy I have felt so much more confident in myself and engaged in my diabetes.

This is our cure

A couple of weeks after starting on hybrid closed loop I was speaking to my mum about it and she burst into tears with joy. She said she has been praying every day for 17 years for a cure, and this is our cure. I definitely feel the same. This is absolutely life-changing, not just for me, but for my children. I am more present, I have more time to play and engage and less time saying ‘hang on, mummy needs a snack’. My husband says he can sleep safe in the knowledge I will wake up the next morning and my mum can finally exhale.

I still have to think about my diabetes, but for once it is not at the forefront of my mind all day every day. For me it is like being on autopilot. I am very much in control, but I can relax and enjoy my day while the app does all the hard work for me.

Healthy babies

I am lucky that both of my babies were born healthy between 36-37 weeks. My first baby was sadly taken to NICU at an hour old and we stayed in hospital for a week. My second (Aidapt) baby had significant jaundice but we stayed together and were home after a couple of days. On paper these outcomes may look very similar but in reality they were very different. Having those precious first few days together without separation had such a positive impact on all of us.

I am forever grateful for the care I received and the technology that was made available to me, and excited for the future of diabetes!

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