My amazing son who I’ll call J, is nearly three, and was diagnosed soon after birth with a relatively rare genetic condition. We don’t yet know how it will affect him as he grows older, but so far he has battled an array of medical problems. One thing’s for sure, our little family’s life will never be ‘normal’…
Well, it’s been an intense few months. Our big news is that we’re having a new baby in the spring – a little sister for J, we found out a few weeks ago. We are thrilled.
Though I have to admit that being pregnant with a toddler to look after is one of the hardest things I have ever done. (One friend who has been there says it’s even harder than having a toddler and a newborn).
Everything this time has been very different from my pregnancy with J – at least, so far. That pregnancy was a highly unusual one. The normal aches and pains of pregnancy were the least of my worries, because I spent much of the first trimester spotting and having early scans, and then at our 12 week scan we were told J had a slightly above normal nuchal translucency measurement (it was just over 3mm).
We were very worried, but the blood tests came back ‘low-risk’ for chromosomal disorders and so our overall ‘risk’ was only around one in 700. I remember feeling that for a 31-year-old, this was still very high compared to the numbers that other mothers my age seemed to get of one in tens of thousands. But of course, a lot of babies have relatively high nuchal measurements and no health problems.
As we have acquired symptoms, diagnoses, (or a lack of diagnoses), medications and a bucketful of frustration over the years I can understand why there is such a strong ‘Special Needs’ community on the internet. It is a source of support for many, all the more so because being a full time carer is incredibly isolating. Without the information, experience, social contact and, above all, understanding such a network brings many lives would be infinitely poorer.
Having children with complex health issues is isolating and lonely at times, and certainly in recent years I have felt progressively more divorced from other mums in the school playground as our experience of our children growing up is increasingly different from theirs.
I could write about it regularly, share my inner turmoil at 4am when son number 3 is sat crying in pain on the toilet and how I feel utterly unable to wake up properly and hold his hand – let alone alleviate his discomfort somehow. Or I could share my despair at the haphazard and ill-prepared attempt by son number 2′s school made to rewrite an IEP which is 18 months out of date, in preparation for an annual review of his statement before he transitions to high school.
Maybe you would like to hear of the constant tummy pain our daughter endures when her condition is flaring, or the head-bangingly infuriating lack of response from son number 2′s Great Ormond Street consultant after four months of chronic bowel impaction and non-existent motility. But I would rather not. I would far rather share something like this:
It’s fair to say that many of Britain’s roads are not in the best of shape, and with another harsh winter rumoured to be on the cards, motorists up and down the country will face pothole peril. At low speeds, tyres, wheels and steering alignment can be damaged. At high speeds, severe damage could occur, or worse still, you could lose control of the vehicle.
If your car ends up in the garage as a result of hitting a pothole, you could be owed compensation to help pay for the repair costs, so here’s how to get started.
Even if your car hasn’t suffered as a result of potholes in the road, you should always report them to the relevant council or highways agency. Many local authorities allow you to do this online, and it not only helps other motorists, but could make a big difference if you do suffer damage. The Highway Authority has a statutory defence and cannot be held liable for a defect they do not know about, so if it hasn’t been reported or their own road condition surveys haven’t picked it up, your claim could be affected. For more information go to: