Part One: We Knew
We knew. On some level, we knew months ago that something was wrong. Jim and I had even talked specifically about it, one night on the couch, after she had wet her bed, again. I believe my exact words were, “Shit, man. That would suck,” but it couldn’t be that.
I was 37 weeks pregnant, and she couldn’t have it. I was being a hypersensitive mom. I wasn’t sure what the exact odds were, but they were small, so it wasn’t that. It was no big deal. She was drinking more water, but so what. We all were. It was hot, the hottest October and November on record. She was wetting the bed, but she’s 3. Three-year-old’s wet the bed occasionally, even ones who have been out of diapers for over a year. She had lost a little bit of weight, maybe. I couldn’t be sure. I don’t regularly weigh my 3-year-old. She was melting down at the smallest things, dissolving into hysterics, but again, she’s 3, with a new sibling on the way. I could explain it all away, but I knew.
The day we came home from the hospital with Q—more on that later—I called and made a doctor’s appointment, nothing urgent, just a standard check-up. She was months overdue for her 3-year-old visit anyway. I would ask the pediatrician to do a urine analysis. P would pee in a cup. We’d all have a good laugh about that. Our kindly pediatrician would smile at my overabundance of caution. I would be wrong and I would feel better. I was so ready to be wrong.
We ended up having Q’s two-week visit and P’s check-up on the same day. I took Q in the morning and Jim was going to run P back in the afternoon, while I did after-school pick-up for O. It would be fine that I wasn’t there, because nothing was wrong. Repeat after me: nothing is wrong, nothing is wrong, nothing is wrong. She was a happy, active 3-year-old, who was adjusting to a new baby in the house. Jim called from the appointment and told me the pediatrician had told him that the urine analysis looked odd, but they often get strange results from the in-office test. He would send it to the lab and call us later with the results. She looked fine to him. He sent Jim home with a packet of info on bedwetting and another one on how to help kids adjust to a new baby. I didn’t feel better.
That evening, after everyone was fast asleep, we sat on the couch waiting. I couldn’t tell you what we were waiting for, but we both felt heavy and expectant. Jim decided to try to log on to P’s online medical record to see if the lab results were in. When we saw that her ketones were over 80, we knew. We knew we’d be going to the hospital soon. We knew we were in for a lifetime of blood tests, needles and endocrinologists. We knew this was type 1 diabetes (T1D). We knew because, over the past month, we had both been separately researching and reading about what happens after a T1D diagnosis, because somewhere inside of us, we both already knew. I looked up at Jim and said, “I can’t go. They are going to need to keep her for a few days, and I can’t go.” He just held me, the same way I knew he would hold her.
Within twenty minutes of Jim finding the lab results online, P’s pediatrician called. Within the hour, Jim and P were on the way to the hospital. They had a room ready for her and the charge nurse knew we were coming, no emergency room, no wait (shout out to Kaiser). Watching Jim pull out of the driveway to take one of my babies to the hospital was one of the worst moments of my life, but I was only two weeks postpartum and Q wasn’t allowed at the hospital over night. After they left, I ugly cried and cleaned.
In the following weeks there has been a fair amount of ugly crying, (it sneaks up on me sometimes), and significantly less cleaning. We are on a pretty steep learning curve, but we are figuring it out, one poke, one reading, one syringe of insulin at at time. Jim and I are a great team, and I feel supremely lucky that we are doing this together. Somehow, in the middle of all of this, Q is a month old, Christmas happened, and we’ve laughed together more than we’ve cried. The rules about who sleeps in what bed are just about out the window, but who needs rules about silly things like that. Right about now, I need all the snuggling I can get.
Still, not sure how today ends, but sure that we all end up together.
This story is the first installment of a series entitled “New Normal” from Kate Felton’s blog, Not Sure How Today Ends. Read the next installments of Kate’s New Normal series: