Following rules hasn’t paid off. We did everything right. We planned my pregnancy, I gave up alcohol throughout. I didn’t take medications outside of the occasional tylenol. I puked for 36 weeks when I was pregnant with my daughter, starting before my first missed period — I took zofran a few times, but all it did was help with nausea and give me constipation, I still vomited, so I chose to stop taking it. I exercised regularly, swimming and hiking up until my due date. I only gained 18 pounds the entire pregnancy. I ate as healthy as I could manage, and took my prenatal vitamin daily. I never developed gestational diabetes or had an increase in blood pressure. When my daughter was born she went straight on my breast. She breastfed exclusively, no other foods, for the first 6 months of life. Then we started offering solids, homemade babyfood, real foods, everything except for honey before age one .She never had a drop of formula or cow’s milk until she was 12 months old. She never developed any food aversions or allergies. Nothing sugary until the fabulous smash cake on her first birthday. She only drank milk and water, no juice. She got plenty of tummy time, exercise and sleep. She had all her vaccines on schedule and without reaction. She hit all of her developmental milestones on time, even with having a buckle fracture in her wrist at 10 months old while learning to walk. She had no screen time until her second birthday. No high fevers and no illnesses outside of the seasonal cold. We were fortunate enough that she never had to go to a daycare and was able to be with either my husband or I every day. My husband and I both wore her in wraps and soft structured carriers whenever possible. We cloth diapered as soon as we got home from the hospital. Our daughter was born in December 2013 and is still in a rear facing carseat, she hasn’t outgrown the limits of our seat and doesn’t know any differently.
Despite doing everything “right”, despite following all of the rules, on October 31, 2016, at 2 years 10 months old, our perfect daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. We have zero family history on either side of Type 1 diabetes and very minimal history of autoimmune diseases in general. My toddler, you’re telling me my toddler has a chronic disease, requiring life sustaining medication (insulin), for which there is no known cure. Fucking fabulous…
Elisabeth Kubler Ross’ stages of grief started rapidly. Being a registered nurse (RN) I had read all about it in nursing school and seen it in action, but it is so much more intense when you’re living it. I also vacillate between the stages frequently. I hang out in the anger stage more than I would like to admit. I know that anger isn’t going to help us move forward with this disease, but sometimes it feels damn good to be bitter. Some days I still feel like I’m going to wake up and it’s all going to have been a bad dream.
We’re using our acceptance of the disease to take control of it and be our daughter’s pancreas to the best of our ability and maintain blood glucose values that are “in range” as often as possible. She started on an insulin pump 6 weeks after diagnosis and it’s going well. Not giving shots has made things seem a bit more “normal”. Now she’s a 3 year old who walks around wearing a kick ass pink polka dot fanny pack all of the time.
So for 2017, we’re throwing out the rules. We’re going to stay up late and have extra screen time, on occasion. We’re going to play with playdough in the house, go outside with wet hair, listen to music a little too loud and dance in our underwear (and a kick ass fanny pack). Because the reality is the universe laughs in the face of following all the rules.