Type 1 Diabetes in the Life of a Baby

It is very rare for a baby to be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 13 1/2 months old.  Less than 2% are diagnosed under the age of 3 and 1% in the first year of life.  My son was diagnosed at 13 1/2 months old and believe me it changed our life tremendously.  We didn’t have support from family members, or friends.  I think they were to scared of dealing with it.  I became a stay at home mom to take care of my son’s needs as no babysitter could handle the day to day changes in eating habits, changing insulin dosages.

One morning when I awoke it was so quiet and that was unusual for having 2 babies.  I looked in on my 2 year old daughter, quietly opening her door, she was sleeping so peacefully.  I smiled, pulled the door closed and proceeded to check on my sleeping son.  He was laying there, just looking up at me, no smile as was his usual greeting for me.  I reached down to pick him up and started to change his diaper, noticing that his diaper was very soaked, and he started whimpering.  I cradled him in my arms and we proceeded to the kitchen for his cereal and bottle.  As I held him and put the bottle to his mouth he turned his head, whimpering.  Okay, he might be getting sick, so I check his temperature, it is normal.  I decide to call the pediatrician anyway since he seems very lethargic and not wanting anything to eat or drink.

My 2 year old stays with one of my neighbors while I take my son to see his doctor.  We lived only about 10 miles from his pediatrician.  Upon arriving they took him right into the patient room.  They poked and prodded and he cried….and cried some more.  I did notice even though he was crying, there were no tears.  The doctor pronounced my son sick with a virus.  Keep up with liquids and rest, of course don’t forget the baby tylenol.  I asked the doctor why it looked like he had lost so much weight and the doctor replied “when you take a baby off the human breast they always loose some weight, it’s normal”.  But that change had happened almost 4 months previous.  Something just didn’t seem right to me.  I went with my gut feeling, a mothers feeling, “no, I’m not leaving here until you tell me what is wrong with my son”.  I stood in the waiting room, the doctor disappeared somewhere….not sure where he went!  His nurse came out and told me that she had a little bit of blood left in the vile and wanted to test it for something, but didn’t tell me what.  I think this was the most frightening thing a parent can go through….waiting and not knowing.  She reappeared about 10 – 15 minutes later and informed me that my son’s blood sugar was way over 400, bottom line being he had high blood sugar.  Finally, the pediatrician reappeared and informed me that he had called Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia.  They were awaiting my son’s arrival to be admitted.  Doctor gave me directions and that was it!

When putting my son in his car seat he didn’t seem to be breathing right.  I headed home and as soon as we were inside I called my husband.  I explained that his son didn’t seem to be breathing right and how scared I was to take him all the way up to Fairfax without being able to keep an eye on him.  We decided to call an ambulance, this seemed the best alternative to us.  When I made the 911 call they immediately dispatched emergency to our home.  The nice EMTs explained that they would take my son to a clinic that just opened who could get him strong enough to make a helicopter ride to Fairfax Hospital.  When I last saw my baby he was strapped to a body board so small…with tubes all over.  I cried as we approached the helicopter.  The sand from the street was blowing into my hair and stinging my face as tears streamed down my face.  I said my good byes to my baby, so little and vulnerable he looked to me.

As I drove to Fairfax I had a lot of time to think.  What was high blood sugar?  How was it treated?  How long would my son be sick?  So many questions and no answers.  It took me almost an hour and forty five minutes to get to the hospital and when I saw my baby again he didn’t look like the same baby.  He had been on intravenous fluids as well as insulin for almost 3 hours and he looked so much better.  I scooped him up with all of his tubes and hugged him and kissed him all over his little face.  He was smiling at me, that was a good sign.  Everything was going to be okay, thanks to the EMTs of Stafford, Virginia and this wonderful hospital.

My son did stay in the hospital almost 3 weeks.  I had to learn how to give shots, and I was just petrified when I had to learn how to do this.  But, I did it for him, it was the only way he could live.  His little pancreas had stopped making insulin for him and now he needed it from a medicine bottle.  The day came when we finally could go home….

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Diabetes is just a part of my son, and he has to live with it for the rest of his life.  Many new insulins and pumps are available to patients.  The scientists and doctors are continuing research for Type 1 Diabetes.  You can make a donation if you want to at www2.jdrf.org.  

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope this blog helps to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes.  If you want to share this blog to help raise money and awareness for diabetes, then please do.

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