This very hour a year ago I was 36 weeks pregnant and getting ready to go in for a last minute doctor’s appointment. Little did we know, 15 minutes after seeing the doctor, we would leave in a head spin, on our way to Nashville with a type 1 diabetic child. I didn’t know anything really about diabetes in that moment other than I knew I didn’t want her to have it. I knew it was forever and little more about what that would mean for our day-to-day life with a newly turned four year old and type one. In hindsight, I’m so glad I didn’t. It wasn’t until an hour or so later, standing in a Hobby Lobby parking lot that I realized via a call from my pediatrician that this new life change would mean daily shots for my child. I remember I just cried with a broken heart.
Today it has been a year since all of our lives changed, and more importantly, Eden’s life changed. We had a baby two weeks after her diagnosis and it’s been a whirlwind. To say it’s been the fastest year of my life is an understatement. To say this has been the hardest year of my parenting life, couldn’t be more accurate.
Most days, diabetes is just a part of our day like brushing teething and getting dressed. It’s always a thought, always taken into account. Not even so much as a vitamin enters my child’s mouth without having to account for the carbs in each so that I can make sure she gets enough insulin to cover each bite. It is an all day long process and while that sounds exhausting, and it can be, most days, it’s just our day. Blood sugar checks and shots which were SO dreaded and difficult each meal in the beginning, we can give her in her sleep now. When meeting with her school nurse last week, I told her to have no worries on the blood sugar checks because she would let anyone, including the school mascot, do that for her. Often times when I come up to her to hand her something or to talk to her, she instinctually hands me a finger. It’s funny that it’s so commonplace and also, if I’m honest, breaks my heart a little when I let the implications of that sink in.
As common as a type one life has become, there are moments where the gravity of it hits you: an unexpected low number that makes your heart stop and the little shot dotted bottom of a four year old that has gone through a lot. When I rub her sweet skin and my hands pass over the marks of shots left behind, as a mom, a tiny piece of my heart mourns a little.
It’s taken me by surprise that this first anniversary has been so emotional for me. I started having short moments of tears starting a few months ago. I’ve tried to understand why the anniversary would move me like this because after all, she is perfectly fine and healthy and life has continued on. I have figured out now that it’s because from the second she was diagnosed, I haven’t really had time to pause. You don’t have time to. It goes diagnosis, immediate education, immediately giving shots and care, and day after day you learn and go…learn and go. No to mention, having a baby who has been a 24/7 baby two weeks after she was diagnosed has not helped me to catch my breath.
So now, that’s what I’m doing at this one year anniversary. Anniversaries make you pause and reflect and in that, I’ve had a delayed emotional let down of all of the struggle I haven’t had time to feel. In stopping, I’ve felt how much I’ve been just trying to keep my head above water for a year. There is also intermingled a sense of accomplishment that one of the hardest years of type one is behind us. By the grace of God, we’ve done it. It’s a slew of emotions that sitting here in the same hour she was diagnosed a year ago has allowed me to soak in. I’m a having a sigh. Not fully a sigh of relief but equally a sigh of, take it all in. It’s been a hard year. And I can feel that. Fully.
Still, I’m thankful. Thankful for how it all unfolded. Thankful that it could have been worse or been a worse diagnosis. Thankful that it’s manageable and that insulin has been around since the 20’s making it possible for children like mine to live not just what would have maybe been a week past full onset, but a whole life. They are so close to a cure that I am hopeful in her lifetime, that she will know what it was like to live like she did the first three years of her life.
Eden has to have a minimum of 4 shots a day: a long acting morning insulin, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then she needs shots for other things she may want to eat from everyday snacks to special occasions. We check her blood sugar 6-8 times per day and she has tiny little dot scabs on her finger tips that look like freckles if you look close enough. My newly turned five year old is sitting watching Sophia the First right now over 1, 460 shots and 2,880 blood sugar checks later. She’s brave. She’s strong. She’s un-phased. She’s ours. And I’m just so thankful that she’s here and happy. We have survived. She has.
God does, in fact, give us more than we can handle and in that, shows us that He is enough to carry us through rather than letting us believe we are enough. We aren’t. We haven’t been. But He was there in the weeks before we knew what was brewing and when we didn’t even know she needed watching through the night, He did and was there. He will continue to be and I will have to continually rest in that and teach her the same as she wrestle with this as she ages. It’s one of the great mysteries of God how He can intricately weave people, purposes, and trials for His people together. I’m not sure what the next year or years will look like but I know I will have many times were I have to pause like I have done today. Thankfully, I know that He goes before me and loves my child more than me so come what may, I can know every joy and heartache is accounted for. We have lived that this year as a family of five. And when we are overwhelmed and He’s given us too much, thankfully, He’s always enough. Come what may….