Amid all of the stress and anxiety of raising a child with two autoimmune diseases, I have found something to cherish.
When our children are babies, we look at them a lot when they are asleep. That’s partly because they sleep a lot, and partly because they look so precious while sleeping. But we also want to make sure they are OK: I’m sure many of us have put our hand on a sleeping baby’s chest to make sure he/she is breathing!
But once the children are sleeping through the night, once they are toddlers and preschoolers and big kids, how often do we have that peaceful moment of just observing them while they sleep?
Diabetes has given me that. I’m not going to lie to you. There are many, many nights when I stumble in and out of Noelle’s room in the middle of the night to test her blood sugar, half asleep, and I hate that I can’t sleep through the night myself anymore. I don’t do well with little sleep and having a child with type one diabetes is like having a perpetual infant. One recent night when something wasn’t going right and I had to test her multiple times during the night, I had this moment of panic, thinking, “I need to make a quick decision on what to do to keep her safe and healthy and alive and I can’t clear the fuzz from my head and think straight; it’s 3 a.m. and I have gotten no sleep.” Those are scary moments.
But mostly, when things are going OK, I take a few moments to just watch her sleep.
I love how her baby-soft hair falls into her face and sticks to her cheeks. I love how her hand often clutches a book that she fell asleep reading. I love how I often find the cat curled up next to her, like he is watching over her too.
A year ago, I used my iPad to take an impromptu picture of a peaceful nighttime scene. Now, I have an entire album of “Sleeping Noelle” pictures. I don’t take one every night, just on nights I’m moved to capture the moment, like one night when I noticed her pajama shirt was on backward or another night when I found her with her arms sticking straight up in the air over her head, giving me giggles I tried to suppress so as not to wake her.
They’re not technically great pictures; an iPad doesn’t take the best photos in low-light situations, so many of them are grainy and soft. But that’s OK. I’m not making a coffee table book out of them. I’m just taking a moment to find something good out of all of the bad.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pittsfield native Rebecca Dravis is a former journalist who lives in north Berkshire County with her husband and daughter in Williamstown, MA. In Just My Type Rebecca shares her experiences as a parent raising a child with type one diabetes. – Check out Just My Type on the third Monday of every month.
What is Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and-at present-nothing you can do to get rid of it. [Source: JDRF]