I was not expecting to be told I was going to be a father like that. I figured that my wife would find some creative to tell me, that’s how she does so many things. I was going to be a new dad, a dad, a title, a responsibly, a calling, a mission, a passion. I vividly remember 7 months later just the same. It was another phone call at work with my wife telling me the doctor wanted her to go to the hospital because she was in early labor. What a shock, she came very close to having our baby. To shorten the story, my wife would require 2 months of bed rest before my daughter would come into this world.
Now the story has not hit the climax (if I’m allowed under literary rules to tell you that), but the day she was born was a bit dramatic. After many hours of pushing, the doctor discovered the she was face up.When doctors tried to turn her, it did not work and they had to use forceps.
As my daughters head was popping out the doctors (plural as in 3 or so were in the room by now, and 4 or 5 nurses) they screamed “stop, stop pushing”. The umbilical cord was around her neck 2 or maybe 3 times. I’ve never seen hands move that fast, and I always thought babies cried as soon as they were born. Well she did cry after about a minute, and she was not handed to me or my wife right away, they checked her out first. She was fine, she was soon handed to me while they attended to my wife. After a couple minutes she was in my wife’s arms, where she belonged, we were happy but exhausted.
After 2 and a half years she became a big sister, she was excited, but did not fully understand, but she had a playmate nonetheless. She would try to hold her, even dropped her on the floor (both survived), she got use to being a big sister fast.
They laughed and played and a year and a half later they both got to be big sisters. When our third child came, she was 4 years old, so the experience was more understandable for her. Then a few years after that, her role as a big sister would take a turn that changed everything, her sister was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes.
This was more than a five year old should have to deal with, but she filled her role well. Now she did not have any real rolls, like my wife and I did. Her role was what she allowed us to do, she has always been well behaved while we take care of the diabetes stuff. She kind of keeps an eye on the sisters all the time, seeing if they are acting like they are low, or getting into foods with carbohydrates in them.
I will always remember her finest moment, the night she brought her sister down in the middle of the night. Her sister had not been on an insulin pump for more than a few weeks and in the middle of the night it started alarming. I remember it well, my wife and I heard them coming down the stairs, we both leaped out of bed, both wondering what the heck was going on.
I met them both at the bottom of the stairs, our eyes locked, and I ask gently; “what is going on?” The picture would have been priceless, she was holding her sisters hand tight, pull up like she was helping her down the stairs, with the look of concern, like she was on a mission, a mission to protect her little sister with diabetes. She answered my question of what is going on, she exclaimed “Audrey’s pump was singing, a signal for low battery or low cartridge warning, I really can’t remember why it alarmed.
It was not anything life threatening, but to her it was a call to action, a call to arms, a mission the protect her little sister. At six years old, I thought that was pretty special, brave the dark, walk down stairs in the middle of the night, all for her sister, a selfless act of love.
I cried reading the last few paragraphs of this post. Your “healthy pancreas” daughter is truly exceptional.
I am the youngest of three and even though I wasn't diagnosed with type 1 until young adulthood, I know that neither of my siblings would have taken on the type of roll that your oldest has if diabetes had reared its ugly head at a much younger age.