Miracles do happen. My grandson is living proof.
The car was slowly rolled in front of our house.
It was completely shot.
With temperatures rising in the Spokane summer and no air conditioning, this was bad news. At 7 months pregnant, this was the last thing my daughter needed right now.
Especially for a Type 1 diabetic.
In the summer before 5th grade, she was drinking water. Lots of water. And more water. And more water. Weight loss and bathroom issues followed.
I think she might be diabetic were the words that came out of my sister-in-law’s mouth. Not knowing anyone with the disease or even having much of a clue about it, I couldn’t process those words.
Maybe I was in denial. Maybe I was hoping and wishing it away. Regardless, a doctor visit was in order.
September was it. School had started. Club soccer was underway. Then came the call.
Her blood sugar is…
She needs to go to the hospital.
What did that mean? Blood sugar in the 700+ range? Hospital? Why can’t we just come into your office?
The hospital was a blur. An IV with some liquid dripping into my now-less-than 80-pound girl. I was scared.
The diagnosis: Type 1 diabetic.
Insulin shots. Blood sugar monitor. Glucagon kit. Counting carbs – complex carbs. No more desserts. Sugar free this. Low sugar that.
I was overwhelmed. That was nothing compared to the life-altering diagnosis for my daughter. She already felt different as it was – mixed-race girl in an overwhelmingly white school and neighborhood – diabetes made things worse.
To say the teenage years were turbulent is an understatement. Mornings when she wouldn’t wake up after crashing (extremely low blood-sugar levels) overnight were frightening.
You can’t control diabetes, you can only manage it.
That was my advice for my daughter. I wanted it to be her mantra. It was the only way, I thought, she could live with this disease. I repeated it whenever I thought to do so. Even while pregnant.
Being pregnant in hot weather can be miserable. I was pregnant with her in Arizona in springtime. Spring may not sound hot to you, but spring in the Valley of the Sun is like summer elsewhere.
What they call a dry heat can be scorching hot!
Summer here in Spokane is almost like a Valley of the Sun spring. When you don’t have air conditioning, well, those 90-degree-plus days feel miserable. Sweat drips. Limbs swell. Equilibrium can be off if you’re not careful.
13 years ago, being pregnant in the Spokane heat having your car just die on you with no air conditioning and you want to talk about managing diabetes?
Yeah, right Mom!
13 years ago, on a Friday, our daughter’s car sat dead in front of our house.
We became her chauffeur.
She needed to work to pay the bills. With a double shift the next day, I ferried her to and from her apartment to work multiple times. By the time her day was over, she looked wiped out.
Dropping her off, we reviewed the plan for the next day – a Sunday. I would be there after church to take her to work. Be ready, I told her.
My husband was the audio engineer at our church, so we took separate vehicles. Church service came and went. Off to her apartment I went with my three year-old son in tow.
Knock, knock, knock. No answer.
I called her phone. No answer.
Okay, I thought. She probably got a ride from someone else and didn’t bother to tell me. That would be normal for her. So, I just went home to make lunch.
Mother’s intuition is a very real thing. Despite my thinking she got a ride, something just didn’t feel right. I drove back to her apartment.
Knock, knock, knock. No answer. Knock, knock, knock on the window. No answer. Calling her name out loud. No answer. Pounding on the door – it was locked. No answer.
Calling her work and asking if she was there. No, she’s not here yet.
My heart began to sink. Panic set in, but she could still be somewhere else I thought. I called my husband and asked him to swing by her apartment on the way home. He swung by our house first to pick up a tube of frosting we kept for emergencies. Diabetic emergencies.
I called some friends to ask them to pray. That intuition of mine was now in full-blown panic mode.
My phone rang.
Something, something, paramedics arrived. Something, something, she was crashed out on the floor. Blood on the wall. Something, something…blood sugar was at 26 when the paramedics arrived.
The next few hours were a whirlwind. Finding a babysitter. Running to the hospital. Listening to the doctors. Calling family and friends asking for prayer.
We didn’t know if or when she would come out of it. We didn’t know if the baby would be okay. Tubes in her arms. IV’s next to her bed. I didn’t leave that room.
A rough but hopeful night followed.
She began stirring. Delusional. Thrashing about trying to pull out the tubes. Off and on it went throughout the next day until late afternoon. She began to feel pain.
Next thing you know, she is in labor.
Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and a heart-flight crew all filled the room. Twenty people all present to watch her, still somewhat delusional, give birth prematurely to a fragile-looking little boy.
After initial tests, he was whisked away to another hospital – the best NICU in the city. He was alive. She was alive.
They were alive.
That little boy turns 13 tomorrow.
Typing those words makes me want to cry tears of joy. That little boy…excuse me…young man is amazing. He has endured many challenges, struggles and sorrows in his young life. Yet his spirit is strong and joyful.
Every year at this time, I relive the days leading up to his birth. Sometimes I cry. Other times, I just shake my head in amazement at this miracle of a grandson I have.
Had her car not died, we never would have become her chauffeurs. Had we not become her chauffeurs, I would not have gone to her apartment that day. Had I not gone to her apartment that day, both she and my grandson would be dead.
13 years ago, our daughter’s car was dead.
In front of our house.
Miracles do happen. My grandson is living proof.