It was 5 years ago in August but I remember it like it was yesterday. Our youngest was only 6 months, so life was moving pretty quickly. Our oldest, 7 at the time, was drinking A LOT (like pass me that giant bottle of Gatorade, so I can chug the whole thing A LOT), going to the bathroom A LOT (like every hour between Illinois and Disney in Florida A LOT). In fact I could tell you every bathroom in all of Disneyland. Boy was that a long trip!
But I was the kind of mom who tried to live by my mom’s biggest piece of mom advice…”wait and see, it will get better or it will get worse”. Mostly this paid off, and “it” usually did get better, at least the minor fevers, coughs and colds we’d faced so far. This time was different. Something was off. I called the doctor’s office. For the first time ever they told me “don’t bring her in”. “It’s summer” they said. “That’s normal” they said. More precious days went by, more drinking, but she was eating fine. In fact, she was eating double what she used to! Another call to the doctor –“wait and see” they said. But my mom-gut was telling me something else this time – “Figure this out. This isn’t right.”
The baby had her regularly scheduled appointment, and I took our 7 year old who had been put off at least twice now. I demanded some answers. “We don’t really need to run any tests. She seems fine”. But I pushed, and they relented, to appease this crazy mom. The next morning we found the answer we never wanted. Our 7 year old had Type 1 Diabetes, an incurable autoimmune disease that would make her dependent on artificial insulin for the rest of her life. The part that still haunts me is that when she was admitted to the Iowa City PICU for 5 days, they said she likely wouldn’t have made it if we’d brought her in later that day. She was in a dangerous condition known as DKA where your body is starving itself (thus the “good appetite”), and breaking down muscle into toxins. A few hours and our outcome could have been tragically different. My mom instinct had kicked in just in time. I could kick myself that it hadn’t kicked in earlier, or I could be thankful that she is alive and with us today. I choose to be thankful.
Trust your mom-gut. You know when something is off. You know when something isn’t right. Sometimes we feel like we are being paranoid, or alarmist. Medical professionals, or teachers, or others who are supposed to know better, can shake our confidence in our instincts. But deep down we know. You know. It could be your child’s health, or a social situation at school. But moms always know, and we don’t back down until we get to the bottom of it. That’s our job, and we are the best at it.