Mommy Gut Instincts January 8, 2014
Your instincts change when you become a Mommy. Ladies who could sleep through a tornado suddenly wake up after hearing a pin drop once they’re a Mommy. A Mommy can tell the difference between her baby’s cries and what they mean. A good Mommy can instinctually know when something is wrong. Mommies’ communication systems with their babies is innate and invisible.
These Mommy instincts may even be heightened further when Diabetes takes hold. Even when a number appears good, my gut, my rationalizations, my experiences, and my heart can tell me something bigger is going on to which I need to respond. My gut wouldn't let my mind rest Monday night, so I checked on the boys who I had only checked one hour earlier.
At 8pm, both boys had a snack of Peanut Butter Crackers for which they received insulin. For those who don’t know, a dose of insulin works for approximately 4 hours. At 10pm, I went to check the boys’ sugars, as I always do before my bedtime. Top bunk was 103, Bottom bunk was like 130. They have to be over 100 to safely sleep. I went to bed at 11pm.
Instead of drifting off to sleep as I should have, my Mommy gut kept me awake. My instincts sprang into action. I have the Good Diabetes Mom on one shoulder, and the Overworked Fatigued Mom (aka Tired Mom) on the other…dueling each other, both taking over my thoughts and trying to persuade me to do what they want. Good D-Mom wants to check; Tired Mom wants to sleep. A lot. For a long time. Sleep.
Good D-Mom: Wait, why is Top Bunk only 103? His insulin still had two more hours to work when I checked that, so he’ll probably drop low. I should check them both again now.
Tired Mom: No, I just checked an hour ago. I’ll just check when I wake up to use the restroom.
Good D-Mom: No, you’d better check now. Top Bunk could be in danger. He’ll be low for sure.
Tired Mom: They were over 100. Go to sleep!
Good D-Mom: That was an hour ago. He still had two hours of insulin on board. How much protein did he eat at dinner? He seems to drop lower in the night if he doesn’t have enough protein. He didn’t eat much ham. Nope, not enough protein. He’s going to tank.
Tired Mom: But, he had those crackers. Peanut butter has protein.
Good D-Mom: He only had three crackers. Go check and put your mind at ease.
Good D-Mom won. I crawled out of bed after contemplating this for about 15 minutes. Bottom bunk was 105 or so, Top Bunk was 45! Yikes! Glad Good D-Mom won this battle! I creaked my aching bones back down the stairs and returned with Chocolate Milk. Like a reflexive baby, he slurps down enough to deliver 15-20g of carbohydrates without even waking up. I give Bottom Bunk a few swigs just for good measure.
And, I wait. I lay in bed for warmth and plan to recheck in 30 minutes. Sleepiness starts to win its battle over necessity, so I slink out of bed after 20 minutes to recheck. I want to make sure Top Bunk’s blood sugar has risen sufficiently enough for me to sleep soundly. He was a whoppin’ 60! More carbs needed. More time awake.
I snap, crackle, and popped my knees back down to locate a juice box only to find we’re out. I didn’t want to go to the garage for more because I was afraid the doors would wake my husband or the very loud-barking dog (which in turn would wake the entire household and the neighbors!). I opted for a Quick Stick.
Now, getting a boy to slurp on a straw in his sleep is easy. Pouring what equates to a large Pixy Stick in his mouth while sleeping is an entirely different feat. I got most in his mouth, some on his pillow and some on his shirt. Maybe it will absorb through his skin.
And, I waited again. This time, I chose to check emails, crush candies, and whine on Facebook while I waited.
Twenty minutes later, I rechecked and Top Bunk has spiked to a respectable 183. I know it will fall over the course of the night, but he’s got some “flex space” now. He’s out of danger. I can sleep. I crawled back in bed next to my warm sleeping husband around 12:15 a.m.
And, the dueling duo started on me again. These hags are like feuding sister wives and they won’t quit. We all have to live together and learn to get along. Instead, they compete for my attention and favor.
Good D-Mom: You know, Bottom Bunk was only 105 with still an hour of insulin on board. You should’ve probably rechecked him too just to be safe. It’s been over an hour since you checked him. What if he’s now getting low?
Tired Mom: You gave him some swigs of Chocolate Milk. That should cover him.
Good D-Mom: What if that wasn’t enough? I’m not going to rest until I check him, too.
Tired Mom: You can check him when you wake up to potty. Surely he’s fine.
Good D-Mom: NO! I’m checking him now because I want to sleep through to the alarm at this point.
I listened to the argument for about 10 minutes. Finally, Good D-Mom won. For the 7th time of the night, I listened to my bones moan and groan about climbing the steps. I checked Bottom Bunk and he was safely at 131. NOW, I can sleep. And, I did. For five whole hours. I know. You’re jealous, right?
This is only one scenario of many nights like this. I check the boys and analyze their current glucose level; take into consideration the amount of insulin still working; divide that by their last meal and/or protein/fat intake; add their day/evening activity levels; stir it with some doubt and worry; sprinkle in some math, voodoo, sorcery, science, and luck; and, what you get is a semi-rationale conclusion on an unpredictable disease topped with paralyzing fear! See, it’s simple!
Way too many times I’ve awakened from a dead sleep with the need and urge to go check the boys. It does no good to ignore it. I’ll just worry myself completely awake. Plenty of times, they’re perfectly fine. Way more than I’d like to admit, they’ve been way too high or too low and required middle-of-the-night interventions (for no good reason). Less often, on other nights, when all pieces of the equation fit, I sleep. I’ve dreamed of low blood sugars, and awakened to find one. I’ve dreamed of wearing an insulin pump on my calf. I’ve dreamed of the boys needing their Mommy, or not being able to get to them…and find they need my help in reality. It’s sort of freaky.
Despite Overworked Fatigued Mom’s objections and rationales, Good D-Mom wins almost every time. Why? Because if only ONCE I listened to Tired Mom and my boy(s) really needed me, I’d never be able to live with myself. What if? What if I woke up to use the restroom in the middle of the night and didn’t check? What if I startled awake with a worried gut and didn’t check? What if I didn’t listen to the messages in my weird dreams? What if…the one time I ignored it was a time when he was desperately low and declining? What if, because I ignored it, my baby did not wake up in the morning when the situation could have been safely dealt with earlier? What if? It’s a thought I don’t even want to ponder.
So, as I mentioned, either those instincts have been wickedly heightened…or I’m turning into a scent hound and should be given a vest and leash and branded a Diabetes Alert Dog. Mommies…listen to your gut because with this beast on board, we always have to err on the side of caution (and worry, and sleep deprivation….)