I Found Out Too Late My Toddler Had Type 1 Diabetes—Now I’m Begging Parents to Screen Their Kids – Her View From Home
Editor’s note: the following post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page and discusses the death of a child.
Here it is, the month I have been dreading for 11 months now. So I would like to take this time to reshare a post that is very important and very close to my heart. I know most of you have read it but take a moment to share it again. Last time it helped save the lives of 13 children. Let’s make it more.
In the wee hours of March 22, 2018 it was like any other. I got off work and I headed to pick up my daughter. She had spent the last week with her dad and I was ready for my snuggles. I was excited to hear about her week and I was dreaming of the late morning breakfast and playtime we would have when we woke up.
When I got to the babysitters she had carried her to my car, my daughter was completely knocked out she’d had a hard day. In an offhanded way I asked if she was breathing, joking—until I put my hand on her little chest and felt no movement. In that moment, I completely freaked out. I couldn’t finish a thought. I knew I needed to get her back inside and start CPR. I was so mad and terrified. I was yelling at everyone who got in my way or tried to say something.
I ran her back inside and laid her down and started CPR on her little limp body. In my head I knew I needed to remain calm but I couldn’t, I was yelling at my babysitter and trying to think about doing chest compressions and breathing and freaking out the entire time.
Finally, after what seemed like an hour which in actuality was probably only 15 minutes EMS got there and took over. For the next hour while they tried desperately to bring me back my baby I called my parents and her dad, I paced, I cried, I prayed. At times I felt like an outsider watching this awful event unfold. I had always had these nightmares but it was never supposed to happen, not to me. It was the most surreal moments in my life.
After an hour of watching them pump my little girls chest and breathe for her, they loaded her up in the ambulance and we followed behind. As we drove to the hospital the worst thoughts flooded into my head. I thought of the fact that the last time I had seen my baby awake she was begging me not to go to work and I went anyway. I was thinking about what it would mean for me if she was gone. I thought of what it would be like to plan my child’s funeral and all the things we would miss out on. I prayed to God that if only He would spare my baby, I would do whatever He wanted.
When we got to the hospital, they led me to the small room off of the waiting room and started asking me all of the questions they ask when you go to the hospital. I foolishly thought this is a good sign. They want to admit her. I was there for maybe 10 minutes before a doctor came in, sat down beside me and said the words that would forever change my world: “We did everything we could but unfortunately, we were unable to revive her and she did not survive.”
That one little sentence devastated my entire being. Everything I was, was in that little girl. She was my absolute pride and joy. If you asked me how I was doing it would usually go something like, “I’m good, my daughter . . . ” But in that moment I couldn’t feel anything it was like my heart had stopped, too. I was an empty shell. The shock was overwhelming.
When they took me to her little lifeless body laying on that big hospital bed, I lost it. I wanted to hold her and lay with her. They let me. I held her as the heat slowly left her body and her skin became cold to the touch. If I wasn’t holding her I was running my hands through her little hair. Singing her favorite song.
After about 30 minutes or so they came to me and told me they had run some tests and it appears she’d had undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes and her blood sugar level was in the 500s. I could not comprehend this information. How could my baby have diabetes? She had gone to her wellness check up only the week before and they told me she was healthy. How could she have died from a disease that I know thousands of people manage?
For those of you who do not know, an average person’s blood sugar should not be above 120 and my child’s was five times the healthy amount. At 300-400 you start to go comatose. My baby had slipped into a coma and her little body was unable to fight its way out, and it gave out. There were no signs leading up to this; it was unexpected. Diabetes does not run in either of our families and so we had no idea.
Later I found out that diabetes is not something they test for in small children. They don’t typically test until they are school age and show signs. Unless, of course, it runs in the family.
The signs for diabetes in toddlers are they drink a lot, pee a lot, and are tired. It can also appear very suddenly. These signs are easily missed and overlooked because most toddlers do these things. The test is a simple blood sugar test that you have to request at their wellness check-up.
So I beg you to ask your child’s doctor to test for it. I beg you to become aware of the signs and symptoms of childhood diabetes. I beg you to share this post and story with everyone because no parent should ever have to hear the words, “I’m sorry but unfortunately she did not survive.”
Author’s note: The last time I shared this I got a lot of questions that I would like to clear up. No she did not get shots at her wellness check-up. So please do not use my daughter’s story as an anti-vaxing platform. Also yes, some people have had higher blood sugar and have lived. Not every disease affects every person the same. So please do not tell me that I am lying or that I’m using my daughter’s story to get attention. Because that is exactly what I am doing, getting attention for childhood diabetes. Thank you.
Sierra Greenlee is a devoted friend, security contractor and a young single mom of her two-and-a-half-year-old angel, Arya.
This content was originally published here.