Our Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis

When I left you in our last post, we had just learned that Baby had Type 1 Diabetes, and our family would not be moving to Okinawa, Japan.

There was still a lot in the air, would Paul go without us? What would happen to us if he did? What did this diagnosis mean? What about the dogs (who we shipped to Japan in April)? And the stuff the movers just picked up to ship to Japan? We were scheduled to move out of our house in a few weeks, we had plans to sell our cars, we had potential buyers for both.

First I’ll start with Baby’s diagnosis. Type 1 Diabetes. It’s not something we could have prevented. It’s different from the diabetes that you develop later in life, often as a result lifestyle choices. This had nothing to do with what he ate, or how he spent his first year of life. It just happened. His pancreas stopped producing insulin. Likely his pancreas has been slowly dropping in this function for months. Some of the symptoms from decreased insulin are also symptoms that tie in with growing babies, like increased hunger, decreased sleep. These are things that you wouldn’t rush off to the doctor for. But even if we had, even if 4 months ago a doctor had told us that Baby’s pancreas wasn’t doing as well as it was supposed to be doing, there is nothing that would have ‘fixed’ it. This was pretty much inevitable.

So now we found ourselves in the hospital, trying wrap our heads around this diagnosis, and answer all the questions I listed above. I think the stress of figuring out all of the stuff about our move to Japan, sort of overshadowed the diagnosis. Not in a bad way, but in that we didn’t go straight into heartbreak, we weren’t devastated. Our first step was to swiftly go into action to try to deal with our move.

In short we were able to quickly get enrolled in EFMP, which allowed us to speed up the process of getting Baby officially medically disqualified from moving to Okinawa. This disqualification, although depressing, was vital to our goal of having Paul’s orders to Okinawa modified so no one would have to move. We also had to figure out the situation with the dogs. I haven’t talked much about it on social media, but in April we made the decision to send the dogs in advance to Okinawa, so they would be there when we arrived. Most airlines have a heat embargo during the summer from late May-late September. They do not allow snub nosed dogs to fly at all. This is because they overheat easier, thus it’s more dangerous for them to fly. I immediately got to work with our transport company to get the dogs back to America if we had time, because they had already embarked on the most expensive Japanese vacation any dog has ever had. Time wasn’t on our side though and we were only able to get one dog on a last minute flight before the heat embargo, so the other is being kept with the dog transport until she can fly again. It’s not a perfect situation, but it’s the safest for her.

By the time we got all of the above figured out, we had already begun to work on a routine, we had already had our ‘crash course’ in T1 Diabetes management. We were fast learning about insulin, glucose, testing Baby’s blood, checking for ketones, how to properly do injections, how to use an insulin pump, and how to count carbs. We had a few setbacks, we had some really high highs and some lows, but after 9 days we were discharged from the hospital. I really have nothing but positive things to say about the hospital. We had great doctors and nurses, we met some great people, and we are positive about Paul’s future. We have been told over and over, because he is so young, and we are able to establish his care properly, he will never know what life is like before diabetes. Although things seem difficult now, his life should be easier because this happened while he was so young, versus it happening in 5 or 10 years.

We are now home, establishing our new normal, and learning how to keep everyone healthy. We have had a few setbacks, but we are back on track this week.  We have been working on putting our home back together, it took a while but we were able to get our stuff that was packed up the morning of his initial hospital trip back, before it left for Japan.  Baby Paul had his first birthday a couple weeks ago, and he got more toys and clothes than he could ever imagine.

We are still learning, but we will continue to do our best.

We aren’t moving to Okinawa


We were supposed to fly to Okinawa next week. We had planned, gone through all the screenings, gotten passports and airplane tickets, we were ready. A couple of weeks ago, on a Monday morning, the movers came to pack our unaccompanied baggage, which is the stuff we wanted there when we got there. Before this we had all been sick, for about 2 weeks all 4 of us had been fighting a nasty cold. That day baby Paul was really fussy, but he was sick like the rest of us. As the day wore on, the movers came and left with about a quarter of our belongings, the baby seemed okay just cranky.

Later in the afternoon everyone was resting and I took the baby outside to play and I noticed he was randomly gagging, sort of dry heaving. I decided he should nap too. While trying to get him to sleep Paul noticed he was breathing rapidly, shortly after I couldn’t get him to latch on to breastfeed. This was the most concerning symptom because he’s never in his life refused the breast, but it was like he couldn’t latch because he was struggling to breathe.

I rushed him to the ER. I believe they thought he had RSV, he was immediately given a nebulizer, IV fluids and a chest x-ray, which came back normal. The next step was the doctor tested his blood sugar. At that point the doctor told me I needed to call my husband because my baby was going to need to be transferred to the pediatric ICU at the larger medical facility about an hour away. They said he was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis. I didn’t really know what any of this meant, except that he almost surely had Type 1 Diabetes, and if that were true everything was about to change.

Within a few hours we were in an ambulance being transferred to the hospital. Baby was stable but his blood sugar was still way too high, and he still had a huge amount of ketones in his blood, which were basically poisoning his kidneys and liver from what I understand. Once we got to the ICU we quickly met several doctors and nurses which told us there was almost no question he had Diabetes. We spent all night testing babys blood sugar hourly, checking the levels for ketones, and adjusting his insulin and glucose dosages. The first night they wouldn’t let me breastfeed him because they needed to be in control of his glucose and insulin while they rid his body of the ketones that were poising his blood. It was a very long night with pretty much no sleep.

The next few days are a blur. He was officially diagnosed with Type 1 (T1) Diabetes, and we rushed to get him enrolled in the military program that helps our family when we have a family member with special needs; EFMP– Exceptional Family Member Program, we needed to be enrolled so we could try to stop our move to Okinawa because they do not have the military medical professionals on the island to treat insulin dependent diabetes.  We knew right away, with Baby’s diagnosis the kids and I would not be moving, but we were desperately trying to make it so Paul wouldn’t have to go without us.

So that’s why we aren’t moving to Okinawa. I am still very sad, for a lot of reasons. I’ll write another post and finish the story later this weekend. I need to dry my eyes and drink some coffee right now. I’ll leave you with a picture of my precious little boy, being a brave dude with his little robot arm, that protected the only IV line that he didn’t blow out the first few days in the hospital.

Birth Story

I suppose I should jot this down before I forget. This will get a teeny  bit TMI, sorry.


I would say my first signs of labor started on May 24th (my due date was the 28th). I was up early (about 6am) and I realized I had started to lose my mucus plug. So I called my mom, she was set to come out the following week, so she could watch Evelyn if I went into labor. I was more calling her out of excitement, but I was also a little panicked because I was afraid I would go into labor that night and we’d have to take Evey with us. By noon my mom had made the decision to head to us, just in case. Unfortunately I just had mild contractions, and mucus for the next few days. But we got a lot done, got the house picked up, had a nice time visiting. On Thursday and Friday mom and I went and got acupuncture, her for neck pain and me for labor induction. It was really one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve had in a long time. I fell asleep during my first session. I am not sure if it helped, but it sure felt good.

Friday the 27th I was so sick and tired of being pregnant. I was having intermittent contractions, I was peeing myself every time I coughed or sneezed, I was so incredibly uncomfortable, and I was sick with toddler cooties. I cried to Paul that night. I told him I was worried about ruining Memorial Day weekend, I was worried about having the baby and not being ready, I was worried about him not being ready. He had jokingly been telling me that he wasn’t ready all week. I took everything he was saying to heart, so that night I cried to him. It sounds silly now but I was asking him for permission in a way, to tell me it was okay for me to go into labor. He reassured me he had only been joking and he was ready for me to have our baby. I cried myself to sleep that night, I was so hot and uncomfortable.. and ready.

I awoke very early the next morning, on the 28th with contractions again. But this time they were more serious. They continued to get more and more serious throughout the day. I spent the day moving from the couch to my bed, trying to rest, having serious contractions, timing them, and wondering if it was real. I really think  until we left to go to the hospital I thought it was false labor. But that shit was real. And it really hurt. Through the day since I was still unconvinced that I was really in labor, between contractions I told Paul to go ahead and make dinner, he was going to smoke a tri-tip on the grill, a several hour process. My mom had to take it off the grill when it was done, because we were already gone by then.

Shortly before we left for the hospital. I’m mid contraction, this one I think came as a surprise because I am on the floor, leaning on the couch, holding Aiko, while Evey holds me. I am pretty sure I am crying too.

I was a champ though, I think so at least. I labored at home all day, it wasn’t until about 3-4 pm that I couldn’t take it anymore and I wanted to go to the hospital. We got there and I quickly was evaluated and placed in a room. I was already at 5+ centimeters. I got settled into my room, got my monitoring set up and continued to have contractions for a little while, within about an hour I gave in and asked for pain meds, I just couldn’t take it any longer.

Our hospital has recently introduced nitrous oxide as pain management for labor. But there’s a trick to it, You cant just strap it to your face and breathe, and you can’t have anyone else hold it to your face. You have to be able to hold it to your own face, with your hands and you need to remove it between contractions. Also the timing is tricky, you have to start breathing it in just when the contraction starts, or it doesn’t really take full effect during the contraction. It doesn’t fully eliminate the pain, but it dulls it. Through my tears I requested to try the nitrous for pain management.

This only lasted a few hours, by 7 I requested an epidural. Looking back the laughing gas would have been great in early labor, like while I was at home, and when I first got to the hospital, when the pain sucked but was still barely bearable.

Unfortunately by the time I requested the epidural, I was already having contractions that were very close together, and for an epidural you need to sit completely still long enough to get a needle shoved into your spine. I was also already 8 centimeters and I was getting close to time to push. But we went for it, it took two tries and the guy did a spinal block first, but he got it in. within moments I was completely numb from my belly button down. Also shortly after the epidural they ruptured my water sac.


The numbness was pretty awesome, I couldn’t feel anything, which also meant I couldn’t feel my contractions at all, so I couldn’t push when it was time. In hindsight I should have either gotten the epidural earlier, or just gotten the spinal block and no epidural. I had to wait over an hour to get feeling back in my legs enough that I could start pushing. During that time we just laid around waiting, and resting, at one point all the staff came rushing into the room because Baby Paul’s heart rate had dropped, they moved me onto one side, and then the other, gave me a shot to temporarily stop my contractions, this shot gave me horrible, uncontrollable shakes, it felt like I was shivering uncontrollably, this let up after about half an hour or so, but I continued to have short bouts of trembling through the night. But they got his heart rate back up and soon it was time to push. And at about 10 pm the nurse came in and I started to push.

I really enjoyed my experience at the Navel Hospital for the main fact that when I was in labor, it was just Paul and I. We were checked on periodically, but it was just us, quietly experiencing labor, you know quietly… except for my crying out in pain every 2-5 minutes with my contractions. Also when it was time to push we had one nurse (midwife?) come in and assist. It was her, Paul and I, she was helping and coaching me, as was Paul. All the way until it was time for her to get the doctors to “catch the baby”. When he was ready to make his appearance she went and got my doctors, who more or less caught Baby Paul.

He came out perfectly. 9 pounds 9 oz and 20 ish inches long. Just before 11pm.

Baby Paul Wk 1


Our Newest Adventure!

I’ve been MIA for quite a while now. But I have a good reason.

New Paul

It has now been a month since we welcomed Baby Paul into our lives.  We are slowly adjusting to having a new baby in the house, and another little person to care for. It’s been… Busy.

I have spend much of the last 4 weeks resting, this recovery has been harder than I remember it being with Evey. I’ve had a few bumps in the road that I didn’t have with Evey. At about 2 weeks postpartum I experienced some extremely heavy bleeding and was diagnosed with postpartum hemorrhage, mine seems to be mild compared to things I have read, and thankfully didn’t require hospitalization, but it has slowed down my recovery quite a bit.  I think this week I’ve turned a corner and things are finally starting to feel better, but still far from normal. I’m hoping to get the all clear at my 6 week checkup coming up here soon.

With Evey we are working on our patience, helping Evey adjust to not being the center of attention anymore. She has always been pretty independent, but it’s certainly been an adjustment for her too.She hasn’t really been “acting out” but more just not listening and not following directions. But having a new baby is going to take some time to get used to for all of us, and she is doing well I think… most of the time. She loves being a sister though, she loves “her baby” as she calls him.

We are getting into a grove though, things are settling in and I hope to be back to normal soon. Well our new normal as a family of 4.