In the past two years since my twins were born, I honestly have endured many moments where I can’t decide which is harder to have: diabetes or young twins. That probably sounds crazy to someone with type 1 diabetes. And perhaps crazy for someone with young children. I’m the oldest of six children, five of which are alive, and so I’m no stranger to how wild a household with multiple young children can be. And yet, nothing could have ever prepared me for what having twins is like.
Part of what is hard about diabetes is that the overwhelming majority of the population doesn’t know what it’s like to have type 1 diabetes. Same with twins. The overwhelming majority of the population doesn’t know what having twins is like. And if they do, a large percentage of the parents both work. And there is a difference in spending 12 hours a day with your kids versus 4. There just is. And then how many parents of twins have type 1 diabetes? I feel like no one out there could really understand what I go through. And that’s ok except sometimes I feel like it’s not possible to do simply because I don’t know anyone who has done it. Sound familiar?
Before 6am today I was already up for three hours in the middle of the night with my twins. First, Aurora because she woke up hysterical, seemingly frightened by sleeping in a toddler bed for the first time since we tried it a few months ago. I had to hold her for 2 hours. The first hour was non stop screaming and my husband and I went back and forth about whether she was in pain or just scared. When I did go back to bed around 2am I was 125. I didn’t think about how holding a 30 pound child while standing for an hour was a workout. I woke up low right after my husband left early for work at 5am. I then heard Aurora crying again. And then my Henri. “Uh oh”, I thought, I never know how to handle the two at the same time. Two at the same developmental stage, two that are still very much babies, despite being toddlers. Two that are 28 and 30 pounds each. Two that both want to be held when they’re crying. Two that don’t fit in my arms at the same time. Two that don’t want to share me, anyway.
I grab my glucose tablets and run to their bedroom. Henri is on the floor crying and Aurora is at the window, screaming. I try to put Henri back in bed because he falls asleep the easiest. I hold Aurora while rubbing Henri’s back. For some reason Aurora runs crying into the living room. Henri falls off his bed in a fit of fury and goes hysterical. He does this thing in the middle of a tantrum where he bangs his head on any hard surface around. I try to cushion the blow and talk him into calming down. In the meantime Aurora is getting more and more upset being all alone in our living room. I think, “Oh dear God, I’m not gonna make it” The entire time, I’m munching on glucose tablets, trying to muster up strength to control Henri, who is still in the middle of a trantrum.
Suddenly, he gets up and runs to the living room. Only he is still crying. I catch a glimpse of his mouth and realize he has a glucose tablet. I must have dropped one when fumbling to get them out of the container and hold two babies at once. I try to calm him down so he doesn’t choke on one of the most perfect choking hazards out there. The shape and texture of the glucose tablet is just perfect for choking, geez. Of course, Henri starts choking. My heart and breathing both stop as I grab my scared little guy and hold him face down over my hand like a football and then slam my open palm into the center of his back. It doesn’t work. He starts turning purple and for a second I think, “Oh my God, I need to call for help!” and then I realize there is NO one here to help me and no time to call for help, I have to take care of this. So I continue the only maneuver I know to do and finally the glucose tablet flies across the room. Guess who goes after it? Aurora does, of course. Remember, she is at the same level as Henri, wanting to put everything in her mouth. So I have to run over and stop her from putting it in her mouth, which causes her to go into fit mode.
By now it’s just hit me that Henri could have choked to death all because of my diabetes, essentially, and I break down into tears. Both my kids are hysterical and on the ground, they’re tired and just want someone to hold them. I am crying so hard I can’t see out of my glasses and I can’t see without them so I just lay on the floor. They lay on the floor beside me, screaming. I wonder if they’re behavior is normal. I wonder how every mother has ever survived moments like these-and worse. I wonder how single moms have done it. How have they done it and not gone crazy? Is that why so many have gone crazy? I’ve been passing another kidney stone lately, and of course, at that moment, the pain starts up again. “Seriously!?” Aurora, then lays her head on my abdomen, on top of the pain. Why of course. Laying on me makes her stop crying so I don’t move her.
It’s now 7:30 and I just got Henri asleep. Aurora is in a remarkably good mood and wide awake now. I’m letting the TV babysit for a bit. I can see her from the computer, dancing to Yo Gabba Gabba in front of the couch. When did we adults lose our ability to pop back the way kids do?
There have been so many moments like these, aside from the choking-that was a first. During these times I don’t know what’s harder, type 1 diabetes or having twins. They intertwine and make the other more difficult and I don’t appreciate it one bit. One is challenging enough. Alex probably won’t get home today for another 9 or 10 hours. I’ll just have to hang in there until then. And I should probably test right now, while I can. My blood sugar is 212- no surprise there.