Taking Care of Two Babies

News flash, everyone! Having a baby is hard. And time-consuming. It’s amazing to me how I can spend an entire day doing nothing — and watching the Magpie do nothing — and end up so exhausted at the end of it.

I knew that having a newborn would be a lot of work. (It’s one of the things people tell you right after they congratulate you on your pregnancy: “Oh, you’re having a baby?! That’s so great. You’re going to feel like total death for several weeks after she arrives!”) What I didn’t know is that I’ve actually been taking care of a baby for almost 22 years now. A real ugly SOB that won’t move out: diabetes.

I’ve compared diabetes to a terrible pet before, and no disease is any fun to manage, but I’ve never felt the intrusion of diabetes’ demands the way that I do now. Before the Magpie, I was always focused on taking care of myself and addressing the demands of Type 1 diabetes before all else. Even when I was pregnant, good diabetes care meant good baby care, so there was never a conflict of interest.

Now, though, I feel like diabetes is there to mess up my attempts at doing normal Mom things successfully. It’s almost like I spent 9 months spoiling this thing, and now it thinks it’s going to get special pregnancy-level attention forever. Not quite.

I wake up to feed one baby in the middle of the night, and the other one needs feeding, too. The Magpie’s crying for milk, and the diabetes wants orange juice — and, depending on my low symptoms, an entire box of cereal. Not a minute after I’ve coaxed one baby to sleep in my lap, the other starts wailing; it’s my CGM alarm, sounding off because I’m low from feeding its sibling. I’m getting better at unclipping my pump from beneath my breastfeeding pillow and silencing an alarm by feel alone, but it’s still hard to do without waking up a barely sleeping Magpie.

Her little peanut toes get caught up in my pump tubing, and my pump gets in the way when I try to hold her baby carrier at my side. I’ve dropped so many granola bar bits on her tiny body as she sleeps in my arms, and I always wonder if she notices the reek of insulin, or if she thinks that’s just normal mommy smell.

The good news is, I’m getting better at it. The Magpie can entertain herself (or stay asleep) for short bursts during the day, so we’ve gotten to the point where I can do things like shower or make a PB&J or change my infusion set without feeling like I’m neglecting my child. And look! I’ve even written two blog posts in the ten weeks since she’s been born.

As frustrating as diabetes management can be — with or without a human baby to take care of — I know I’ve just got to get used to it. For at least the next 18 years, I’ll be carefully tending my two children, balancing the needs of the two (along with my own), feeling that little twinge of guilt on the occasions when I fail one or the other, but heartily celebrating every little success along the way.

This one’s the favorite child.

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12 comments on “Taking Care of Two Babies

  1. meghan says:

    Jacquie- I think that’s so awesome that you call diabetes a baby that you have to take care of; I recently started referring to mine as a petulant toddler! Thanks for putting this out there in the DOC—it’s nice to get the respect of a real (you know, mama to a human) mama that having diabetes is really hard work, too. You go, girl!

  2. Jonah says:

    “”This one’s the favorite child.” Haha! I love this post.

  3. What a great comparison! Really eye-opening in a lot of ways.

  4. Katie says:

    Reading this post I kept nodding at the comparisons of you and I… seems we’re still on similar paths! Guess that’s what happens when you’ve got 2 type 1s who have babies one week apart hey :) and my goodness, Magpie is a beauty with WAY more hair than Little Ring!

  5. Katie says:

    Reading this post I kept nodding at the comparisons of you and I; seems we’re still on similar paths… guess that’s what happens when you’ve got 2 type 1s who have babies one week apart hey :) and my goodness, Magpie is a beauty with WAY more hair than Little Ring!

  6. krisfitz says:

    You rock! Hats off to everyone managing two “kids.” We have a 4-yr-old with T1, and we always joke we have twins (with one clear favorite – brilliant photo). Magpie is beautiful!

  7. Chris & Diane Wiebe says:

    and she is SO STINKIN CUTE!!!! that face makes me happy. I like her.

  8. kelly2k says:

    Great baby, great mama & and great post!!

  9. Katy says:

    My tiny adorable neighbor was just diagnosed. He is 4. His parents also have a few-weeks-old baby. They say the human baby is MUCH EASIER than the d-baby, but that maybe they only think that because it’s their first d-baby but their 4th human baby.

  10. Kim says:

    In the New Year, I vow to be a better commenter! I am in awe of your multi-tasking ability, and know that both of your babies are cared for in the best way you can. That’s all anyone can ask for!

  11. shannon says:

    hello gorgeous magpie that doesn’t even look like that anymore since i’m so behind on blog reading!

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