Monday, August 31, 2009

Mom, Dad, and Hayden's Pancreas

For those of you who don't know, our sweet Hayden was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on July 11, 2009. The past 2 months have been a learning process as well as a big adjustment for our family.

A simplified explanation of Type 1 Diabetes courtesy of
"A healthy pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that the body uses to change glucose in the blood into energy. Glucose in the blood comes from the food and drink a person consumes. A person with type 1 diabetes doesn't produce any insulin. Without insulin, the glucose builds up in the blood, causing high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. Blood sugar levels that are too high and untreated for long periods of time can lead to ketoacidosis, a very serious condition. Very high blood sugars for an extended period of time can eventually lead to coma and death."

"Although the causes of type 1 diabetes are not entirely known, scientists believe the body's own immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is not caused by obesity or by eating excessive sugar, which are two common myths about type 1."

Hayden hadn't been feeling well all week leading up to that Saturday. He was lethargic, wanting to be held, not wanting to eat, and was breathing very hard on Friday and Saturday. Also, he had been wetting through diapers left and right and had been extremely thirsty for the past couple of weeks, but when it is over 100 degrees outside, you attribute thirst to the heat (this, obviously, ended up being one of his key symptoms along with the rapid breathing). David and I finally decided late that afternoon to take him to Cook Children's Emergency Room. We didn't even sit down in the waiting room - we got taken right back when we mentioned breathing issues. They did a finger prick almost right away, and his blood sugar was over 300. For a child his age, a normal range is 80-200. They started an IV and did a serum, and it was over 500. We had our answer. They immediately started him on an insulin drip and rushed us up to the pediatric intensive care unit. He was in DKA, diabetic ketoacidosis, which is an emergency.

While we were devastated to learn of his disease, we are thankful that it is a treatable one. The downside is that Hayden will be insulin-dependent for the rest of his life. He gets 4 insulin injections a day. One basal insulin to last throughout the day, and 3 insulin injections after each meal. He also gets his blood sugar tested at least 6 times a day: before each meal, and a couple of times in the night. Hayden spent 24 hours in the PICU, and then was moved to a regular room on Sunday afternoon. They exchanged the crib in his room for a regular bed so I could sleep with him. David slept on a couch for 3 nights. We finally got to go home the following Wednesday night.

Hayden is doing remarkably well, considering that this 16-month-old gets 4 injections a day. He doesn't fuss when we prick his fingers to check his blood sugar, but he is starting to fight the injections. He knows what's coming when we start rubbing him with alcohol. :( It was NOT easy giving him those first few injections. What parent wants to cause their child pain? It's not like you can tell him, "Baby, I have to give you this shot to make you feel better." But we are all doing a lot better, and we continue to get better everyday. Lucky for us, Hayden doesn't know any different- and is as normal as any child his age. He is part monkey. The major change is that David and I are now effectively Hayden's pancreas! As long as we do our job, Hayden will be just fine.

On a positive note: my family and I are walking in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation walk on Saturday, October 24th in Fort Worth. Anyone is welcome to join our team and come walk with us to raise money for this great foundation. We are asking for donations from anyone who wants to help us out. We appreciate any help! To find out more, you can go to Under the column that says "Get Involved," click on "Register" or "Donate." Both will take you to the same place. Where it says "Donate to a Walker," type in Blair Smith. The team name is "Team Hayden." Click on "Find Walker," then click on my name. Then you can click on either "Donate to this walker," or "Join this team." It is free to walk and you absolutely DO NOT have to donate or raise any money, not a dime. However, anybody who raises at least $100 will get a t-shirt from jdrf! :)

Here are a few pictures of our precious baby while in the hospital.

This picture has got to be the saddest picture I have ever taken. It makes me want to cry just looking at it. It was taken after Hayden and I had been up all night, and after a lot of crying (mommy and baby). I don't know if you can tell, but his eyes were so swollen and puffy. We were moving him up to the floor from PICU. He had just had is IV and central line in his jugular taken out. I kid you not, worst 24 hours of my life. And obviously Hayden's. I spent the whole night begging God to take Hayden's pain and put it in me.

Hayden and Harper looking out the 4th floor window of Hayden's new room with Papa.

Playing with GiGi.

Obviously, with it being a children's hospital, there was a play room! Hayden loved it. It was the coolest place! Games, toys, books, cars, video games, aquariums, computers, and fortunately for my baby, every kind of ball you could imagine!!!

Getting a ride with Poppa Smith around the unit.

Loved this closet.

We're going home! Praise the Lord!


  1. I love it..."David and I are Hayden's pancreas now." While God doesn't promise that life will be free of difficulties, He DOES promise to walk every step of each struggle with us. With Jesus, our burden is light. Yes, you and David are Hayden's pancreas right now and this baby is going to be JUST FINE! How could he not, with the love and care and nurturing he receives from his parents who love him so very much.

    One of my alltime favorite books, "The Hiding Place", has a line that I have always loved, spoken by Corrie Ten Boom when she had lost virtually every person dear to her in the world..."there is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still." We never have to face hardship alone. Never.

  2. You guys are in my thoughts and prayers! I love you Sweet Blair, you are such an inspirational mother!

  3. You guys are in our thoughts and prayers often. We love you and are here for you anytime you need us! I would love to walk with you guys next month too!

  4. Hello, my name is Chrissy Hill and our daughter (4) just got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I've been searching and searching for other moms with little kids in the area, hoping to connect and let the kids play and learn together. I came across your blog and I would love to find out if know of a playgroup or something? You can read about my family on my blog, but of course, I haven't blogged about anything since the diagnosis, LOL. Been sorta busy. My email is