I nod. It's my fault. My face betrays nothing of what I'm thinking.
"It's nothing you did," she smiles reassuringly.
It's something I did, I think. Or didn't do. It must be.
I think of the repositioning tactics I tried but how he still insisted on sleeping on his right side. I think of how many times I failed to notice him preferring turning to his right. How I didn't have torticollis on my radar because he seemed to have full range of motion in his neck.
|Dibbs getting his DSI (imaging) for his helmet.|
He licked the stocking on his face. And drooled a lot.
"No, it's just that he was a big baby and he didn't have a lot of space in utero. It happens."
Aaaaaaand...there it is. The kicker. This woman doesn't know that I have type 1 diabetes. Doesn't know that "big baby" is one of the many phrases we tire of blaming ourselves for. And it's all the ammunition I need to metaphorically shoot myself with the guilt gun.
I look at my perfect, chubby adorable Dibbs, drooling his enormous grin at me. I love to snuggle with him, bury my face in his ticklish neck folds until he cackles. Every friend and stranger stops to tell us how smushy he is.
I towed the line during my pregnancy. But could I have done more? Worked harder? Been more diligent? Half of my team assured me that I was doing great. The other half criticized as the baby continued to grow.
At 5 months old, the boy is now 23 pounds. Humungachunk.
They say you can't overfeed a breastfed baby. I've been satisfied with that. Knowing that, unlike a baby on formula, he takes what he needs and when he needs it. I've felt proud that I've been able to give him a breastfed start for just that reason (and many others). No worries that he gets an amount arbitrarily assigned to a bottle. He gets what he needs.
As a mom with pre-existing diabetes, you feel a sense of relief once the baby is out of your womb. Knowing that you can't "hurt" them any longer. It's counter to what many women feel post-birth, where some find they want the baby back inside where it was safe.
But that relief for me didn't last for long.
Not as I sat across from a physical therapist showing me my son's marginally lopsided head from a neck issue he was born with...because he was out of space. For which he'll need a few weeks of band therapy.
And then, in a safe place where I least expected it, at Friends for Life.
In a session on pregnancy, immediately after I confided to a group of my peers considering breastfeeding that I breastfeed regardless of my blood sugar and they shouldn't be afraid to do the same, the endocrinologist in the room counters with "sugary breastmilk from a high blood sugar can contribute to rapid infant growth."
I think my face turned bright red as I glanced across the room at my husband and our big old boy.
Thank you for contributing to that, Doctor.
Nevermind that my lactation consultant, my children's pediatrician, my endocrinologist, and my certified diabetes educator all said to go ahead with breastfeeding with no concerns. Encouraged it for the health benefits to me and my children. Encouraged it because it could potentially reduce the risk of my kids developing type 1.
Nevermind that my daughter survived 18 months of my breastmilk with no ill effects. Nevermind that if you google "breastfeeding with diabetes," it will return searches with phrases like "beneficial for mother's health," or "don't feel like you can't breastfeed!" I have books about breastfeeding and books about diabetes that say no worries. Countless online resources that say go for it.
But all it takes is ONE naysayer to bring out every fear you have about yourself.
Rapid infant growth. My perfect son is made mutant by my radioactive breastmilk.
I know what you will tell me. That he's flawless. That I'm faultless. On some level, I know there's truth to that.
But if I have a fault (and I'm sure I have many), it's this damn dysfunctional pancreas. And though it's not my fault, it is a fault nonetheless.