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Diabetes On My Wedding Day.

Yesterday I wrote about my wedding, focusing on the parts that meant the most to me:  the man I love, our families and friends, the church service, saying "I do," and dancing ourselves silly at the reception.

But diabetes was a part of my wedding day.  We did our best to keep it quiet and unnoticed, though, using several tricky methods.  I'm like a diabetes wedding magician ... sort of.

First things first:  the dress.  Wearing an insulin pump is the easiest and least intrusive way for me to take my insulin, and I wasn't about to go off the pump just for the sake of fashion.  My solution?  Design a pocket to hold my insulin pump, hidden in my wedding dress.  I spoke with the seamstress at Ye Olde Bridal Shoppe and she and I designed something that left the pump accessible, yet hidden.

Insulin pump hidden in the wedding dress

Even if you were looking for it, the pump pocket was almost impossible to find.  Hidden along the seam of my wedding gown, it was held shut with a small piece of velcro.

Reaching into the pocket.

The hole cut in the seam was just big enough to fit my hand into, so I could reach for the pump.

Pulling the pump from my pocket

The hole was big enough for the pump to be pulled through. 

Wedding day bolusing

And once it was free, I could make whatever adjustments I needed and then slip the pump back into its pocket.

Insulin pump hidden in pocket.

The pocket itself was underneath the main fabric of the dress, attached to the petticoat.  It was sized to be about half an inch bigger than my insulin pump, leaving room for my hands to reach in and access the pump.  We stuck a safety pin to the top of the pocket so that when I reached in, I could feel around quickly for the pin and know exactly where the top of the pocket was located.  This made pump retrieval and replacement very easy.


The tubing itself went from the top of the pump, through a hole cut into the petticoat, and attached to the infusion site on my right thigh.  I had to plan ahead of time where my infusion set would be located so the pocket could be properly situated.

And during the entire course of my wedding, no one had any clue that I was wearing my insulin pump in my wedding dress.  Even my friends who know about it couldn't find it unless I pointed it out.  I felt empowered and like a secret agent ... only the bridal version.  

So insulin pump:  check.  And I had a few other tricks up my sleeve.  Like the flowers carried by my maid of honor:

Flowers with low blood sugar backup treater

After speaking with the florist, she devised a small pocket in the ribbon of NBF's bouquet.  This pocket could hold a life saver (as pictured) or even a tube of cake gel.  As I stood at the altar, I felt safe knowing that NBF had a quick dose of sugar at the ready, if I needed it. 

Diabetes, on the whole, didn't affect my day enough to matter.  I danced, ate cake, and experienced a wild array of emotions.  But there were a few moments when it required some attention.  Like after the ceremony at the church, when I tested and realized my blood sugar had cruised up from 156 mg/dl pre-ceremony to a whopping 380 mg/dl afterwards.  (Nerves - they hit me right in the A1c.)  Before the ceremony, I was running on the high end, cresting up around 160 - 180 mg/dl and holding steady.  And during the reception, I was too excited to eat much, so I let my numbers run higher there, too, to compensate for all the dancing. 

I did have a pretty aggressive low blood sugar just before our first dance, but thanks to my fast-as-lightning maid of honor, a glass of orange juice from the bar held me steady as we were announced on the dance floor as Mr. and Mrs. Christopher and Kerri Sparling. 

"I'm a little low," I admitted to Chris as the opening bars to "The Luckiest" played from the speakers.  He held me close and gave me a smile.

"You'll be fine.  Just focus on me.  As far as I can tell, there's no one else in this room but you." 

You may have had your moments, Diabetes, but my wedding day was mine. 


Again with the tears.

I'm glad diabetes was good enough to mind it's manners on your wedding day. The flower thing was brilliant, and kudos to your seamstress. Your planning really was fantastic.


Oh I teared up at the last part Kerri. Oh Chris, you such a wonderful man!!

I am so happy for you Kerri. You were are a Diabetes Secret Agent Full of Magic! ;-)

Kerri, that pump pocket idea is brilliant. It was a pain in the @#$% for Elizabeth to access hers during the wedding. You got quite a brain in there. :)

I should clarify: you have quite a brain in your head, not your pump pocket. ;)

Nice. Like the photos, too.

You're like a wedding day diabetes Ninja....

You might just have to wear your dress again, that pump trick was so neat :) Glad the D mostly behaved; I had a low right before our dance too, how odd. Must be a bride thing! ;)

I agree with Michelle. You are soooo Ninjabetic! I love it!

The life saver stash was awesome.

Wow, your dress is beautiful! That's awesome how easy you were able to conceal your pump too. Congrats again Mr. and Mrs. Sparling! :D

Inspirational. Good job Kerri.

Okay everybody, together now: "Awwwwwwww!"
You had a wonderful day and have give me ideas for my own pump pocket for the day that I get married (not in the forseeable future, but still).
Now if I can just find someone as understanding as Chris....
Thanks for sharing all about your day. It makes me smile and makes me glad for you.

Kerri, some days I have trouble hoping. Diabetes just feels so heavy...and then I read a post like this. Amazing day. Amazing creativity. Amazing woman. Amazing love that Chris has for you. Thanks so much for sharing.

Jeez, Kerri you have to stop making Lea and me cry! I'm so happy for you and Chris! When you first mentioned the pump pocket I stole the idea for a school dance, it worked like a charm.

I'm definitely filing this away for future use for O - proms and formals are just around the corner for us *gulp*.

Your dress is gorgeous. And once again with the "awwwwww" moment there at the end.

I would have gone crazy looking for the pump. It's like playing "Where's Waldo?!"

Your pump isn't named Waldo is it?

LOL - actually, my old pump was Charlene. My new pump does not have a name.

I think "Waldo" is a good one. I'm always trying to hide him. Nick, thank you for issuing a name for my new pump. :)

I'm getting hitched at the end of August, and just wanted to say thanks for sharing the ways that you navigated your big day. Custom pocket and bouquet stash are brilliant! Thank you!!

Something about this post made tears come to my eyes. I think it was what your new husband said to you at the end. May we all be so lucky. I hope to find someone like that someday. Thanks for sharing.

Awesome! I think you could get a job working for 007 in the gadgets department (concealment of gadgetry or something of that nature!). I love how you were able to fit the pump into your dress without anyone knowing any differently :)

Good idea for your bridesmaid to have some sugar stash on hand as well for "just in case".

I'm glad that despite a couple of blips with regards to the "d" that your day went off perfectly! (darned low! argh!)

(beautiful dress, btw!)

Goosebump city on your HUSBAND's caring statement. :)

Count me as another that teared up with Chris' comment. What a romantic :D

I am so eager to read all about your wedding! I love your writing! As a mom of a 6 year old daughter (with type 1 and on the pump), I am learning so much from you, Kerri. I, too, get teary-eyed reading your posts. Let us all agree...diabetes is horrible...but you, dear, handle it beautifully...

aww kerri! your dress is beautiful! genius how you hid your pump.

and your **husband** is so sweet, it gave me the shivers!

This is such a great post. You really need to have it bookmarked/linked permanently on the sidebar of your site so it is easily accessed for all the newcomers and Google searchers.

Congrats Kerri! If it's ok with you, I'm going to post a link to this on my moms support group board for the moms with daughters.

Kerri, Thank you for sharing all your great ideas. I'm filing this away so my daughter and I can use it in the upcoming prom years. Congrats to both of you.
Chris... you're certainly a lucky man !!!!

I dont speak english, but I see your weddings photos and I think in the wedding day when my 8 years niece go to the church with her animas pump in her dress. God bless you all your life and good luck. Sorry my english.

Nitza from Carolina, Puerto Rico

Wow! I have type 1 as well. My BF, David, for 5 1/2 years sounds just like your CHris. Helives with the diabetes too, and sometimes I think he is much stronger and better at it than I am ;) You are an encouraging person adn give me hope for our wedding day! With Love and a belated congrats!

Hi. I'm getting married next summer and i have an insulin pen - I'm not on the pump yet (I live in England). Any ideas on how to inject myself? I was thinking of making a small pouch, like your pocket only it opens to my stomach. But then I would be injecting in the same place all day. I inject about 6-8 times a day

I've just started reading your blogs, and I love them! I got married in Sept. and had a "pump pocket" sewen into the top part of my dress (in front of my boobs). The seamstress said it was just like when she sews micraphone's into newscaster's clothing. I can also attest to the blood sugar issues- I was SUPER high on the day before the rehersal dinner all due to nerves. But wedding day was perfect!

I loved this idea but since your such a ninja im wondering do u have any ideas for my future husband he is the diebetic and im totally worried about the toast and the cake and the dancing and just everything i would love to stop worring but this is my prince charming and i just cant help myself. Any help would be lovely.

Great idea! My sister in law to be sewed a leg strap - like the ones the sell on medtronic's website, but perfectly designed to fit my thigh. It attached with a big square of velcro and held my pump around my leg. She even topped it off with lace and a blue bow to fit the "something blue". I loved not worrying about it all day, and I didn't have to alter my dress for it at all. It's very do-able!

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