Monday, May 22, 2017

Non-Verbal

Little man is about to turn two in July.
I'll start off with recognizing our family has been through a lot of change in his first year. Dad left, and came back, and left and came back, and left (etc) throughout this past year. Yes, it's been almost a year of him coming and going. We had a baby brother during this year as well. I'm not oblivious of the big changes.
During this year we started off with apx twelve words. Momma, Dada, Bella, Dog, Kitty, Cat, go, Dulie (for Julie), Arthur, and uh-oh. I started noticing around 18 months, after Christmas, that he wasn't talking as much. I also started noticing he only played with two toys.. both he could spin on the ground and made noise. I looked into an echo sensory because that's what it seemed like. We started swim back in Feb, again after Dad came and left a second time, and he cried at every lesson. Then he started plugging his ears and refusing to go in the water or be under water - which is very typical for children - IMO. I also started noticing that he wasn't really playing with other kids, not that we are around that many. We were going to a church social where the first 45 min we co played parents and kids - and he didn't seek the children out to play with. He actually had no interest and stayed to himself but I thought it was because he was a non-walker and all the others were. Even after he started walking he didn't gravitate to the kiddo's. I also started noticing and hearing from the day care worker that all he did for the next 45 min was cry. I thought it was because of nap time but also realized he wasn't trying to play with any of the other kids. We stopped going to the group because of that and because the day care worker complained about his constant crying.
Little man became obsessed with Dory & I tried to incorporate water as much as possible. He loved bath time! I decorated his bathroom in Dory characters and for a moment I thought he was saying "fish". We'd watch Dory and his face would light up! Then I sought out aquariums, other fish movies, but he only wanted Dory and didn't seemed interested at all in the aquariums. We have a unspoken schedule and I noticed that if I went off that schedule he didn't seem to mind. I also noticed that he never asked for water, or juice, or food. He never complained about being in a carseat or stroller for a long period of time - which I tested by a 3 hour hair appointment. (to my defense I brought food, the ipad and he was directly in front of me the whole time. So I thought he didn't complain b/c his needs were being met). Although we got a ton of compliments on how well it was - it was odd.  Then friends started commenting on how their kids wouldn't have set that still or quiet for that length of time and I felt horrible. Out right horrible. Then I really started paying attention. Dissecting his every move, asking questions to other parents and people I new worked in the field with children.
Dad came home, we had a baby, and he changed even more. Now we have regressed to just saying "go" and "Dadda" but this time he doesn't seem to acknowledge Dad on facetime. He doesn't look up and smile, he doesn't blow bubbles and throw kisses. He just acts like he doesn't know he's on the ipad. Then the ipad became his obsession. He is really, really good at ipad games - some above his age level. Now the TV or movies are just a distraction but he's obsessed with his ipad games and throws major tantrums when I force him off of it. He still doesn't play with toys, he still doesn't talk or acknowledge his needs. He doesn't really seem to even acknowledge "Little Dude".
While the husband was home for his 20 days he also started to notice his quietness. My husband stated that Little Man never asked for food or juice. He never complained of a dirty or wet diaper. He never complained about going to the hospital for the day. He's just a very quiet kid. My sister J came into town and he never questioned her. He never hesitated or clung to me with her. He's met her once but they facetime off and on so I thought that's why he didn't have reservations. Dad left, J came.. and he never acted phased. Then my other sister V came and J left - all while he was sleeping - and he never hesitated. He doesn't try to interact with V like he did with J.. but he never got upset or questioned her getting him up or changing his routine.
We took him to the Dr and stated our concerns right after Dad left. We were met with different reactions ranging from annoyance that we were suggesting our child is special. One person even asking 'why we wanted our kid to be retarded".. yes that was the exact question. We keep hearing that we are 'worrying to much' or that 'kids talk on their own time' or that we are being 'paranoid because we know children with special needs'. Two year olds talk. Two year olds babble, they play pretend, they play with cars and make crashing noises. They mimic a cat or a dog. They laugh outloud or rush to a window to see the garbage man.  They get mad because they wanna walk and explore.
A child isn't usually tested before the age of 2 for any special needs.. including autism. Our regular pediatrician had heard my concerns for the past year and agreed to get him in for a evaluation - 'that could take some time'. It's been two weeks and nothing has been done but a hearing test appointment made. I don't want something to be 'wrong' with my child. I don't want him to be different and put under a microscope. I don't want him to be different in our society and bullied because he learns different or talks different. I want to help my child. I want my child to ask for food, or a drink. I want him to tell him he wants to play or he is dirty/wet. I want to understand my child's feelings and I want him to get the help he needs as soon and as early as possible.
I'm hoping and praying that the stories I hear are real.  I pray that one day he just wakes up talking, I pray that one day he runs up and gives me a hug (which he doesn't do). I want him to respond to his name and turn around to point to what he wants. His form of asking for a kiss is lowering his forhead to your mouth - which seems like he's headbutting your face.
My heart hurts for all the what if's for various reasons - and non of which is towards him, exactly. I hurt because I don't want him to be bullied, I want him to be understood and have friends. I want him to have relationships with people and make friends with other kids. I don't want my child going through this harsh life labeled but I do want him to receive the help he needs to excel. I don't want to compare him to his brother and secretly looking for delays in Little Dude too. I'm hurting because these are all very viable things but I have to do what's best for my child. The child that I love so dearly. The child that lights up my world with his smile and his sweet disposition. The little boy that just wants to be swung on a swing and chased by older kids. The little boy who seems to laugh when he's being hurt (by other kids) because he's naive and doesn't seem the darkness in their words.
So there it is my omission to the world that their is something going on with my oldest son. That we are looking into developmental testing and hearing tests. That we are entering a whole new chapter and territory that is down right scary as hell. A chapter where I'll need to surround myself, 110%, by supportive and understanding people just to make my lifes child better and stronger.
God, I pray that you are hearing my cry. I pray that you are guiding me to met new people who will build us up and help us grow. Lord I ask and ask for your guidance and patients as we start this journey. You set this path for us long before we knew a child would in our life and I am just asking for a simple shred of love and support.  I'm asking for friends/people who will support our new chapter and that we figure out how to help Little Man grow and flourish.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

What's Next

For so long I have only identified as the women trying to have babies - determined to overcome infertility. Now that I have two beautiful boys I find a void. A void in the sense that I don't know who I am anymore. I mean I put all my energy into getting pregnant and having a family. While I do have a love affair with the whole working out/being healthy thing - it's not a lifestyle I've carved out. I enjoy music and I enjoy books. Those just aren't a "who I am" definer.
People always ask to describe yourself by saying "so tell me about you" and I just can't say how much my life has been tied up into "well we are trying to have a baby".
Bringing this point back home.. now that I have won the infertility battle (so to speak) I find that the one thing I so strongly identified with for so long no longer applies. Don't mistake that sentence as a sad grieving notion but I now feel lost. I mean I wasn't concerned about a career or hobbies. I wasn't concerned about book clubs or wine clubs. I didn't have the means to travel around the world because my main focus was having a family. So now that I have accomplished that I sit back and ask "who am I?","Where do I go from here?" and "What's next?". These are strange question to ask at 35.
I went to dinner with a girlfriend of 17 years tonight and I am always so impressed by her life. She runs marathon's, she volunteer's at her local Y, she works a 40 hr job, she holds down a household, her & her husband have a passion of visiting breweries, and they travel. I look at all that she has accomplished and I just sit and wonder what my next 'thing' will be. I have to again say how impressed I am with all her accomplishments and her contagious outlook on life.   Anyway - while at dinner she asked me if I was planning on having more kids and it dawned on me that is all people know to talk to me about.
So how do you pick your next chapter? How do you go over a list of things and say "yep that's my thing!". I love to make blankets but is that something I want to invest in next? I honestly wanted to go back to school to do whatever it takes to work at the public schools with my kids. Growing up I went to school with a girl and her Mom volunteered as a librarian aide while in Elementary, and then volunteered at the Middle School and then at High School. I knew that's always what I wanted to do as well. I just need to really sit and do some soul searching and figure out what I do from here. How I make me life matter past this point to myself and the legacy I leave behind. I doubt my boys will tell the story of how their Mom did everything under the sun to have them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

1 Month

It's so hard to fathom that I've been a Mom of two for almost a month. It's hard to to wrap my brain around the hard facts. I don't know what I expected life to be like but so far it's been pretty adaptable. It's so comforting to have help around the house - big or small. Two of my sisters came out.. one has already come and gone, while the other has just arrived. Both are so vastly different in many many ways. My biggest fear of was not being able to give both kids the time they needed and give my self the healing time I need. While I feel I have rushed my recovery - both the kids are fine. I am still able to give Little Man quality time, and take care of little Dude. The night schedule has worked out pretty well so far.. and only left me with a couple of sleepless nights. I was able to hand off the baby in the mornings, during the first two weeks to get more sleep, and now I feel I'm comfortable on the little sleep I am getting. I'm pretty sure the sister that is here now is questioning her stay because I'm pretty self sufficient with both kids - asking and requiring little assistance. It's honestly really hard to ask for help when I feel like I have it under control but I just wanted the security of having someone here in case I don't. I'm sure a sleepless night is coming where I will need the extra help.
So while I'm sure you want to hear all about little Dude. It's back to his birth weight of 9 lbs. I desperately wanted to breastfeed on of my kids but so far I'm pumping/bottle feeding (breast milk only) to both kids. It's a lot of work breast feeding a baby and the ability to just pop in a bottle at 2, 3 or 4 am is amazing. So I don't feel quality in the least because he's on breast milk and I'm so happy about that. We have created a nice schedule and he sleeps pretty well at night and during the day. He sleeps better during the early hours (5-9am) but that gives me quality time for myself and for Little Man. He is grumpy, has a great set of lungs, very vocal about feeding times, loves bath time and has a mean set of facial expressions already. With Little Man I knew his eyes were going to be blue and with Little Dude it's still a mystery. While I hear all babies are born with blue eyes, his look Navy and make me think they are going to be brown - like his Dad.
While I think we had a second child so quick - being on this side of it now - I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm still a little concerned that big brother hasn't really adapted all that well but I'm sure he'll come around soon. Well Little Dude just dozed off and so I'm going to try and catch some sleep before his next feeding in a hour. Thanks for checking in on us.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Arrived.

Gosh everything has been so busy that it's been really hard to stop and make a post. My husband came back home for a short 10 day visit. We went to Tucson to see our friends Dad and got food poisoning on the way. We went to leave Monday but little man kept throwing up so we turned around - then the next day we did leave and the husband got it on the way. I got sick pulling into their driveway.. it was horrible. It was a quick thing.. so we were good to go by Wed afternoon. We ended up leaving Thursday afternoon and making it back to SD that evening.
So Friday, the 21st, I woke up super itchy. I couldn't stop scratching and nothing releaved the itch. I had an OB appointment that afternoon so I was trying to muster through until then. The itching got so bad that at one point I was crying in the shower begging my husband to rub the sand scrub on my back b/c it was a form of scratching..that was my last straw. I called Labor & Delivery to explain what was happening and before I could really finish explaining - I was told to head that way and be prepared to have a baby. I was all "what?!" So we drove to the hospital.. got admitted.. and told that we were having a c-section b/c they believed I had "obstetric cholestasis" or "intrahepatic cholestasis" {ICP}. ICP is ususaly diagnosed in the 20 week range of pregnancy and is believed to be associated with a liver problem during pregnancy. Long story short they were scared to leave the baby b/c still borns have been associated with this type of condition if ignored and they decided that since we were 27.6 weeks they were taking the baby.
SO our second son was born April 21st @ 7pm  
9.2 lbs and 19.5 inches long


Little Dude stayed in NICU for a couple of days due to fluid on the lungs - which is normal for c-section babies that didn't have a chance to be birthed vaginaly (so they explained). I was able to heal and see him as often as I wanted, and we both got discharged the same day. The husbands leave was extended ten extra days, thanks to his amazing Captain, and my sister arrived the day after we were discharged. Little Dude is two weeks today and doing great. He's breast feeding, he's still got his umbilical cord attachment, and we were encouraged to get him out and about b/c he had a touch of jaundice. So we've gone to a couple of places with him snuggled in our Ergo carrier. 

The husband has already left and rejoined his ship and my sister is here until after Mother's Day. I have another sister coming out for an additional two weeks the day after Mother's Day until the first week of June. SO we are doing really well. Little man is handling being a big brother like a champ by ignoring the baby exists lol. 

As we introduce our newest member to our family - my husband will continue his return on his ship. After he returns we have little man's 2nd birthday, and the commissioning of the ship. We will also have both boys baptized in the ships bell - since they were both born while Dad was aboard the same ship (super rare). SO I'll leave you with our first family picture, taken from an iphone. I just wanted to let your guys know the baby had arrived!!