Monday, September 06, 2010
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Our little guy Joshua. We should have known from the moment we placed him in his car seat to take him home from the hospital that Joshua would be the one to confound us. Between the ear piercing screams coming from the tiny purple faced baby, and the nurse saying to us, "Oh, your going to have fun with that one!", our fate was sealed.
Joshua is the fuel to every ones fire in the house. He is the one who will disturb a perfectly quiet, content room of his siblings and turn it into mass chaos. He is the one who has the ability to make the most annoying sound in the whole world even more annoying simply by adding it to the general level of noise that is already a part of a household with 5 kiddos in it. (If you've ever seen Dumb and Dumber...the sound is more annoying than that!) Yet, he is the most empathic, endearing, loving, snuggling child in the house. He is sociable with anyone he comes in contact with, and is more than willing to introduce himself...and the rest of us...to everyone he meets.
Over the past couple of years Joshua has been seen by therapists for speech and developmental delay with a vast array of sensory issues. We've seen great improvements in his areas of speech and since last summer's PT sessions started have seen him improve strength wise as well. (Through a physical therapy assessment it was discovered that he has full body hypotonia with lucidity in all his joints with unknown cause) However, we still see signs of other issues that none of the therapists or his pediatrician can pinpoint the cause for.
So, last Tuesday we went up to Dartmouth Hitchcock CHAD in Lebanon, NH. WOW! That place is amazing...and huge. I think it might be bigger than the Mall of NH!! In any case we met with Dr. Mott who is a Neuro Developmental Pediatrician. After an hour and forty-five minutes of discussion and observation he came to the same conclusions. There is definitely something going on with Joshua but it's too varied to come up with a definitive diagnosis...yet. The doctor is bound and determined to get to the bottom of it. What a relief it was to us. Why? Well, to have someone else see what we were talking about and trying to deal with, removed the fear that we were doing something wrong. Joshua doesn't fit into any kind of category for a diagnosis. The doctor said that at this point he won't rule anything out. The following are all a possibility: Autism, Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a metabolic disorder, and mild Ataxic Cerebral Palsy.
Ya, I know...that last one through us for a loop too. But, with my prenatal and delivery history with Joshua, as well as some of his respiratory issues before the age of 2...there is a possibility that he had a lack of oxygen to his cerebellum at some point that would lead to this. AND this form is usually diagnosed around this age due to the mild and rare form of this disorder.
In any case...we are in the midst of getting all of our ducks in a row. We are keeping a sleep log for the month of June, and we have to get him in for his 5 yr. checkup, (which isn't until August 3rd) to have a full blood work panel done. We have set up a full speech evaluation as well as a new sensory profile. He is scheduled to meet with a psychologist in September for a 2 hour behavioral assessment and then he will see Dr. Mott again to reassess. My prenatal and delivery records for Joshua also need to be sent to the doctor for review to see if there was any cause for a lack of oxygen. We will most likely have to do a full hearing and vision screening as well as a sleep study to rule out or include a few other pieces to this puzzle. In the meantime, we are just trying to maintain where we are at with PT, and Hippo therapy in the hopes that we don't have any further regression. Our hands are tied with insurance limitations so we are (again) beginning the yearly process of applying for as many grants as we are eligible for to help pick up where insurance leaves off. We pray that whatever the answer is we will have the grace and resources to handle it. We went through this with Ethan when we were expecting Rebekah and again when we were expecting the twins. Now, with Sarah due in a couple of months, we are repeating the process...but this time it's with Joshua.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
We knew it was inevitable. We just didn't know when. At his yearly eye exam it was determined that because his eyesight did indeed get worse, (R- 20/25, L- 20/40) and he was having difficulty with his left eye straying with fatigue he should have glasses. We had noticed the difficulties he was having with reading and math and could tell that he couldn't keep the letters and numbers together where they belonged when he would do his schoolwork. It was a real struggle for him and he would get incredibly frustrated. Of course, we officially finished 1st grade last week...and he got his glasses yesterday! Figures. At least he'll have them when he takes his CAT next week as well has for his summer reading and math programs we have set up for him over the next several weeks.
He is soooo very excited over his new accessory and because we've told him how cute and adorable he is, don't be surprised when he sees you if he tells you just how cute and adorable he is! :)
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Having a child with Asperger has taught us many things. One of those things would be to always expect the unexpected. I guess you could say that about most seven year olds, but with Ethan it is never the same way twice. He generally handles things better than most kids, I think. For the past three weeks, he has known about this surgery and has asked a bizillion questions all which usually ended with "I just can't wait to get this little ball out of my finger and get a lime Popsicle!" He has had three other procedures: two endoscopy's and an adenoidectomy. So, he isn't a stranger to the hospital, IV's, flavored masks and johnnies! He has never had any trepidation about the event, and afterwards wakes up happy and fairly alert!
That was until Tuesday...the day before his surgery. He woke up having wet his pants for the second night in a row, (he's been pull-up free for about a month now) and not feeling well. He refused to eat his favorite breakfast, and ended up running into the bathroom to vomit. After checking him for a fever, not finding one, and realizing that he hadn't had a bowel movement since Saturday night, I assumed he was constipated and made him sit on the potty to try to go...yet again. (Our days consist of reminding him to sit for 5 min. after each meal every day in the hopes of getting his body to fully empty itself within a 24 hour period. Autistic children are known for withholding their bowels for several days, even though the stools aren't difficult to pass...ya, ya, ya too much info!)
After I got everyone else dressed, I began to ask Ethan if he was looking forward to the next day since he'd been asking every day for the past three weeks when it was coming. He told me he didn't want to talk about it. Hmmmm....so I asked him if he was excited about it hoping that a positive question would help make him talk easier, and he answered "ya". Okay, so I put a call into his old OT and his pediatrician. After talking with both of them we concluded that he was having high anxiety about the upcoming event, and this was the result. I tried making some chamomile tea for him, and doing some visual discussions...all failing miserably. He vomited again, and so I called his pedi back. She said unless he developed a fever there was no reason to cancel the surgery unless he vomited again after 3pm...then we'd be concerned about dehydration. Sooo, I started a new strategy. I planted his butt on the couch in the living room and for the next three hours, gave him coconut water. We started the first hour with 1 Tbsp, the 2nd hour with 2 Tbsp, and finally the 3rd hour with 3 Tbsp...all of this every 5 minutes! (Thank goodness for DVD's!) It worked! Not only did he keep it down, but he perked right up, and even had a bowel movement! During dinner time, he wrote up a list of questions he had for the doctor. His handwriting is very legible and his spelling is pretty good, (pat on the back to mommy and Ethan) and we packed it up in my purse to bring with us the next day. His questions were: Will Ineed stitches? Will they (the stitches) be red? Will I get a popsicle? Will it (the finger) hurt? Will it take 15 minutes? Will my parents be here?
After that he ate three pieces of toast, and was ready for the next day.
Which brings us to this morning...and the other extreme of Ethan. We call it "the high". At precisely 5:25am...5 minutes before my alarm clock was supposed to go off...Ethan excitedly came into my room and said, "Good Morning Mommy...today is the day! I'm soooo excited to go in for my surgery today and have this ball removed from finger. And then I will get a lime popsicle. And then we will come home and I will do my school work, and eat lots of food because I am hungry. Can I have something to eat? Do I need to take my shower right now? Do I wear my pajamas to the hospital, and can I bring my kitty and blanky with me?" Mind you, he said all of this in about 45 seconds, and then skipped off to tell his siblings that today was the day!
So, we got everything ready and since we had our incredibly AWESOME Child Wrangler, Brittany, spend the night to be there first thing, we were able to focus better on getting everything done and out the door for 6:45am!! He had to be checked in at 7:15am with his surgery scheduled at 8:15am! First thing, he gave the nurse his list of questions. She was awesome and answered every one of them truthfully...even the pain part. They were amazed at how well he did, and the only time he showed a little apprehension was in the operatory with Dad when he had to put the mask on his face to "go to sleep". He had kitty and blanky with him, and liked the strawberry smell he had picked for the mask, but I think when it came right down to it, going to sleep and not "knowing" what was going to happen next made him nervous. Fortunately, he also choose the "fast" vs. the "slow" way of going to sleep. Basically, two deep breaths and he was down for the count. The slow way would have involved more breathing and awareness of what was going to happen next, which would have aided his apprehension. He sure is one smart little cookie...either that or he just likes to live on the edge!
In any case, he came out of there doing quite well. I haven't taken a picture of his hand yet, but due to the stitches, it needs to remained well wrapped for the next 10-14 days until they remove the stitches. He's not happy that he can't see the stitches, but thinks his hand looks pretty cool! He was very proud of himself, and other than waking up feeling a little dizzy, was very happy to have his lime popsicle, and gluten free buttered toast waiting for him upon waking.
We love that little guy sooo much. He never ceases to amaze us! Now we can relax knowing that this ordeal is behind us. We can only imagine when the next one will be!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
...our little girl, Sarah. The picture on the lower left is of her attempting to suck all of her fingers at once, and the one on the far right is a side shot. She wouldn't hold still very well, and due to the fact that at this stage of gestation they don't have any fat on them yet...they look different. The top picture is my favorite though because if you look closely you can see her playing with her chin. She kept stroking her chin with her fingers and at one point turned her head toward the ultrasound wand and wiggled her fingers as if to say hi! It was so cool! Already, she is beautiful and we can't wait to meet her face to face!
My due date is August 3oth, but hopefully as with my other singletons, I'll go about 2 weeks early! I'm at 19 weeks now, and am not looking forward to going through the summer chasing after 5 very active little monkeys while carrying one active little monkey under my heart. If the rate of speed at which the first half of this pregnancy has gone by is any indication of the how the second half will go, we will have her in our arms in no time!!
Thursday, April 01, 2010
For our family, Easter is a time to reflect on what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross. This week being Holy Week, we've spent a lot of time discussing, (sometimes in depth with Ethan and Josh who asked very mature questions) The Last Supper, Good Friday, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. It amazes me how easy it has been for the kids to talk about all of this when Mike and I sometimes have difficulty wrapping our minds around it.
Mike and I decided a couple of years ago that Easter would always remain a religious celebration for our family. However, we would still keep the kids involved in some of the other Easter traditions...like decorating eggs. They LOVE to hunt for the eggs they've decorated on Sunday morning after diving into the Easter basket that is left for them on the table. We only do one basket, and the kids each get one large chocolate, (Swan chocolate is gluten free and incredibly tasty, so we this year we bought one large chocolate cross, three chocolate bunnies, two chocolate lambs on sticks, and three different filled eggs...raspberry, coconut and marshmallow) we also include a Veggie Tales video and some other religious gift. This year they are getting a children's Catholic Picture Bible, and a Catholic Bible of Saints book.
So, I had my Child Wranglers come over after school yesterday, and together with Jaime and Josie we decorated eggs. It was a blast!
Bekah loved picking colors for her eggs, and letting Nicole add some finishing touches. Her hands were also covered in the same colors of her eggs! :)
Ethan was pretty much Mr. Independent with his eggs this year. He was very intent on how long each egg stayed in the dye so as to achieve the perfect color. However, he was more than happy to have help from Brittany!
The twins were less than thrilled with their position...far, far away from the pretty colors and bite-sized stickers...but they enjoyed a bag of veggie bootie and had fun making faces at us.
Joshua loved every minute of his 12 minute egg decorating! Seriously, the kid had a very difficult time waiting on the egg to "hurry up and get colored", so he could move on to the next egg. Due to his impatience, two of his eggs did not make it as far as the dyes. But he was thrilled with the outcome of what he had accomplished declaring himself "The Winner of Egg Decorating"!
This was Miss. Josie's first year decorating eggs, and in typical girl fashion she was very particular about color and style! She enjoyed "tossing" her eggs into the dye containers, to the point that Jaime got splashed in the eye with pink vinegar. Josie was very upset when the decorating came to end, but very proud of her eggs.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
To some people numbers mean everything. It can mean the difference between success or failure. They can be used to define young milestones in life...like the Terrible Two's or the Trying Threes. They can be used to define older milestones in life...like Over The Hill or The Golden Years. Numbers are used everyday in our lives to help mark the beginning or end of something.
To a teenager the numbers 16, 18 and 21 mean the beginning of EVERYTHING, and to those in their early 20's the numbers 30, 40 and so on, can mean the end of EVERYTHING as they know it.
I've been very fortunate. My age has never really meant anything to me...okay, okay so maybe 21 did, but I'm not going to get into THAT part of past right now!! :) What I mean is, age doesn't bother me. I remember turning 30 and not feeling that dread that everyone leads you to believe you'll feel so that you'll forever tell everyone your 29. I celebrated the day with an awesome surprise party and loved every minute of it, but didn't shed a tear because I left my 20's behind.
I remember a conversation I had with a friend in college about our future...you know the one...who are we going to marry, how many kids are we going to have, where are we going to live, what is it we will be doing "x" amount of years from now. I can honestly say that none of what I thought was going to happen actually happened the way I thought it would. It has become something even better.
I had said that I wanted to be married in my 20's to the man who would be my best friend through every thing...and I have.
I had said that regardless of how many children I had, I wanted to be done by the age of 35...and technically I have conceived all 6 of my kids before the age of 35.
I had said that I wanted to remain in New Hampshire or at least New England...and although Manchester isn't exactly where I wanted to be IN the state, I'm happy to call it my home.
And I had said that in "x" amount of years I wanted to be able to look back on my 20's and smile with fond memories, not sadness for youth lost. I'm happy to say I can.
I am happy to say that I will be 35 years old tomorrow and even though my first 35 years have had their shares of trials and tribulations I wouldn't trade any of it because without them I wouldn't be where I am today...happily married 10 years to my best friend, raising 5 little ones while expecting our 6th, and experiencing all the joys that only a 3o-something year old can enjoy!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
So seven years and five kids later, we had our first ER visit. Yes, you read that right. We've never been to the ER for any of our kids until now. You may say to yourself, "they've had kids up in the hospital right?" and the answer is yes. However, they were all admitted to the hospital through the pediatric office. Never once from us going to the ER and then being admitted.
I knew it was bound to happen at some point, I just didn't know what the details of it would be. You know, the who or the why. As a matter of fact on the morning of said incident, which was last Thursday I recall saying to Eli, that he would be the first one to end up in the ER because of his ability to stand on any edge of anything at anytime! And he's fast too. Without hesitation, he ends up on the chair within moments of someone vacating it. In any case, that wasn't the reason or the child that ended up in the ER.
Nope it wasn't Ethan or Joshua or Rebekah...so that leaves Caleb. Yes, our resident garbage picker. (Eli tends to help in the quest to pull out the most disgusting bit of trash they can find) In any case I had just finished up a snack with the kids and noticed that Eli needed a diaper change. When I was finished with Eli's diaper change I brought it into the bathroom to be rinsed and thrown into the diaper pail. (We use cloth diapers) As I was in the bathroom I heard Rebekah yell out that Caleb had a can in his hand. Which I interpreted to mean that he had been in the garbage can again. So, I didn't rush to check on him. When I came out of the bathroom, much to my surprise, I actually saw a tin can attached to Caleb's right hand!
Let me back up a moment. We used to recycle everything. However, over the last several months our garbage men have been less than consistent about remembering to pick it up on trash day. I think it's because we are on a dead end. Needless to say, trying to convince my husband, who already thinks recycling is a waste of time, to continue this senseless act when he repeatedly has to bring it back in and try again the next week, was becoming more and more difficult. It came to the point that he just began putting it in with the regular trash anyway, so we just stopped separating it and throwing it back into the regular trash. Forward to Thursday...I had opened a can of garbanzo beans, (chickpeas) to toast up for the kids snack. They absolutely devour them and it's so easy to do. I didn't detach the lid from the can as I used the lid to help drain the liquid out so I could rinse them before putting them in the toasting pan. After I emptied the beans, I pushed the lid down into the can and tossed it into the trash. Well, when Caleb found the can he attempted to lift the lid up and caught his finger between the lid and the wall of the can...ouch...so when I attempted to remove the can his finger got sliced open.
At the ER, they put some dermabond on it to try and help stop the bleeding as they really didn't want to put a stitch in it. You try keeping a band aid on a very active 18 month old. Every time it came off, either by him or one of his siblings it would reopen and bleed heavily. So, we went back to the ER on Monday, and he had 3 or 4 stitches put in. He was AMAZING. They numbed it topically first and then gave him an injection and he didn't flinch. Didn't make a peep until the very end because she had to do it twice. The stitches wouldn't stay in the first time around. He just sat in my lap with his blue bear lovey, a pacifier in his mouth and just watched. The nurses couldn't believe how well behaved he was. I laughed as I thought to myself how different things would be had it been Joshua in my lap instead...he probably would have needed a tranquilizer and some restraints!
In any case, we go back in a week to have the stitches removed. He seems no worse for having gone through it, and only gets clingy and whiny when it has been touched or bumped...understandably! The kids get a kick out of the fact that his stitches are blue and wanted to know if Eli would get green ones should he need stitches at some point. Funny how ingrained the whole color coding thing has become for them. Anyway, that's now our first ER story...
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
It did. It was bound to happen anyway. Originally, I wanted to wait until the summer...you know give them their summer look, but it needed to be done. I did try to something else first, but there is only so much you can do with scissors and a squirmy child.
Yes, we gave the boys their buzz cuts. I tried to trim them like the hairdresser does, unfortunately I don't have her speed. So, after a few failed attempts at a "trim", we decided to get out the clippers and buzz away. Eli took to it no problem...didn't even budge. Caleb, wasn't as impressed and wanted the whole thing to be done with ASAP!
If you thought it was tough to tell them apart before...hehehe...I can still see the differences, but that's because I'm Mom! It was really hard to cut their hair so short. I never had that problem with the other two boys. I was ready to do it, and they were both much younger when I did. Even though I'm having another baby, I just couldn't help but be attached to that baby look the long hair gave them. They are bound to grow up at some point...might as well make it easier for me to keep them clean while they do it!!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Since I am the mother of 5 children all under the age of 7...and now pregnant with #6...it is difficult for me to take my children outside to play. One reason is because of the layout of our home and yard. It isn't easy to watch them from the house or get back inside without traveling down the driveway. The second reason is because my two oldest are special needs children who due to some of their developmental issues, can't be trusted to stay safe or keep the others safe. With winter time it is even more impossible for me to get them outside as the twins are still too little for me to help them out while trying to keep an eye on the older three.
So, it was with great joy that the snow came yesterday because Daddy was home!! The kids were beside themselves with glee as we layered them up to get them ready for their outdoor adventure. They managed to stay outside for about 2 hours, with Daddy checking their hands and faces every now and then to make sure they were still warm. It was my job to take care of the little ones and make hot chocolate when they came back inside. Which they gladly sucked down with a candy cane!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
This month we did the unthinkable...we switched pediatricians. Our original pediatrician was recommended to us when we were newly pregnant by my sister-in-law, and after what we went through with Ethan's birth and complications that followed, we were quite happy with our choice. It has been within the last year or so, that I've noticed one if not both of us have changed and now take different paths when it comes to the care and health of my children.
Some of you may know, I'm pretty much anti-vaccine, anti-medications...with exceptions. Ethan and Joshua had every vaccine known to man according to the timeline provided in 2002-2006. It wasn't until we started down the road of celiac disease, autism and developmental delays that I took a step back and started to research and ask a lot of questions. I never really questioned the doctor before because I believed she always had not only the best interests of my children at hand, but that she was a heck of a lot smarter than I was with regards to medicine.
Enter a sickly 3 yr. old with failure to thrive and mom (me) strongly urging the doctor to test him for Celiac Disease based on the advice of a good friend who knows the disease. The first test came back negative and so I pushed for further testing as my research, (and my instincts) told me that this was what he had. After another test, it was concluded that he did indeed have the indicators for Celiac and that it only needed to be confirmed with an endoscopy, which it was! The pediatrician was beside herself and every visit for the next year or so would constantly apologize for having missed the diagnosis. My confidence in my abilities as a mother grew as the years went by and I had a couple more kiddos. Ethan and Joshua were getting diagnosed with various disorders and other illnesses mostly due to my resilience in having it looked into. That and my mindset with Bekah had changed altogether as far as vaccinations went. The pediatrician wasn't thrilled with what I wanted, however she agreed that we could do an altered vaccine schedule for her. I made it clear that I wouldn't be doing every vaccine under the sun this time.
Now enter the twins...and more research. The decision to do an even more altered vaccine schedule, followed by little to no meds, unless otherwise necessary, began to tear at the already fragile relationship I had with the kids doctor. I noticed more irritation from her with my decisions, as well as with the questions that I would ask. My questions generally went unanswered, and everything else took a "lets wait and see" approach more often than not. Not to mention a few comments that came from her regarding my decision to refuse the chicken pox and MMR vaccines...for Bekah and the twins.
It was only after having referred a friend to her that my decision to leave became clear. The way she treated my friend completely caught me by surprise as she was very rude and offensive to this first time mom. It opened my eyes as to what I really needed from my kids doctor. I need someone who is willing to work WITH ME to help treat and care for them. A doctor who refuses to take the parents insight, instincts or other suggestions for treatment and care is a doctor who, in my opinion, is much to full of themselves. The doctor only sees that child for the 7.8 minutes they are in the exam room...the parent sees them 24/7. I need a doctor who can ask me if there is anything else they can do for me and really mean it, not have their hand on the door knob and their foot half way out the door as they are asking the question. I also want a doctor who is willing to try less invasive treatments before jumping to their script pad to write out the latest and greatest medication with a list of side effects a mile long.
Well, I found one. AND I love her!! We've had a nasty case of conjunctivitis and upper respiratory viruses that we just couldn't seem to shake. Poor Eli, really couldn't shake it and come to find out he had not only recurring conjunctivitis but a double ear infection as well! So his poor body just couldn't get rid of one virus without the other one taking over. He was already on eye drops for his eyes, but the doctor then recommended that we put garlic oil in his ears for the infection and give him elderberry syrup to help fight off the rest of the virus that was in his system. WOW! So, I came home and made the garlic oil as she specified and three times a day with three drops in each ear treated his ears for the past week. He also received 1/2 tsp. of the elderberry syrup twice a day and the eye drops in his eyes. He had his follow up visit today and everything looks great!!
Now, I have the recipe to make my own elderberry syrup as we will need a lot to keep all five kids, myself and my hubby protected from all of those viruses circulating right now. And being pregnant, homemade elderberry syrup is considered extremely safe for pregnant and lactating moms!
My advice to any new moms or soon to be moms: find a pediatrician that is willing to work WITH you not FOR you. They have to be there for you, that's part of their job, but unless they are willing to listen and truly care about what you have to say with regards to the treatment of your children, it isn't worth it. The health of your children is ultimately YOUR responsibility! Furthermore, trust in yourself. We live in an age where we have so much information at our fingertips. Yes, sometimes there is too much info. and sometimes it can lead us down an unacceptable path, but that's where a partnership with your doctor comes in to place. God gave you these children to grow, teach, care for and love...make sure your doctor knows that too!
Sunday, January 03, 2010
What a beautiful little girl!
In a land of trucks, trains, and other various boy stuff, it's so refreshing to have a little girl to dress up and play with. Don't get me wrong...she knows how to get dirty with her brothers...but she is still so very different from them. She can sit for extended periods of time doing an activity. She is usually pretty neat when she colors or works on projects, (unless convinced to go "outside the lines" by her brothers). And she does know how to play quietly...until her brothers come along and push her buttons!
She is sweet, kind, cuddly and so very loving. She is quick to give hugs and kisses, and knows that her smile will work wonders in tough spots. Her giggle lights up the room so that you can't help but smile or giggle yourself. She is already a very compassionate and empathic "mommy" to her younger brothers and her baby dolls. She loves to wear pink and purple and her favorite things are Tinkerbell and My Little Ponies.
She couldn't be more girly if she tried and thanks to her "Child Wranglers" (our nickname for our mother's helpers), she becomes pinker and girlier by the week!
Thank you for being that little pink thing in a sea of blue!
We love you!
Friday, January 01, 2010
Anyway, Happy New Year! May 2010 bring to you all the happiness, joy and love we know it will bring to us... :)