Lost Ground

While the stomach bug seems to be gone (or at least going – it’s getting hard to tell), the effects have not been good.  Michael had been doing so well up until now, but the hit his immune system took totally snatched him away from us.  He spent the entire week hiding under the sofa cushions, barely speaking.  The stress levels hit an all time high Saturday night when he lay down on the floor and wouldn’t get up.  He could barely move or talk and just sprawled listlessly on the floor.  I had to carry him around, and let me tell you, that child is getting heavy!  It’s amazing how closely Michael’s immune system is tied to his brain’s ability to function.  Thank goodness he seems to be rallying now because I’ve been spread a little thin.

William’s been a wreck since his liver stopped up again.  We’ve gone from one nightly waking to about three, constant crying and misery, and carrying him around all day again.  It’s been discouraging to see how much ground we’ve lost, but I know he’s truly miserable and not trying to be contrary.  I’m hoping the blood panel results will give us some answers because I want my happy, exploratory baby back again!  I’m super grateful Nate’s starting to get over his cold and take some turns comforting and holding upset children, because at times this week all three of them have been wrestling for a spot on my lap.  That’s always fun.

And Gabriel, my Gabriel.  That child needs a medal.  Despite throwing up once in the middle of the night at the very beginning of all this, he has sailed through this week with exuberance that no one else in this family has had.  His antics and crazy maniacal laughter have kept us smiling.  Well, all of us except the cat.  He’s been fixated on her all week, not at all to her liking.

It’s a busy week ahead of us, and despite the gloomy prospects and weather, I’m hoping we’ll come out at the end of us with a few answers and some ground gained.  Happy Monday to you all!

Back From The Doctor’s

So it’s been an interesting day.  First of all, I’m incredibly grateful to my mother-in-law, who was able to spend the entire afternoon with Michael and Gabriel so I could get William to the doctors’ offices.

That being said, the pediatrician agreed that there are enough symptoms for a long enough period of time to merit investigation.  She gave me scripts for three various tests, and much as I feared it the most, I went with the blood panels this afternoon.  I feel like it will give the most comprehensive picture of his liver’s performance.  If these tests show up clean, we will then progress to a sonogram to check for ducts that are either clogged or developed too narrowly.

In the meantime, we are heading back to the holistic doctors who found William to be quite a mess, full of bacteria and viruses, in addition to weak and sluggish digestive organs.  I pray that these tests will show the underlying problem so we can put this behind us once and for all.  For now, William must keep going to the holistic doctors regularly, as recommended by his pediatrician, as these visits do seem keep him functioning.  It was upsetting to see him crash so far so quickly after having made as much progress as we did.

All in all, it was a whirlwind of a stressful day, with the cherry on top being that William threw up all over me just as we got home.  He is now clean and dry and asleep in his crib after having had a pretty rigorous and upsetting day with no nap.  And this mama is going to go find herself some chocolate and watch and episode or two of Downton Abbey with her girlfriends and forget about special needs for a little while.

I can’t thank you all enough for your prayers.  Having your support in times like this is a real encouragement to me.  I don’t know how others walk this path alone.  I am enormously grateful.  Hopefully we will have good news to report as test results start coming in next week.

Despite the Setbacks

I know my posting here has become very inconsistent.  So have been the workings of my brain.  It seems so silly to say this, but all the activity from the past few weeks really threw me for a loop, and I’ve struggled to maintain my sense of order and routine.  I started staying up late to compensate for the stressful daytime hours, and things really went downhill from there.  I’ve been in catch-up mode for most of the household chores and ended up letting a lot of important things go.  While the mental break felt good, it’s time to get things marching along again.

I have missed that close one-on-one dependence on the Lord for getting through the tough days.  I know that there will be seasons in life, and that my relationship with God will change often, but I do hope that I at least keep moving forward.  I’ve been praying that I grow closer to the Lord and also that He would give me more love and compassion for my children.  I’m not as nice to them as I should be when I’m stressed.

Soooooo, in answer to my prayers, we got the stomach bug in our house. 🙂  God always knows what I need.  It was a good time to practice being loving under stress, and by God’s grace and going to sleep early again, I think I managed alright for the most part.  Nothing irks me more than having to clean up poop and puke, and we all know how those come in abundance with the stomach bug.  It was also a good opportunity to practice some RDI communication techniques.  I learned how to communicate much more gently and approach Michael more slowly when he is not feeling well.  Usually in times like these, he will have lots of meltdowns because he’s not feeling well and can’t respond to my long list of questions and instructions, but this time, I changed my approach, and he did SO much better.

The boys seem to be recovering (they’re well enough to chase the cat around the house anyway), and I hope to keep moving forward myself, to keep working more on becoming the person God wants me to be, despite all the setbacks.

That Day Far Away

Because I’ve been in a slump lately, things haven’t been moving efficiently around here.  The kitchen’s usually messy, and I’m behind on laundry and cooking.  Wednesday, I prayed that God would help me focus and do what I have to do, and it was awesome!  I cooked, cleaned, did four loads of laundry, and got the trash out to the curb before it got dark outside.  It was a good feeling, I haven’t been able to focus like that in a long time.

Then yesterday happened.  First, I heard the absolutely heartbreaking news about the slaughterhouses in Syria.  It was so horrifying and depressing, not a good way to start my day.  Sometimes I feel incredibly helpless in the face of such overwhelming evil.  I wonder if there’s anything anyone can do, and if so, what my part is supposed to be.  But I guess that’s a blog for another time.  It really put a grey tone on my day though.

We had Gabriel’s six month review yesterday morning as well.  True to his inconsistent nature, he’s been making progress, but he hasn’t.  While he’s been learning vocab words in speech therapy and new body movements in occupational therapy, his brain just can’t seem to connect the dots and allow him to apply what he’s learned to new situations, to every day life.  While he’s been working hard at learning new individual skills, I don’t think he’s made much overall progress since his special instructor graduated him last summer.  Now there’s talk of having him evaluated to start him with one again.  Sometimes watching him really breaks my heart.  He doesn’t know how to engage the environment and life around him.  Sure, he seems happy enough to run and jump with his brothers or clutch one particular toy that a therapist has already taught him how to manipulate, but most of the time he just drifts around the house looking very blank.  He demands hugs and sitting in my lap, but you can tell it’s more that he doesn’t know what else to do with himself and mommy is his safe spot than about actual affection.  At one time, he was a very animated fellow who blew raspberries and gave exciting monologues in baby babble and got excited about certain activities.  Now he rarely animates, except in anger.  He used to have a sparkle in his eye that’s not there terribly often anymore, and a lot of times just looking at him makes me incredibly sad.

I know he will get there.  I do.  I’m not worried that he’s going to be thirty and unable to communicate or live a normal life.  He’s catching up, albeit slower than the normal learning curve, but he’s moving forward.  It’s just that I don’t know how to interact with him.  I don’t know how to do life with him.  I feed him, dress him, change his diapers, tickle him to make him laugh, let him chose the movies he wants to see, but those blank eyes and drifting gate around the house eat away at me.  I don’t know how much he understands, how much he feels, what he’s thinking or if he’s thinking at all.  He screams hysterically in frustration, and sometimes I want to as well because I don’t know what he wants.  Just thinking about it makes me cry.  It’s easier to endure things when they’re finite, and that thought does encourage me.  He’s going to catch up one day.  But this one day seems years away, and I don’t know how to reach the little guy inside, who I worry must be incredibly lonely.

Did You Know The Love of “Selfies” Can Be Inherited?

The other day Michael and I took a quick trip into Lowe’s for some things.  As we were walking into the store, Michael yanked me to a stop because he had just caught sight of himself on the security monitor that hangs over the entrance.  He asked, “I see the movie?”, so I said sure, go ahead.  He loves seeing himself in the camera, and I figured I’d give him a moment to indulge, wave, whatever.

As I’m looking around the store, planning my next moves, I realize Michael is completely still, and I turn back to see what he’s up to.  The kid is standing there with his tongue hanging out at the camera, and the biggest smile he can have on his face with his mouth in said position.  Silly kid!  I wonder where this love of goofy “selfies” comes from.

Oh wait!  Let me present to you Exibit A… and B… and C…

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Thanks to Nate’s tireless dedication and devotion in teaching his children about all the things that matter in life, our boys should have this particular skill firmly under their belts when it’s time for them to leave home.

A little smile for your Tuesday. 🙂

The Out of the Ordinary Becoming Ordinary

Aside

I’ve realized that I haven’t been posting here regularly the last few weeks.  My brain’s been trying to cope with changes in the ordinary schedule of life, and it throws me off a bit.  First, we were trying to sleep train William around the beginning of the month.  My nervous system got fried with all the screaming, and once he was out of our bed, I enjoyed being able to rest alone.  Then, I realized his birthday was nearing, and my brother was coming to visit at the same time.  While I thoroughly enjoyed both events and some nice family time, I didn’t know how to handle preparing.  I wandered around the house for days, stressed, but unable to actually do anything.  I would be so overwhelmed, I didn’t even know where to start.  Throw in a couple of special events at church, and I was a fun person, let me tell you.

In some ways, it was better this time though.  Usually, I mope around wondering what’s wrong with me, but this time I knew.  I know now what ADHD and Asperger’s can look like, and I saw what the stress and special events were doing.  It gave me permission to be OK with how I felt, and in some ways, just knowing made it a little easier.  I worked when I had windows of mental clarity and took it easy when the stress made it unable to plan.  The house probably could have been cleaner, I could have probably planned better and gotten things taken care of earlier so as to relieve stress, but in the end, it all worked out.  I was able to visit with family, and I got to meet my adorable, little niece, Misha, for the first time.

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I only get to see my brother, Phil, and his wife, Jayde, briefly, once or twice a year, so this was one of those special times. Even though family events are a little extra work from the every day life, they are totally worth it!

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We also celebrated William’s first birthday.  It was lots of fun, and he enjoyed himself so much, he ate his party decorations at the end of the festivities.

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All in all, the important things happened, and we had a wonderful time.  I’d like to say life is slowing down and getting back to normal, but my calendar still seems to be full of special events for the next few weeks.  While most of it is fun gatherings, they still make me a bit nervous.  However, since out of the usual events are becoming a bit more usual, I am getting accustomed to them as time goes on, and I’m hoping I can handle them a bit more easily.

Here’s to a lovely Monday for all of us!

Family

I’m happy that my brother is coming to visit!  He lives in Tennessee with his wife and brand new baby, and I usually only get to see them once a year.  They’re coming by today for a very brief visit (two short days) so I can meet the baby.  I’m so excited!

We’re also having William’s birthday party while they’re here, so my brain wandered off somewhere a couple of days ago in self defense.  It gets way too overwhelmed when I have more than one thing to do, and I have about three or four things happening today.  Something’s up with Michael again, he was super compulsive yesterday, so here’s hoping for a non-eventful, fun family visit!

Have a lovely Tuesday!

My Third

If you’re a sci-fi reader, Thirds usually get the short end of the stick (I’m thinking Ender and Lady Firebird for those of you familiar with the genre).  But one year ago yesterday, our family joyfully welcomed the highly anticipated latest addition to our family: William Christopher.

I remember it pretty clearly because Nate was sick and I was on deck with Michael and Gabriel.  I woke up early (which was unusual for having gone to bed late the night before), saw Nate was clearly not feeling well and decided to let him sleep.  The boys were up at 7, and I made them breakfast.  I don’t know was up with them, but they were wrestling, screaming, scrapping, and tossing each other into the walls by about 7:45, and I found myself chanting, “Only 12 more hours till bedtime, only 12 more hours till bedtime.”  Unable to bear being locked in the house with two lunatics, who were in desperate need of entertainment, I decided to take them to the grocery store for one or two unimportant items.  I figured a change of scenery might calm them down and kill some time.

As soon as I decided to take them out, I got my first contraction.  I remember thinking, Oh that one was different.  Could it be today?  I called our mommies to put them on alert, and both were horrified that I would try to go out shopping at that point and tried to persuade me to stay home (I have a history of delivering pretty quickly).  They had just convinced me to stay put, when two children rolled past me in a full on wrestling match and one child chucked the other right into a wall.  That was it, I was either going to take the children out of the house or potentially do something I was going to regret later.  I promised our moms I would stay in touch and come home if anything else happened.

So out we went to two stores.  I figured if loading and unloading children into car seats several times wasn’t going to instigate labor, then nothing was.  But it was very quiet and uneventful, all labor stopped for the full 90 minutes we were out.  I came home at 10 to find Nate still asleep and nothing out of the ordinary.  A few minute later, the contractions started again, and I could feel the familiar squeeze in my back.  I called our midwife, who lived 45 minutes away, and my friend, who has been my doula.  I called all our parents and asked them to come watch the children as I really didn’t want to deal with their rambunctiousness while in labor.

Then I walked into the bedroom at 10:30, poked a sleeping Nate, and announced, “We’re having a baby today.  All our parents and the midwife are on their way.”  Poor guy, I probably should have eased him into it, but he rose to the occasion and sprang into action.  Kalah and our parents arrived at 11, and we started filling a big tub in our bedroom for a home birth.  Parents entertained the little people.  Susan, our wonderful midwife came at 12.  By 1, I was 7cm dilated and decided to sit in the tub for awhile as the contractions were starting to get harder and painful.

Laboring at home and in a big tub was just fabulous.  It’s almost like not laboring at all, except at the very end.  Things eased so nicely in the tub that for awhile I was afraid the labor had stopped altogether and didn’t realize that I was hitting the final stages.  Our moms were present as they had managed to miss both previous births (I really do birth quickly, the other kids were born while they were still traveling to the hospital).  Nate sat next to the tub and did whatever I asked, and Kalah massaged my back during each contraction with her magic hands.  Susan monitored everything and let our family enjoy the birthing experience.

William arrived at 2 in the afternoon, only 4 hours after I realized I was really in labor.  He was exceptionally purple and squishy, but pinked up right away.  My water broke on delivery, and Susan still had to remove the birth caul from his face.  I’ve been told that’s good luck, I guess we’ll see.  Kalah got to cut the cord.  Nate had done the other two and never was a fan.

William was briefly introduced to his grandfathers and brothers and had his name announced (we always save it as a surprise), and then got swaddled up and tucked right into bed with me.  He was a champion sleeper.  Having a birth at home is fantastic.  You get to lie in your own bed, you know where everything is, and your husband gets to order pizza from your favorite place.  Susan was absolutely wonderful, a calming, reassuring, and non-obtrusive presence.  Grandparents helped Michael and Gabriel make a happy birthday William cake, and the whole affair was a wonderful family day.

William Christopher means “defender” and “Christ-bearer”.  Stephen Lawhead has a great quote from the second book of his Pendragon Cycle.  He says every man is given two names in life: the one he receives at birth, and the one he earns as a man.  We pray that William will live to fulfill all the great destinies that God has for him and that he will grow to earn the name he has been given.

He’s been a great little fellow so far.  Despite suffering from digestive discomfort for a number of months, he would still greet you with a smile and has a sweet personality.  He is a voracious explorer, and his specialty is tasting things.  He is developing nicely, and I am seeing some beautiful neurological development that I did not see with Michael and Gabriel, which is reassuring.  He is our blessing from God, and I look forward to the time we have to share with him.

Time to Catch Our Breath

I never thought we’d catch a breath, but we’re actually in a small lull!

Now I’d like to clarify that when I say things are quieting down, I’m not talking about the fact that the kids are running through the house without pants on, shrieking loudly, and throwing their furniture down the stairs (“boys will be boys” and all that).  I mean we’re just not having to fight quite so hard against everything all at once.  William seems to finally been in a healthy state, the pain and discomfort is gone, and he’s SLEEPING at night!  Michael’s body isn’t fighting us with all sorts of physical and emotional maladies, and his brain appears to be more accessible than in the last few months, so RDI therapy is getting a chance to work.  Gabriel is also sleeping better so his tantrums are letting up, and his speech is improving so there’s less frustration in communication as well.

We’ve still got kids with special needs, and every day is still an adventure (what’s with kids shedding their clothes in the dead of winter?), but it’s nice not to have to be battling on every front at 100% capacity 24 hours a day.  Nate and I can sleep, have some down time, actually leave the house alone, things that haven’t happened in months.  Seriously, I’m talking about pre-Thanksgiving 2013 time periods here.

It’s tempting to just relax, turn inward, and do the self-TLC (and that’s happening too).  But we’ve really been trying to focus on relationship maintenance.  When 5 solid months have been all about sick kids, there’s definitely work to be done.  I’ve missed Nate and having some quiet time together with him, and it’s been such a blessing to start getting that back.  I’ve forgotten that a healthy relationship gives me energy to get through my day that I just don’t have when it’s neglected.  There’s been solo trudging around for just too long.

I’m off to spend a few minutes with him before he leaves for work.  I am so incredibly grateful that God has given us this time.  I don’t know how long it’s going to be before the next crisis pops up, but I don’t want to take it for granted and waste it.