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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Chest Pain Scare and Why It Stinks to Be Almost Equally Left and Right Brain Dominant

So about 11p last Wednesday night I was sitting on the couch in my PJs watching TV and playing Candy Crush on my phone.  My husband Adam was in the garage finishing our daughter’s field day costume and my son was on his iPad next to me.  Out of nowhere I get this crushing, squeezing, pushing, vise-like pain in my chest – just below my breast bone.  It was so intense and so instant.  I sat there breathless and confused for a minute and then felt nauseous.  I tried leaning back, standing up, laying down, walking, etc. and nothing was doing anything to relieve the pain.  It wasn’t getting worse or better it was just constant.  My (split) brain starts having an argument with itself that went on for 30 minutes something like this:

Right Brain (RB) – OMG is this a heart attack?!

Left Brain (LB) – No, don’t be silly, it CAN’T be a heart attack.

RB – Are you sure because I think it is a heart attack and I’m about to freak out!

LB – Nah, we are fine, maybe it’s a pulled muscle.

RB – Pulled muscle??? From WHAT?  We were just SITTING there!

LB – Calm down.  Let’s wait it out.  Here, I’ll look up female heart attack symptoms on Google and show you how wrong you are.  Hmmm, vise chest pain?  Check.  Nausea?  Check.  Trouble breathing?  Well, maybe but maybe just because it hurts and RB is in panic mode.  Jaw pain?  Nah, oh wait, this side of the jaw kind of does hurt – is it the heart or the panic or maybe a clenched jaw from the pain?


LB – Um, well maybe we should go to the garage and let Adam know it hurts, ya know, just in case and to calm you down.


LB speaks – Hey Adam, I, uh, well, um, I think something is wrong.


Adam looks up from what he is doing and looks at me and starts to freak out.  He finally gets out of me that my chest is hurting really bad and has been for about 30 minutes and nothing is helping and it isn’t going away and I can see he is freaking out inside but he’s holding it together rather well on the outside right then.  So he takes me in the house and puts me on the bed and he’s all what do you want me to do?!?!?!?  And he really wants to call 911 but I’m hesitating.  Because really, an ambulance is just too much fuss for me.  So my brain goes back to arguing.

RB – OMG let him CALL already!!!!

LB – But, they’ll bring so many rescue vehicles and rescue people and the neighbors will see and this is probably nothing anyway.

RB – OMG let him CALL already!!!!  What if this IS a heart attack and you are wasting our time.  WHAT IF WE DIE?!?!?!

LB – We aren’t going to die, I don’t think, at least not right now, probably, maybe.


LB – Maybe we can wait another minute.  ER visits are so expensive plus the medics charge now too.

RB – WHO CARES?!?!?!  If we DIE there is no more money!!!!

LB – Well, if it will make YOU feel better then I guess it would be alright if he calls.

LB speaks – Adam, you can call and see what they say.


LB – This is going to be so embarrassing…We are going to feel like a total idiot…what if they think we are faking? Or overreacting? Or stupid? Or drug seeking? Or incapable of understanding that this is most definitely NOT an emergency?!?!

RB – Oh man.  I hope they hurry!

LB – Oh damn.  I hear the sirens.  They are getting closer.  Here we go…

RB – YAY! They are here!!!

LB – Crap!  We don’t have on a bra and we are in this ratty old paper thin white t-shirt with our fluffy Christmas PJ pants and socks.  Just fabulous. Our hair is probably a mess by now too.

RB – WHO CARES?!  They would need to remove our bra anyway to get a good check on our heart so this way we’ve saved them a step.

LB – Yeah, sure, uh-huh.  Oh crap, here they come running in.  How many are there?!?!?!  Is that 8? 9? WTH?!  I’m so mortified right now.

RB – I can totally relax now.  Even if it IS a heart attack, the medics are here and they know what to do.

LB – Yeah, now it is time for me to panic --- about the BILL this is going to be!

So the medics hook me up to the EKG and the heart monitor and do BP and blood sugar and pulse ox and heart rate and who knows what else and ask a bunch of questions and then say well everything looks pretty good so far but you still need to go in because only the blood test can say for sure.  And I’m all well can I do that with my regular doctor tomorrow or do I have to have it done in the ER tonight?  And the medic is looking at me like ARE YOU STUPID?!?!?  And instead he says, well, you could but we HIGHLY recommend you have it done in the ER tonight to be 100% sure. 

And I’m all hmmm, well, um, I don’t know.  I already feel foolish for letting my husband call and now that I know my vitals are ok…  And the medic says well they LOOK ok but is doesn’t mean there isn’t something happening or about to happen with your heart so we really think you should go in.

So I say well can I call my dad first and ask him?  And they ALL look at me like WHAT?!?!  So I quickly say oh well he was a paramedic before he retired.  The supervisor says sure, call, we will wait (in a nice tone but I wonder if he wasn’t being a bit snotty inside his head lol) and then I look at the medic and I say look, it isn’t that I don’t trust you because I absolutely do, it’s just that I have a really high insurance deductible and I KNOW you aren’t supposed to make medical decisions based on cost but that is my reality.  And he was SO nice – he said it’s ok.  I get it.

So, I call my dad (it’s after midnight now) and he answers and I say Daddy can you talk to the medics that are here and let me know if I should go to the ER?  And he says WHAT?!?!  What is going on?  So I give him a brief rundown that I had chest pains for a while and they didn’t go away so I had Adam call 911.  He asked me what the chest pains felt like and what I was doing before they hit.  And I’m seriously expecting my dad to ask for the vitals and tell me to stay home and call my doctor in the morning.  Because all my life you could have like half a limb sawed off and he’d be all eh, you’re fine, rub some dirt in it and put this duct tape on it and it’ll heal just fine.  And he suddenly says – get your butt in that ambulance RIGHT NOW!  And I’m like whoa, wait, what?  And he says why the heck did you wait 45 minutes to call 911?!  Women, especially women your age, always ignore signs of possible heart attack and poo poo the symptoms and push off treatment and more than half of them end up 6 feet under within a week!  GO NOW!  And I’m all uh, ok Daddy, thanks.  And I hang up and say well, Dad agrees with you and says go so that is that.  And left brain starts thinking oh crap!

I walk out to the front porch and hop on the stretcher and get loaded up – praying none of the neighbors are watching.  The girls are bouncing all around under my thin shirt and I’m like dang I should have grabbed a better shirt.  After I get loaded up the medic says so on a scale of 1 to 10, how bad was the pain?  My answer was – I totally suck at this game.  He laughed and said lots of women do – try to think of the worst pain you’ve felt and compare.  So I finally settled on a 7 – but I’m still not sure if that is true because I honestly can’t tell if it truly hurt that bad or if the panic it induced caused it to feel like it needed to be called a 7.  So we are bouncing along all the construction happening on the road to the hospital and the medic – I’m going to start an IV now and I about jumped out of the back of the ambulance!  My completely irrational and illogical intense fear of needles has now trumped everything else.  I said well just know that I do NOT do well with needles and you saying you are doing an IV is more panic inducing than those chest pains!  He laughed and said it will be fine.  And I’m looking the other way thinking OMG he’s going to STICK a NEEDLE in my ARM while we are BOUNCING along this road – holy crap I hate IVs – omg this is going to hurt – I think I need to pass out – I can’t believe he’s really going to do this – I’m NEVER going to survive!!!!  And suddenly he’s all I’m done and I’m like holy crap!  That didn’t even hurt and that took like .02 seconds total!!!!  And he had put it a bit further down on my arm instead of right in the crease so I was able to comfortably bend my arm without it hurting or creeping me out so I am eternally grateful to him for that.

Finally we get to the hospital and they check me in and put me in a room right away and a doctor, a nurse and a tech come right in and ask a bunch of questions and start monitoring me on their equipment and the doctor ordered the heart attack blood test plus a chest x-ray plus a bunch of other tests.  By this time the pain had almost completely gone away so I am feeling REALLY stupid for calling 911 but also relieved that I was 1) in the hospital with the life savers nearby and 2) things were looking fine and 3) grateful that I wouldn’t be second guessing every little twinge or pain or arm falling asleep episode for the next several months.  After many hours in the ER because the first blood test came back fine but must be repeated in 3 hours to be 100% sure, I was discharged just after 5am with orders to follow up with a cardiologist (that happened today and he’s pretty sure my heart is fine – further tests to be extra extra sure to come but he’s confident I’m ok).

I still kind of feel foolish for calling 911.  The ER doctor said every single patient with chest pains feels foolish for coming in, even the ones in full blown heart attack, so she’d rather us be in there feeling stupid than dead at home.  She’s got a point!  So yeah, don’t ignore symptoms like that or wait too long to make the call.  Better to get an all clear from many experts than to chance ending up 6 feet under!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Kindergarten! Already?!?!?!

On Monday, August 18, 2014 my baby girl started kindergarten at 5 years 8 months 2 weeks and 1 day old.  Um, exactly how did that much time pass from this:

To this:

I swear I only blinked liked two or three times.  Moms of newborns right now, don't blink!

So to backup just a bit, on Thursday, May 29, 2014, Reagan graduated from VPK.  I barely held it together through the ceremony and Reagan was her true funny little self throughout which helped.  Here is her graduation video clip.  She speaks so fast but she is saying "In Pre-K I learned how to read".
She had a great year in VPK and learned so many things and loved her teachers, Ms. Cara and Ms. Michelle.  Her least favorite part of her day was naptime so she was very happy to learn that you don't sleep in kindergarten!

She had a long, fun summer full of fun and family time and visits from relatives and late nights.  The late nights came to screeching halt the night before school started and before we knew it, school was ready to begin!

We got ready, took some first day of school pictures and then walked to the bus stop.  Since it was the first day ever in the "big" school, I hopped in the car (sobbing the whole way!) to meet her at school and walk with her to class.  She didn't need this step but I did.  :-)

After getting her settled in, the teacher shooed us moms and dads out the door to the Boo Hoo breakfast that the school put on for the kindergarten parents.  It was basically an orientation to the school for the parents.  The principal gave an introduction and shared her philosophies, told us about the school, gave us lists of resources for additional questions, etc.  It was a nice touch to answer those lingering questions for us newbies.
Then I went home and logged on to work and kept checking the clock to await the return of my big girl.  Finally the bus pulled up and out bounced this happy kindergartener!

We are now one week in and she still loves it.  Her first week progress report was great with only one area checked for needing improvement.  Seems this girl likes to spend too much time talking to her friends when she is supposed to be working quietly.  I predict a reoccurring theme with that one. 
As I was posting my conflicting emotions about the first day of kindergarten for my first baby, an old friend of mine posted this poem and tagged me in it.  It pretty much sums up all of the bittersweet tears I shed that day.
I am just so proud of my girl!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Long Overdue Update on Trevor's Speech Therapy

Boy did we ever luck out with the people in Trevor's life.  We started him in preschool a year ago to help his speech and his teacher is AMAZING!  We love her so much and have become friends with her and her family too.  Her 17 year old daughter is actually Trevor's girlfriend. ;-)  He sure loves his 'NaNa'.  Anyway, between his therapist, who we also adore, and his teacher, Trevor has come so far.

When he started he pretty much used 'Ma' for everything.  Quite quickly after beginning preschool he added new words and began babbling in his car seat after school everyday.  Yellow was one of his favorite words for a while and he still will say that is his favorite color.  His teacher, Miss Mary, was so eager and willing to work with his therapist, Miss Tina, and the two of them implemented so many things in the classroom that helped not only Trevor but his classmates as well.  He loves to go to school every day and he loves the routine that is established and if I try to stay in the room too long to talk with Miss Mary he will tell me bye-bye and try to shoo me out the door! 

Before preschool, Trevor was taking a while to reach his goals.  After starting preschool, he was meeting his 6 month goals within a couple of months.  Miss Mary and Miss Tina are quick to react and adjust his goals and the boy is just thriving!  Once he had some speech under his belt, it became evident that his cognitive skills are advanced.  He has long known the entire alphabet in upper and lower case, what sound each letter makes and examples of words that begin with each letter.  He can recognize and spell his own name and the names of all of his classmates.  He knows numbers up to at least 20 and has recently starting pointing out random numbers like '99' if he sees it written somewhere.  And he has actual conversations now!  I am constantly amazed by all of the stuff this kid knows!

What has also become evident is that he has some sensory issues and those can appear to be behavior problems to the untrained eye.  He likes for things to be very structured and has strong feelings on certain things he feels he needs to control.  Like opening and closing of doors and the order of some events.  For instance, if he wants his cup before his food and you give him his food first, a complete meltdown happens and you have to take everything away and start over or he will be inconsolable.  This also translates into difficult transitions.  Thankfully Miss Tina fought for him to start getting some OT and we have begun incorporating that.

Overall he is doing fantastic and has made huge leaps and bounds this year and we are so proud of him.  We are also immensely enjoying his fun and entertaining personality...and his willingness to take care of letting the dogs in and out to the yard.  Such a helpful, wonderful child that we love so, so much!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Jesus Lives in the Cookie Jar at Grandma's House and God Lives in a Roundhouse

I try to expose my children to the same kind of faith I was while growing up.  I was raised in a couple of really, really good United Methodist churches.  They were open, friendly, supportive, non-judgemental, fun, loving, etc.  We were taught the fundamentals of Christianity but we were also taught so much more.  To be honest, I was shocked as I got older and realized that all religions and all churches were not so welcoming of everyone and anyone because that wasn't what I had been taught.  I am thankful for those churches of my childhood because I have now grown into an adult who is secure in my faith yet respectful of others who share my faith differently, more, less or not at all.  I will gladly tell others about my personal walk if they desire however I do not expect others to have that desire and feel everyone is entitled to their own beliefs or non-beliefs.  I do however like to read of others' walks in faith so there are a couple of blogs I follow that do a great job of sharing.
My point in all of that is that I want the same for my children.  I want them to have a strong foundation of faith that they can choose what to do with as they grow.  I have started and stopped attending a few local churches in the past several years trying to find the right match for us all so I haven't done the best job so far of making sure they are learning the fundamentals.  I do make Christmas and Easter big teaching moments and on Christmas morning we sing happy birthday to baby Jesus before we open any presents (that Santa delivered on Jesus' behalf for us to enjoy).  Reagan has always been a sponge and lately she has started asking me more and more questions about Jesus.

Of late she has repeatedly asked for the crucifixion story and seems to really hone in and enjoy the absolution aspect.  She will often stop me throughout to question and repeat why Jesus walked the earth and why He was crucified and what that did for all of us.  When we get to the resurrection portion of the story she likes to talk about all the places Jesus is.  She told me once that He was even on roller coasters and I had to laugh and say you know, I think He must ride A LOT of roller coasters as people call out for Him from there.

The other night as we were saying prayers she informed me that Jesus lives at Grandma's house.  I said oh He does?  She then went on to tell me, in a very matter-of-fact-you-mean-you-don't-know way, that yeah, he lives in that cookie jar at Grandma's house.  Now the cookie jar is actually a decorative urn that holds the ashes of my step-father, Papa Joe, who died well before she was born but she has heard us mention that Papa Joe is in there.  Apparently Jesus lives in there with him when He's not out riding roller coasters and all.  While telling my mother this story today we both remembered that I had declared a similar type "truth" around the same age as Reagan is now.

As a small child I knew God and I knew Jesus but I was apparently more focused on the God aspect of things.  I think because of the plaque that was above the sanctuary doors of my first church.  The plaque said - This is God's house.  Well looking around I didn't see God standing around, or His bed or personal things so maybe He didn't really "live" there.  But He had to live somewhere - I mean, we all do and with how busy He was taking care of everyone in the world and listening and answering prayers then He must have someplace where He rests His head.  So, one day while driving on the roads in Baltimore with my parents, I saw it!  I saw God's house!  Of course that is where He lives.  It didn't look like any other building I had ever seen - it was different and special and from where we were on the road, seemingly inaccessible.  He would need that kind of privacy.  From then on whenever we drove past I would excitedly exclaim THERE IS GOD'S HOUSE!!!!!  In truth, it is the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum but to this day we all still refer to it as God's house.  And Jesus lives in the cookie jar on Grandma's counter. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Where Do Babies Come From? One Little Boy has the answer...

Something the other day that made me remember how kids sometimes perceive things.  One of my BFFs has a son who we used to joke that I had shared custody of him.  This child's heart really is a sight to behold.  He has always been very sweet, loving, caring and empathetic beyond his years.  He always seems to understand things on a deep heart level even when his young mind can't quite grasp all that is.  One of those instances happened when I was in the trenches of fertility treatments and he himself had his little world off-kilter.  Without going into too many details, he was 4 years old, his older brother had been horribly injured in Iraq (he is miraculously fine now thank God!) and his mom had to fly out for an undefined period of time to be with his brother as none of us knew if his brother was even going to survive.  While his mom was away, he stayed with me and up until that point had never been away from his mother even overnight. 

During his extended stay with us I had many doctors appointments to go to.  He picked up on the doctor talk and nervously asked what I needed a doctor for.  Knowing he had to be worried because the recent doctor talk in regards to his brother was grim, I tried my best to put his mind at ease.  One day while taking him to Pre-K he asked what was going to happen to me at the doctor later that day.  I told him that he shouldn't worry about me because I was going to a doctor who was trying to fix my belly so I could grow a baby.  Confused, he asked several more questions and I tried to explain in ways he could understand.  He seemed satisfied with the answers and somehow internalized how badly I wanted to be a mommy.

From time to time he would ask if the doctor fixed me yet and I would tell him not yet.  Apparently his little brain then went into overtime trying to help his Aunt Dawn become a mommy.  One day while picking him up from Pre-K he told me that it was okay that the doctor hadn't fixed me yet because I could just go into the baby room there and get a baby.  He was so proud of himself for figuring out that people went into the baby room at his childcare center and came out smiling and holding babies and he was so happy to tell me of this solution.  I nearly cried with the sweetness and innocence of it.  Man I love that little boy! 

Here he is a little bit more grown up and sitting in a fire truck (a helper vehicle of course!).  Can't you just see his sweet soul shining through?!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Graveyard Visits

For as long as I can remember, my mom would go around to all of the family graves for each major holiday and put flowers.  Of my mother's 3 daughters, I was the only one who enjoyed doing this with her.  I can actually distinctly remember the last time she ever made my two older sisters go but I will get to that a bit later.  I have very fond memories of visiting each grave and paying our respects and after I moved 800 miles away from where I grew up I really missed doing so with my mom.  This past Christmas the kids and I spent the holiday up with my mom.  I was so excited to visit the graves for Christmas and made my mom promise not to do it until I could be there.  It made me feel good to be there for this tradition.

This is for my grandmother and grandfather:

This is for my much beloved great-aunt:

This is for my aunt (my cousin had also been there):

This is for my grandmother's best friend who was always part of our family in love and also was my mother's godmother - we called her Ollie (like ole-lee) as that is what my mom called her when she was first learning to speak and it stuck for the rest of her life:

So a couple of things about Ollie's plot.  Her plot sits on a rather steep hill and one visit to her other family members while Ollie was alive and I was maybe 10 or so had me convinced that they were out and roaming.  We had lots and lots of rain and with the rain came some erosion.  Many of the in-use gravesites on that hill had caved in from the erosion.  I had already bounded up the hill while my mom was helping Ollie up and when I saw the caved in sites I just knew they had gotten out.  Funny thing was that I wasn't scared about it - just very concerned about how they were going to know where to come get back in and how we were going to find them to help them.  It took my mom awhile to convince me that they hadn't actually gotten out because to me, at the time, them digging out was the only plausible explanation! 

Also near to Ollie's plot was a grave that once had a big beautiful statue on top of a pedestal.  Some jerks had made their way through the graveyard one night and vandalized many of the stones.  The statue on the nearby plot had been knocked off its pedestal and broken.  I was young when this happened but I can still remember seeing the pieces laying on the ground and it made me feel so badly for that family.  I am not sure if there were any surviving family left or if they still lived nearby enough to visit but the statue never got replaced.  Well my heart couldn't take it so every time we visited I would pop off a flower out of the many we were placing on Ollie's plot and stick it in the hole left behind by the absent statue.  My mom took up this tradition for me once I had moved and no longer went to the graves.  Of course this Christmas I got to do it myself and we brought along a flower just for this purpose.  :-)

At one of the graveyards we visit there is a set of graves that we were always fascinated by.  They were big columns and big elaborate stones and some even had stone picnic tables on the plots.  On each of the stones were porcelain portraits of the people buried there.  After visiting our family plots we would always run over to look at the portraits.  Well while looking at the portraits one year my oldest sister nearly had a heart attack and never had to go to the graveyards again.  It was around the time of the movie Carrie where she reaches from her grave and pulls in the people who picked on her and also around the time where the style was Jordache jeans with the big giant cuffs rolled up.  It was also a winter visit so there were lots of dead twigs and branches on the ground.  So, while looking at the portraits and moving from one to the next, a rather large twig got caught in my sister's jean cuffs and she thought for sure that she was being grabbed and pulled into the grave and just about jumped out of her skin.  She screamed and ran and that was the last time she ever set foot in a graveyard!  What is so funny to me is that my oldest sister is not scared of much, is very logical and a realistic thinker and isn't prone at all to being scared of boogeymen.  She could walk through any haunted house alone and never jump or get scared but this grave grabbing about did her in!  I had Reagan stand near some of those graves just so I could show my sister!  LOL (Reagan was cold and tired here so she gave me a weird look when I told her to smile)

Here are some close-ups of the portraits:

I am still fascinated by those graves!

Sunday, April 28, 2013


As mentioned in my previous post, both kids started preschool on April 8th.  I was excited and terrified at the same time, plus a little sad.  Since Reagan was born she has been home with me, her dad or close friends.  Of course Trevor was too and these arrangements were great for us all.  I started looking at preschools in February to get a jump on picking one for Reagan to start VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten) in August as I was told that if you wait then your first choice may no longer have open spots.  I have a tendency to procrastinate so I wanted to get the choosing and registering done well before August approached and sent me into a panic-driven choice. 

After visiting several daycare centers and talking to other moms who already use daycare I narrowed down my choices to tour.  The center I decided on is small (no children under 2 and no children older than VPK), has lots of teachers and assistants in ratio to the number of kids, does not do field trips and is right across the street from where I work.  I was very happy with the "vibe" of the place, the availability of the director and teachers for all of my questions and their rates are very reasonable.  I sealed the deal in March by filling out the VPK registration forms and getting our list of supplies. 

Meanwhile, back at the home front, Trevor was participating in his weekly speech therapy.  His therapist and pediatrician both agreed that at home Trevor just doesn't really have any motivation to communicate.  He gets fed when everyone else does, he has a sippy cup available at all times, he naps and sleeps on a regular schedule and diapers get changed as necessary.  This also meant that he would frustrate easily during those times when communication would be helpful and have himself some pretty big, but short, tantrums.  After many discussions it was decided that he would benefit from being in a small preschool class.  In Florida the rules are 11 two year olds per teacher and many centers will put 2 teachers in a room with up to 22 two year olds.  While legal and fine for most kids, the larger scenario would actually be worse for Trevor's communication efforts.

The center where Reagan will be attending VPK has one teacher and one assistant and 8-10 kids on any given day in the 2 year old room.  Trevor's therapist deemed this perfect for him and felt he should start as soon as possible.  I had also been told (by moms and teachers) that since Reagan had never been in a daycare setting that she should start at least a month before the actual VPK started so that she could have some time to adjust.  I spoke to the director about possible start dates and she informed me that she had openings starting that next week and could take Trevor legally now since he was past 22 months of age even though she normally didn't start kids until they were already 2.  After some internal agonizing and over-analyzing and talks with his therapist, both kids were set to start that coming Monday.

Here is Reagan the morning of Day 1 - she was SO excited to be starting school!
I couldn't get Trevor to stand still long enough for a morning Day 1 picture of him and of course getting out of the house in the morning with two kids and all their stuff took way longer than I anticipated - it always does!  Drop off went great.  Reagan happily went into her room and began to get acquainted and barely even said good-bye.  In fact I do believe she shot me a look from across the room that said "don't you DARE embarrass me Mom!".  Trevor happily trotted off to play with a group of little ones once we got him to his room and never looked back.  I was happy that they were confident enough to not melt down but my mommy-heart was a little traumatized at the lack of their trauma. :-)  They both got good reports and were happy to see me when I came to pick them up.  It sure looked like they had fun:

Day 2 was more of the same - they both happily joined their classes with quick waves and hugs and kisses.  Here they are on the morning of Day 2.  I snapped Trevor's from his crib after getting him dressed so he couldn't run off without a picture!

By Day 3 Trevor had caught on to the routine and started to cling and whine during drop-off.  I knew he'd be fine after I made a quick exit but hearing him cry was not fun at all.  By Day 4 Reagan had caught on and while getting ready in the morning she loudly announced "I HATE school!!!!".  Ahh, so much for easy drop-offs.  Both of them have adjusted now but it was a rough road for a bit.  I'll save that for another post as well as Trevor's speech progress from school.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Well my baby boy is almost 2!  I can hardly believe it.  He is such a joy and growing leaps and bounds, of course, and continues to be a pretty easy going little man.  At his 18 month well baby check I knew there were going to be concerns.  Even though he started on track verbally with early babble he kind of stalled.  He was late to say his first real word - Eat - but he didn't continue to say it.  Instead, everything was "Ma".  Everything.  Me, his dad, his sister, his cup, his pets, his toys, his bed, food - everything!  When he wanted to express that he wanted or needed something he would only say "Ma" with an occasional "Mama" thrown in. 

I remembered counting up the number of words Reagan was saying at her 18 month appointment and quit counting when I was well past the number of words they hope they can say by that age.  His one single word was not going to be good news to his doctor.  At his appointment they gave me a sheet to fill out that had different questions that they use for an early autism screen.  He missed 3 big ones - all somewhat related to communication.  He did not have the desired number of words, he did not point to objects and he did not follow a point.

His doctor spent lots of time with us (love her!) and decided that yes, he did have some communication related delays but that she would be surprised if he was actually autistic since he does have great eye contact, recognizes emotion, isn't repetitive other than age-appropriate repetition, etc.  She referred us to Early Intervention for more testing.  I was glad for the referral.  I am the type of mom who is driven by information.  If there is a problem, I want to know what it is, how to mitigate it or fix it, what we should be looking for in the future, etc. 

I was expecting some difficulty with Early Intervention only because it is a state funded program and I knew the program had to be understaffed with overworked people.  I was pleasantly surprised when we quickly got an appointment (after some phone tag) for a worker to come assess him at home.  She ran through a bunch of questions, observed Trevor just being him and then attempted to engage him in several simple tests with toys and commands.  His worker felt he did need services and set us up for a more in-depth assessment with other therapists.

We went down to a great looking DCF center (the waiting area was SO cool with tons of fun stuff for the kids!) and met with his worker and two therapists.  They ran Trevor through some more tests with toys and commands and asked me questions throughout.  After about half an hour they agreed he needed services and wrote up his report.

For the scale they use, there are 5 categories.  A child must score 75 or below in two or more areas or 70 or below in one area.  Well Trevor ended up qualifying both ways. :-(  He scored 71 in Academic/Cognitive (Playing, Thinking, Exploring), 70 in Self-Help/Adaptive Skills (Eating, Dressing and Toileting) and 59 in Receptive and Expressive Communication (Understanding and Communicating).  I was not at all surprised at the Communication score but the other two did take me by surprise.  The other two were mostly because he wouldn't transition during play when prompted (at all and would melt down when further attempts were made) and he didn't yet take his shoes off properly or use utensils in an age-appropriate manner (totally my fault on that one as I hadn't really ever given him the opportunity to practice).  He was 20 months old at the time of his evaluation.

Since then he has a therapist that comes for an hour once per week to work with him and give us ways to help him when she isn't here.  His therapist is an incredible woman that we all like very, very much.  We also enrolled him in preschool earlier this month to help with peer modeling and exposure to other people that he has to communicate with to express his needs since family tends to anticipate his needs and he never really needs to ask for anything (more on preschool in another post).  He is making progress and we are thrilled!  He now says "Ball" (his favorite), "Bye" and this week started saying his version of "Yellow" - it comes out el-LOOOOW.  He also uses some signs - eat (of course!), please, all done and hi/bye.  Overall we believe he just needed some extra help and motivation to communicate and opportunities to develop his other skills (he uses utensils now and tries to put on socks as well as takes off his shoes properly some of the time).  We are looking forward to seeing how he progresses from here and what strides he will make from being in preschool. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Still Here

we are still here. busy as ever. trevor is now walking and he started at fourteen months old just like his big sister.  reagan starts her second season of soccer in a couple weeks and she is very excited. i just cannot get over how quickly my babies are growing up.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

What a day full of emotion in our household.  There is absolute joy and wonderment at being the mommy of my two beautiful babies.  Babies that I worried for many years I wouldn't get the chance to mother.  I have no words to describe how wonderful motherhood feels and how deep my love flows for my daughter and my son.  They are my entire world.

There is also wistfulness as I spend the day 800 miles away from my own mother.  We see each other several times a year and talk on the phone often but there is nothing like having your mom accessible in person daily.  Happy Mother's Day Mom!  I love you very, very, very much!

We also have a weave of deep sadness in our home on this and other important holidays.  My mother-in-law passed away a few weeks after Reagan was born.  It was very sudden and unexpected and the unfairness of the timing cuts deep.  She barely got to be MaMere (an informal French nickname for Grandma) before she was taken from us.  We miss her very much.
This is the balloon bouquet that we will release today in her memory.  Tied to the balloons will be Happy Mother's Day wishes to rise up to heaven for her.

Finally there is much gratitude and love to the woman who gave my children life and gave me the opportunity to be their mommy.  Without her I wouldn't have the blessings I have today and I hope today is a good one for her.  Our children will always know her love and for that I am especially thankful.  Happy Mother's Day Stacey!

As I celebrate my happiness and joy at being mommy, my heart never forgets not only their birthmom but also the thousands of women TTC, experiencing loss, waiting for a match, with babies born into heaven, with children estranged or missing, or otherwise in a place where this days brings more pain than joy.  Many prayers for peace, comfort and happiness.
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