Parenting

Getting some answers

Today was my sweet son’s occupational therapy evaluation. We’ve suspected for some time that he might have some sensory processing and/or ADHD stuff going on. The therapist, who I really like, definitely noticed some of our concerns. We will get a full write up in time, but I told her that I wanted to start therapy ASAP, so that I can also learn to help him at home.

She greeted him first when we got there, and I think that went a long way with him warming up to her quickly. Todd and I filled out some questionnaires while she took him into a room to perform some activities that would allow her to observe his reactions to different sensory input. Then they came out into the big room, and she challenged his body, and got a sense of his vestibular (our ability, desire or avoidance of moving in space, like spinning or tumbling) and proprioceptive (our body’s ability to know where it is in space) situation. He’s definitely a seeker of input (wants to spin, run, push, pull, wrestle, etc etc) so I will need to create that environment at home, and give him other opportunities for it (tumble time, the park, etc).

She saw all of our concerns play out during the eval – auditory processing struggles, and the seeking of proprioceptive and vestibular input. She talked about how he likes to spin (he does this a lot at tumble time on the silks) and he did it on their inner-tube swing. She thinks the dizziness puts him into a high state of arousal that his brain seeks, but it can also spike him into fight or flight mode. She will give us tools to help with that.

Her main comment was that his chaos mode at the end of the day is likely because he hasn’t received the sensory input through the day that he needs, and his body is releasing all the pent-up shit. She is going to tell me how I can provide him with that input. Amen, sista! I don’t think this practice can diagnose something like ADHD, so we will start here and get further evals done with other professionals, if needed. Honestly, I don’t give 2 shits about diagnoses, I just want to know how to help him, and how to be better for him.

It’s a start.

We also finally took him to see a GI specialist, and have him on a colon clean out. He also has to sit on the potty after every meal, and he’s been doing great. He pees a lot, no poop yet, but since this is a behavioral thing, this is helping get him comfortable. Today, while in his room during quiet, I witnessed him take off his pull-up and sit down to pee. Talk about shocked…

Baby steps…

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Homeschool · Life · Parenting

It has been a hot minute since…

I’ve been around this here blog of mine. When I was last here, I announced my pregnancy with my daughter. My sweet baby girl turned 9 months old this month, so I’ve been missing in action for some time. I’m back, however, with a new idea for this blog.

Aren’t they precious?

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I’m going to try to focus this blog on my homeschooling pursuits. G is 3.5 now and I plan to start some basic homeschooling with him in August. He has already picked up quite a few things from our random days at home. I’m always doing something educational with him because it’s who I am, but he’s really picked up so much from life itself, plus lots of reading, PBS Kids, age appropriate apps on his Epic tablet and LOTS OF PLAY! He’s quite an imaginative kid!

Starting in August, I plan to use 2 different simple curriculum with him.

  • Build Your Library: Kindergarten “Around the World” curriculum – $25
    • For the price, this curriculum is great. I’ve purchased most of the main books and will get the rest from the library. This covers literacy, science, social studies, art and music. I just need to add in a little math play, some life skills, make sure there’s always hands-on/movement happening, and we’re set. I like that you only do a few topics every day, since we know young kids don’t have long attention spans. Overall, I don’t plan to spend more than an hour total on intentional schoolwork, and it will be broken up in bits and pieces.
  • Sadlier’s Getting Ready to Read with Mother Goose PreK/K: I found the student workbook at a used bookstore, and got the teacher’s manual on eBay for cheap. This may be an older curriculum, but the activities are so simple and easy to put together, and short in duration.

I’m not the type of person that can improv and fly by the seat of her pants. My mind doesn’t move quickly and I need time to think about how to do something. So, the more prepared I am, the better. I know that not everything will get done, and I will not be a slave to the plan. He’s only 3.5, so honestly, as long as we read and play, we’re good! I have a ton of activities on hand to pick and choose from so we don’t have scree-time driven days. I want to get better about that. I want to get him outside more too, because he loves it, but he’s also a serious homebody like myself.

We joined a local homeschool co-op and I’m really excited about signing him up for a class. It will get him around other kids and used to taking instruction from someone else. He’s already getting a taste of that in his swim lessons. He seems a little confused at times, but with social cues, he picks up on how to stand in a line, follow the leader, etc. He also does well with the instructor, even though I find her a little cold. He’s gotten much more used to the water and seems more confident. Anywho, we have a creepy crawly workshop in August with the co-op, and then classes start Aug 30. Registration is not yet open, but I hope he gets into a fun class. I’m going to volunteer in a leadership position, though I’m only an apprentice at this point. They need social media help, and you know I’ve got that covered! My mom’s also going to volunteer in the nursery, where she can be with baby Lowry and I can be in class with G for his first time. I may teach a class at some point, but I want to be with him this first time.

On another note, we are in the process of scheduling an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist for G. We suspect some sensory and/or ADHD issues. I know he’s only 3.5 but both parental instincts have been buzzing for about 6 months. ADHD runs on both sides of our family, so that wouldn’t be a stretch. The sensory thing is new to me though, but the more research and observation I do, the more I think something’s there. I definitely thing he’s a propreoceptive seeker. From what I understand, the propreoceptive system is the ability to sense where our body is relation to our surroundings. Apparently without this system, we wouldn’t know where are body parts are without looking. Anywho, they have seekers and avoiders. I think G is a seeker because he runs everywhere, has poor body awareness, kicks, bites or hits on occasion, chews incessantly, loves to gently tackle kids in bounce houses/gyms and has poor personal boundaries. Also, he loves doing things that provide input to the propreoceptive system, like pushing and pulling things (his toy shopping cart, any kid toy, riding his tricycle, wrestling, sweeping and mopping, jumping, climbing, rolling our giant exercise ball over him, using his hands for all the things, he loves play-doh, putty, slime, squeezing anything, loves to stir and knead…the list goes on. ADHD symptoms are present, but he is 3.5. I get it. It’s not my first time around kids (though he is my first), and having a social work background with children, something doesn’t feel right.

I just want him to feel as normal as possible, and also want help for me. I struggle some days with my patience and understanding. I try. I recognize it. Sometimes I can be calm and collected, but not getting great sleep, having a baby to care for and house to run, I get frustrated. I’m not doing great at caring for the house, but I’m trying to change that. Ugh. If I didn’t have my mom around to help, I’d be in a worse position, for sure!

 

Parenting

Life is a changing!

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I have not been very consistent with blogging, mainly because I don’t feel like I have anything interesting to say. And also because I’ve been lazy in terms of my creative pursuits. I haven’t done much crafting lately. I pretty much spend my evenings reading and watching TV, which is fine, but I do miss my crafts. The energy is not there. Not sure if this mental or physical or both. Probably both. Always both. Ah well. I do have something I want to say now…

My husband is in his last year of psychiatry residency and he is currently negotiating his contract to remain with his institution as a clinician and associate medical director. I mean, WHAT? I’m truly over the moon proud of him. After much discussion, hubs and I decided that I will be leaving the (paid) working world this June to be come an (unpaid) stay at home mom. Well, I guess I will get paid in smiles, hugs, kisses, tantrums, bathroom accidents and booboos.

Hubs was raised by a SAHM and fully supports it, and it is something I really, really want to do. I have not felt the same passion for my work since G was born. I LOVE working with kids, and don’t plan to stop doing that, but I want nothing more than to be with him as he navigates early childhood and beyond. In fact, I’m already preparing to start a tot school with him and focus on preschool learning. My mom has been doing an awesome job with integrating education into his play every day. I’m amazed that he can count to 10 (eventually) and is starting to identify a few letters. Colors, I know, come later. The kid says blue for everything. 😛

I desperately want to home school G. Hubs is not fully on board with the idea, for various reasons that I understand. I plan to attend the Southeast Homeschool Expo this July to learn as much as I can so we can have an informed discussion. I want to do an eclectic type of home schooling, possibly join a coop, find home school families for field trips, etc. I don’t want the kid sitting with me 8 hours a day. That isn’t good for either of us, and especially not good for his social development.

I just want to do it. But if it turns out hubs just can’t deal with the idea, then we’ll find a non-public school. Because I live in Atlanta.

Sorry APS, but no.

Once things settle and I get into a grove with my new found duties of Mom Boss, I want to volunteer. Either tutor at the elementary school on my street,  become a mentor for my current organization or the refugee school in Decatur, or something I haven’t thought of yet. I love working with kids, and I want that to continue in some fashion.

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Life · Parenting

It’s been a few months…

I can’t seem to stay on top of blogging. Mostly, I don’t feel inspired to write about my life, which is pretty damn normal and not very exciting. I’m a mother living with her family, working, and enjoying life when a free moment arises. I think when free time appears, I’d rather use it doing my 2 beloved hobbies, which are paper crafting and reading. Oh well…

Today, I have something worthy of writing, which is also cathartic for me. It’s a sucky thing to write about, but for every woman who does share her story, it helps all the ones who are suffering in silence. Now you may have guessed what I’m going to write about.

Yes, I had another miscarriage.

This time was not as simple as the first. Oh no. Mother Nature decided to scare the shit out of me, Todd, and my mom with her power of WTFkry. It was about as unpleasant and terrifying as any medical trauma could be, and I’m going tell you about it. It’s gross and scary and really gross.

You have been warned.

I was 9 weeks pregnant. I was feeling hopeful that we kept getting closer and closer to the end of the first trimester. At the beginning of last week, I started spotting dark brown blood. I know that spotting can be very normal during early pregnancy, but after having gone through the first miscarriage months earlier, I was trying to stay calm and collected. The midwife said to relax and keep watch for bright red blood and cramps. Saturday morning rolls along, and so does bright red blood. I threw my hands in the air. There’s nothing that can be done, so I let me body do its job. I still hadn’t experienced a single cramp, which I thought was odd.

Sunday afternoon, my mom and I went shopping so I could get out of the house. I suddenly had a sharp cramp and felt a gush of fluid. I told my mom we had to leave promptly, so we left our shopping cart in the aisle and walked to the car. My mom had the forethought to have me sit on her rain coat, which saved my car. The short drive home, I could feel liquid oozing out. It was terrifying, but not as terrifying as when I got out of the car at home. I stepped out the car and it was like a waterfall released down my legs. It seriously felt like your water breaking during labor. I started screaming for Todd, rushing up the front steps. He comes hauling ass down the stairs with the baby in tow. I’m screaming that there is blood everywhere.

I rush into the bathroom and remove my soaked garments, and I’m horrified at what is happening. Liquid and other stuff is coming out. I thought it was fetal tissue but I think it was mainly blood clots. They were the size of baseballs. I am passed the point of no return. Todd already had a call into the midwife. When she called back, she said at 9 weeks, I would likely bleed a lot upfront until the tissue passed. I thought I had passed tissue, and so was expecting it to slow down. It did not.

My intuition kicked in about 10 minutes later, and Todd placed another call into the midwife. By the time she called back, we were leaving for the hospital. I sat on a heavy towel and Todd navigated downtown traffic. We got to the ER and they checked my vitals, which were pretty normal. They moved me to the triage waiting room, and I started to decline. I got very nauseous and passed out. They got me into a room and noticed my blood pressure had dropped. No shit! I’m surprised I had any blood left. (I know, I know. It seemed more than it was, but I was hemorrhaging. That is scary shite, peeps.)

They immediately hooked me up to 2 bags of IV fluids, which helped stabilize me. The ER doc came in and did an ultrasound, and she couldn’t really see anything. At that point, they needed to do a trans vaginal ultrasound to make sure I didn’t have an ectopic pregnancy, which can be pretty dangerous for the woman. I didn’t have a lick of pain, however, so I didn’t think it was that.

This was the long waiting period. I was still bleeding and they had to clean me up every so often. It was the most horrible thing to lay in that bed and feel blood continuously come out, along with clots. They finally wheeled me down to the ultrasound, and the nurse asked me to use the bathroom first since my bladder was full. Todd assisted me and everything was ok. I had the ultrasound, all the while feeling life slipping from my body. No kidding, that’s exactly what it feels like. After the ultrasound, she sent me back into the bathroom to clean up. Todd assisted, and I passed out on the toilet.

Things started to move quicker at this point. They got 2 more bags of IV fluids going, and retested my hemoglobin levels. They were an 8, which is reaching an ugly level. They made the call to give me 2 units of blood. I had a freaking blood transfusion, ya’ll. That is how bad it was. The OB doc came in to tell me the ultrasound didn’t show anything major, but they felt a D&C was the only way to stop the bleeding. There was likely fetal tissue still in the uterus, and the body wouldn’t stop bleeding until it was cleared out. I did not want to go under anesthesia but I wanted the bleeding to stop more.

By the time I got in the operating room, I had been bleeding for about 7 hours. 7 friggn hours! The operation went smoothly. It’s a pretty simple procedure where they open up the cervix and scrape the walls of the uterus. I didn’t experience any pain afterwards, thankfully. The OR nurse was awesome. I remember the conversation we had before I went under. We were talking about my line of work and she told me to read the book Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol. I asked Todd to order it when I woke up from the surgery, and I have it to read now. 🙂

After the surgery, I had to get a RhoGAM shot, just like I did with Gage. The blood bank does not play when releasing blood products! It took them forever to get the shot (it’s made from blood products) and it also took  forever to get the 2 units of blood before surgery.  They initially only had one unit of blood to give me, and Todd was not ok with this. He told the nurse that the OB doc said I was to get 2 units of blood before surgery, and she stated she could only get one from the blood bank. Todd got heated and said the OB doc needed to know that her directive was not being fulfilled. I had to tell him to chill out. I know it was his emotions running high and his doctor instincts kicking in. They finally got the second bag and all was good.

Phew. I feel like I just ran a marathon.

I stayed home from work through today and will return tomorrow. I’m feeling better physically, but I know the emotional part will take time. Todd and I went to my midwife yesterday and talked to their OB/GYN on staff. She examined my pelvic area and I had some slight pain on the right side, so she decided to go look and make sure I wasn’t showing signs of infection. Thankfully not. I have to go back in 2 weeks for a follow-up appointment. Todd and I also talked to her about some testing to find out why this has happened twice now. There is some blood work we can do and a special ultrasound. The fact that I’ve had a child bodes well. It’s also awesome that Todd and I have gotten pregnant naturally twice now.

So, I’m looking towards the future as much as possible, but taking it a day at a time. I have moments of sadness, usually when I’m alone, but they pass quickly. I hate that any woman has to experience this type of loss and it pains me to know I have loved ones who have experienced a pregnancy loss. It sucks and it’s unfair but we need to talk about it more. We are not alone in this pain.

I’m very thankful for my mom, who was available to care for Gage. I don’t know what we would have done. I’m also thankful Todd was not working so he could be with me at the hospital. I know my mom would’ve had a very difficult time in that situation, and I know staying behind was also difficult for her. Todd checked in with her often. They are both my rocks of support, in different ways, but all very much needed. I love you!

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Parenting

This post is going to be hard to write…

but I’m going to do it, for my own sanity and for many others who want to speak up but are overwhelmed by feelings of shame, guilt and grief.

I had a miscarriage.

There. I said it. It’s out in the universe.

A few weeks ago I learned I was pregnant. I had my well woman exam and told them I was 1 day late with my cycle. This was no big deal and I was certainly not getting my hopes up. They decided to do a pregnancy test, and sure enough, it was positive. Faint, but positive. There were lots of congratulations and I walked out of there like a deer in headlights. I told Todd and my mom that night by showing them the prenatal vitamin bottle and telling them I needed to get some more. I think they were just as shocked as I. We were all expecting it to be difficult again. This time, it was going to be difficult in an entirely different way.

5 days later, I woke up in the middle of the night with serious gastrointestinal issues. And then I saw the blood. It was faint at first, so I didn’t freak because spotting happens. The next time I was in the bathroom, I noticed it was heavier, and it proceeded that way through the night. I knew instinctively what was happening. When I finally woke up to the alarm, I ran to the bathroom. It wasn’t all a dream. In fact, it was a terrible nightmare. I told Todd I was bleeding, and he shot out of bed. I called my midwife’s office and told them what was happening. They said it sounded pretty textbook miscarriage, to take care of myself physically and emotionally, and to take a pregnancy test a week after the last day of bleeding. That will be this Saturday. A negative will confirm that my hormones are back in sync. A positive will send me up the river, because that could mean procedures that I don’t want to deal with. And it will just prolong it. I want to move on.

I called into work that day, and Todd also called in because he was sick, as well. I moped around the house through my discomfort, and stared into space. I went to a training the next day because I knew it was better than sitting around thinking about it. When I saw tissue in the toilet, it took all of my mental strength to return to the training smiling. I got through that day just fine, but I was certainly not my normal, happy self. I was quite subdued and didn’t come out of my shell much.

Last week sucked, to put it mildly. I know I only knew about the pregnancy for 5 days, but even 5 seconds would have been enough to bring the pain. I wish I would have never told them to go ahead with the pregnancy test. A late period would have been far less distressing. It was very early in the pregnancy, and that helps me feel better about the baby’s suffering. I know this shit happens for a reason. I am 36 so my eggs might not be in the best shape. The body sometimes aborts the fetus because of abnormalities, or there are other reasons.

Gage wasn’t meant to meet this sibling. Todd and I weren’t meant to parent him/her. It wasn’t meant to be.

The upside to this experience is that Todd and I got pregnant naturally! We had such trouble with Gage, and finally had to seek professional help. This time around, it happened about 6 months into trying. I am holding on tightly to this thought because it is helping me handle this emotionally. There will be a next time, and I will try not to hold my breath the entire pregnancy. Once this happens to a woman, I don’t think there is anything you can do to lessen the anxiety going into a new pregnancy. There are women in my family and close friends who have experienced miscarriages, and some much farther along or more physically scary.

Society doesn’t want to talk about this occurrence. It’s very uncomfortable. For someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with grief, I’ve never known how to talk to my loved ones about this topic. I just try to listen and be a positive, reassuring person in their life. I want women to feel empowered to talk about this issue that plagues so many of us.

Tell your story. Don’t go through this alone.

-Ash