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Monthly Archives: November 2010

Graduation Day – He didn’t need her anymore.

Having a kid in therapy (ahem: multiple therapies) sort of puts me in a twilight of feelings, not quite exactly sure how I should feel. On one hand, the fact that I have a child that requires therapy can be slightly oh…I don’t know…dampening. I mean, no one ever really imagines their child as less than perfect, you know?

But on the other hand, having therapies available when your child needs them is pure genius and an absolute lifesaver. Where would we be without these therapists to help correct bad muscle behavior and show us ways around physical roadblocks and epic stubbornness?

Ollie met his Occupational Therapist back in August of 2009. At the time, he was 5 months (adjusted, 8 actual) and hadn’t hit any physical developmental milestones. He didn’t roll over until a month later, and hated-hated-hated anything resembling tummy time. It was clear he needed help, so we set up OT for once a week, every week. And, while he protested loudly, she’d encourage him and his body to work together to accomplish some tasks. We’d have homework – stretches and exercises – to work on, and she eventually provided us with The SS Oliver to help him build some muscles and relax others to help him start sitting.

Honestly, I hated it. I hated that my child would be considered Special Needs because of his early birth. I hated that I had no idea how to get him to do the things that she could in a 45 minute time slot. I hated that my kid needed therapy, even with me working with him all day, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I don’t want to say I felt like a failure, but I certainly didn’t feel successful.

But, along the way, after over a year of weekly visits, I noticed I started looking forward to her visits. Especially when I really took note of how much Ollie enjoys his weekly play-dates.

Ollie has enjoyed working with his OT pretty much since Day One. While she might not have always let him do what he wants, he would cry, get it out, and then go back to grinning at her. He’s not a grudge-holder, this little guy. He likes Occupational Therapy. Or, maybe more specifically, he likes his Occupational Therapist. She’s fun and he’d get excited when she came through the door, waving his arms and grinning. As he gained more and more skills, the sessions became less and less grueling, and while she may have taught him a few things in the past few months, it was clear…

He didn’t need her anymore.

So, we’ve been graduated from Occupational Therapy.

I can’t put an exclamation point on that sentence.  Only because I enjoyed working with his OT just as much as Ollie did, and I’m going to miss her visits. They weren’t just a reason to straighten the house, her visits were a great way for me to shine some pride on my little guy. She remembered him as a pretty helpless 5 month old and could marvel at his success with the appropriate level of enthusiasm. She knew the answers to my questions and reassured me that, yes, he will do everything he’s supposed to. He just suffered from Typical Micro-Preemie Behavior – an all around stubbornness that’s very helpful when he’s struggling to live, but kind of a hindrance when learning new things.

So, when a recent Wednesday came and she had her Big Duffel Bag of Toys with her, I kinda knew he’d be evaluated that day. She put out toys he hadn’t seen in awhile and asked him to work out new hand-eye-brain coordinating puzzles and he passed with pretty good colors. He put pegs in holes, he scribbled with crayons, he put a couple beads in a jar and demonstrated his overall awesomeness.

So, while I’m thrilled to say that my Ollie is catching up to his peers, it’s also a little sad to me that we’re dismissing a member of the team that worked so hard to help him get to where he is. Here’s this woman who was just randomly assigned to our family, who helped our little boy become who he is, who thought about him outside of our sessions and and really seemed to care about his progress. We didn’t pick her, she didn’t pick us, but she happened to be the perfect choice.

But when sessions feel more like a social visit than anything else, it’s time to let her go help some other kid in the city who was born too early.

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Posted by on November 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

DeadBeat Blogger

I know, I know, I know! It’s been two months since a new post. When even my husband tells me to get on it, then I realize I need to write more. (I didn’t know his internet went to places other than Craigslist and eBay, too, so the idea that even he checks in here and tells me I’m slacking is a good motivator.)

I promise I will write more frequently in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, here are some tidbits of what’s been going on around here.

It’s kind of a full plate.

Hi, Matty!

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Pregnancy, Gestating & Incubating…Part One

Surprisingly, Non-Stress-Tests are kind of stressful.

Every Tuesday and Friday, I get hooked up to monitors for about 30 minutes to check in with Little Brother and make sure that he’s doing everything as he should be. We make sure he’s moving, his heart’s beating with proper accelerations and decelerations, generally just healthy and happily floating around in amniotic fluid. We also make sure that I’m not having contractions and either a) not feeling them or b) feeling them but not having any idea that it’s contractions.

You get the idea. Ollie failed a Non-Stress-Test the day he was born, if that tells you anything.

The thing is, is that a baby’s pass/fail marking depends on a consistently heard heartbeat and Little Brother apparently still has room to slither away from that speaker that’s trying to catch every noise he makes. So, while I’m hanging out in a La-Z-Boy with my belly exposed, I’m pressing that monitor into my skin to make sure that that thing really is picking everything up.

I don’t want my baby to fail some of his very first tests!

These days, these Tuesdays and Fridays, are well-coordinated events. Because I’m hooked up to monitors, having Ollie there really wouldn’t be the best idea. Especially while I’m fishing around for heartbeats and pressing a game-show button when I feel Little Brother move.

There are days that Matty meets us at the hospital and entertains Ollie with a walk or by playing in the waiting room on the Labor & Delivery floor, and that’s stressful when traffic is bad. He has to rush out of work as quickly as possible to make sure that he’s there in time for the appointment.  There are other days that I have to call in The Grandparents for an hour or two of fun while I get monitored. And that’s stressful because, well, I’m just not good yet at handing over the Ollie Reins and tend to leave late while explaining things or settling him down for a nap.

I doubt The Grandparents mind I just feel bad to take up even more of their time. Especially for a quick little thing like a Non-Stress Test.

But I get to hear heartbeats which helps everyone rest assured that everything is working just fine.

At almost 34 weeks, I’ve gone six weeks longer than with Ollie.

WOOHOOOO!!!

I’ve remarked that I’m a rookie in pregnancy for the last six weeks, and Ollie might as well have been adopted with how different this ends from what I’m used to.

My goal in my head was to make it this far, and these tests help reassure me that Little Brother shouldn’t be out any sooner than his designated Birth Day.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Pregnancy, Gestating & Incubating, Part Two

My body does not excel at pregnancy.

It sucks, because we don’t know if Little Brother will be the last in our little family, but with the daily shots of Lovenox and other “complications” that have cropped up, it sort of seems like maybe my body just isn’t cut out for this. Just not made of the “right stuff” to allow for a healthy, happy, long pregnancy without lots of third-party intervention.

Had I been having babies 100 years ago… well, honestly, I don’t really want to think of that.

But honestly. Things that I assume are regular pregnancy hand-in-glove companions? Turns out not everyone has it.

Like unbelievable, dragging-my-dupa-at-11-am-and-again-at-5pm-exhaustion-even-after-a-nap? Not an everyday occurrence in other pregnant women. Huh! Whodathought?

My blood just isn’t making enough red blood cells and I’m very anemic. So my blood doctor prescribed twice-daily iron pills to get those buggers manufacturing those RBCs and yet, I’m still taking two (TWO!) two hour naps a day.*

And, even with a double dose of over-the-counter iron, my hemoglobin levels dropped in a month. THEY DROPPED! I’m even MORE anemic than I was NOT taking the extra iron.

Inconceivable!

See? Maaaaaybe not quite cut out for this. Things. Just. Happen.

So, every Thursday, from 1:30 until about 3, my hand looks like this and my mouth tastes groady because I’m hooked up to an iron IV, helping my limping blood cells along to make the necessary amounts of hemoglobin.

Ri-diculous.

However ridiculous, it’s not actually terrible. It’s one of the only times during the week that I can do…well, nothing. I’m not sitting on the couch thinking I should dust under the tv, or thinking about the dishwasher that needs emptying or feeling guilty that Ollie doesn’t know his colors yet.

I just sit.

For awhile.

See? Not actually terrible, when you forget about the needle in your hand and the small talk with the nurses, “…and in 1975, I was encouraged by my professor to go into nursing. I mean I was going to be a teacher, but I loved biology, so I decided to…”  “…and you know what? The DIRECTOR of the PROGRAM gave me the paperwork to get started!”

The place has WiFi so I can bring my iPod along and check in with FaceBook friends or catch up on blogs I follow, but it’s basically an hour and a half of time for me. Not recommended. Not advised. Forced. Prescribed, even.

I haven’t had a steady dose of “nothing to do but sit” since I drove 45 minutes to work and home every day. And no one offered me water or snacks on my commute.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Pregnancy, Gestating & Incubating, Part Three

::Dear Lord, Please don’t let my enormous jug o’ pee spill in the car::

The above prayer was whispered a few days after The Doctors noted I had a little extra protein in my urine, unfortunately, a sign of pre-eclampsia, which is what made Ollie’s birthday so dangerous for me. High Blood Pressure, crazy swelling and bad urine numbers are sort of the Grand Ruling Triumvirate of Pre-E during pregnancy, and I maybe-kinda-sorta had two of the three symptoms. (My feet were more swollen than I experienced before for a couple days, too) I don’t really know what kinds of protein were lurking in that urine, but obviously, this wasn’t the best news and it kind of bummed me out for a few days. I thought things might be going too well this time around. You know, making it past 28 weeks and all…..

So, The Doctors prescribed me The Big Orange Jug and the instructions to do a 24-hour-urine collection, and we had this jug taking up valuable real estate in our refrigerator.

Don't EVER drink from a jug that looks like this.

….Niiiiiiiiice…..

I was just happy that I don’t have a job in an office anymore. Could you imagine keeping that in your office refrigerator? Even if they don’t know exactly what it is, I would still know that next to my work-mates’ Coffee-Mate, milk, and lunchtime leftovers, there’s THAT, marinating away…..

Anyway, the numbers actually turned out fine. A random higher-than-normal protein reading that sent everyone into a tizzy unnecessarily. It could be I was maybe less-than-hydrated or needed to simmer down a little from something, but all is cool with the pee.

For now.

Because what I didn’t mention, is that I might have upped my daily water intake a bit in order to avoid having any higher-than-normal numbers lurking in that big jug o’ pee. Like, maybe skewed my results a bit by drinking crazy amounts of water in the days leading up to Collection Day and now I’m afraid to stop drinking said crazy amounts of water. I don’t want my protein levels to creep up again causing more concern, and if the conditions are right, something impossible like *gulp* bed-rest.

But what’s funny, is that — to me anyway — Crazy Amounts of Water equals oh, about 70oz a day. ACCORDING TO SMART PEOPLE, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DRINK 64oz PER DAY. An extra 6oz certainly isn’t “crazy.”

I just don’t like water. Plain and simple.

Water with lemon? a cucumber slice? extra super cold? a little warm?

No thank you!

Water with kool aid? iced tea? in a can that looks like Mountain Dew, twisted and turned and enough sugar added to make it unrecognizable?

Yes, Please!

(And I’m raising one-soon-to-be-two children?)

But honestly, I just don’t like the taste of it – or lack of taste. I guess it’s too watery,  I don’t know, but apparently I prefer to save it until late in the day, looking at the clock at 9pm, somewhat in awe of my own stupidity, asking myself if 33 years of living have been a waste because HAD I NOT LEARNED ANYTHING IN SCHOOL, IN LIFE???

Do I not realize that dumping such a Crazy Amount of Water down my gullet at bedtime does not allow a night without bathroom breaks?

Yes. Yes, I do in fact realize that this practice is nowhere near conducive to a full night’s sleep. My dislike for water apparently outweighs my love of sleep. Oddly surprising.

I might change my habits, I might not. I don’t know, this up-in-the-night-four-or-five-times sure is getting me back in practice for when Little Brother comes home and we have to feed him every few hours.

But maybe I should save these sleepless nights for then?

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Keeping Up With The Oliver, Part II

This kid is cracking me up lately.

This kid, right here.

His lack of desire in crawling is bordering on hysterical, and as much as we don’t want to admit it, he may be skipping right over it and heading over to walking.

He’s a super-cruiser these days, and when there aren’t things to hang onto, he goes directly to his tried-and-true method of transportation…

The Butt-Scoot.

*They* want him to crawl. And I get that, I really do. But I can’t keep up with him to turn him over every time he scoots around. I mean, dude, I’m pregnant.

*They* want him to crawl. And I understand why. There are connections that should be being made in his brain that he’s missing making those connections by not crawling consistently. Those left-right-left-right movements build those connections and kids who don’t crawl are now being  linked later with things like dyslexia and ADHD. But we work on it, we do exercises that mimic the motions of crawling, hoping to build those connections manually, if you will.

And, while the goal is to have him crawl consistently – he does do so occasionally, it’s just not preferred – we are reminded that he will develop those connections by crawling around the floor with his cars and trucks, which he does already. So, while it’s important to turn him over, there’s also scientific evidence that points to the idea that crawling may not be completely necessary for other development milestones or at all behavioral linked. There’s a whole school of thought about how babies in other countries are held more, “worn” more often and longer. And they don’t have issues with ADHD and dyslexia. (And I’m talking well-respected countries, not mud-hut-living)

So, we try to get him to reset his default mode of transportation to “crawl,” but he’s so efficient with the scoot that it’s hard to keep up.

And obviously, he clearly prefers the butt-scoot over the crawl. I think his face illustrates his preference.

*they* being his therapists and chiropractor. Kind of our whole team of experts. I don’t mean to undermine them, but he’ll get where he’s going.

 

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Keeping Up With The Oliver

My awesome little Ollie is mustering up all his bravery and bravado and has been cruising around the living room for a few weeks now, and it’s been a source of delight for the little guy.

We worked for awhile on this, Physical Therapy had us standing him up at the couch to play for awhile to develop and strengthen his leg muscles. We had a selection of “standing-only toys” that would keep his attention occupied while he unknowingly worked on these skills for the first weeks. Only an iPod, a cellphone and the remote control would really keep his attention long enough to strengthen those muscles. At first, he didn’t seem to quite understand the laws of physics and gravity, and when he was “done” standing, he would simply fall backwards; he might as well have yelled “TIMBERRRRR” when he was done. Like those Trust Exercises to help team members bond or whatever. Just flatten out and fall…

Not really the best way to get out of the standing position.

So, we worked on sitting and standing. Up-down-up-down-up-down, introducing him to his knees and what they were invented for. We bought a stool from Target for $1.00 to use as a chair. Up-down-up-down-up-down multiple times a day, poor kid was probably as sore as a Biggest Loser participant. No wonder he didn’t gain any weight this summer and fall. Jillian Michaels would have been proud.

But it worked!

Soon he was pulling up on the furniture…and doing it properly! Not hoisting himself up using only his superstrong arms, but getting those legs and knees involved, too!

And now, there’s no stopping him. He’ll pull up on anything he can get a grip on. The television has “unsightly” (and by unsightly, I mean “adorable”) little fingerprints on it – it was just a happy accident that we have a tv without buttons on the front. We’ve rearranged the living room to give him an obstacle course of sorts to let him cruise pretty much wherever he wants to go. He’s pushing a kitchen chair around, using it as a walker, and gaining confidence in his wobbly little legs, and working on his balance by standing unassisted for a few seconds. And any window provides a source of entertainment; he thinks it’s the coolest thing in the world to see cars drive by, the trash men pick up our trash or watch Matty do anything outside…

But, this little face in the window, when you have to-have-to leave the house without him, can be absolutely heartbreaking. He’s so friggen cute with that big grin on his face, but if it happens to be a sad face watching you leave….aw….Lord help you. This is the window that faces the driveway, so he’ll hear the back

door open and close and quick-like-a-bunny, he’ll scoot over to that window and pull up to see who’s leaving. Just in time for a mommy to get in her car, start it up and reverse down the driveway to see that little proud-as-a-peacock-I-can-stand-up-and-see-you(!) face grinning at her.

Ugh. It makes me never want to leave the house without him. But I do, sometimes it’s necessary.

But even with toys strewn about and windows to peer through, he is still very intrigued by technology and gadgets. We’ve been completely unable to open a laptop, pick up a phone or iPod with him awake and on the loose, since he thinks everything is his. He’ll swing by a laptop and bang on the keyboard (somehow making the lappy do things that I can’t remedy without Googling) and close the top, thereby ending many “computing” sessions — and blog post writing. He’s a whirlwind of activity, a bit of Hurricane Ollie, or as my Uncle Ronny might have called him, a true “Wrecker Brother,” destroying any sense of “tidy” the house may have had by opening his toy bin and tossing unwanted items behind him.

Its cool, though. We’ve waited for SO LONG for him to be mobile that anything he does, really, is a relief that he is catching up, albeit on his own schedule. I don’t know if he’ll be walking unassisted soon, but I don’t question if he’s ever going to.  It’s clear his brain works just fine, but his body is a little wonky yet it just what it can do. He’s probably (and likely) just as anxious as we are to bust out that toddler zombie walk get to running away from us.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Uncategorized