Category Archives: Tears

Balance – Is It Even Possible

Isn’t that what we all try to achieve? We explain how fair doesn’t mean equal, how life isn’t fair. We all try to be fair with our kids, to not show favoritism because there isn’t a favorite. Well, the good mom’s do at least. And then you have times where it’s just impossible to balance it fairly.

Bubba is out of school for summer. Smash-N-Break is out of preschool. “Ball pit school” (which is what he calls ABA therapy and speech therapy) is still ongoing, 3 days a week. There is no fair way to do this. It isn’t fair to Bubba to sit at home every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so that Smash-N-Break doesn’t miss any fun summer activities. It isn’t fair to Smash-N-Break to do activities that he will miss out on.

I’m currently sitting at a splash pad, watching Littles and Bubba play. Watching them play and bond, even with the five year age gap, makes my heart soar.  And it breaks my heart at the same time. Because Smash-N-Break is missing it. I’ll take him and his brothers next week after the Summer Movie Club. I’ve planned things that are right up his alley for his off days. I’ll include him. But it isn’t the same.

I know he’s doing something way more important. I know he’s doing something that will help him his whole life. I know he needs this. It just is hard. Every decision feels wrong. But the world can’t stop for Smash-N-Break. So, Littles and Bubba will do things while he is at therapy.

I haven’t found that balance yet. Do I just not tell Bubba and Littles what we’re doing until after Smash-N-Break is at therapy? Do I plan excursions with just him and I on the weekends? Do I apologize for what I know is best for him? Will he hate me for this? Will he feel like I favor the other two?

What’s the balance for this? When will it not hurt?

Two Steps Forward…

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA lately.  It’s been hard here at the Adventures household.  With Smash-N-Break’s ASD diagnosis, things went a little lopsided for a while.  To be honest, they still are, but we’ve accepted our new normal for now, at least.  We’ve gotten him into ABA therapy.  He’s prescribed 24 hours a week for now.  It may increase to 40 hours a week.  We’ll see.  We’re having a “difference of opinion” with our local school district.  What can I say, there is an unqualified hag of an LSSP (licensed specialist in school psychology) who struggles with admitting when she’s wrong.    I don’t want to talk about that yet.

One thing I’ve learned with the special needs road is that there are so many bumps, twists, turns, and potholes along the way.  We got the diagnosis, we go forward.  We try to get an IEP for him, we get a detour sign.  We will see how that detour ends.  We get with his pediatrician to see what therapies we should be looking at.  The detour turns right to get us back on track.  We get him evaluated for ABA, and he gets accepted and prescribed therapy.  This sends us forward at the speed limit.  We work on changing his speech therapists so that his speech occurs at his ABA clinic, so that there is less transition for him.  Further progress on the freeway of life at the speed limit.  What’s around the next turn?  No idea, but I’m hopefully ready for it.

The other thing I’ve learned is that you should celebrate everything, no matter how small it seems.  This is because for every step forward, you need to be prepared to have a step backward at the same time.  It’s like learning to drive a stick.  You kind of jerk around at first before going smoothly until the next stop.

So far, ABA is helping Smash-N-Break SO MUCH.  He feels safe there.  He can talk to the kids.  He can approach them and know they won’t make fun of him.  Plus, he has a dedicated therapist there to intervene if needed.  So, he’s trying the social skills he has lacking in a safe environment.  It’s helping his behavior, too.  He’s also learning.  He wrote the entire alphabet today!  This is HUGE for him.  It’s so minor for some neurotypical five-year-olds.  But not mine.  Mine – this deserves celebration.  He usually refuses to write.  One, his fine motor skills are lacking in areas.  Two, he just doesn’t hear it with his teachers.  He loves his preschool teachers, but it’s different with them.  They can’t get him to open up and advance like the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) therapists can.  But, where he’s succeeding in ABA has other issues popping up.  He left his preschool.  He wasn’t gone more than 4 minutes, but it’s why we have AngelSense.    He knows not to wander, but he did it anyway.  The AngelSense gives us peace of mind.  I could see where he was going and hear his teachers while it was happening.  Step forward (alphabet) with a step back (wandering from school).

Now, we have his new speech therapy ready to start.  Like I said, it’s at his ABA clinic.  He doesn’t transition well, so this will maximize the benefit.  Plus, since his new Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is at the clinic, it lets her work with his BCBA therapists.  So, even when he’s not in speech, they can work towards his goals.  We met with the SLP today to get the goals from her.  We had another step forward in that his expressive/receptive language has improved to low-average range!  Woohoo!!!! Then, we had a step back.  His fluency disorder (he stutters) has gone from mild to severe.  I believe that it’s because we have his expressive/receptive language better.  It makes it so that he can communicate what he wants to communicate.  But, with that, the stutter opens more.

So, today, I shall celebrate that Smash-N-Break wrote the whole alphabet.  I’ll celebrate that his whole team is in communication and sharing goals.  I’ll high-five him and give him the alone time he wants.  And, tonight, alone in the shower, I’ll grieve the fact that his fluency disorder has gotten worse.  Tomorrow? Well, let’s see where that road takes us.  Maybe the stick shift will be driven smoothly.  Maybe we’ll burn the clutch out.  Maybe the freeway will open and we just drive.  Maybe we hit a new pothole.  But today, today he wrote the entire alphabet.

The Evaluation, Is It Autism Or … What

All of my reading and research on ADHD and anxiety has helped in other ways than blaming myself for everything.  It got me to find Bubba and Smash-N-Break a behavioral therapist.  Bubba to learn some coping skills for his anxiety, and Smash-N-Break to (hopefully, God, please) learn an impulse control.

Bubba

Bubba is like me – he’s a stuffer.  I know, I know – it’s kind of shockingmarshmellows that I would say I stuff my feelings but also write about feelings and things publicly on a blog on the webernet.  It’s the internet – it’s out there forever.  I’m crazy, duh.  We’ve been over this.  But, Bubba is like me.  He stuffs his feelings and you have to pull them out of him.  His therapist sees it.  She knows she will have to build the trust.  Bubba shuts down when I yell (or when Plus One yells).

So, we need to change it and NOT yell.  When you have Smash-N-Break who doesn’t listen, respond, or stop, we yell more than we should.  So, we’re changing our parenting.  It’s a good thing.  The kids deserve it.  But it isn’t easy.  We also have to explain it to other people, like football coaches and teachers.  They’ve been great.  I tell them not to feel like they have to walk on eggshells, just how he may react to yelling, and how to get him to calm down and come back to the present in those cases.

Smash-N-Break

Smash-N-Break – even his therapist has admitted she has her work cut out with him.  She also warned me she sees some red flags.  He has trouble making friends with kids his own age.  He is repetitive.  He likes to sort things in ways that make no sense to me.  He has ADHD.  He has SPD.  He walks on his toes (curled).  He has language issues and pronoun confusion.  He has a stutter when he starts a junglesmashsentence and he is overwhelmed/excited/anxious/etc.  He takes things literally.

His therapist explained expected and unexpected and how unexpected can twist your heart.  (I’m really paraphrasing here.)  Smash-N-Break honestly thinks his heart is twisted in his chest now.  He has a loud voice and a quiet voice, but not really much of one in between.

He doesn’t really do the give and take of a conversation.  It’s pretty one sided, usually.  If he wants to talk, you can’t get a word in edgewise.  If he doesn’t want to talk, you will have a monologue of questions.  Noise hurts him and has caused him to act out.  He doesn’t play pretend as much as his brothers do, and it’s usually their idea.

He doesn’t listen – I’ve often wondered if he has a hearing problem.  He has so many questions.  Compared to Bubba, he asks about 10 times as many questions.  He has no patience.  He wants it NOW.  He is the definition of hyperactive.

So, she’s asked us to have a speech evaluation done for the stutter.  Okay, can do.  It’s scheduled.  She is also concerned about autism.  Aspergers specifically.

*Screech sound effect*

What?  Smash-N-Break?  He makes eye contact!  He’s outgoing!  I workingmanknow autism is more than that, but it’s been drilled into my head that this is the BIG SIGN.  Yeah, he doesn’t talk to kids his own age, but he’s just shy.  Right?  It’s the ADHD, isn’t it?

Doctors have warned me about autism signs in Littles, and he’s outgrowing those as he gets older and gets more occupational therapy.   She’s going to keep a watchful eye on him, but since we’re already having a speech evaluation done, why not have an informal* autism evaluation done, too?  If the evaluation comes back “negative”, but she still has concerns in 6 months or so, a neurophysiologic exam is the next step.  If the evaluation comes back “positive”, well, I guess we have an answer.  I took the CAST test, too.  He got a 22.  Above a 15 is indicative of more testing necessary.  Okay.

Guess We Need To Do That Evaluation

The evaluation is coming up.  I’m scared.  I don’t know why.  Well, I know why.  I’m good at blaming myself and feel like I’ve wasted years that could have been helping him.  The stutter – I always assumed he was just excited to get his words out.

smashfishingI had him evaluated for speech in Colorado.  They said he had a “slight speech delay”, but that it wasn’t enough to warrant therapy.  I should have pushed more.  I’ve tried correcting him on pronouns for almost 3 years now, and it hasn’t helped.  He still uses the wrong ones.  He can’t say certain words.  I know that, no matter what, the Smash-N-Break before the evaluation is the same Smash-N-Break that will be there after the evaluation.  I will love him just the same.   I know all of this logically.  It doesn’t help.

What do you pray for when you see the warning signs, too?  Do I just see them now because someone mentioned them?  Is this another “Overactive Oversensitive Q”?  Do you pray for a diagnosis that would be lifelong, because then you at least have answers?  Do you pray for someone to say “Nah, he’s good”, but then you still have the red flags waving?  If he gets a diagnosis, or needs services, do I pull him out of his new preschool?  Or do we go the private insurance route?

If he has to go to a new preschool, the one he will go to requires a uniform.  That will go over like a lead-balloon filled with a fart in church.  How do I do that?  He will feel like there are ants all over him teetersmashwith the clothes they require from his SPD.  How am I going to fit all of the appointments into our days, and still get done what needs to be done?

Am I borrowing trouble right now?  Probably.  I’m good at that when I don’t have a plan and can’t have a plan without others input.  Should I put down the coffee cup today, since I’m working myself up into spaztastic levels?  Yes, yes I should.

I’ve known Smash-N-Break was different, just like I knew Littles was different, than other kids.  I could see the differences between them and their older brother.  Bubba is more mainstream, more expected.  So far, I’ve just been praying for strength to be the advocate he needs, and to not sound like a bumbling idiot or forget anything when I talk to the people who will do the evaluation.

Wish me luck.

 

 

*Informal isn’t the right term, but I’m going with it.

Peeing On A Stick – Part Two

Didn’t see part one? Here is Peeing On A Stick Part One.


Blueberries Picking

I knew that I’d be unhappy no matter the result. I wanted four kids. I can only physically have three. Adoption is an option years down the road. Yes, I’m so incredibly blessed to have the three we have. Yes, women go through so much more to have one baby, or even none. Yes, we did suffer from infertility and secondary infertility. No, I don’t just want to try for a girl. Give me another boy. I’m good with them. I’d panic with a girl. Also, all my kids were born around the same time. I think I’m only fertile January through March. Kidding, kind of…

But, it wasn’t my choice to stop. I’m stubborn. Tell me I can’t do something and I want to. I’m not that selfish though. I won’t risk leaving my three boys without a mom, or make Plus One a widower. If God goes against all odds (remember, Plus One had the V), and I get pregnant, it’s obviously meant to be, right?  But if that happens, my OB might tell me I have to terminate. I can’t do that. You do whatever floats your boat, but to me that’s murder. If my OB told me that my chances of survival depended on a termination, I’d have a difficult and ugly decision to make. I honestly don’t know what I would do. Plus One would have a say, and his would be to terminate unless someone could 100% guarantee my life. (Yes, I think that the person who contributes half of the genetic material to the baby should have a say in what happens to the baby even when the baby is in the mother’s body.) I logically understand this. I’m still over here like “but baby! And they smell good!” No, I’m not intelligent.

Blueberries1So, one line makes me mourn what I envisioned. Two lines would have made me mourn what might not be (my life) and difficult choices. So, while those 10 minutes passed and I relived all the good and the bad from their births, I realized that I didn’t know what I wanted. I want another child because that’s what I planned and I’m anal about plans. Really, though, I would love another child. I don’t want another baby because the decisions would be so difficult. But our family feels mostly whole at the same time. (Mostly because we had to put one of our dogs down recently, so there is a hole.) Maybe we look into adoption or fostering later on down the road. Maybe not. For now, I’ll count my blessings and call them Plus One, Bubba, Smash’n’Break, and Littles.

Depression, Zombies & Being Q

You know that corny commercial “Depression hurts“?  Well, it does.

After I had Smash-N-Break, I was diagnosed with PTSD, and depression.  I had flashbacks and hallucinations of the surgery.  I smelled it, saw it, felt it.  I had a recurring nightmare of zombies attacking our house and trying to get to the kids.  Plus One would fight back with wine, while I would ran upstairs to get to the kids.  The zombies would stop and a female head zombie would come in to Smash-N-Break’s room.  I would wake up just as she started to speak.  Every night.  It was awful.

Depression Zombie About To Speak

I refused to admit I needed medication help, so I tried to just do talk therapy.  I went to an idiot.  About the third or fourth visit, he told me that I just needed to get pregnant to get over it.  That at least my baby was alive and fine, and it wasn’t that big of a deal.  Dude.  I felt my uterus be cut open.  I felt my organs being moved out of me.  I felt the OB pulling a baby out of me before I mercifully was put to sleep.  Yes, I don’t think I should have PTSD from this.  It wasn’t war, I don’t do or have ever seen as much as our soldiers have.  I feel weak for even having it.  But, to me, it was a big deal.

So, I stopped going.  I tried to tough it out and act fine.  And, it worked.  Until Littles.  I broke down to my OB about being afraid of going home because I knew I was going to bleed out and die.IMG_2425  She put me on Zoloft immediately, and told Plus One to watch me carefully.  About six weeks later, PPD really hit.  I hurt everywhere.  I knew I was worthless.  I knew everyone would be better off without me.  I knew everyone hated me.  I planned my suicide in such a way as to not leave a big mess for Plus One to have to clean up.  Do you know what stopped me?  I was apologizing to Littles that I would miss out on him growing up.  He was the only one who wouldn’t repeat it.  I could be honest with him.  Then, what I was saying actually hit my ears.  I knew I needed help.  I told Plus One.

He got me help.  He got me in to a counselor.  I probably should have been put on a mental health hold, but the anxiety of leaving Littles alone, and not having the kids because I knew they would be taken away from me, prevented me from being absolutely truthful.  I went through EMDR.  I did therapy for 6ish months.  The PPD was better.  The counselor specialized in PPD.  She couldn’t help me past that.  She wanted me to stay on antidepressants.  So, I did.

Then, once I weaned Littles (done breastfeeding after 3 1/2 years total between 3 kids!), they stopped working.  My general practitioner prescribed a new medicine, along with more therapy.  I discovered some skeletons in my closet that I still haven’t dealt with completely.  Those bones are better in the closet for right now, but I need to deal with them to not pass them on to my kids.

We moved to Texas. I thought I could deal.  I went off the meds.  Holy hell, that was fun.  The one they had me on is super addictive.  It took me two months to wean off of them, and then another IMG_1521month of “zert zert” sounds in my head.  I stopped caring again.  I hurt again.  My energy plummeted, which is saying something.  Plus One liked that part of my depression – he could keep up.  He asked me to get back to a doctor and talk to them.  My new general practitioner gave me a new drug.  It’s good.  I’m becoming Q again.

I still feel weak for having this.  I have a good life, a great family.  I shouldn’t have this.  But, I do.  And it has a stigma attached to it.  Some people don’t even want people with depression to have the ability to buy guns.  I’m not suicidal anymore.  I haven’t been since Littles was a baby baby.

I’ve lost me.  I’ve lost who I am.  Plus One is helping me find that again..  I’ve always tried to be who everyone else wanted me to be.  That didn’t make me happy.  I need Q.  My kids need Q, whoever that is.  Plus One needs Q.

 

Depression hurts, but you don’t have to.   Reach out for help if you need it.  You won’t regret it.  We’re all a work in progress.

 

editors note: The suicide prevention hotline phone number is 1-800-279-8255. If you, or someone you know, is contemplating suicide please call. I am thankful every day that Q didn’t follow through and stopped herself.

 

 

 

ElizaBattle

*Zombie images from the pitch trailer for Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

 

 

Three Minutes: Peeing On A Stick

Three minutes. Peeing on a stick is the longest three minutes for a woman. And the new First Response tests? Why is the handle so big!? Why did they curve them!? Yes, it’s been a long time since I used a pregnancy test. My husband had the big V when Littles tried to kill me. Like, less than a month later. You listen when your OB says do not have any more children because you may not survive the birth.

Test

Doing this brings up so many emotions and memories. None of my births were easy. Bubba was an emergent c-section due to fetal distress. I’d been induced and went through 12 hours of back labor first. He ended up in the NICU because he was dehydrated and couldn’t hold his temp. Yes, he was full term. My water was broken for 8 of those 12 hours. I believe that he was without fluid too long, plus the distress. NICU moms are badass, y’all. I had my first baby who just needed a little help and I was a wreck seeing him with an IV in his head. They had preemies who were fighting for their life and looking at long term NICU stays. I admire their strength. I ended up with an infection at my surgery sight, and got very sick. That was a week in the hospital for both of us.

Smash’n’Break- the spinal block didn’t work on the inside. Want to know what a c-section feels like? No, you don’t. Really. Trust me on this. It fucking HURT. And fuck the anesthesiologist who said I was just feeling pressure. No, ass cactus, I’m not supposed to be able to kick my OB. And I could. And I did. Sorry, Doctor. But that did get me knocked out. Poor Plus One – I went from whisper-screaming to nothing. He thought I died. Then I snored. Smash’n’Break also had a big head and they had to vacuum him out. Yes, he was a c-section baby that was vacuumed out of my uterus.

Littles. I was so scared. Littles was a welcome surprise because I was too afraid of another c-section to try for another baby.  Side note – breastfeeding isn’t birth control. The doctors actually mean that when they say it. Littles birth was a dream. I felt nothing. Not even pressure. They let Plus One stay with me until I was going to recovery. Littles was there with us, of course. Called my parents to tell them he was here. Brothers met. It was perfect. And then, it stopped being perfect.

I normally don't tell people how close I was...this about sums it up. I almost didn't get to see my kids grow up.
I normally don’t tell people how close I was…this about sums it up. I almost didn’t get to see my kids grow up.

I was in more pain than I remembered from the other two. So I waited longer to try to stand up. It took me 6 hours instead of 4 to try to stand up and walk. That hurt, too. I felt off. I got back in bed, and fainted. All the nurses come in my room. I fainted another 3 times from “massaging” my uterus.  My blood pressure was 60/30. Something was wrong. They did an ultrasound to see what was going on. They could tell there was something wrong there. Too much blood or leftover placenta or something. Okay. Let’s do an emergency D&C. Anesthesia stat. Who walks in but the ass cactus from Smash’n’Break. Fuck. I think I was able to say goodbye to my husband and baby, but it was “go now!” type of emergency. He heard a nurse say as I was leaving “This is what moms die from.” Yay happy times!

 

My depiction of Ass Cactus.
My depiction of Ass Cactus.

They are putting me in stirrups as Ass Cactus is getting me ready. The last thing I heard was my OB telling Ass Cactus that if I feel so much as a poke, he will be castrated. I love my OB. Three surgeries and 8 hours later, I wake up in ICU. I’m told to not move because there is an IV in my femoral artery, and my chances of surviving will improve drastically if I survive without any more surgeries for the next 24 hours. When I ask if I’ll be okay, they tell me they don’t know. I had a placental accreta. It grew through my (thin) uterus and attached to my abdomen wall. When it was removed, I started to bleed out. They did the D&C, an exploratory surgery, and finally a vascular surgery with MRI-type imaging. I’m fuzzy on details and don’t really want to know. Twelve units of blood products later, they hope the magic foam (my term) they used to stop the bleeding works. I’m separated from Littles while in the ICU. The wonderful nursery workers snuck him down to me twice in the 4 days I was in ICU. My mom brought me my other kids with Plus One’s help. The nurses looked past the rules for me. They brought me pictures of Littles and his blanket. They brought me a pump. Plus One helped me pump milk while I was flat on my back. They took care of him while I couldn’t.  Plus One did take care of him, but he also had 2 kids at home and me in the ICU. He had it harder than I did.

Littles is an amazing little boy, I am so lucky to be able to hold him. Plus he makes me "coffee".
Littles is an amazing little boy, I am so lucky to be able to hold him. Plus he makes me “coffee”.

I was eventually released back to L&D and reunited with Littles. Yay! I felt like my world was right again. I was sent home after a week in the hospital. My fantastic FIL and SIL flew from Florida to Colorado to help. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without them. They helped keep the kids, cooked, cleaned. They were a lifesaver. I was released early because he’s a nurse and could help me. I had a drain that I had to empty multiple times a day. I had to measure the output. I was still scared that I would bleed out at home and die. Post partum depression and anxiety hit hard. That will be a later post. Just know it’s real and it’s a bitch.

Whew. Hey look! Ten minutes went past. Better go read the stick. Seriously, this bendy curved design makes light bounce all over the stick…

One line.

 

So why am I sad?

A Meme Tour Of My Brain

Like Shrek, I am also an onion. When you peel it, more onion.
Like Shrek, I am also an onion. When you peel it, more onion.

 

Littles is proving this to be very...very true. Sob
Littles is proving this to be very…very true. Sob

 

This is how hubby reacts to spiders...all bugs really.
This is how hubby reacts to spiders…all bugs really.

 

I need lots of patience. No more than that. Starkiller Base amounts of patience.
I need lots of patience. No more than that. Starkiller Base amounts of patience.

 

I still think its a cookie. Until I chip a tooth biting it, I won't believe it.
I still think its a cookie. Until I chip a tooth biting it, I won’t believe it.

 

I do love supernatural...and would totally do this.
I do love supernatural…and would totally do this.

 

You have been warned.
You have been warned.

 

Did I mention I needed patience. You deal with 3 little boys and 1 bog one!
Did I mention I needed patience. You deal with 3 little boys and 1 big one!

 

I also like dad jokes...a lot.
I also like dad jokes…a lot.

 

Yeah...its true.
Yeah…its true.

 

Almost there. 2 almost fully trained! The end is in sight.
Almost there. 2 almost fully trained! The end is in sight.

 

Boy moms, you will get this.
Boy moms, you will get this.