Vindication Tastes Sweet

So, most of you know that I have been battling to get my son diagnosed properly. We had a blow to that process earlier this year, but that was trumped yesterday. I will take you behavioral psychologist and raise you a pediatric neurologist! I win! I know it seems petty, but when two (2) pediatricians with their own Autistic kids have BOTH said my son is Autistic and then this woman undoes all that with one report, it really irritated me. Especially when she notes some of his autistic behavior in said report, but no it is not Autism. It is Apraxia, something that honestly no one I have spoken to even knew about! 

Well, all this changed yesterday with our trip to San Francisco. We went to see a pediatric neurologist for Jeff because of the diagnosis of Apraxia. Which he does not have. He is Autistic and meets the requirements for being diagnosed as such. So, today with a letter from this neurologist in hand, I called the school district to get the process started. He has an appointment at 3pm there to be evaluated. 

Also, had to reschedule a WIC appointment because we were all so very ill and missed it. Which is that day but earlier. Charlotte starts her speech therapy on Monday and the Infant specialist is coming on Tuesday. Also, got her 2 years well check scheduled. Made a few other calls to get some information on help for a few things we need. Mike did well at his post office interview in West Sacremento today and now we are waiting on an email for him to get drug tested and his background check. We have to get Jeff some blood work done, some of it is genetic testing that is in depth so it will not be back for a couple of months. We are moving forward with all this stuff. Somedays I feel like I am standing in place though. I am so very tired and bone weary of most stuff going on. 

I missed counseling for 2 weeks because we were really sick and go back on Monday afternoon. I am so looking forward to that! I need to get back on schedule for my meds too because of nausea I had stopped taking them, so now it is time to start again. Right now life is busy and overwhelming. I need to run.. 

-Ciao!

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It’s Been Hard

I am struggling. I wish I could say that everything is all peachy and that California is perfect. It’s not. It is amazing in its own way and I love being here. I do love Woodland, but I fear that we will have to move some place else eventually because I am not sure if it is big enough for us all. Life for me has lost the color and texture it normally has. I am fighting every single day to just get up and take care of the kids. I am so tired at the end of the day and when M comes home from class early I rejoice inside because I can sleep. I really wish that I could say that I am sleeping more because the time change is hurting me, but we all know that would be a lie. 

I am not sure why I am struggling so much right now, but I have been. M is still looking for work. I have doctors for the kids, they are all amazing. I am really seriously blessed in that their primary care doctor is uber amazing and understanding. I was really worried about that. I have a great doctor myself and I see her Thursday. I think I know what she will say and honestly I dread it but at the same time, I am looking forward to it also. 

There is a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes that I can not yet talk about. I just wanted you all to know I am not dead yet. Just struggling to get every day done. I am hoping to be back normally soon, but I am not sure what toll this will take on me yet. 

-Ciao!

Crazy Times For Us

So, here we are at the end of our two-year lease where we live. It has not been all horribly bad even with the takeover by the people who threw us out of the first place. All in all, it has been pretty good. They have a great maintenance staff here and when you have an issue they are quick to fix it for you. The ACTUAL reason we are moving at the end of February is that they are raising the rent $250 a month because they renovated. That is way out of our price point. I have found two places, one we have an appointment on Monday to look at and I have to call the second place on Monday to see if we can go see it on Tuesday. One is here in Lexington, in fact, not far from where we live now. We were joking last night that we have lived in the same 5-mile radius since we moved here, this new place will fall into that. LOL.  The second one is in Georgetown, Ky. It is actually a bit closer to M’s work, so that is a plus. I am reserving my judgment until I see both places in person.

We have all been sick now for 4 weeks! Charlotte was at the ER on Wednesday because of wheezing, she has a nasty viral thing that will hang on for another week or two. Ugh. I am not sure I can hang on for another week or two! Jeff and M both also got this but M is back to normal and Jeff is almost back to normal. Charlotte and I are still sick for the most part, though. Charlotte goes to her doctor for a recheck on Monday after we look at the one apartment, so I am hoping that everything is still good. We shall see! 

Now, I have to pack this house up! I hate packing and unpacking! I am using this time though to go through stuff and get rid of stuff we no longer need or want, so hopefully when we move we move into the new place with less stuff!! We have also been looking at beds for Jeff (he sleeps with me in the bedroom currently, M sleeps in the living room with Charlotte) and a convertible crib for Charlotte. She is in that tough area of not really crib but too small for a toddler bed yet. Found a bed for Jeff that we all like, including Jeff and I told him that we would get special sheets and a comforter for his big-boy-bed. He was excited about that, he wants Micky Mouse Clubhouse sheets and I found the perfect set that includes a comforter. I will get a second set of sheets too to make life easy on me. We also found a nice crib for Charlotte with a mattress, and I looked at sheets for her too. So, we are planning on doing that after we move. We are thinking about getting a new bed for us as well if money permits. We shall see. 

I am excited to get into a new place with three bedrooms and 2 bathrooms!! It feels like a long road to get there, though. I am trying to make a plan, so that if the kitchen does not get unpacked the day of move in that we can have stuff we need. I told M that I wanted to pack a box that would not go on the truck with 1-2 cups for Jeff, Charlotte’s training cups and a couple of bottles, a couple of cups for us to use, forks and spoons for us, fork and spoon for Jeff and paper plates and plastic bowls. That way, we have something to drink out of, utensils to eat with and plates and bowls. Trying to not have to get so much plasticware. I think I have a bad full of plastic forks and stuff in the closet, I will have to see if so, I will throw a bunch of those in the box instead and then just take Jeff’s fork and spoon. 

On to some amazing news, Miss. Charlotte is cruising!! In case you have no idea what that is, it is pre-walking. She is using furniture and me to move from one place to another. She was not doing this a couple of weeks ago and I saw her do it on the couch and I was so happy! Now she is doing it a lot, which means that this momma will have her hands full soon!! She is getting so big and doing so well, even though we have not had any therapy in about four weeks because we have all been sick.

Jeff is doing well with his signing. I am hoping to get him into therapy this week, he got approved right in the middle of all the sickness! Ugh! It is almost over I hope. Life is still hard but some things are easier. I am still really tired but I think that is because I am still not feeling well. I have not been able to really run the business well because of this, but I do have a party scheduled for next Friday so hopefully that will help me out. 

Well, I think I am going to go for now. 

-Ciao!

Rough Ride

Life here has been really busy as of late. A lot of doctor appointments for Charlotte as later this month she will be turning a year old! Coming in the next week or two we have a major hearing test, an ear doctor appointment, physical therapy sessions, and then there are other doctor appointments in the beginning of next month because her birthday falls on Black Friday this year! 

Getting to this point has been a very long road. I honestly was not sure if we would ever get here. With so many different health concerns and doctors, I am very proud of where we are these days. She is finally making her own red blood cells, which means that the blood doctor appointments are being pushed out two months and not every month like we had been doing. Her heart doctor did not want to see her back for a year. If we can pass this hearing test coming up, hopefully, that doctor will not want to see her for a good while too! 

It has been a rough ride for us here. Jeff has no idea what has been going on just that something has been going on. It is difficult to explain all this to a two-year-old. He is still not really communicative, although he has started to say ‘Da’ and ‘Ma’. Which is great progress! I am hoping to get him in for an evaluation sometime this month  too. He will go to where Charlotte gets her physical therapy done. People ask me why he is not in daycare or in a tots program, well because he does not talk mainly. I think it would be beyond frustrating for those people and for him as well if no one knew what he needed. I just do not want to put him or them through that. 

Charlotte has come so far in a few months! She is doing so many things that she could not do before physical therapy. Now we have an appointment for First Steps to come in and give her some therapy here as well as going to physical therapy. Which I am sure can do nothing but help her! I am hoping to see her crawling soon. She has not mastered that quite yet and I can’t wait to see it happen. She is getting so big! We are giving her table food nowadays because she refuses to eat baby food and she is doing really well with that. She has three teeth in already and I am sure there are more trying to pop in soon! I am just in awe of my little girl. She has been through so much in her short little life and she is still her smiley self every day! I can learn a lot from her for sure. 

My business is doing well. It has been a struggle to get it started for sure. I had a goal of making $99 in October since I got a late start and I met that goal! So, for November I have a goal of $250 and I am working it! I love selling Origami Owl.I Have a facebook party already booked for this month and I am looking for more! So, if you know someone who wants to host send her my way! Oh and if you book with me before Nov. 18th I am throwing in a special free gift just for you! You can find more information here https://tawnyagardner.origamiowl.com 

Crazy House and Crazy Life

So lately we have had a flurry of doctor appointments for the baby because it is coming (way, way too fast I might add) up to her first birthday! Charlotte’s first birthday this year is on Black Friday ( yes, I think it is some kind of cosmic joke that this has happened to me). I look at her and see how far we have come in this almost year, but it has passed so quickly I often wonder where it went! I know that most parents will say that, but for us, it is especially true because we have literally spent more time with her doctors, specialists, and other medical professionals than we have with her at home. For quite a while we were at a doctor office every two weeks or so. It was exhausting and scary. I am not sure I can even put what it feels like into words so that others can really understand it. 

In this almost first year of life for Charlotte, I have had more people look at me like I have not fed my child than I would ever wish on anyone enemy or friend. The feeling when people in a position to make that kind of call and ruin your life when you are doing the best you can for your child is to be trite, scary. It gets so that going to the doctor made me cringe because I knew inevitably we would get around to her weight or lack of it. When they weighed her, I would see the recrimination in the eyes of the nurses, until I started going through all the health issues we had discovered. Then the recrimination quickly turned to pity. I never wanted pity. I never wanted any of this. All I wanted was a healthy child, which I had no control over. So, I had to learn to deal with all the scary stuff. The every two weeks of blood doctor appointments where they would stick my daughter multiple times because they would not listen to me when I told them that she had fragile veins and that they would blow out easily. At one point, trying to get a port for a blood transfusion in, it was 7 sticks in her body. All the while she was screaming. I wanted to snatch her up and leave, but I knew I could not, so I had to sit there and deal with it. 

Our life has been so very difficult and crazy (there is no other word to describe what we have been through as a family) When Charlotte was just a month old, she had her first two blood transfusions. She and I were in the PICU for four days so she could be treated for her blood disorder ( in basic terms her body was not making enough red blood cells to keep up with the ones that her body was destroying, which is why she had blood transfusions). Her core body temperature was also 95 degrees, which caused some concern as well. So, for four days I did not sleep much and she was tested, prodded, and looked at. All. the. time. The nurses and doctors were amazing. She had an echocardiogram done on her heart in which they found that her aortic valve was abnormal. The eventual diagnosis is that she has a bicuspid aortic valve, which means she will have to be watched her whole life. She will also have to be monitored her whole life because of the blood disorder as well. 

She is amazing. She is a fighter. She is my hero. My 10-month-old daughter has had 8 blood transfusions so far and she may need more in the future. Right now she is holding steady. She has begun to make her own red blood cells finally and that is a miracle for me. 

See, we also have a 2-year-old son, Jeff, who has never been sick outside of a two-day fever when he was teething. So the stark contrast between brother and sister is sometimes overwhelming for me. I know that this almost year has forced him in many ways to grow up more than any 2-year-old should have to. He does not understand that his sister is very sick or was. All he saw was she was getting all this attention. He now has a speech delay that we are currently trying to work through. I am going to get him evaluated in November. 

To say that M and I are exhausted is putting it mildly. Charlotte finally started sleeping through the night about 9-months-old, but it is not always the case. I have a wonderful husband who gets up with her when she wakes in the middle of the night. So, I can get sleep because I am a stay -at-home mom. I lucked out in so many ways with M. He is amazing and my rock. Our anniversary is coming up this month, we will have been married for 1 year. It is a hell of a first year of marriage let me tell you! 

We struggle so much every day. With normal stuff. Just getting food into the house mostly. See, we have tried to apply for help but apparently, we make too much money where we live now. We barely make it every month. Sometimes, we don’t and something has to give so we lose phone/the internet or electricity. It is hard. M’s family is amazing and they help us as much as humanly possible but they have trouble too. I am not saying this to gain pity or so people will feel bad for us, that is just how it is. I made myself a promise that when I started this blog that I would be honest and show good and bad here. 

Charlotte is doing amazing these days and we have come far! She is now a whopping 17 pounds and 25 and 3/4 inches long. She has recently moved up to her big girl car seat. She is going to physical therapy and learning to crawl. We are not there quite yet, but very soon!! I am so proud of her and us as a family. We have not given up. We keep moving forward no matter how hard things get. The picture below is where we came from. 

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This is Charlotte under the lights after birth in the NICU

The picture below is where we are now.

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This is Charlotte stretching in her bouncy seat. 

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This cute boy is Jeff.

I love my family with all my heart. We have been through some rough times, but we are getting through them. If you have prayed for us or thought good thoughts for us, thank you. We appreciate it. We will definitely need more in the future. Well, it is lunch time and my boy is asking to be fed! Gotta run!

 

-Ciao~

Truly Chaos For the Moment

Okay, so let me start with current events, M has gone to National Guard training leaving me home with both kids… alone… yeah.  We had a hard day that first day he was gone (Aug. 6th.) but things got better the next few days until yesterday on the 10th. Then I had a mothering melt down literally. So many things at play yesterday. And then trying to get Jeff to sleep and the A/C quit. I called the after hours number because it was almost 11 pm and 80 in the house. They called back in like 5 minutes and were out here in about 15 minutes in the dark with a flashlight. It was fixed by the time he left at 1 am. Laid down, Jeff decided to almost roll off the bed at about 2 am and when I moved him he started screaming and woke Charlotte up. Gah! So, I got up and made her a bottle brought him up on my lap and rocked him back to sleep, it is now almost 3am. I laid him back in bed turned on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (Thank God for Amazon Prime!) and told Jeff I would be in as soon as I could be.

Went back out and tried to get Charlotte back to sleep, which did not occur until about 4am. She was rolling over in her bouncy seat (her new trick) every five minutes and I had to flip her back over like a pancake because she would start screaming! On and on.. Finally in bed at 4ish am and then Charlotte wakes up at 7 am and did not go back to sleep until almost 9 am in which case Jeff was already up. So this momma got 3 hours of sleep and I have no idea how I am even still upright at this point, I am praying that they both decide to take naps today cause I could sure use one!

Something I have not really talked about here is my adoption journey. Before I had Charlotte M got me a Ancestry DNA kit because I was wondering what ethnicity I was. I wanted to be able to tell the kids what I was, so they had the whole picture. Well, that actually put me in touch with a biological cousin and her family. It looks so strange to me to even type the preceding sentence at all. She has been helping me track down my biological parents because I am a huge mystery in the family as it were. So, for all of you keeping score, in my adopted family I am the black sheep and in the biological family I am a mystery! LOL. She has gone through and compared my DNA, her DNA, and her sister’s DNA line by line.

We have narrowed it down to about three people who were in the right area at the right time, now we are looking for records to back it up. So, I have been on a mission most of this week and on the phone a lot! A roller coaster of emotion does not even really begin to cover it. Some of the original information that I was given back in the 1990’s turned out to be totally false and I am wondering why someone who did not know me from Adam would tell me such a lie. Anywhoo, I digress… I was told that my adoption records were destroyed in a fire at the Children’s Services building. The only thing wrong with that information is that fire happened in 1907. Yea, nothing to do with me or my records. So, a wall of sorts, but good news is that my records exist someplace!

Called the heath department and a very nice lady directed me to another health department in the capital of Ohio, called there and got a guy who sounded really unhappy with his job choice (my inference, he did not tell me that) he directed me to a web page with information on how I could get copies of all the paperwork in my adoption file. So, I have an answer and a way to get the information that I need. I am overwhelmed because I am doing this all on my own right now and I have to be the only parent to the kids at the same time. Needless to say my mind is in other places and that is where the trouble starts.

We are having a better day today. We have the living room almost totally cleaned up. Jeff has been a huge help with that! I am so tired. So, I have been through the ringer since Monday basically and it is only Thursday and M is not back for another whole week!! Life is crazy right now and I am on a roller coaster! I guess I can scream through the ride or throw my hands up and try to enjoy it…

-Ciao!

An Experiment of Sorts

This past weekend, Friday through Sunday my house was a lab of sorts. See, M had a 3 day Drill and while I hate these because it is usually hard on Jeff and then on me, I was not looking forward to this one bit. Then I started to think of it as an experiment of sorts. They hypothesis was that Charlotte would sleep through the night for me and that Jeff would be okay with dad gone 3 days and 2 nights.

The experiments went like this: Friday was like any other day, we got up and did the things we normally do. Had lunch and so far everything was going well. The real test would be Friday night when Jeff realized that dad was not going to be home. We ate dinner at the normal time, and while Jeff was wondering where dad was, he was not  upset. We ate dinner without incident and hung out in the dining/living room until about 8:30pm. I then brought everyone into the bedroom with me. Changed diapers and generally got ready to wind down for the night. So far, so good. No fits, no tears. Charlotte dozed on and off on the bed with me and after her bottle at 11pm she was hopefully down for the count. I moved her to her bed at midnight and did not hear from her until almost 9 am the next morning. Jeff also went to bed about 10:30ish and slept through the night. One night down one more to go. Let me say that we had minor issues with Jeff on Friday but normal stuff..

Saturday started like normal. Woke up fed Charlotte, changed her. Changed Jeff got us breakfast. Began the day. Charlotte took her morning nap, so Jeff and I had lunch about 11:30ish. So far no fits out of him that dad is not here, things are looking good. The day went as mostly planned. We  had dinner a little early at 6:15ish that night. Again we hung out in the living/dining room until about 8:30ish. Again, I moved them into the bed room and we started to settle down for the night. Diaper changes, drinks, some TV. Charlotte had her last bottle about 11ish and crashed on the bed with us. Jeff was out just before that. At 12:30 AM I went and took a 1/2 hour bath to unwind a little bit. No one woke up. When I got out at 1ish I moved Charlotte to her bed and she slept through the night, waking up Sunday morning about 9ish.

Sunday is where things fell apart somewhat for Jeff. Not that he was upset that dad still was not here, he just had a bad day. He was into everything.. M got home 5ish Sunday evening. Since then Charlotte has not slept through the night.

My conclusion is this: M has a funky energy that he brings into the house. I am not sure what exactly it is. Charlotte feels it most. I have spoken to him about this. I have no idea what to do about it. I am pretty confident that next month’s 3 day drill will go pretty smooth for us here…