Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 1 - Caleb is 5!

Hello world. I know I've been a stranger but talk about a crazy couple of weeks! A lot has happened for Caleb in the past few weeks and I am excited to share it with you but first I'd like to take a blog and celebrate the reason we are here right now. So this time I would like to tell you a very special story. Caleb's birth story!

I found out I was pregnant barely seven months after Jon and I got married. Due to some medical problems I was told that being able to get pregnant would be very difficult if not impossible for me let alone carrying one. Imagine my suprise when I got sick while taking some homecoming pictures a few months later. I thought I had the flu but to appease Jon I took a test. He was on duty so I called a girlfriend of mine and expressed my "Oh holy crap you won't believe this".

An insane amount of tests and a few doctors appointments later it was confirmed. My so called slim to none chance became a very real possibility after all. Needless to say I was scared out of my mind. Here I was hundreds of miles away from everyone and everything I ever knew and pregnant.

The second month of my pregnancy I started having some heart palpitations. That resulted in a brief amount of time with beta blockers to regulate me.

After that hiccup the next few months of pregnancy seemed to float by with me calling my mother for any and all sort of comfort I could. What can I say? I have always been a mommy's girl and everyone knows it.

When I was around 34 weeks things started happening. I would get headaches and I was starting to swell. The doctors dismissed it as me being young and stupid and paranoid but I had a niggling feeling in the back of my mind. At my 35 week appointment they noticed a spike in my blood pressure but said it was nothing. I believed them. A few days later Jon had his re-enlistment ceremony and I had no clue how bad it was starting to look to everyone else. To me I looked normal but I looked at my belly in the mirror everyday but to those who worked with Jon they could see I was starting to struggle. Not only was I struggling I was starting to swell.

That day after we walked back over to the company building he worked in his Captain called me into the office and asked what was going on. She had them bring me something to prop my feet up on because they were huge. When told to take my shoes off and rest for a minute while someone brought me some water and a cookie she noticed my feet and ask if I was feeling ok.

As gently as I could I pried my shoes out of my feet and propped my feet up. I explained to her about my nagging headache and swelling and my inablility to get the people at the OB clinic to take me seriously. Lucky for me she did. She called the head of the OB clinic and explained a few things to them and ended up getting me an appointment for the day after the next with the doctor I was supposed to be seeing all along.

We went home and later that night I ended up with a migraine bad enough that it ruptured several blood vessels in my eye and on the right side of my face. My vision started to blur and I got scared so we took ourselves to the maternity ward. After a couple of hours of monitoring they gave me a shot of morphine for the headache and sent me home with a test I was to bring back the next day. I brought it back to the next day and went about getting a couple of baby things before my appointment the next day.

I went in and sat down and waited for the doctor. He came in the room took one look at me and asked if I had done a 24 hour test for them. I said I had been given one after I was in the mother baby unit for that headache the day before yesterday. He said hang tight I need to check those. Less than five minutes later he came in and told me to take myself to the mother baby unit I was being induced effective immediately.

My blood pressure was so high I was in stroke range and the protein count had been well over 4,000 two days ago. For my safety and the babies he had to come now.

I did what I think everyone does when they hear something like that. I called my mother. My sister immediately found a way to get her to me and promised me she would be there. Satisfied I went upstairs and the REAL fun began.

Three hours after being hooked up to pitocin, magnesium, and anti biotic they gave the first dilator. Twenty minutes after that they upped the magnesium. Two hours after that they forced the dilator more. Fast forward two more hours and they remove it. My blood pressure was barely under control.

Then the pain started. I was panicking because I wanted my mother and I was forced to lay in one position and not move a muscle because it could have disastrous consequences for the baby and I.

Fast forward three more hours and the pain had reached a point that I was becoming one of those crazy ladies who lose their minds and lose their verbal filters. I heard a collective sigh of relief as my mother finally got there. What can I say, I wanted my mother and I wanted her right then. There was no way I was doing this without her. In fear of being phsycially maimed if he came much closer my darling husband took a chair in the farthest corner and let her do her thing.

It just kept getting worse. After 5 failed tries they finally got the epidural in and 2 hours after that it failed. It worked on one side and I felt like I was being ripped to shreds. I was in the throes of contractions that lasted on average about 3 to 4 minutes long.

It only got worse. My blood pressure started climb even higher and my liver and kidneys stopped funtioning as effectively. By that point I was 23 and a half hours into hard labor. That was when the real fun started.

The spots started an hour later. My pleading started half an hour after that. An extra half hour later I started demanding they either take him out or give me the scalpel and I would. Something was wrong and I could feel it.

It was almost an hour later when they finally realized through the menagerie of monitors I was hooked up to that I wasn't joking. I was wheeled into an OR a few minutes later.

After figuring out that I wasn't joking about being able to feel them cutting me open they knocked me out and a couple of hours later I came to in the recovery room. I learned it had been touch and go for me in the OR and because I was touch and go so was Caleb. I had been right something had been wrong.

I had a classic case of pre-ecclampsia that had gone into full blown toxemia. It had severely affected my liver and kidneys who were decreasing in function. That, as well as the stress of prolonged labor, had added an extra stress to my heart. I had nearly died on the operating table.

Caleb Aaron was born at just over 36 weeks via emergency c-section at 1532 on June 1st 2007.  He weighed a whopping 8 pounds 5 ozs and was 21 inches long. He was beautiful to me.

Due to the circumstances of his birth my health didn't allow me to hold him for the first time until he was 5 days old.  We were discharged a couple of days after that. The rest as they say is history.

So there you have it. The birth story of one of the biggest miracles I was given. He has been marching to the beat of his own drummer ever since. I would like to share a few pictures of that journey with you.

23 weeks. . belly pop!

29 weeks.  .my baby shower with my neice Rachel

34 weeks. Jons promotion ceremony

36 weeks..  .Jon's re-enlistment ceremony. 2 days before I was induced

My very first time holding my baby. He was 5 days old.

Meeting his grandfather (far left) and his great grandfather (middle). He was three weeks old.

So there you have it. Caleb's birth story. Every single second of the day I fall more in love with this perfect little miracle God gave me. I usually leave off with an Autism quote or fact but this time I want to leave you with one of my favorite pictures of my little man.

He was about 8 month sold here and had pneumonia. Despite being sick he smiled at me all day every day. Bless his little bones he does that to this very day. He always has a ready smile and an open heart for everyone he meets.

I cannot believe my little man is 5 now. It seems like yesterday that I brought him home. Being him mother I have always said this but these last months have made me realize that I am not the only one who sees it now.

This beautiful special little boy is meant for great things. Happy 5 years my wonderful little man. I look forward to the next ones!

Until next time blog world we are marching to a different beat

One very blessed mommy

Monday, May 28, 2012

Follow up and May meeting - May 16,17

Hello everyone remember me? Yeah yeah yeah I know it has been ages since I have updated but not without a good reason. I won't bore you with them however, I will skip to the reason we are all here. Caleb. Boy have we been learning a lot the last few weeks. I know every post says that and it is still true. This has been such a learning experience for all of us and I don't see that slowing down any time soon.

On May 16th we had a follow up appointment with Caleb's wonderful psychologist Dr. Perez. She wanted to check in on his progress and in on how we are doing as a family. She is pretty amazing. Jon was able to go with us this time and was amazed at how quickly Caleb warmed to her. Right off the bat Caleb has seemed completely at ease with her and very open and receptive to her when she interacts with him. It is amazing to see.

We went over some of the results of some of the ASD  (Autism Spectrum Disorder) testing he did at the begining of the month. Not suprisingly he has very real problems with his attention. The term ADHD was tossed around but not as a base problem rather it was put out there as a symptom of the bigger problem. All of these things can be worked with which is where we are heading. We should have her report of all of his tests, couselings, and interactions as well as her diagnosis and her recommendations for his therapies.

Once we get her report we head back to his pediatricians office to get the referrals for his occupational and speech therapies both of which we are 100% certain he will need. None of these things amount to a huge hinderance in his life but with therapy he will learn to focus and be more efficient. With time he shouldn't even notice these things and neither will we.

She told us that she already saw changes in Caleb just since his diagnosis which is a huge sigh of relief. I don't think she quite expected me to be so proactive about it. I have been though. Insanely so.

June will be a very busy month as far as appointments go. He will see his counselor, his allergist, his pediatrician, and he will start all forms of therapy.

On the seventeenth we went to our second meeting with the Onslow Chapter of the Autism Society of North Carolina. I walked away feeling so very confident and refreshed. I love having a place where we can go and be completely open about what Caleb and our family is going through. There isn't a single judgement nor a single person who looks down on you because all of them are facing the same things. I look forward to it every month.

This months guest speaker was the wonderful Ann Palmer. She is a wonderful woman who has released a series of books about Autism Spectrum Disorders and Aspergers. They cover a menagerie of topics and are honest and real. I encourage any person who wants to learn more about the disorders to get one of her books and read. After sitting around a table with her and the rest of these amazing people we walked away with so much confidence and hope. I will leave you with the link to her website. I encourage you whole heartedly to check it out and see what she has to say. I promise you won't regret it.

This week I also had the pleasure of hearing from a friend I haven't talked to in many months. After telling her about Caleb's diagnosis she said something I think I will always remember. She said "I would tell you I'm sorry but I'm not worried about those boys. They have such beautiful souls".

To a mother who has been getting bogged down with treatments and appointments and medical jargin it meant the world to me. It made me realize that maybe just maybe everyone will see past that term and see the beautiful little boy with the big heart that I get to call my son. He really is an amazing little person. He cares about things so deeply especially with him only being four.

Autism Fact of the Day. Today I want to leave you with a list of prominent people who are on the Autism Spectrum.

Notable people with Aspergers:

  • Henry Bond, writer and photographer[1]
  • Phillipa "Pip" Brown (aka Ladyhawke), indie rock musician[2]
  • Michael Burry, US investment fund manager[3]
  • Lizzy Clark, actress and campaigner[4]
  • Ryan Cleary, LulzSec hacker[5]
  • William Cottrell, student sentenced for fire-bombing SUV dealerships[6]
  • Paddy Considine, actor[7]
  • James Durbin, finalist on the tenth season of American Idol[8]
  • Robert Durst, American real estate developer accused of murder[9]
  • Tim Ellis, Australian magician and author[10]
  • Daryl Hannah, actress[11]
  • Peter Howson, Scottish painter[12]
  • Luke Jackson, author[13]
  • Heather Kuzmich, fashion model and reality show contestant on America's Next Top Model[14]
  • Adrian Lamo, American computer hacker[15]
  • Clay Marzo, American professional surfer[16]
  • Gary McKinnon, computer hacker who broke into high-security military and government sites[17]
  • Les Murray, Australian poet[18]
  • Robert Napper, British murderer[19]
  • Jerry Newport, American author and mathematical savant, basis of the film Mozart and the Whale[20]
  • Craig Nicholls, frontman of the Australian alternative rock band, The Vines[21]
  • Gary Numan, British singer and songwriter[22], although he has not been medically diagnosed.[23]
  • Tim Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author[24]
  • Dawn Prince-Hughes, Ph.D., primate anthropologist, ethologist, and author[25]
  • Nicky Reilly, failed suicide bomber from Britain[26]
  • John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye[27]
  • Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate in economics[28]
  • Satoshi Tajiri, creator and designer of Pokémon[29][30]
  • Raymond Thompson, New Zealand scriptwriter and TV producer[31]
  • Liane Holliday Willey, author[32]
  • Travis Meeks, lead singer, guitarist and song writer for acoustic rock band Days of the New[33]
  • Adam Young, multi-instrumentalist, producer and the founder of the electronic project Owl City[34]

  • Go check it out over on wikipedia. Get ready for a wonderful shock! That is about all I have for you this update my lovelies. Until next time

    Marching to a Different Beat,

    One very blessed mother

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    Therapy First, Optometry Later

    Hello my lovelies!

    I hope all is well and that the weather has been treating you as well as it has been treating us. While I detest spring with its multitude of pollen, weather changes, and the bugs I am rather fond of its' thunderstorms.

    I should have my butt kicked for taking so long in updating. We switched internet and cable providers. Charter was more than a little awful!

     Caleb has had a very interesting couple of weeks. He had his very first therapy appointment May 1st. It went amazingly well. The therapist we saw worked with all four of us and made sure we had the networking and support tools we needed. Caleb was in pure heaven. She dumped a tub of stickers on the floor and turned him loose with a piece of paper.

    She listened to our concerns and answered our questions. Suprisingly she picked out the one question I was terrified to ask. Was it something I did during my pregnancy or the circumstances of his birth that led us down this path? It is a silly question I know but I had to ask it or it would have driven me crazy.

    The answer was no. She went into some medical studies with us as well. Studies show that people with Autism Spectrum Disorders brains are literally made differently than those without it. Their brains work just as well as most everyone elses but the information takes a different route causing them to seem slow or less intelligent. That simply isn't the case.

    We discussed Calebs options pertaining to medications and his therapies and where we went after this. In the end we made another appointment with her for June just to check in. It is safe to say that we left that appointment feeling a little more secure in our abilities to take care of him the way he needs.

    The very next day Caleb has his very first optometry appointment. Yes, I finally got his crazy eye checked out. Bless his little heart he has been miserable lately with his sinuses and eyes. He was coming to me a few times a day telling me his eyes hurt. I finally strong armed his pediatrician into referring him out to see someone. It was a good thing too. After all was said and done I was told something I already knew. He needs glasses. I snorted and told him to tell me something I didn't already know.

    Caleb has a condition known as Accommodative esotropia. Here is the clinical definition of it.

    "Accommodative esotropia is often seen in patients with moderate amounts of hyperopia. The hyperope, in an attempt to "accommodate" or focus the eyes, converges the eyes as well, as convergence is associated with activation of the accommodation reflex. The over-convergence associated with the extra accommodation required to overcome a hyperopic refractive error can precipitate a loss of binocular control and lead to the development of esotropia."

    I felt so bad for the little man. Bless his little bones though he did so well! Not a single meltdown, bite, hit, scream, or pinch. My dad, Caleb's grandfather, also has the same exact condition. He can use each of his eyes independantly of the other which is kind of cool. He has excellent control over his little eyes. I was torn between feeling bad for him and being proud. When one eye gets tired he can focus the other to take up the slack. Basically what this all boils down to is that he needs glasses. We are starting him off on a pretty tough prescription for them. The optometrist tells me to expect him to be really disoriented for a few days until he gets used to them.

    Caleb has taken it in stride like the little champ he is. I couldn't be prouder of him. Everything is so simple in his little mind.

    So that is the latest with Team P. Next week we see Caleb's psychologist again to finish his referrals and enroll him in EFMP and get the results of the tests he took a couple of weeks ago. We also have a sensory friendly movie to see next week (a fabulous event put on by the local theater in support of our special little people) and our second meeting with the ASNC.

    Tonight I want to leave you with a set of indicators  in children with ASD that happen later on in their development. Just keep in mind that every case is different :)

    Later indicators include:

    • impaired ability to make friends with peers
    • impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
    • absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
    • stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
    • restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
    • preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
    • inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals.
    In the end I say that no one knows a child better than his or her parents or guardians. Only you know when or if something is an issue. Please don't be alarmed if a child close to you exhibits these symptoms the child you know and love is still in there. . they just need a little extra help.

    I LOVE my Caleb just the way he is. He is crazy, funny, smart, loving, kind, protective, and an absolute joy to all of us. He amazes us more every day. Some days I sit back and watch him and I can't help but bow my head and talk with my God.

    "Lord, thank you for this amazing gift. I can't believe that I get to be his mommy"

    Until next time,

    One very blessed mom.

    Friday, April 27, 2012

    Testing, Testing

    Hi there!

    This week was another busy one with Caleb. On April 25th I took him back to his psychologist office to do his spectrum and developmental testing. They wanted to see where he stood on the spectrum as well as gauge his strength and weaknesses.

    I had a hard time with it for some reason, I think it was just the fact that I couldn't hold his hand for this one. He did the testing with the administrator one on one. He did well all things considered she says. Even though using the knowledge he has is hard, she said the fact that he can still indentify things is good.

    He can identify most of his shapes, colors, numbers, and some objects. He can tell you the purpose of some objects and even tell you some primary colors that you can mix to make secondary colors. I was so proud. All of those flash cards he got from his Aunt Kat and Nanny have really paid off.

    Interaction, speech, behavioral, and sensory are the areas he struggles in. We already knew most of that. Even though he struggles in those areas, he is doing far better than some other children his age with this disorder. They are pretty sure that with a little therapy he will be able to start school with his class on September WITHOUT medication.

    He has his very first therapy appointment May 1st. I am a little nervous but more for myself than him, I don't like not being there to hold his hand. All of his sessions will be one on one with a therapist and his psychologist approved him.

    This week we also had an information seminar that we went too which was really informative. I got lots of ideas on organization and keep his records straight which was helpful because I wasn't sure where to start.

    This weekend the local movie theater is hosting a sensory friendly viewing of The Lorax that we get to take him to. They keep the lights on and the volume down so no one gets overwhelmed. I'm pretty excited about that.

    That is about it for us this week. Next week promises to be just as full and fun. He also sees the opthamologist for the first time as well.

    Hopefully the mowing around here gets done soon so we can take him to the park to play.

    For my autism fact today I want to share a few statistics with you.

  • Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys
  • Autism prevalence figures are growing
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs the nation $126 billion per year
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism

  • Until next time

    One very blessed mother

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    The Beat of a Heart

    Hi all. Miss us? Well, we can't have that now can we. Joking. I am sitting here watching Caleb meticulously craft a princess castle out of his legos while instructing Andrew on the finer points of being a mermaid. Yes, you heard that right Andrew is pretending to be a mermaid. It was on an episode of Dora the Explorer that they were watching earlier today.

    Watching him play I smile to myself as I catch little trade mark quirks that have worked themselves into his funny little personality. I see his love of books and stories of all genres and nationalities and his meticulous perusal of them, a quality he inherits from his Aunt Kat. She has taught him to always ask questions, even more so than I have. His contagious excitement at any and all new discoveries, free enjoyment of all new things, and his free laugh are reminiscent of his Aunt Lauren. His innate love of football and joyous cries of "ROLL TIDE" are all his Auntie Bethany. I see the quiet way he takes in all of his surroundings and the fierce way he protects all he loves and it reminds me so very much of his Aunt Kelli. All I can do here is smile.

    It brings me back to his appointment in March where I sat across from his psychologist as she observed him and asked her questions. Nearing the end of the appointment she looked at me and said that she had never met someone quite like Caleb and went on to tell me that he was "an amazingly well adapted little boy considering his problems and his disability". I smiled at her and gave her the only answer I could. "He has an amazing family."

    So, tonight, I thought I would help you get to know him a little bit better by introducing you to some very important people in Caleb's world.

    First I want to introduce you to his Auntie Bethany.

    Boy does he love her! She has been one of the best friends I could have ever asked for. She is funny, smart, and has always hugged and kissed him coming and going. Somewhere along the way she took our little Tennessee fan and turned him into an Alabama fan. Now after every touchdown he shouts. "ROLL TIDE". Well done B.

    Next up. I want to introduce you to his Aunt Kelli.

    She is a pretty special lady. When I met her I was mousy, quiet, and never questioned anything. She not only taught me to be a better and stronger version of myself, she has turned into a well of strength and information. She has been a strong hold in the midst of the craziness that has been our world the past three years. From her Caleb has learned to quietly take stock of anything and everything. He has become an even fiercer protector of those he loves and his people and we owe that in part to this lovely lady right here.

    Next up is his Aunt Lauren.

    There are hardly words for this amazing lady right here. She has been his fiercest protecter, his best friend, my best friend, and a source of all things fun. When Halloween was thought to be ruined, she brought herself all the way from Maryland to make it special for him. When his birthday was in trouble, she again got in her car and drove all the way down to make it special for him. She loved him, spoiled him, encouraged him, and carefully fostered an innate sense of fun and laughter in him. She has been there unfailingly for us and for him since the day she entered his life a little shy of his second birthday. She has brought so much joy and laughter and fun to us and he shows us pieces of it every day.

    Lastly I want you to meet my very best friend in the entire world. Meet Caleb's Aunt Kat, or Kit Kat as he called her before he learned the word Aunt.

    I was pregnant with Caleb here. Around 27 weeks I think. She came to visit me and to strong arm my husband into cleaning the kitchen. Yes that is as funny as it sounds but that is a story for another time. Here is another picture for you.

    His Aunt Kat is one person in his world that you do not ever mess with. He can tell when she is mad, sad, scared, upset, and even when she is sick. Sound extraordinary doesn't it. You should see it in person. These two are two peas in a pod. She calls him her little evil genius and he tells everyone he meets precisely that. She has loved him from the second of his conception and has been a source of strength for me every single  second of his life. She has been my very best friend in the entire world and I am proud to call her my sister. She has fostered Caleb's love for literature and stories as well as his curious nature. She is one of his fiercest protectors, his biggest cheerleader, and his best friend.

    So after "meeting" these amazing people, I hope you can understand a little bit better the amazing little dynamo that is Caleb. He is blessed to have them, as am I. They all work to keep his little world moving and foster and encourage his growth.

    Now for our Autism fact of the day. Autism has no single cause.

    Think about that one for a while and search out your own bits of info. It is a fascinating world.

    Until next time,

    One very tired mommy

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

    Beaches, Dancing, and Meetings oh my!

    Hi all!

    Some pretty exciting things happened this week for Caleb this past week. On April 14th, thanks to an awesome friend, I attended my very first Autism Forum. It was a wonderful collection of different business, organizations, and programs catering to the families of children or adults who have Autism Spectrum Disorders. It was hosted by a local church, Brookwood Baptist Church.

    It was my first attempt at networking filled with information and amazing people. Not only did I get more information but I was able to meet families just like ours. Before I go on I would like to give you a couple of links so you can check out the guest speakers who gave presentations.

    The first was Ms Gabrielle Martino. She work with Disability Rights of NC. She had some really awesome things to say and for parents like me who struggle to get everything in order after the diagnosis it was very much appreciated. From her we learned some effective and efficient ways to be self advocates for ourselves and our children. If you have never heard of the organization and are interested in what they are about please visit the link below.

    The second speaker was a very special young man. I was completely in awe of him. His name is D.J. Svoboda. At the age of three, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Psychomotor Retardation. Not only was he in the midst of this forum teeming with people, he was conversing with people and showing them the world he created. Imagiville. It is a wonderful world full of colors and beautiful people. Some of them have disabilities and some dont. He speaks out against bullying and lives by the policy "Everyone Is Special Just The Way They Are". Some of the proceeds from the sale of his craft are contributed to the Autistic Society and his church. I highly encourage you to check out his website and explore his craft. It is nothing short of amazing. Here is the link.

    From the Autism Forum we walked away with two local organizations who cater to Autistic children, disabled children, and those with health issues. I know I keep beating a dead horse here but these people were amazing.

    This past thursday, Jon, Caleb, Andrew, and I attended our very first meeting with the Onslow County chapter of the Autism Society of North Carolina.

    Not only did we get to socialize and converse with other families and caregivers of autistic chilren, but the kids also got some play time with other kids with the disability. It was phenomenal! They included Andrew as well as Caleb. They had a fantastic time playing with other kids. Not freakouts at all. I was amazed.

    Our guest speaker was a representative from a company called Juice Plus. It is a whole food supplement designed to make sure people are getting their daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Because many children with Autism disorder have sensory issues, food and nutrition are sometimes hard to keep up with. Check out their products, I know we will

    Yesterday we attended a family event for B Co in Jon's battalion. They hosted the even in order to give thanks to a very special lady who made it possible for the entire company to travel to New York to bury a comrade who succumbed to wounds he sustained in combat.

    Caleb had only two incidents which weren't that bad compared to others he has had. I took him down to the beach and he was content to play in the sand until it was time to go.

    Over all I think it was a pretty productive week. To have had no therapy as of yet, I am pretty proud of that little guy.

    Autism fact for the day. There are three types of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autistic Disorder, Aspergers Syndrome, and Pervasive Development Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified. Look them up, you will be suprised at what you will learn.

    Until Next Time,

    One very proud Mom

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Meet Caleb

    Come a little closer everyone I would like to introduce you to a very special little boy. Ladies and gentlemen meet Caleb.

    This beautiful little boy is my son and one of the great loves of my life. He's cute isn't he? I think so but then again I am his mommy so I am more than a little biased.

    Caleb was born June 1st 2007 at 1532 at just over 36 weeks. He weighed 8 pounds 5 oz and took my heart by storm the second he opened his beautiful eyes and looked at me.

     His birth was by no means easy. After 26 hours of hard labor, my condition was deteriorating and I was still no where near ready to welcome him into the world. My blood pressure was dangerously high and no medication they were giving me was working. I was terrified. Here I was 19 years old a state away from my family. By the time it was over I became that horror story you see on television who yelps and cusses and threatens bodily injury. After threatening everyone on the maternity floor at least three times to either get him out or give me a scalpel and I would, my mother finally arrived.  Sixteen long hours later Caleb Aaron was born via emergency c-section.

    Five days later my bubbie was placed in my arms and I fed him for the first time.

    His first months were riddled with a million and one doctors appointments but they eventually leveled out and our lives settled into normalcy. I settled into my roll as a mom and two years one week and one day later his brother Andrew was born.

    When he was about 15 months old I started noticing things. They raised red flags but I forged on. Months 15-18 passed in a blur and then he pulled up and took his first steps. Afterward other behaviors started becoming known.

    From there he started insisting that he sleep under his bed and not in it. He wouldn't go anywhere without his lucky wash rag and teddy bear. In addition to those two traits, he began to hit himself and cry at what seemed like random intervals. I chalked it up to him going into his terrible twos.

    Time passed and we moved duty stations from Virginia to North Carolina. I blinked and my sweet baby was 4 years old and ready to start school. He had developed more symptoms and something just didn't settle right with me concerning his behavior and where he should be on the precpice of starting kindergarten.

    As it got closer and closer to time to getting him registered my panic and anxiety grew. I was worried about how he would adapt in a classroom full of other children his age. I set down my foot after two years of fruitless concerns and finally got a referral to a local psychologist who works with children with psychological and behavioral problems and disabilities. All along I had suspected something along the lines of ADHD. Imagine my suprise when she told me that she believed the ADHD was a sympton of the core problem and not the problem itself. What she told me next started our course through the next adventure in our lives.

    The past three weeks have been a jumble of information and blind adjustments. We are learning more about Caleb's specific needs and have started documenting behaviors and triggers. We have been extremely lucky so far as we have had an amazing support system. We have already been linked up with a few organizations and have gotten a lot of super information.

    We have also been unfortunate in the sense that people's general prejudice and absent minded assumptions have already started leaking in. I shouldn't be suprised  after what happened with my husband and his diagnoses but I was just sickened. To take things out on a grown man is one thing but to allow your prejudices to touch the life of an innocent child is a completely different other.

    In his own little way though, Caleb straightened it all out. We have been trying our best to educate ourselves and both sons about Autism. During one such conversation he looked at me with those big brown eyes of his and asked me what it was. I explained the best way I could and afterwards his face broke out in this beautiful smile and he said to me.

    "Wow mommy, I'm so cool."

    Everything else evaporated then. I knew that I would do anything and everything to not only help him understand, grow, and thrive, but I would also make education on the disability a priority.

    So in addition to sharing Caleb's story and our familys journey I will also start sharing one bit of information each post. To those who are taking this ride with us I have to say this. Autism is different in every child it affects. Whether it be their weaknesses or their strengths, no two cases are alike. If you have concerns about your childs behavior  and autism ask his or her doctor because only they can diagnose it.

    My piece of information for today.

    Autism is NOT contagious. You cannot catch it by touching, smelling, or tasting or even being around a child or adult with the disorder.

    All in all my Caleb is already surpassing everyone's expectations. I am so proud of that little boy.

    Until next time I challenge you to do this, learn at least one thing about Autism.

    -One very proud mommy

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Hello Blogging World - Remember Us?

    Hello again blogging world. Remember us? We are the Painter family. We consist of Jon, myself, and our two sons. We would like to welcome you to our next adventure.

    During the last week of March we found out that our oldest son, Caleb, was Autistic. Crazy right?! That is what I said as I sat there in the psychologists office while she gave me her base diagnosis. Not once did I think that my concerns of my son's behavior would set us down here, but in a way I am glad it did.

    A mother's intuition is a powerful tool. She almost always knows when and what is going on with her children. I always knew that there was something about him just didn't fit into the normal mould of a boy his age. After two years of fighting and persistancem we finally have answers.

    The diagnosis has come as a huge relief for all of us because now we know how to help. As a mother, one of your biggest fears is failing your child in some way in his or her life. I am no different there. I was always taught that knowledge is power and now that I have that last little piece there is nothing we can't do for our Caleb.

    Since the moment I laid eyes on his beautiful little face almost 5 years ago, I knew he was something special. Little did I know what God had in store for us or just how special he was.

    He has always marched to the beat of his own drummer and forged his own way. I couldn't be any prouder of the little man he is turning out to be. The biggest lesson we have learned so far is that God makes NO mistakes.

    He has a greater plan for Caleb than anyone knows and it just so happens that I was the one chosen to be his mom. I get to guide and love and nurture this amazing little person through his life.

    We are excited about what happens next for him and our family. We invite you to join us as Caleb teaches us to march to a different beat.

    Until next time,

    One very blessed mother