Thursday, June 3, 2010

One Child At a Time: A Series- Part 5

Number 5- O. In some ways I feel O's birth story is the most interesting of them all. But his was a dramatic start so that always make a story better.

My pregnancy with O was not uneventful and I developed GD (gestational diabetes) late in pregnancy. I had met with a nutrition diabetes counselor once and was able to keep in under control with just diet- a low carb, high protein diet. I tested my blood sugars 4 times a day and tried to exercise at least 30 mins a day- and no running after 2 little ones full time and 2 others part time was not enough. I only gained 11 lbs that whole pregnancy.

My birth story: 5 pm on a Thursday night in December of 2004 (I know it was 5 because The Simpsons had just came on- regularly viewed show in our house especially while I was making dinner) I was washing dishes in preparation of making dinner and I started a coughing fit. Having had 4 children previously, my bladder was weak and I usually leaked when I coughed, sneezed, or laughed. And like normal I leaked..or so I thought. But unlike normal it didn't stop and even crossing my legs didn't help. I had never had my waters break spontaneously before (had always been broken while in active labor) and wasn't sure if that was what happened or not. I called my MWs to check in and ask- by this time I was sitting on the toilet with water continously dripping and getting worse when I stood. The midwife I spoke to was pretty confident that it was my waters and wanted me to come in. No this is not normally the case (coming in so early in labor, they usually like you to wait a while to see if labor would start on its own) but I was only 34 weeks pregnant and quite early.

Our van had literally broken done on O's dad on his way home from work that night, so we were stuck. We called his parents (who lived closest to us) and they came in both their cars- his mother taking our girls and his dad us to the hospital. I had yet to experience on contraction and this was about an hour later. We get to the hospital and have a swab done- positive for amniotic fluid, my water HAD broken. I was started on an IV and antibiotics (a precaution since my water broke so early, and labor had not begun). We waited for a few hours to see what would happen but nothing did. At around 9pm I was started on Pitocin to get it going and NOTHING happened. After 3 hours we gave up and turned it off- allowing me to try and sleep so we could start fresh in the morning and I would have the energy to birth. I did sleep- probably the only time ever in a hospital. 8 o'clock the next morning we tried again, upping the dose every few hours- but still not one contraction! By 6pm I was on the highest dose possible for the longest time possible and the topic of a C-section was brought up if things were going by the next day. They had to turn off the Pit for the night and would try something else (a goo they put directly on the cervix to help it ripen- I don't recall the name) but it did get some contractions going and also plummeted O's heart rate to the ground- that was very quickly removed and I was allowed to rest again that night.

8 o'clock again the next morning we started Pit and I was given till noon for labor to start, otherwise a C-section would be ordered. By 9 it contractions were going and labor was on- and the Pit was at a much lower dose than the day before. It seemed this boy wanted things his way and on his time. I received a shot of morphine to help the pain at around 7 cm dilated. O was born at 1:57pm, just 5 hours after the Pit really kicked in. Being he was the earliest and the smallest (coming in at 5 lbs 10 oz., and 19.7 inches long) I thought he'd be the easiest to birth but again this boy had to have it his way (and really had to have it his way for he waited to be born until my P's birthday, stealing the lime light of her 6th birthday! He is also a very lucky boy for had he been born a girl, his middle name would have been Princess, as per his sister's request- ahd he been born on her birthday and was a girl! LOL) and was born with his hand in his mouth! The pain was like no other! lol I was able to hold him only a few sort minutes before he was taken to the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) for oxygen, antibiotics, and warming. And there he stayed for the next week.

O's first week of life was spent with me running back and forth between the hospital and home, and him causing a ruckus for his nurses- pulling off their glasses, grabbing their name tags with a death grip and just in general showing why or how he may have broken the water on his own. He spent many hours under the bili lights for jaundice, had to learn to suck and regulate his own body temperature- but other than those minor complications he was perfect and healthy. I sat with doing kangaroo care and trying to get him to breastfeed, just bonding with my little man. He had a NG tube up his nose where he received my hard pumped breastmilk every hour and sticky pads to monitor his temp, heart rate and oxygen levels. But he was beautiful and didn't look like the pictures you see of premature babies. We were blessed.

O proved from the start he was special and needed a lot of attention. From the day he came home from the hospital I slept with him either right on me or next to me, and co-sleeping with him continued (with him in his own bed at 18 months but in the same room as me, not 10 feet away) until we just recently moved into our new home a month ago- a total of 5 and a half years. He never slept through the night till almost 3 and still has nights where he wakes regularly. He is an intense little boy who fits the T of a high-needs child. And he is a lot of work but he had taught me a lot of patience and that not all children fit a mold of how things "should" be.

At 9 months of age O learned to pull up and stand, and needless to say along with that came falling but with O the falling brought along with it breath holding, to the point he would pass out and on occasion have mini seizures. The only way to stop the breath holding (and this was when he was extreme crying from pain) was to induce the gag reflex in him- yes this means I'd put my finger down his throat, tickle it until he gagged- not puked mind you- just the reflex. I brought it up to his doctor and she thought he'd grow out of it and that as long as he didn't actually vomit from the act it seemed like the only option. He continued these (I don't know really what to call it) fits (maybe?) till almost 2 years of age- at which time we noticed his left eye began to turn in. His ped referred us to a pediatric eye specialist and ordered an MRI. The MRI came back normal but the eye specialist found he was severely losing sight in his left eye and the right was bad off too. He got glasses and we started to try and patch his good eye in the hopes the bad one would get stronger on its own. Glasses+ patching+ a 2 year old active little boy= unsuccessful + LOTS of broken glasses. (Soon we will be scheduling surgery to correct his eyes, something that is necessary and may help improve the vision is his bad eye...may) But after he got his glasses the fits stopped and he no longer holds his breath or has the mini seizures. Something I am so relieved to be done with.

O earned the kick name of "Screech" at an early age and it can be used still today. If he's hurt you'd think his leg had been chopped off. If he's frustrated, again you'd think his leg had been chopped off. This is just how he is and has always been. Very intense- but in everything he does so even in his most happiest of moments his energy exudes him and he draws you in. Wanting and usually getting ALL of your attention! LOL

Being an active child, O is always moving, touching, going full force, never slowing down and has had a hard time with activities that require him to sit still. Many people want to label him hyperactive or ADD/ADHD and this very well may be the case. But at such a young age it's still too early to give him this label or restriction. We have had to learn how best to guide him and teach him and interact with him, on his level. My older children have issues with this because we don't use things on him that have worked on them and they think it's unfair- but what they don't seem to see (and probably won't until they have children of their own) is that not 2 people are the exact same and each person has unique needs. I think until you have multiple children most adults don't understand this either. We have had to learn great patience with O and O has taught us that great lesson.

O started preschool this past fall, the first time he has had to experience a structured group setting. It started out great and we had many ups and downs through out the year. We were lucky enough to get as his teacher someone with many (30+) years of experience. Someone who was willing to work with him and us, and with the patience of a saint. She has made his first experience of school a great one. Taking him from being unable to hold a crayon correctly (an activity he never wanted anything to do with before then) to being to read and writing and adding, all stuff he isn't supposed to do until the end of Kindergarten.

But at the end of the school year I had to ask "do you think he needs to be evaluated?" and I knew in my heart her answer. Yes. Though it may be too early for a proper evaluation I do feel what I hoped would be the case will not come to fruition. O will not just grow out of it. He is high needs but it may be more than just that. We have noticed things that are progressively getting worse and it's time to seek help. And maybe find some answers.

I want to be what is best for each of my children. And I think somethings that O went through in his babyhood and birth may be affecting him in childhood. I am on a search not just for help and answers but ways in which to best serve my child and to bring out his best. To help him become, not just that hyper kid, but that one people want to be around. The one I don't feel I have to protect or protect others (usually smaller children) from (not that it's ever intentional but he doesn't know his own limits and sometimes just can't control himself like "normal" kids can.) I want others to see him for how special he is- and for him to see it too.

My high-needs child is also my teaching me about everything child. My loves life to the extreme child. My gives us his love in full force child. My wonder child.

Edit Note: I had really intended to write a few things about breastfeeding, and babywearing with O but when I got into the flow of the piece it just didn't come out. So I wanted to add a bit here... As I had stated earlier while O was in the NICU he did not have the suck reflex and had to learn, but bfing caused him to use up too much energy and he needed all he could get just to keep warm. Subsequently he first learned through a bottle of BM- and we gradually weaned to the breast. This took over a month , almost 2, of offering him the breast, giving him a bottle and then pumping every 2 hours. But we did it! With the help of a nipple shield and persistence and dedication we managed to successfully breastfeed for for 8 months. At 8 months he became very active and longer would sit still to eat, and we weaned. I feel he self-weaned and take offensive to other moms telling me no he didn't, it was just a nursing strike. I pumped and offered him the breast every feeding for over a month but to no avail. And if you saw, know my child now you'd probably agree- he just became independent and much more active earlier than most. And that still shows. But I am proud of the obstacles we had to over come with his premature birth and beginnings with the bottle, to successfully breastfeed for as long as we did.

Babywearing is something I did with all my children but with O I felt it a need, instead of a want. Being he was born so early, in early winter and with us without a car (I had to walk everywhere- children to school, to the grocery, etc.) I had to have a way of keeping him close to me and help him regulate his own body temp while out in the cold- so naturally I just wore him! I made my own sling (because I hated how ring slings sat on my shoulder, and couldn't find a reasonably priced one without) and wore him proudly. As spring approached and then summer I found it much easier to keep him on me than in a stroller. And it kept him calmer and helped him sleep. I wore out, in and any time I found the new or want to just be close. He was worn on a daily basis till close to a year. My one regret- that I didn't hold on to my home made sling. I have yet to make one as good. {{sigh}}

1 comment:

  1. This story touches me, and reminds me of my daughter who seems to need so much. O is very lucky to have you for his mama!!


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