Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More fun outside

Monday, May 24, 2010

A GREAT day!

The girls and I go to my parents house every Monday now. Macie loves playing with Katie and Ryan. I'm not sure if she knows now where we are going, but she was so cute in the car on the way there. She was laughing, smiling, "chatting" the whole way there. When we got to my parents house she was so happy to be there and she was very generous with the hugs today, especially with Grandma! After lunch Macie and Katie went in the pool. Macie had a blast. I wasn't sure if she was going to like it or not, but she had a blast! I think we're going to have to look into some swim lessons for her soon .

Emma was pissed she didn't get to go in the pool.

Macie Update

Saturday was Macie's first therapy session. The developmental therapist came at 9:00 that morning. She is a preschool teacher, and has a Masters in Child Development. She really just spent some time talking with Phil and I about what our expectations are from this therapy, what are concerns are with Macie, and she spent some time interacting with Macie to try and see if there were some methods that would interest her and motivate her. She cried quite a bit, I think it's a little overwhelming for her to have all these strangers in our house "messing" with her. Her next session is tomorrow at 4:00. We are trying to find a time that Macie might not be so tired and maybe a bit more receptive.
The case worker is coming by tomorrow to talk to us about seeing a Developmental/Medical Team. We also got our insurance verification so the occupational and speech therapy will probably begin very soon. Macie is scheduled for a hearing exam on Monday, June 7th. I am fairly certain that her hearing is fine, but they have to do it to rule out hearing issues that might be affecting her speech.
The social worker is coming to our house on Friday to chat with us about everything and see how we're doing with all of it.
We had an appointment with Macie's pediatrician on Friday. He was a little thrown off that we had already pursued an evaluation with Early Intervention since there weren't many concerns at her 18 month check up. I believe it was just days after seeing him that I really started putting everything together and really started getting concerned. After talking to him about our concerns, he was concerned as well. I brought up her sleeping issues and possible allergies, but he was more interested in getting her in to see a developmental pediatrician and she would determine if seeing an ENT and/or allergist was necessary. I called the Developmental Ped. to try to get an appointment. I say "tried" because anyone they see that is under 3 years old has to be enrolled in an early intervention program, and they need proof of that faxed. I called the case worker and told her that I needed verification for that. She told me a few things about this particular Dev. Ped. that changed our minds about taking Macie to her right away. The early intervention program has a Developmental "team" that they have evaluate Macie. The team consists of a Pediatrician, Neurologist, Behaviorist, and others. The other Dr. is very qualified, but it's just her and she only spends a few hours with Macie and then makes her diagnosis. I feel at this point that if Macie were to be evaluated without any intervention that she might get an incorrect diagnosis. Not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but it makes sense to us. I would like to see Macie get some therapy for a few months and try to figure out if she just needs a push to get caught up, or if there is a bigger issue. That is the beauty of getting her into this program so early. We have time to get her some therapy and see how she responds to it.
It's so much to take in. Feels like we have so many different opinions of what is right and what is wrong for Macie. It's so hard to make such important decisions when it comes to your child. I find myself questioning if we are doing the right things and making the right decisions for her. I have decided that we just need to go with our gut. We know Macie the best, we spend the most time with her. I understand that everyone that we are dealing with is very qualified to work with Macie, but I also feel that Phil and I are the MOST qualified when it comes to the final decisions on what we do and don't have done.
So....we have decided to continue with therapy for about 3-4 months and then have her re-evaluated. At that time we will make a decision based on her progress as to whether or not we should have her evaluated by the developmental team.
Sorry this is so confusing. I re-read it and I jump around a lot. I was just trying to touch on the important stuff and keep it short, but that didn't work.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I met God!

He goes by the name of Bob. I went back to work yesterday for the first time in almost 5 months. I must look like a total train wreck!!! Bob is a regular at my work, so I have known him for almost 4 years now. He's a local, successful businessman who knows a lot of people. He asked me how I was doing, how Phil is doing, we talked about the girls for a while. He was very complimentary about how amazingly I have "bounced back" after having two kids so close in age (he must have been WASTED....damn beer goggles). He said "how did you get so skinny so fast", and I had to walk away to compose myself from laughing so hard. By this time I KNOW he's one has ever referred to me as "skinny". Anyway, he asked me if I was interested in possibly spending Saturday at the Hilton. No...not with him, with Phil!!! His very good friend is the GM of a Hilton. He thought it would be nice if Phil and I got "away" for a night and relaxed. He made a call to his friend and got us a complimentary room for Saturday night.

Phil called his parents, and they are going to come and stay at our house that night and watch the girls.

Really Bob is a super nice guy, and is always doing things like this for others. When Phil lost his job back in November, Bob called him and offered him a temporary position at his company to help us out while Phil looked for another job. He's just that kind of a guy. He's God in my book right now!!!!

Don't have to ask us twice if we want a free room for the night......

Thank you God....I mean Bob. And thank you to Grandma and Grandpa for coming to watch the girls.


Macie's new favorite spot. I can't keep her off of this table. Well.....I can, but I have to pick my battles right now with her.

And then there's Emma who just loves to watch her sister get into trouble. She smiles and giggles at her- it's incredibly cute.

Macie- 20 Months

Monday, May 17, 2010

Why Me?

That is the question I had been asking myself for several months.

Why do I have another baby with reflux?

Why is MY baby not sleeping?

Why can't I have an uncomplicated pregnancy?

Why do I have a child with "special needs"?

Those above are only a few of the questions I was asking. Why me????

I was having a HUGE pity party for one since the day Emma was born. Having two kids so close in age is hard. Then you add in the reflux, the screaming at all hours, no sleep, and then all the concerns with Macie....I found out real quick that I do have a breaking point. I was crying every single day. I was angry at Emma for crying, but yet I was aware that something was bothering her and her only way of expressing that is obviously by crying. I was falling apart more and more everyday, and I wouldn't accept help. I chose this situation, I am a 36 year old woman....I shouldn't have had children if I can't handle it, right? These are the kinds of things that occupied my mind. I was so anxious about everything- laundry, cleaning, baths for the girls, showers, feeding both of them, etc.

I don't remember the exact moment that I started obsessing over Macie and her development. I do remember that I was playing with her one day and realized that she just wasn't using words that she used to. Once in a great while she would say something, but I really had to push for it and keep repeating a word for her to say it. From that day things rapidly went downhill. I started noticing more things with her. I thought the rocking she does was her dancing to music, the arm/hand flapping was just her getting excited. The circles she ran around the house was just her running off some boredom. I was starting to realize that maybe all these things were a sign of Autism. I sat in front of the computer for hours researching everything I could about Autism, Sensory Integration Disorder, rocking, arm/hand flapping, walking on tip toes, etc. I couldn't stop myself. Macie's behavior consumed my days and nights. I was sick, not sleeping, constantly analyzing every single thing she was doing, and then reporting it to anyone who would listen. It was stressing everyone out, not just me!

Something finally changed and I thought maybe I should call my Dr. I was constantly puffy from crying, and the anxiety was out of control. I had a panic attack over a couple water bottles sitting on our nightstands (I know....weird). I called my Dr.'s office and asked to speak with a nurse. The receptionist said "what is the problem" and I said "I think I might be experiencing postpartum depression". She put me on the phone with the nurse immediately. I have a really good relationship with my Dr. and his nurses. I have been going there forever and I feel very comfortable there. The nurse picked up the phone and said "Michelle honey, what's going on", and I lost it. I could barely talk to her. She asked where I was, asked me if I could drive there or if I needed a ride. I got it together and drove to their office. They rushed me back to his office right away. I told him everything that was going on with my life, and I just cried and cried. He listened, and said that he was shocked to see me there since I was always "so together", but I am suffering from Postpartum Depression and I need to be medicated. I was partly relieved, partly confused, partly ashamed. Relieved that it was "normal" and could be helped. Confused because I wasn't going to hurt myself, or Emma....I love her too much to do that. Ashamed because I needed to be medicated to deal with life. I always wanted to be a mom, and I LOVE being a mom, but at that point I felt like I wasn't cut out to be anyones mommy. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was not being a good Mommy if I wasn't dealing with my feelings.
It's hard to see that when you are in a rather dark place, but I wasn't willing to let my family and friends suffer anymore. My girls need me, and I wasn't there for them emotionally.
So, my Dr. hugged me, told me I was going to be okay, and gave me two weeks worth of meds to try out. I took a pill in the car, I was desperate to feel better and get a fresh start on life with my children, my wonderful husband and my amazing family. Within two days I was feeling different, but not a good different. I was not sleeping, having night sweats, weird electrical shock feelings radiating up my neck and into my head and my anxiety was worse than ever. I took myself off the meds and called the Dr. Went back in and he gave me Zoloft.
After a few days I was feeling so much better. I hadn't cried in 3 days and that is a HUGE accomplishment! I feel I am a better Mommy now, and I think that has significantly helped both Macie, and Emma. I am now completely focused on both of them, not just on Macie's issues. I realize now that I was so focused on the things that Macie wasn't doing, that I stopped focusing on the things that she is doing and does very well. I wasn't helping her build on the skills she has, and I certainly wasn't helping her much in learning new skills. I'm not sure where we would be right now had I not gotten some help. I got on top of appointments with all the therapists, I was focused on getting Macie help, and I didn't break down through the whole process. Macie has so many more "good days" now than she did before and I know that is 100% my doing. This poor little girl relies on her Mommy to set the tone for the day, and she relies on me for comfort when she's struggling with her feelings. I was the one needing the comfort. I would cry at every sign of delay in Macie and she would just look at me with this blank stare. I felt awful, but couldn't control it at the time. Now I am able to help her instead of walking out of the room to cry because I was trying to to expose her to that.
I still feel that my feelings were justified 100%. I was so upset that my little girl might struggle her whole life, what is her future going to be like, will she have trouble making and maintaing relationships, will she struggle in school? Those are just a few of the many things that are going on in my head. I am her Mommy, I am supposed to protect her and make sure that she doesn't struggle. Where did things go wrong? What did I do to cause this? Do I have the capacity to deal with this? And back to the "Why me?". I often wonder if her childhood is going to be taken away with numerous therapy sessions. I worry that she's sad, and confused about her feelings and not being able to tell us what she wants, or how she's feeling. I will say that she is still my little girl, and I am going to do everything in my power to make sure she thrives, and that she is happy. It may sound weird, but after all this I love her more. I didn't think that was possible, but it is. She is full of hugs and kisses, and energy that I only dream about having so I can keep up with her!!!
Now after all the evaluations, it all makes more sense. I feel a sense of hope. Hope that we caught this early enough to make a HUGE impact on her development. We have gotten a lot of praise from everyone involved that we did notice signs and acted on them so quickly. There were moments I wanted to ignore the signs and just move on. I had high hopes that she was just being a "toddler", and "testing her limits". I thought she was developing at her own pace. I just couldn't ignore the nagging feeling in my gut that something was just not right. I get that feeling back just sitting here typing this. I get a little sick to my stomach, a little sweaty, numb and scared. My medicated, rational self knew I had to act and quickly. I knew that if I waited any longer, I might talk myself out of it and in turn, would never forgive myself if I didn't take advantage of this opportunity. (**I have to thank Kim for getting me phone numbers to get in touch with the right people, I wouldn't have had a clue where to start. Thank you to Gayle too for also helping me get in touch with the right people. **)
You're probably asking yourself why I am blogging about this, it's so personal. I feel there are many reasons to share it. It's part of me, my family and my life. It has affected my family, friends, and my life. It's a way of letting you know why I may have been acting strangely, distant, over protective, just not myself. It's a Thank You to everyone who has helped me along the way. Whether you listened, gave advice, talked me off the ledge, watched the kids for a sanity break, or just thought about us. It's an apology if I hurt anyones feelings, or seemed like I didn't want to be involved in your life, or have you involved with my kids. It's a step in my healing, and my road to be the best Mommy I can be. My kids deserve the best, if I am not honest with myself, and those that mean the most to me, how can I expect any more out of my children?
Thank you to my most amazing husband. Phil, I am so lucky to have you. I don't know how I would have gotten to this point without you. You are my rock, my best friend. You have been so patient, understanding, and supportive. I love you with all my heart. I am sorry if this has been difficult for you. Poor thing has had to deal with me being pregnant for basically two years straight and now all this!!!
To our friends and family- Please bear with us through this very difficult journey. We need and appreciate all of your support and encouragement. We are all so lucky to have such a wonderful support system! We love you!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our journey ahead

I will do my best to keep this brief since I know most that read this blog know what is going on in our lives. I have a feeling it's going to be a very long post so you might want to get comfy!

When Macie was around 16 months I started noticing that she wasn't making a whole lot of progress with talking, pretend play, naming body parts, animals, etc. At first I just thought she was "developing at her own pace", but then other things started happening. She wasn't using the words anymore that she was previously using, she started doing some repetitious things (rocking, hand flapping, etc.), and her emotions were very extreme. These are just a few of the things that I noticed, but just to get an idea. Emma was just born, and Macie's whole life changed in a matter of days so I just thought it was that at first. Since I was up so much in the night, I started noticing that Macie was tossing and turning all night long, she never seemed to sleep peacefully. She never wakes up completely, or cries out....just restless. I started doing some research online (not always a good thing) on Autism, sensory disorders, sleep issues, tantrums, etc. After doing all my research I realized that she has an awful lot of red flags for Autism and Sensory Integration Disorder. I became obsessed with observing Macie, doing research, and asking questions to family, friends, and her Doctor. I was convinced she was/is Autistic and I was a wreck. I contacted Child and Family Connections of DuPage County- they evaluate children ages birth to 36 months. After speaking with our Case Worker, she felt it would be beneficial to send out three therapists to evaluate Macie. Occupational, behavioral and speech. They all came out within a 2 week span and did their evaluations. We also met with a Social Worker to help us wrap our brains around everything that is going on. Last Friday, all the therapists, case worker, and social worker came back to our house to go over their "findings". They found she is deficient in many different areas and they are recommending immediate and aggressive therapy in all areas. It was hard to take all of it in, but was reassuring to know that we are helping Macie at such a young age. She is at such a critical age right now and therapy should help her tremendously. She will hopefully catch up to where she should be. I asked them about Autism, but they won't/wouldn't diagnose that with her right now. They want to do about 3 months of therapy and then re-evaluate her. If they suspect she may have Autism, they have to refer us to a Developmental Pediatrician, and they make the diagnosis.
All of the therapists were concerned about her sleeping habits and also her possible allergy to dairy. If she's not sleeping and/or doesn't feel good due to allergies, that may contribute to delays in some areas. We have an appointment with her Dr. on Friday to discuss those two issues. I am sure he will refer us to an ENT, and an Allergist.
The Developmental Therapist has already called to set up appointments and get going with Macie. All of this is done in our house, they come to us for everything. That is a huge relief considering Macie will have therapy 4-5 times per week. We will also have a social worker come here twice a month to talk to us about everything.
So, that's where we stand right now. I will do my best to keep everyone updated on her progress.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Been a Hard Day's Night......

At least she can use these blogs in court when she divorces us from being her parents. All I'm saying is.....THE KID NEEDS A HAIRCUT (I don't have a clue what to do with it).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's all in the eyes.....

I am obviously partial, but my girls have the most beautiful eyes. They are big, bright, long, thick eyelashes.....amazing!!! Macie's eyelashes are so dark and thick, it looks like she has eyeliner on. Macie definitely has her daddy's eyes. It looks like Emma is going to get my eye color, but can't tell just yet. Emma also got her daddy's eyelashes. Lucky girls.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

That's my girl

I tried downloading this a while ago and it wouldn't work. It finally worked!!! Watching it again is just a reminder of just how annoying my voice is! Sorry. Still hilarious in my twisted mind.

I just had to post this video. Turn up the volume!!! Emma has been imitating me sticking out my tongue and making noises.....wasn't quite what I had in mind when I decided to tape her.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Not quite what we had in mind for Emma's 3 month b-day!!

Poor Em is sick. I was getting ready to get in the shower, Phil was going to go grocery shopping. When he got back, we were going to clean the house and head to Joe and Sam's to celebrate Sam's graduation. I went to kiss Em and she felt really warm. She hasn't been eating well the past two days, but we didn't think much of it since she was normal otherwise (happy, wet diapers, etc.). I took her temp and it was 102. I got nervous since the last time we had Emma at the Dr. she told us that anything over 100.3 warranted a call to the Dr. I called the Ped. right away and they said to get her to the ER. She was also very sleepy/lethargic, and she had slept 10 hours (which is unusual for her right now). Phil got her ready and took her. They did blood work and collected urine. Everything came out normal. If her blood cell count was elevated, they were going to do a spinal tap. THANK GOD everything was normal! I stayed back with Macie so I was already nervous not being there. They would have had to wait until I got there to do that. So...she's back home, and sleeping. Just giving her Tylenol (we are in search of a place that carries it right now due to the recall) and force feeding her to keep her hydrated.
What a way to spend your 3 month b-day!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Emma - 3 Months

My Lil' Em-

You have graced us with your presence for 3 whole months now. I forgot how quickly babies change at this stage so I am glad that I am pretty much never without my camera (I only forget it for very important moments and events). Not that everyday with you isn't get what I mean.
Some changes with you this past month:
You HATE tummy time and therefore we don't see much rolling over anymore.
You have enjoyed your time in the Bumbo seat (with our support since your still a bobble head right now.
You are sleeping longer at night.
Your favorite time is 4am.
You are so close to giggling and I can not wait to hear it.
Your eating habits are extremely difficult to figure out (6oz., then only 2, then 4....can we get some consistency PLEASE?).
Your reflux seems to be going away.
You do this crazy thing like you are trying to sit up, and it seems you are close to actually doing it, but I know better.
Your cheeks are getting chubby along with your thighs and I LOVE IT.
You have your Mommy and Daddy wrapped around your little finger, and you know it!

Macie is definitely warming up to you. She does things at her own pace, and I am certain that she will be smothering you with kisses in no time. She doesn't like you to have a binky. She very quietly plucks it out of your mouth and takes off with it. She doesn't want it, she gave hers up on her own around 5 months, she just doesn't think you need one either. She is trying to adjust to you using "her things". When we got the Bumbo out, she came over and smacked you while you were sitting in it. She tries to climb on the activity mat while you are on it, and subtly tries to push you off. We figure it's just a small glimpse of your teen years when you two are bickering over stealing each others clothes, purses, shoes, etc. Yikes!!!

I certainly don't want you to grow up too fast, but I am really looking forward to the two of you running around the yard, playing dress up, and just loving each other. No one has figured out how to bottle this stage so I can put it up on a shelf and revisit it once in a while. So.... I will just have to soak up every little bit, and milestone while I can.

All my love,


Even on a gloomy day

this amazing little girl can brighten my day.
Doesn't she look so different in each picture?

She was WAY over my picture taking today!!! Look at those big, beautiful, brown eyes!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Downtown Naperville

We headed to downtown Naperville yesterday afternoon. The weather started out nice so we decided to go to Jimmy's to have lunch on their patio. Two of Macie's favorite things: food and being outside so it was a good combo. After lunch we walked over to the Riverwalk. Macie had a blast running around watching the ducks, geese, water fountain and all the statues. At one point she stopped dead in her tracks, looked up at a statue of two men and was yelling at them and waving her arms. It was hilarious, but of course I didn't capture the moment on film. It started getting pretty cloudy and chilly so we decided to go home and hang out.

Macie trying to eat bubbles.