Shabby Miss Jenn

Sunday, June 29, 2008

One Year Evaluation

Last week, or the week before (time runs together during the summer!), our service coordinator from ECI, and Wade's physical therapist sat down with me to go over some testing to see where he is physically/mentally/socially. For those not familiar with the process, they just score him on a paper profile. I do this same type of thing on my kiddos at school. Never in a million years did I think I would do one on my own child. Anyway, I just wanted to give everyone a update on Wade's milestones. Socially, Wade is doing remarkably well! Of course, he takes after his dad in this area! He scored at a 12 month old level. For his adaptive behavior--7 months, cognitive--6 months, fine and gross motor--3 months, and expressive/receptive language--10 months. So, as you can see, he is a bit behind, however, the language and behavior delays are a direct result of his motor delays. If there weren't any physical limitations, I believe we would see very different results. In other words, I truly don't think there are any cognitive issues--mental retardation. He tries so hard to do things, and you can just see the wheels in his head turning as he tries to figure out how to make things happen. In fact, the other morning he was sitting in his chair while I was getting ready in the bathroom. I gave him his stuffed dog to try and hold--which he has recently started doing with his upper arms!!! Well, he realized he could kinda push the dog over the edge of his chair with his arm. Then, of course, I would pick it up and give it back to him. After a couple of times, he just thought this was the most hilarious thing ever!! One time, the dog slipped out of arms reach, down around his legs. He couldn't quite figure out how to kick his legs--apparently gravity takes over in this position because he can kick like a champ when he's laying down--so he compensated for this by arching his back just enough to get the dog to roll down his legs! And immediately, the laughter resumed! We do this almost daily now, so I'll have to get a picture and post for y'all. So, bottom line, things are looking good. We just need to get his stomach muscles stronger so he'll have better control of his trunk. Our goal is for him to be sitting up unassisted by the end of the summer!!! Wish us luck!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Had a Bad Day...

So, I woke up this morning to Wade crying @ 5:30. A little early for my liking!! Anyway, I got up and went through our changing/feeding routine, then turned on whatever was playing on the Disney Channel. For some reason, Wade decided he wanted to squeal at me all morning. So, around 7:00, I went and asked Curtis to get up (he had to work at 10:30) so I could go back to sleep for about an hour. Thank goodness he did, because the squealing was on my very last nerve! I got up a bit later to get ready for the OT to come over, and something in me just broke. I guess I've been trotting along with everything going rather smoothly, and for some reason, I just didn't want to face it today. (Of course, as always, Curtis was very empathetic, which kinda makes me feel worse sometimes.)

Before the OT came, my ECI (early childhood intervention) coordinator came by to have me sign some papers. She asked how I was doing and how it felt now that Wade's a year. WRONG question to ask me today! Of course I started crying again. It's silly really, but the little things just start piling up. We have to do everything for Wade--hold his bottle, support him when he's sitting, hand him his toys so he can try to play, etc. I'm sure you're thinking, "Of course you do. He's a baby." Well yes, but most one year olds can do these things on their own. I don't mind doing it, he's my son. But it's so exhausting sometimes. And it's really hard, because as much as people try to understand, they really don't. My coordinator said she would get some paperwork together for me about support groups and such, and bring it by next week.

Afterwards, Wade and I had to go to Wal-Mart. I was on the baby food aisle getting mad because I shouldn't have to be feeding him stage 2 baby food at age 1, and this lady was standing there. She looked really familiar, but I didn't want to be embarrassed if I said something and was wrong. Eventually I couldn't handle it anymore and asked her if she worked at Curves. She said yes, blah, blah, blah. Then I asked how her daughter was doing. Then I got really bold and asked her what her daughter's disability was. (I remember when I worked out there for oh, about a week, I saw a picture of her daughter and knew she had some sort of disability.) She kinda got this weird look on her face, and told me some sort of muscular dystrophy--MSA maybe???? Still looking confused, I threw in really quickly that Wade has cerebral palsy and I was just wondering if she knew of any support groups. Well, she was FULL of information. She knows someone who has 2 kids with CP, and she has some supportive equipment she's going to give me, and she works at Cooks Hospital and has tons of resources from there. It was so nice to have someone actually understand my feelings. Her daughter is now 6, but she says there are still days that she cries. She made me feel normal. So, my bad day turned into a very informative day. She was the answer to my prayers today!

Then, Stacey and I went to On the Border to relish in a Mango margarita;-)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rolled Over!

Wade rolled over yesterday!! He's been rolling from tummy to back for quite a long time, but he's never managed to go from back to tummy. Recently during nap time, he's been rolling to his back and getting "stuck" and he wakes up screaming. (He's a tummy sleeper!!!) So yesterday we were playing in the floor. Someone online introduced me to the Anat Baniel Method. It's an alternative method to help a lot of disorders. I watched a video where she was working with an 18 month old girl with cerebral palsy. The little girl was laying on her back, and Anat held her ankles and kinda rocked the little girl side to side until she "taught" the muscles to swing her arms over so she could eventually roll over. Don't know if that makes sense, but I was doing that with Wade. I stopped, and he was just laying there, and the next thing I knew, he was on his belly!! He had this look on his face like, "what just happened?" I had to think for a minute if he knew how to do that! We have not had a repeat performance as of yet, but I think he'll come around!

The PT came today, and I was telling her about it. The only problem is that he's not rolling over "correctly". He's kinda pushing off with his feet and using his back muscles instead of his stomach muscles. Wade has a lot of strength in his back and legs, so he uses those for everything because that's what he knows how to do. Unfortunately, he has hardly any stomach muscles. So, that's what we need to really be working on. He doesn't like if very much, but if we can get that going, hopefully he'll be able to sit up soon!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cook Children's

A year ago yesterday, Wade came home from the hospital! After a 16 day stay in the NICU, he was finally home. Sometimes it seems so long ago, and sometimes it seems just like yesterday. When we got home all of neighbors came over to welcome home our precious boy.

While I'm thinking about it, I thought this would be a perfect time to express our thanks to the doctors, nurses and staff at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, TX. It's kinda ironic that Wade had to be flown to this hospital from Baylor Irving Hospital where he was delivered. When Curtis and I were taking our hospital tour, we got to the doors leading to the surgical area, in front of one of the nurses stations. Our guide explained to us that if there was an emergency in which the hospital's NICU couldn't handle, the baby would have to be transported to another area hospital. The baby would have to go alone, and the father could follow. I remember so vividly telling Curtis that we didn't have to worry about that, and quite honestly, we were complaining about what a waste of time the tour was. So, we just half heartedly listened to what she had to say. After such a perfect pregnancy, who would've ever thought Wade would take his first helicopter ride within a couple hours of his birth!!

Thank goodness for Cook's! At the time--don't know if things have changed in a year--Cook's was the only hospital in our area that had the cooling blanket and technology to try to stop any further brain damage. (Parkland Hospital is also equipped, but they don't take transfers.) Thank goodness Wade qualified for this wonderful new technique. In fact, Wade is only the 300th and some baby to have the full body hypothermia treatment and only the 5th baby at Cook's!!!

The doctor's at Baylor tried to explain what was going to happen, but quite honestly no one was really too familiar with how the whole process worked. We were still very much on edge. Then Curtis was finally able to go over to Cook's. He talked to Dr. Nedrelow, Wade's NICU doctor, and he said he felt a lot better about what was going on. He was very confident in Dr. Nedrelow's ability, and he loved his bed side manner. Come to find out, he was also one of the doctor's who introduced the cooling blanket to the hospital. So, thank you Dr. Nedrelow for being such a compassionate, understanding, and knowledgeable doctor.

Besides Dr. Nedrelow, Wade had many nurses who took wonderful care of him during his stay. In fact one evening Curtis and I went up to the hospital, and he wasn't in his crib!!! One of the nurses had him on a "field trip"! Typically, most of the baby's in the NICU are premature, but Wade was full term, weighing in at 8lbs, 12oz! Since Wade was so big and, at the time, not hooked up to a bunch of tubes, they decided to let him out and play! Everyone was so good to him. I pray that no one reading this ever has to experience a NICU stay, but I was okay going home at night because I knew Wade was in such wonderful hands.

Dr. Nedrelow

Our favorite nurse, Kayla!

I got to touch Wade for just a moment before he left.

Being transported to the helicopter.

Take off!



Thursday, June 5, 2008


When an online "friend" suggested I start a blog to let my feelings out, I thought it was a wonderful idea. However, with a lot of my wonderful ideas, I let it take a back burner. At the time--which was a few months ago--I had a lot of "stuff" I needed to get off my chest. For those of you who thought I was doing "just fine", I was crumbling on the inside. I think I put on a pretty good show at work and when I was around others. Poor Curtis, though. He took the brunt of my breakdowns. In March, I actually had a full blown breakdown in my own living room amongst neighborhood friends. Needless to say, I think everyone was a bit shocked. I thought getting it out like that would help, but it really didn't. So, even though I still felt awful, I wiped my tears and continued on. It was during this time that I really meant to start this blog. In the midst of all of this, I also began feeling very guilty about shutting so many important friends from back home--aka Virginia and the east coast--out of my life. That began weighing heavily on me. But the thought of sending an email about the past 10-11 months completely overwhelmed me. Finally, I found some time and typed up an email to everyone. Believe it or not, that was just what I needed to release so many emotions. I've attempted to write something of the sort on here, but it just won't come out. My first entry was supposed to lead to multiple chapters about my feelings and such and coming to terms with having a child with cerebral palsy. But right now, I feel GOOD! FANTASTIC in fact! So, instead of recreating something I've already written, I'm just going to attach a copy of that email for anyone who is interested in reading about our last year.

I’ll go ahead and give y’all a very condensed version of our year. You all know Wade’s birth story, so I won’t go into that. Wade started physical therapy in June through ECI—Early Childhood Intervention. It’s a state program that he will be in until age 3. At that time, he will go into the school system. He was getting PT one time a month (not nearly enough). Things seemed to be moving right along, but deep down, I knew we were going to have issues that weren’t really showing quite yet. We just had to wait for him to hit/not hit certain developmental milestones. In October (5 months old) we went to a follow up visit with the neurologist. Dr. Hernandez is an excellent doctor, but didn’t have the best bedside manner. He was the one who told us that Wade would probably be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. (This was May 26—the day of his first MRI) Well, Wade certainly surprised him at this follow up!! Doc sat back, crossed his arms, and said, “Well, I’m amazed!” Wade’s head still wasn’t completely stable, but he did have a lot of head control, and his legs were very strong. In November, Wade went in for an EEG to see if we could take him off his seizure medication. EEG came back clear and didn’t show any seizure activity of potential activity. So, we were able to start weaning him, and he was completely of Phenobarbital the weekend before Christmas! In December (almost 7 months old) Wade had another MRI. Dr. Hernandez called us with fantastic news. The MRI showed a 70% improvement than the original MRI. I really didn’t know what that meant, but Doc was VERY happy, and that meant a lot to me since he’s not that friendly! In February, Wade had really bad congestion and fever. I fell in love with his nurse practitioner because she seemed really concerned about some of his developmental delays and why he had such a high fever. (Wade’s pediatrician hadn’t shown much interest.) She did every test possible, and couldn’t find the cause. Then, Wade got sick again in March, practically pneumonia, and she ordered a swallow study because Wade spits up all the time and is ALWAYS congested. By this time, Wade had had 3 ear infections and multiple visits for fever. So, at the beginning of April we had the swallow study. That showed he aspirates on thicker liquids—which has surprised everyone—so the fluid/food gets into his lungs and causes him to stay congested. He doesn’t have the muscle tone to suck properly and move the food around in his mouth correctly. Then he has reflux on top of all of that, so he’s constantly spitting up and swallowing that. So now, on top of physical therapy (which has increased to 3x a month), Wade also has occupational therapy 4x a month! The OT will work on his oral motor development. I will probably be placing him in private speech therapy also. Then, on April 22 we went back to the neurologist for a follow-up. Dr. Hernandez was like a different doctor. Very, very nice and he let me cry without rushing me. He promised me that Wade WILL walk one day. He might be 2 years or older, but he will!!!! We also got the “official” diagnosis of cerebral palsy that day. Like I said at the beginning, I knew all along, but having that “label” makes things more real. He also referred Wade to a gastroenterologist for his reflux. Doc was astounded that Wade wasn’t on medication for reflux. (Pediatrician had said as long as I didn’t mind washing clothes, it wasn’t a big deal!!!) He was concerned that all that acid would cause damage. I had never thought about the reflux being caused by the CP (cerebral palsy). He explained that just like the muscles don’t work correctly on the outside of the body, which we can physically see, they don’t work right on the inside either. Makes a lot of sense, huh? So Doc put him on reflux meds which has helped a lot. We went to gastro. on Friday, and he just increased the dosage. Also have to give Wade prune juice for constipation. Since he’s not mobile, he stays pretty constipated.

So, that’s our doctor visits in a nutshell. On the other hand, Wade is absolutely amazing!! He has the best smile and the biggest brown eyes that smile themselves! He has slept through the night since about 5 weeks, and even with the reflux, he’s not a fussy baby! For the most part, he’s so happy! The trunk of his body gets stronger everyday. He still can’t sit up on his own, but he loves to push off with his legs, which are very strong. He can roll from tummy to back, but just can’t figure out how to get that arm out from under him to roll from back to tummy. You can see a lot of his “issues” in his arms and hands. He goes from high to low muscle tone, so he really never knows what’s going to happen when he tries to reach—which he can’t do very well. The hardest part for me is seeing him try so hard to reach for something, but he just can’t do it!

Anyway, while Wade has been going through all of this, Curtis and I have both had our own medical issues. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in November. I thought I was going crazy. We’re still in the process of trying to get my meds regulated. Then I went in for a sleep study in December and discovered I also have sleep apnea. So, I have to use a CPAP machine every night. Curtis has had 2 emergency room visits. One for a kidney stone and another for HIGH blood pressure. So, he is on meds to control that. So, we’re a lovely lot, don’t ya think? Needless to say, every time I turn around, there’s a new medical bill coming in the mail!!!!

Well, did all of that make your head spin???? Again, I’m so sorry I’ve been so distant. Most of you know about the gigantic wall I build around myself, so this has been a huge obstacle for me. And we all know what a control freak I amJ God’s definitely taught me a lesson because I certainly can’t control ANY of this!!! As crazy and heartbreaking as this whole experience has been, I truly wouldn’t trade it. It’s so amazing to see how God has worked through Wade. He has such a beautiful spirit. EVERYWHERE we go, people stop and talk to him. It’s funny to watch other’s when we go out to eat. People just turn and stare at him. There’s just something about that kid. God has a very special purpose for him!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


A year ago today...a new chapter of my life began. It still amazes me how quickly this emotional year has passed. I can close my eyes any time of the day and easily be transported back to those first few days of Wade's life. I can see, hear and sometimes even smell the events of those days. In fact, just last week Wade's birthday invitations came in the mail. The first picture on his invitation is the same picture that is at the top of this page. (Which, by the way, is my most favorite picture. It's the picture I looked at whenever I needed hope. He's just a few days old there, but I feel like he could really "see" me with those big eyes and knew who I was.) I picked up the invitation the other morning to look at it, and the smell of the NICU overwhelmed me. I really can't describe the scent, kind of a soft, sweet scent. But it instantly took me back to a night when Curtis and I had come home late from visiting Wade at the hospital. I had to bring home some of his tiny clothes he had worn because they were dirty. I slept with his little striped onesie that night. What a beautiful scent. I felt like he was with me.

On Monday, May 21, 2007, I watched a few episodes of A Baby Story and Bringing Home Baby on TLC in anticipation of leaving for the hospital for my induction later that evening. In one of the episodes, the lady had a C-section. I vividly remember telling Curtis that I DID NOT want to have a C-section, no matter what! He told me we'd do whatever we needed to do. I so badly wanted the experience of a vaginal delivery and having my sweet baby lay on my chest. Well, we all know that didn't happen! I got cervadil that night, and pitocin the next morning. (Along with an epidural!!!) I dilated much faster than the nurses thought I would, and I started pushing around noon. I was snoring through contractions and in between pushes!! Curtis and my mom didn't think I could hear them talking about me, but at one point I yelled, "I can hear everything you're saying!" They thought they were so sly! Then Curtis decided he was hungry, so he took a bite of his sandwich right as I needed to push. Great memory, huh? Soon after, everything went crazy. The only thing I really remember was that I was crying because I had to have a section. At that point I don't think I realized anything was wrong. (Mind you, the doctor had tried forceps TWICE, but I was a bit oblivious!) Then the doctor yelled at the nurse to stop shaving, there wasn't enough time. That's when it hit me. They raced me down the hall and into surgery. They tore my cross from my neck and my earrings from my ears. All I could think about was Jesus on the cross because my arms were out to the sides, secured down. Then, I asked, "Why isn't my baby crying?" I had watched enough Baby Story episodes to know he should be crying my now. The man at my head--whom I later learned was the anesthesiologist--said, "Oh, they've just got their finger down his throat. He'll be okay." That's supposed to make me feel better???? Then I hear him mumbling over and over, "This isn't good. This isn't good," as I hear the nurses trying to resuscitate my son. All I hear is the bag blowing and them counting over and over and over again. It seemed like an eternity, but I'm sure it was only a few minutes. The only thing I could think of was that I was going to go home without a baby.

Then, I was taken into recovery. They let my mom come in, then I remember the chaplain coming in. Why was he there??? In the movies, the chaplain only comes in when someone is dying. Was my baby going to die??? Apparently things didn't look good, and he was there for "support". The main thing I remember during that time was the nurse coming in to check my belly. She pressed on my stomach and I pushed her hand away. It hurt sooooo bad! She was stern with me and told me she had to check it. For some reason, that really pissed me off! I guess a couple hours passed, and we were told they had to medvac Wade to Cook Children's in Ft. Worth. They had to take the helicopter instead of drive because of rush hour traffic and they had to get him there for cooling blanket treatment within a few hours. The cooling blanket--full body hypothermia--is a new treatment which hopes to stop any further brain damage from lack of oxygen. It can't "fix" original damage, but can prevent any further damage. Wade was only the 300th and some baby to ever have the treatment! They were supposed to put Wade right on the helicopter as soon as they got him ready, but the nurses thought it was very important that my family and I got to see Wade before he left. We were told they were making a HUGE exception. So, for just a couple of minutes, I got to touch my sweet baby's hand!

From then on, everything is a complete blur. I don't even remember going to my room. I do remember a doctor calling from Cook's to ask permission to do some sort of blood transfusion or something because his blood wasn't clotting. My mom and dad were sitting there, and when I got off the phone, they asked me what he said. I told them I didn't know, and they called Curtis to get him to find out what was going on. My question is, why would they call me to get permission when Curtis was there? I was doped up on pain killers and didn't know I had even had a baby!!!!

So, those are my memories from May 22, 2007. I'll go into more later. That took awhile through the tears!

Happy Birthday baby boy!! I love you!

May 22, 2007

May 22, 2008