Navigating Uncharted Waters
(or Parenting Teenagers and Toddlers with Special Needs)
I am starting this blog mostly for myself. If you are reading it then welcome and I hope you find something useful here. If you hate it, please keep moving and best of luck to you.
I need a place to sort out my thoughts and feelings and for me, that has always been easiest in the form of the written word. I don’t claim to be a great writer…just a person who needs to get words outside of their body.
I am Meredith and I have an awesome family. I have a boyfriend, A, (he calls himself my Spousal Equivalent) and together we have 4 kids. My biological children are 15 and almost 3, and they are the ones I will mostly write about since they are the only 2 at home with us. Generally, they are the source of whatever bafflement through which I am trying to navigate, as stated above.
I’m starting this at the end of 2012. We’ve survived an election and an infamous doomsday deadline, so I’m really hoping for a stellar 2013.
2012 has been a real challenge. We had to face the facts that we have a kid who has special needs. We just don’t know why or exactly what they are. I’m talking about L, my 3 year-old.
L had a perfectly normal and lovely birth. If you have a kid that is being assessed for anything out of the ordinary, then you know that the first thing the doctor or psychiatrist or even somebody’s paperwork will ask you is: was your kid a preemie? Well, not ours. She was born 10 days before her due date, which is fine and I had a short labor and no complications. We were a home birth, so there were no drugs and no interventions of any kind. It was literally perfect.
L’s first year was pretty textbook, too. She was a great nurser and the fattest baby you have ever seen. She hit all of her milestones…you know, she rolled over and sat up and crawled and pulled up to stand on time. It was after all of that that things got weird.
L got sick right before her first birthday. She had this fever that just wouldn’t go away and she slept all the time. She wouldn’t eat, barely drank, and at one point our pediatrician told us we might have to put her in the hospital for kidney failure because of severe dehydration. It was awful. The illness lasted for about 14 days. I remember our New Year’s Eve that year; A fell asleep on the couch and L woke up just before midnight from one of her long slumbers. I took her outside to watch the fireworks that our crazy neighbors were setting off and after awhile she fell back asleep.
It was after the first week that we were frequenting the pediatrician’s office every other day. They were mystified…no snot, no diarrhea, no symptoms that let us know what we were fighting. We did the finger-prick blood test to look at white cell count and a couple of other things and the doctor told us there was no evidence of a bacterial infection, so it must be viral. After a few days of continued fever they suggested we give L some antibiotics “just in case”. Because she was so little and not really eating, they gave her a shot rather than oral medication. It was one massive dose of antibiotics. It was the worst thing, ever. Intensely painful. L lost her mind. I had to strip down and lie on the table with her and nurse her for half an hour before she calmed down. Super trauma. When I told my mom, who is a nurse, what they had given her she was horrified. She told us that it was one of the most painful shots you could give somebody and would make grown men cry. Our pediatrician failed to mention that.
L got better after awhile. We can’t say that it was because of the antibiotic. It just seemed to slowly go away. After that, things started to slow down.