SAHM Life

The life of [this] SAHM: take care of baby. Clean. Attempt (and fail) to maintain order with the teens, clean some more, take care of baby, cook, clean, take care of baby, pass out before cleaning is done (because baby doesn’t nap), repeat, daily.

Do I want to spend time with my husband? Sure… we sleep next to each other. Does that count?

Do I want to watch a TV show or movie? Sure… I read captions when I’m able to look up at the TV, and half listen to the rest through crying, talking, loud toys, gaming, and YouTube videos on cell phones.

Do I want to have a relaxing shower? Yeah… I get 5 minutes while the baby plays on the floor or while my husband is getting ready for work in the morning. Or in the middle of the night if I want to sacrifice sleep.

Do I want to eat a meal? Well yeah… I quickly shovel in whatever is baby safe for sharing while the baby is also eating, or while he’s playing or asleep for the night.

Do I want to have a date night? Hell yes…. perhaps when the baby is old enough to have a sleepover with a school friend (in years).

This is my station in life.

Some days I wonder where I am in all of this. When do I get to fulfill some dreams or do what I want? But… I adore my family. I love my husband. I love my kids. And I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Felix is 10 Months Old!

Felix is 10 months old today. He is so happy these days, and is a delight to spend our days with.

We are doing better with routines now, and I think that has helped him understand when bedtime is. Sleeping remains a struggle, and naps are nearly nonexistent, but we’re going to continue to work on it.

The developmental specialist said we should try to re-introduce dairy into Felix‘s diet, and so far it’s going well in small quantities. He is eating a pretty wide variety of foods now, and is finally starting to try and feed himself.

He is not crawling yet, though he is getting closer every day. His physical therapist reduced his visits to every other week rather than every week because he’s making such wonderful progress. She said she anticipates him being caught up with his peers by age 2. We are just all so happy that he is getting caught up, and that he has passed his fussy first several months.

I can’t believe we are nearing one year old! Onward and upward!

Step 1

Felix had his developmental specialist appointment. Dr Noble examined him, talked about our concerns, and was very attentive and professional. He did express some concerns about Felix, but in a rather non-specific way. He diagnosed him with hypotonia, but said his muscle tone was good, saying he thought he would really benefit from physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy (for feeding concerns, at his age). He wants to be really aggressive with therapy in hopes that we can come out ahead of it.

Dr Noble also referred Felix to neurology, gastroenterology, optometry, audiology, and ordered genetic tests, an upper GI, and a sedated brain MRI. It’s a lot to take in all at once. And I have no idea what the doctor is thinking may be the overall issue, but he said he has to rule a lot of things out before we will know what it IS.

Jarrod really has been my rock through all of this. He worries, but nothing like I do. He has a more “take it as it comes” attitude, which is good for me. I tend to sit and stew, and wonder about Felix’s every little new behavior. I’m so anxious about test results or what the future may hold for our boy. I truly just want the best for him. I’m so scared he’s going to have big challenges and… well my mind tends to wander to worst case scenario. I hate that about myself. I just want to shut off that part of my brain and focus more on Felix’s strengths. I’m working on it.

Almost kinda sitting up. 🙂

The first tests Felix was able to get done were a few basic blood tests and an upper GI. All of those have come back normal so far except for some reflux seen in the upper GI. But that has already been being treated, so nothing new there. His next test is the sedated MRI of his brain. I’m more nervous about that just because he has to be asleep for it, and I’m a little worried about what they may find. I know during his many ultrasounds while I was still pregnant, they always looked at his brain and organs and they were always perfect. So I guess we will see if anything has changed.

We are also waiting on results of blood and cheek swab genetic tests. But those take several weeks.

There’s so much going on so quickly, and it’s overwhelming. But I feel very grateful to have doctors taking things seriously and getting him figured out while he’s very young so he can have the best possible outcome and future.

I’ll continue to update here as test results come back to us.

Felix is 6 Months Old!

Felix is six months old! He had his six month check up today, and updated his vaccines. He was running a little behind on vaccines because for his four month check up he was fighting quite the virus. It turns out he had CMV. If you don’t know what CMV is, I very strongly suggest that you research it. I knew nothing about it before Felix was diagnosed as having had it. I believe he contracted it after he was born rather than in utero, so we have that working in our favor. However, since the symptoms last so long, his development is delayed a bit. That would be why he wasn’t meeting his milestones or doing much of anything for a couple of months earlier in his life.

However, as of today, the doctor and nurse both are not concerned with the way Felix behaves or appears in the doctor’s office. The nurse has been doing her job for well over 20 years, and said Felix seems like a pretty average six month old baby now. As of today, Felix is 16 lbs. 10 oz., and 26 1/2 inches long. He is in the 30th-40th percentile for baby boys of his age. It seems odd to me that he is so small on the percentile chart now, when he was so huge when he was born. But he’s been growing on that path all along, so that is clearly the size he was meant to be. There is no concern there.

Developmentally, when it comes to his milestones, he is a little behind still. I truly believe it was because he was feeling crummy for so long, however he does still have an AEA evaluation and developmental specialist evaluation next week. We want to cover all of our bases so that if there is an issue, we can address it early so Felix has the best chance at having a typical childhood.

As of yesterday, Felix started rolling front to back a little, and understands how to roll back to front with help. When he gets put into a bouncer seat, he scoots his butt forward until his feet touch the ground, and then he scoots out of it. He sits up without support for a few moments at a time, but likes to throw himself backwards so we have to be careful. He still isn’t good about eye contact, but he is looking at things and tracking movements much better. and he absolutely loves playing around with our new piano. I swear he’s going to be a piano star when he gets older. Lol. Other things he likes are going swimming, taking baths, and most of all, the porch smoking. When he is having a bad day, and is the most upset, we can sit on the porch swing together and he’s happy for the time we’re there. He has also started solids, and really loves meal times. He is still breast-fed for the rest of the time.

Overall Felix is a pretty happy, good spirited young man. But when he’s having a bad day, everyone knows it, and there’s not a whole lot we can do to get him past it besides just get through the day. I’m hoping with time, the bad days are fewer and further between, filled in by many more happy days. He is such a joy to be around when he is in a good mood.

School Is Out

It’s officially summer for the kiddos!

Andy just finished his junior year in high school. He’s been messing around so much that he is not on track for graduation with his class, so he starts credit recovery with the start of his senior year. He can either go to the alternative high school to finish up, or he can take extra online classes in addition to his full classload. But he must pass everything. He’s fully capable of passing, even with exceptional grades. He’s just not willing to put in the work. I’ve been having conversations with him about it quite a bit, and I’m hoping at least some of it is sinking in. Also, I’m requiring him to get a job this summer. He’s 17, and it’s time for him to start preparing for adulthood. I can’t believe I have a baby who is nearly an adult!

Evan spent most of his school year at Orchard Place, where he refused to do much school work at all. When he came home he did very, very well for about a month, until I expressed how proud I was of him. Then he stopped doing work and eventually got expelled for the remainder of the year with the option of finishing online. He didn’t take that option, so he will now be required to repeat his freshman year. It’s really too bad because he proved he’s capable of getting As and Bs. He just refuses to do it, for whatever reason. It may be a part of his mental illness. Or it may just be defiant adolescence. Or both. But I sure hope he can pull himself out of it.

Cory finished his 7th grade year! He was trailing behind on a couple of classes until the day before the last day. He and I sat down and I told him (for the millionth time) that he is nearly 14, not 6, and he needs to start being responsible for himself. And that the only one he’s hurting by not doing his work is himself, and he was about to have to repeat 7th grade. He pouted for over an hour, then got some work done that night. The next and final day at school he was able to find the motivation to get caught up.

Zoey, Autumn and Willow all did much better than the boys, as they don’t avoid their schoolwork, and are all moving onto the next grade.

The boys definitely had a lot of struggles with school this year, but we made it through. Here’s hoping next year isn’t quite the struggle for them… and congrats to the girls for doing well!

Fussy Baby Life

As of next week it will have been four months. Four months since Jarrod and I have had even a moment alone together. Four months since we’ve been able to go out and forget our worries for an hour or two. Four months since we have been able to relax and be husband and wife, best friends, and lovers alone. Four months since one or the other of us wasn’t holding a baby in our arms while trying to go about daily life.

Felix does not allow us to put him down. If we do, he cries. And cries. And cries. We have toys for him. A swing. A bouncy seat. An exersaucer. Play mats. The most time we get out of any of those is about 5 minutes. Then he’s crying again.

Many of our friends and family talked about how excited they were for Felix to be earthside so they could meet him and play with him. Even closer family members…. and here we are four months later and we have not had even one person around enough at all enough for Felix to get to know them. We don’t dare hire a babysitter because Felix would cry non-stop and we are worried about him getting abused or neglected by someone who has less patience for his cries and neediness. It’s just Jarrod and me.

As for me, it has currently been a year since I was well and whole and able to do things for myself and my family. Last May I was diagnosed with a severe post-breast reduction infection and put on medications that made me very sick. I was on them until November, with 2 surgical cleanings and frequent trips to doctors and having nurses in my home during that time. Once that cleared I was in my 3rd trimester and quite uncomfortably pregnant. And then Felix was born and he’s basically been tethered to me ever since.

Jarrod is admirably working his ass off to support us, his family. And I can’t help but be a little resentful sometimes that he gets to get away most days and get a break from being home. I am at home, day after day, with Felix and the other kids. I try to make supper and keep up with at least some housework. But most of my time is spent with a crying baby in my ear so I can’t even carry on a conversation. He won’t take naps while playing down in his basinet. He will in a wrap on me sometimes. But generally not for more than 20 minutes at a time. I have no visitors because we can’t even talk. No going anywhere to visit. No grocery shopping. I can’t make supper. The older kids typically fend for themselves for meals.

Then Jarrod will be home after we’re all in bed and I’ll do my best to make sure he isn’t woke up when Felix gets up 4x a night to eat (breastfed) and stays awake for hours in the middle of the night. He would gladly get up with Felix, but I know he needs rest so he can drive back and forth to work, and also work.

By the time he gets up, I generally barely have time to take a shower, wash bottles, and do a couple things around the house before he has to get ready and leave again and the whole cycle starts over.

We previously thought his issues were colic, but I no longer think that has anything to do with it.

When Jarrod has a day off, Felix doesn’t get nearly as fussy usually. Probably because the frustration isn’t such an issue on those days, because we can pass him back and forth. It is also on those days that some housework can get done, and we can go together and get groceries, and other necessities from the stores, and occasionally go out to eat. But always with Felix with us.

And to go along with it all, Felix is behind on many developmental milestones. He doesn’t smile much at all, and NEVER yet a big, open-mouthed smile. He’s giggled once or twice staring off into space. He won’t often look at anyone’s face. He doesn’t use his hands. He’s not remotely interested in toys, he won’t bat or grab at anything. So on top of everything else, I’m also worried about his development. I think in part, it’s that he’s generally unhappy and has spent so much of his life either in pain (colic and gas) or sick with a virus of some sort.

He does have moments of happiness. He likes baths. Generally for an hour or two in the morning he’s happy. When we leave the house and he’s already in a good mood he does well for a little bit and then just sleeps the rest of the time. He likes being carried around outside and looking at the trees. And he will have a few minutes at a time throughout the day of happiness. Occasionally (and I mean like once every 2-3 weeks) he will have an entire happy day. Those are absolute blessings!

I know this all sounds like one big complaint. It’s certainly a vent, but not necessarily a complaint. I love Felix with all my heart, and so does Jarrod. We would never in a million years regret having him. He’s a blessing. But this extremely needy crying stage cannot pass soon enough!

As a side note here: I acknowledge that I have postpartum depression. I am seeking therapy. Meds make me sleep and since I’m 100% responsible for the household most of the time, it’s not possible to live with that side effect. It’s hard to feel better, even with therapy, when I never get a break from an extremely needy baby. All I can do is take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, even one minute at a time, until this phase passes and we can move on with life.

Evan Came Home

After just short of 9 months of inpatient treatment, Evan was discharged from Orchard Place. He was there to receive psychiatric services to help him with his anger and impulse control issues. He was there full-time with the exception of being home some weekends for visits. While he was there he had regular talk therapy, medication management, and plenty of social training and activities. We also had weekly family therapy. For 3 weeks during March, he was home during the week and attending school, while spending weekends in OP. Then on April 2, he discharged and is now home full time.His grades in school have improved dramatically, as has his relationship with myself and the family. He is getting himself up in the mornings now with no prompts or arguments, he is getting himself to and from school. He has decided to start looking for employment to buy himself some of the games and things he wants. He’s been more respectful of adults and peers alike. Im very impressed with his changes, and I have high hopes for his continued success.