It has officially been two years since my son came into the world. It blows my mind how fast the years went yet how long the days have felt this entire time. Abram has come so far since his last birthday. Last July he was unable to sit, hold his own bottle or bear any weight on his legs at all. As of his second birthday, he can walk with the assistance of a walker, hold his own sippy cup and loves to cruise around the house via the walls and furniture. The older he gets, the further behind he gets developmentally, so we are still going strong with therapies and he is now starting speech therapy as well.
It is hard to realize that your child will have to work so much harder for all the things other parents take for granted. This doesn't mean that I don't want to celebrate in the milestones of my friend's children because I DO. I always am in awe and excited for the kiddos who were born much later than Abe who are already walkin' and talkin'. I just remind myself that I got lucky because I got to have my little baby be a baby a little while longer than everyone else. (Although, the damaged ligaments in my wrists tell my body otherwise: carrying a 26 pound toddler everywhere is hard work and not easy on the bones. "Getting old is the pits!" my Grandpa used to say. Now I get it.)
As most people do, I have been doing a lot of reflecting over the last two years. Abram's Birthday will probably always bring up a host of emotions. I can only hope that someday the trauma of his birth and all that ensued afterward won't sting as much. I often still wonder if the events of his birth and the fallacies of the Hospital in the days following his entry into the world are the cause of his issues but I can't allow myself to linger in those thoughts for long.
I will always grieve not remembering holding him for the first time because I was so drugged up after an emergency C-Section that went awry. I will always have the guilt of "what-if" the nurses had attended to his oxygen levels sooner. I will always wonder deep down inside if there was something that I could have done to prevent these issues my son and our lives have had to endure.
Not many people have to endure that kind of grief. It is a deep, hollow and echoing grief that sneaks up and slaps you across the face with it's utter bleakness. It is a gut wrenching sadness having a child who can't tell you what hurts because they are unable to speak. It is a never ending heartache not being able to do the one thing a Mama is supposed to do for her child..... the ability to make things better. To not know what is hurting him or what he needs is horrific. To NOT KNOW the name of the thing that has taken over your whole life hurts so bad that sometimes it makes my throat close up in order to stop the tears from flowing. (Like right now as I am writing this.)
When people ask what is "wrong" with my son, it. Is difficult to explain because it is not just one thing that affects him. Each little diagnoses that my son has includes a huge list of symptoms that affect his daily life in numerous ways and it is impossible for anyone who isn't living it to even get. That is not to say that other mamas don't have it rough or have a bad day but I think it's hard for people to fathom just what we go through on a daily basis.
Unless you've sat on the other side of a two-way mirror to watch your child scream-cry for over a year in order to do something as simple as bearing weight on his legs... you have no idea. Unless you have a child with serious sensory issues there is no way you can get it how much it impacts my son's everything from clothes and eating to playing, socializing and playing. Unless your child has Hypotonia you have no idea how long it takes for my kiddo to reach a milestone. Unless your child has a mass in their brain- there is no way you can get it. (Just how there is no way I can get how hard it is to have an even more medically fragile child. Until you've lived it - you just cannot know.)
So, when I say "You are so lucky" to parents of typical children - I mean it. Just like I am so lucky that Abram doesn't have even worse symptoms or diagnoses but I always speak with those parents enduring more than I can imagine - I always speak to them with integrity and respect. So please, if you know someone going through something similar just be kind.
Don't make offers to help - Do something. Say something. Be there. I see this a lot in other blogs as well so I know I am not alone in this feeling. Send a card. Send a text. Leave a book for them to read on their doorstep or a silly toy. These are things my friends have done for me. You have no idea how much it cheers someone up to find a dinosaur bath toy, an old silver bowl(who did that btw?) or a Mac Tonight wind-up can do for the soul.
NEVER tell a parent with a special needs kid that you have it just as hard if you have a healthy child. I have friends with both typical and special-needs kiddos and they echo this sentiment as well. Parenthood is hard enough for everyone. However, going through a non-stop health crisis since the day your child is born is nothing to scoff at or belittle.
Hello, Everyone. Today we went and got yet another opinion from our local NeuroSurgeon. He was a very nice man and I cannot complain about him or his bedside manner. He was very kind and concerned but unfortunately he did not have anything new for us to learn. However, at least there is finally some consistency amongst the doctors that I do trust and he denied that there was "fluid all over his brain" like the other Neurosurgeon noted.
Luckily, I decided that in order to prevent myself from going absolutely insane I CANNOT concentrate on all of their differences in opinion. I can only focus on the similarities in opinion or continuing care and what will be the best option for our son. Right now the only thing we can do about Abram's cyst is to know the symptoms and signs of any worsening Neurological issues, to call 911 if said neurological issues happen and then to follow-up with another MRI in six months to check for growth. That is it. That is literally our only option. It is a hard pill to swallow but it is what it is and I can't let the weight of that bring me down. Sadly, this fight to get an answer about the lesion in his brain has veered our family off onto another path with what is now assumed to be a "genetic and chromosomal abnormality" in our son in addition to the cystic lesion of the pineal gland in his brain.
The brain lesion and all of his "global" developmental delays are completely separate issues needing to be dealt with. It was difficult realizing that something else is causing the rest of his issues when I hoped I would be able to blame his condition on the brain lesion. To hear that your child has a "genetic or chromosomal abnormality" just brings fear to your heart, a million more questions about other defects and most importantly what my child's expected life span is.
This realization is especially paintful because there is no "cure" for genetic abnormalities. The only thing the Doctors can do for our son is to offer him symptomatic treatment (which we have already been doing since he was 10 months old), preventative measures for heart defects, etc and to assist his father and I in finding a good support group where we'd be able to meet families going through a similar struggle.
I often hear, "I don't know how you do it" as I am sure most parents do. Although for me, it means a little more than a kinder way of saying "your kid wore me out". In fact everyone who has been able to spend a significant time with my son on a bad day has told me that they don't understand how I am functioning and for me it just is a relief to hear that they get it. Obviously no one wants to be the parent with the child that screams non-stop and be the receiving end of all those judgemental people and parents out there but having the confirmation that something isn't right after having to fight so hard the last 16 months is a relief. I have no choice other than to hold back the tears and fight as fiercely as I can to ensure that my son gets the medical attention that he needs and believe me, I have fought.
I do it because I am Abram's Mama and I made a committed and purposeful choice in bringing this little boy into the world. It is my job to make him feel better and NOT being able to do that has been the hardest thing I have ever been through and will continue to go through. I just want our son to be able to say that he is proud of us for doing our best and loving him as much as we could. I just want him to live and love life and be happy so hopefully we are finally on the route to more answers so we can help him accomplish all that he wants to and more.
There are days when it is hard to stay positive. Weeks even. I try my best to keep this blog "positive" as no one wants to read "poor me" posts but sorry friends, today is not one of those days.
I try to stay focused on the accomplishments and improvements that have been attained instead of thinking of all the things we haven't gotten to yet. The truth is, the majority of the time Abram is fussy and uncomfortable. He is almost *always* fussy and not feeling good. Please do not confuse "fussy" with unhappy, though. Abram is clearly in pain in ways he is unable to express to us verbally but he still tries to smile and will still muster a giggle immediately after being bent to his extremes at Physical Therapy or after getting jabbed multiple times to give blood. He loves the part of life where he actually feels good. I just can't wait to find out how we can make them come more often for him.
The last few weeks have been bad. He has been incredibly fussy, easily irritated and back to a nearly newborn schedule as far as sleep goes. I have been one tired mama. Today he had his Physical Therapy at ChildServe and we cut it short today because he was just so fussy and absolutely not having any of it.
When we came home, I fed him a bottle and laid him down for a nap. Within 15 minutes he did this really scary scream/cry - the kind of scream that most parents have to pull themselves off the ceiling from... and I ran into his room. He was on his stomach, with all of his limbs stretched out, face down (but with his head turned to the side, thankfully) and he was just screaming and crying a weird cry I'd never hear before. When I picked him up his entire body was limp. He was crying like he was pain but his body was just dangling there and he had no "real tears" coming out. He was like that for what seemed like ages and I didn't know what to do. I wasn't sure if it was a bad dream, if he was really even awake and just sat in his room and rocked him. Finally, he opened his eyes up and looked at me for a little bit while I sang to him and he just let out a big sigh (the gasp,gasp... heavy sigh that kids do after a good fit) and he went right to sleep.
At that point, he napped for a little while and when he woke up he was still unconsolably fussy. He wanted to eat but was acting like his bites of food were hurting him. So, I decided to run him to the walk-in clinic where as (un)luck would have it, our old Pediatrician was the walk-in doctor for us today. I hadn't seen him since I ditched him for another Pediatrician, so I felt awkward at our encounter but I'm pretty sure he has no clue that I've been seeing another Doctor for the last six months.
Anyway... I wasn't too thrilled that he was the doctor we got since he never noticed any of the issues we are having and didn't agree he was behind on his milestones until he was 10 months old. Alas, that's who we got and he gave Abe a thorough exam. He said that he was "fine" physically and had no ear infections/issues so due to the fact he has so many other issues going on that he was going to refer us to get an EEG done on him now as well. The Doctor was thinking that perhaps he was having a mini seizure (as this has happened on a less grand scale one other time, during the day as we were playing). He sent us on our way and told us to expect a phone call from a Nurse telling us the time/date of the EEG appointment.
I went ahead and called the Neurologist and spoke with his Nurse about what happened today. So at this point, we are waiting for him to look over things and he will getting back with me on what he wants us to do. Some seizures can be common in infants but adding this to everything else that is going on with his Pineal Cyst Lesion and his Hypotonia (and lack of knowing what is causing it) and I am just concerned that this can be another symptom of whatever it is that seems to be missing from this puzzle. As I have mentioned before, Hypotonia is typically a cause of an underlying disease and disorder so until the things I fear get crossed off the list our Neurologist has in mind - I prefer to stay on the side of caution!
When I saw my son like that, I nearly came out of my own skin. Holding your child and having them be non-responsive and just dangling there conscious but unconscious is really quite scary. However, I remained calm and did the best that I could in that situation. I'm just hoping that it gets figured out quickly. I'm so tired of having another "bad" thing happen. I've already had one good cry this week that resulted in a regretful migraine so instead of another good cry - I'm staying strong and doing what I can to help my son.
It was a rough day but this little man still remains in good spirits! He can be having a terrible stay and still find the time to give a smile or make a goofy face. Even if he follows it up with his infamous "beagle howl". It is these little moments that make all the scary moments worth all the fear and anxiety. If he can still smile and laugh after all that he has been through in his short little life.... than this Mama can get him through anything.
Enjoy the video. :)
It's really hard to write a blog about your child and not get emotional. I always heard that "children change everything" but had no idea how loud that would ring true in our first year of parenthood. So much has changed from how I look at the world, how I look at people and how I react to both. I've been told that I expect too much out of people but I think that life is too short to not expect the best out of the people who claim to love you. We have suffered a lot of losses as far as friends go but being the lucky girl that I am, there were plenty of amazing people who stepped up and helped me when I needed them the most and for that, I will truly be thankful.
Just eight weeks ago we went from having a son who was "behind on his milestones" to having a son that has special needs, has started Physical Therapy and Occupational therapy as it was discovered that he has Hypotonia (for which we are still trying to figure out an underlying cause) and after being referred to a Neurologist (due to an issue with his eyes) we were told that our son has a Cystic Lesion of the Pineal gland and will need to be referred to a Neurosurgeon in the near future to remove said cyst.
The scary part is the fact that the cyst is right in the middle of his brain and is one of the most dangerous of all brain surgeries. After a lot of research we found a Surgeon who does this operation endoscopicly as opposed to "open" brain surgery and after a pricey consult with Dr. Shahinian of the Skull Base Institute in LA we were informed that the cyst is definitely the cause of our sons "pin-point pupils" and that he would need to have the lesion removed in the near future. However, our son is much too small for the surgery right now and the dangers of said surgery would be higher than allowing the cyst to grow. So, we are to catch back up with him in a year. A WHOLE YEAR.
Hi! I'm Erin. I'm Abe's mama, a tireless advocate for UBE2a Deficiency Syndrome and a fierce proponent for medical cannabis.
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