My family

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Autism Awareness

Imagine if you will that you welcome a new puppy into your home.  You quickly lay down the ground rules of where it will eat, sleep, play and relieve itself.  Hopefully within a few months the puppy learns how to get your attention to get its needs met.  It goes to the door and either looks at you, scratches or barks to be let out.  It stands by it's food bowl to let you know it's hungry.  It comes over to you and puts its head on your lap when it simply wants attention and love.  Our pets learn our language and can get it's needs met through time and observation, eye contact and gestures.

Now, you bring a new baby home from the hospital.  Every baby has certain cries to let you know (eventually), what it needs.  To be fed, to be changed and so on.  Over time the reflex cries of the newborn subside and you learn what they need through their actions and again, like puppies will learn how to get your attention by eye contact, gestures and verbally.  The baby will grow and adapt to its environment, imitating their parents, the sounds it hears and eventually us as parents learn how to interpret our children's actions.

Now we have a break down, we find after a couple of years that our children are not responding to their environment.  The do not give us eye contact or gestures or verbal information to get their needs met so us as parents play a guessing game as to what they want or need, just like we had to when they were infants before we knew their cries.  Our children seem stuck and we have no way of reaching into them.  They might not respond to touch, we can't hold them to comfort them, we can't talk them through a problem because they do not understand.  They don't know how to use gestures or any forms of communication to get their needs or wants met and we parents have no idea of how to interact with our own children.

Now if a break down happened with your dog and you needed help, what would you do?  If we had access and the money we would hire a professional dog trainer to help us and our dog communicate better with each other.  The dog trainer teaches us the dogs language, shows us how to motivate our dogs to do what we want them to do through praise, food or play.  The dog trainer explains the importance of  timing, consistency, and motivation and eventually we see some slow improvements.

The only proven form of therapy approved by our government is ABA, Applied Behavioural Analysis or IBI, Intensive Behavioural Intervention and it's very much like dog training.  They get them to work for what motivates them and gives rewards when they do what is asked through a lot of repetition.  There are only so many PAS's, Preschool Autism Specialists for each area and there's a growing number of children being diagnosed.  Our government is willing to give us help but we have to wait for it, wait for our child's name to come up on their list.  How would you feel if you were just told to wait while your child screams for attention but can't tell you what they want?  Some children wait two years or more for their name to come up and that's precious time lost during the most influential years. 

1 in 110 children are diagnosed with Autism, this is the last day of Autism Awareness Month in Canada.  Are you now aware?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Back!

After a couple of months of silence, I finally feel like writing again.  I don't really know what happened, just got out of the habit, I became really busy and overwhelmed there for awhile when Amy returned back to school and we had to adjust to a new schedule.

I've been depressed as well, overwhelmed by the thought of knowing that I have two children with an ASD (Austim Spectrum Disorder) and wondering how I'm going to help them grow into productive, self aware adults.  I took Amy's diagnosis harder than I took Ian's.  With Ian he was younger when we noticed things weren't quite right with him, and then when we knew what we were looking for, we jumped on it right away and tried to do things to help him while waiting for a diagnosis.  With Amy, I've been struggling for years with her, not knowing what was wrong and what to do about it.

My anxiety and depression got so overwhelming that I've had to go on antidepressants.  My stomach was tied in knots all the time, I couldn't stop thinking over and over about my kids.  I even thought of what the point of living was when my life is a whole pile of crap.  So finally, I had to admit to myself that my thinking wasn't healthy and went to the Dr. who prescribed medication for me.  I've been doing alright, having my ups and downs, my stomach doesn't hurt anymore so something must be working.

I think the biggest thing that started changing my thinking was seeing on Facebook that a girl I used to go to Diabetic Camp with as a teen has a son who is Ian's age and he's just been diagnosed with Leukemia.  When I read that I immediately thought how lucky I was that all of my children are healthy and home with me everyday.  She and her little boy are a long way from home, stuck in a hospital getting treatments and tests almost daily.  Even though my life is difficult with my children, it's not as heartbreaking as watching your child sick in a hospital bed and not being able to do anything to make it better.

So, I know I have a long road ahead of me with these kids but I'm determined to do everything I can for them and just live one day at a time instead of worrying about an uncertain future.  I'm so lucky to have them!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Making myself a priority

With the struggles I've been having with my children, it has been easy to forget about my own well-being.  This summer I've been living as a free for all and indulging in fried foods, chips, chocolate, ice cream, whatever.  Although it is okay in indulge every now and then, it's been a daily event.

While I was over to get Amy assessed for Aspergers, I had my yearly appointment with my Endocrinologist.  My LDL cholesterol = bad has risen from 3.0 last year to 3.3.  While these numbers aren't staggering for a normal person, for a person who's had diabetes for 21 years it's the start of a high risk complication.  So, either I buck up and stop eating crap or they'll put me on cholesterol medication for the rest of my life.  While a normal doctor would've put me on meds right then and there, she's trusting that I'll take care of myself but 3.5 will be the final straw.

So, how do I make myself a priority?  I'm trying to figure out what I can do to get active that I'll actually be interested and motivated in doing and worth keeping up.  I know I need to change my diet so this morning instead of my two slices of toast with cheese, I had oatmeal and yogurt and it actually kept me satisfied for awhile.  Now I'm here on the deck with my kids though, eating a bowl of Doritos, but I have to eat them to get them out of the house!  Baby steps I guess.  I'll try for my healths sake and for the kids sake so that I'll be around for them in the future because my disease can destroy me little by little if I let it happen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Amy has Aspergers!

This is the moment I've been anxiously waiting for all summer long.  I sit along side the psychologist waiting for those words I've been waiting to hear to pass through her mouth.  "Amy's ADOS score is consistent for a diagnosis of Aspergers" she says looking across at Curtis then at me and continues.  I feel a twinge in my chest and struggle to blink back the tears that have welled in my eyes.  "Don't cry" I say to myself, "you knew this was coming".  So I sit and listen to what tests she did and how Amy responded to them.  "Her social interactions are very low and this will be the hardest for her to overcome as she goes into adolescents."  I think back and remember how cruel kids in school were to me and think, how can I save my child from that ridicule?  She goes on, "plus even though we weren't specifically testing for ADHD", because she was diagnosed with it in Grade two, "I will agree that she does have many ADHD characteristics."  That's just great, a double diagnosis I think to myself.

After the results from the ADOS test are reviewed we move onto her learning assessment.  We also had her checked for learning disabilities because I know she has them, she can hardly add 10+1.  The psychologist tells me what we've known for a year, her math is at a 1.5 grade level.  Last summer I had her tested for math privately at Sylvan Learning Center in Charlottetown.  They had discovered the same and when I had those results in hand I took them to the school the first week of Grade 3.  They themselves had her tested with their own tests, guess my word wasn't good enough, and confirmed the same thing.  What did they do for her?  Six weeks of Math help and a few adaptations.  That was all fine for the six weeks, she did well in the small setting with extra help, but then for the remaining of the year she still struggled, even with a weekly math tutor.

Luckily, Amy has her diagnosis the school will have to give her extra help, I hope.  The testing also uncovered that she has a superior level of reading and comprehension, reading at a Grade 8 level when she's only going into grade four.  This kind of puzzled me because at the end of Grade three the teacher did up some adaptations for her for language arts because she was starting to struggle with it.  Now we know that Amy understands what she's reading but it seems to get lost between her head and her hand when writing it out.  Amy struggles to write and uses no grammar.  She has limited ability with her hands, she's very weak in my opinion.  So now verbal testing might have to be allowed for her, plus she might benefit with the use of a computer, which is highly motivating for her.  These are all great things to know.  We always knew she was a bright, imaginative girl but in standardized school she fails, this is a girl who needs to be taught in a different way then the standard.  I know that if the school continues to fail her, I will do what I need to do to get her the help she needs even if it means homeschooling.

So now my life just got busier and more complicated.  I now have two children in my house with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, I guess I always did really.  I just pray I have the strength to keep up with these kids and do whats right for them while also keeping my sanity.  Pray with me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Night Without Ian

After my depressing posting yesterday, my sister phoned me up and offered to take Ian for the night and today.  Today I agreed to let Curtis go golfing for the first time this year with his good friend that he hardly sees anymore.  I was stressing about being left home alone today with all the three kids by myself because Ian himself is a handful and is always trying to escape the house.

There hasn't been very many nights that I've gone without seeing my boy.  It's strange coming home and not having to chase him around to get him ready for bed.  It's also strange to sleep till 8:30am and not be jotled out of bed by the sound of thumping on Ian's bedroom door as he lays there and kicks it trying to get our attention.  It's also very nice to be able to wake up and have breakfast and not have to watch the doors to make sure they are latched so that Ian won't escape during the busy morning hour.

It's a mini break for us to just have two of our children, but even though it is nice now, I still miss him.  He's a busy boy but he's so sweet and lets us know in his own way how much he loves us.  I'll enjoy this day while it lasts and hope that I get more of these mini breaks in the future.....it's very refreshing!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wordless

This summer has taken a lot of things from me.  I've seemed to have fallen into a depression that has made me wordless and less productive both at work and at home.  I started blogging because I wanted people to see that yes, I have a busy life but I'm okay and life is a gift that's so precious.  It seems that my bubble has finally burst and the weight of my problems has come down hard on my shoulders.  I now see how truly difficult my life is going to be with my children and that it's going to be a long uphill battle to get the help they need.

My stomach has been in knots just thinking about it.  I think I was fine with Ian's diagnosis because we expected it and we just wanted to know what the next step was to get him help.  Amy is a different story.  All these years I thought she was just bad and defiant and that everything was caused from her ADHD.  Even the teachers at her school chaulked it up to her ADHD, demanding that her medication needed to be increased or changed.  Now with the question of Aspergers on my brain, I consider all the time we've wasted on medication when all she really needed was one on one therapy.  All the times I've been mad at her when she truly couldn't help herself for acting out.  We've put all our focus on Ian and then Lyla because of course she's a baby, that we haven't been able to pick up on these other signs that seemed to go unnoticed.  Now that I see evidence of Aspergers in Amy everyday, it's like another stone has been added to burdening sack on my back.

It's not fair!  Why must my life be such a struggle?  I struggled through every part of it.  I struggled to breath when I was born and my lung collapsed.  I struggled through diabetes when I was diagnosed at 11.  I struggled through school and felt stupid because I had learning disabilities and couldn't read, which they finally discovered in Grade 7.  I struggled through abuse from my peers in school, being teased and bullied and hated showing my face in class every day.  I struggled through my first marriage which failed.  All of my pregnancies, and then all of my childrens births, they all struggled to breath even when everything was done to prevent that from happening.  I just want something to go smoothly for a change.  To have a normal child that doesn't need to see doctors every couple of months, just learns from us and has hardly any struggles.  Is that too much to ask for?

I also am upset with my performance at work, or lack thereof.  It's like I just have too much to think about at home to even consider trying to think about what to do at work and I've been missing alot of time because I just simply go there and look around in a daze.  I know my family is talking about me missing so much work and I feel guilty about it but I know that I'm the only one in our family working right now and I need to continue.  The stress of everything is finally making me crack and I just don't think I can handle my life, somethings gotta give.

Lesley

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Family Business

The nice thing about having a family business is enslaving the younger generation into working for you.  Here I am typing away while I watch my 14 year old niece, Samantha, sort through my mountain of papers to be filed.  Cheap labour too, only $20 for the day where if I had my own personal secretary I'd have to pay them at least minimum wage. 

I hate filing!  My brain is so unorganized, how do I keep my house or office organized?

Luckily Samantha is learning at a young age how to file and keep accounts.  Maybe next year I'll have to teach her to do payroll.  We all need to start somewhere.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two Parrots

I have two parrots in my house now.  Parrots as in children that are trying to repeat or imitate everything that I or others say.  Ian will be 4 years old next month and Lyla is 18 months old and they are both at the same level intellectually. 

It's kind of funny in our house because we'll be trying to get one of them to say something then the other replies and we're happy if either one does.  Driving on car trips we'll make funny noises with our mouths and the two of them will start doing the same thing.  If one of them makes a noise, the other tries to make the same noise too.  It's also very encouraging for us to hear Ian finally repeat our words.  He's really trying to say what we're saying in the way that we do but I just wish he could start saying things more spontaneously and requesting things on his own.  He still can't put into words what he wants, he resorts to destroying our house to get what he wants.  He throws down all of our kitchen chairs, tipping them over to let us know he wants something.  He also bangs the cupboard doors, runs around the house mischievously or now just starts to pick on Lyla.....he likes knocking her over now if she comes near him or if he wants something.  Times can be pretty tense at our house just trying to figure out what he wants but mostly we know what he wants but he just can't have it or do it when he wants to.  Now that the weather is so nice out and that we have a trampoline out in the yard, he wants to be out there from the time he wakes to the time he goes to bed.  We have a nice big fence to keep him in but he's already trying to figure out how to scale it.  We can't always be out there to watch him is the problem, we have no shelter in the back to sit under in this hot hot sun and I can't take Lyla out with me for too long.  She's not used to the grass yet and always wants to be up in my arms which is hard on my back.  I'm looking forward to next year when Lyla will be more stable on her feet and can play with the rest of the kids on her own.

It's also a relief knowing that Lyla is doing the things she's supposed to be doing at this age.  I'm watching her so closely to see if she has anything that I missed with Amy and Ian.  The more talking and babbling she does, the better.  She already is great with eye contact and is responding to her name all the time.  She also likes to show me items and hands me things to look at.  The other day she was too cute.  I was vacuuming downstairs with this little skinny vacuum and she found her fathers golf club with a club cozy on the end of it and started moving it back and forth on the floor.  I tried to get a video because it was too funny, the two of us along side each other doing the same actions.

It's so strange to watch how these milestones in my children can come so easy for one but then the other has to be taught everything.  It humbles us as parents to slow down and pay attention to our children and teach them face to face everything we take for granted.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

School's not out in this house!

Just because school is out for Amy doesn't mean it is for Ian.  His school is here at home and it starts at 8am Monday to Friday.  His tutor arrives every morning just as he's eating breakfast and then will take him downstairs to the IBI room we had specifically built for that purpose.  It's just a small room with no windows, one big shelf up high out of his reach and a childs table and two chairs.  This is where he and his tutor do a lot of one on one activities like pointing to certain pictures or objects on command and labelling items.  Some days he does well other days I hear screams coming from the basement, trying to stay calm knowing that he's just protesting against something he doesn't want to do.  Even though it seems like it's easy since I have someone here with him, right now I have two other children at home wanting to go into that room and disrupt his sessions.  Actually, I'm usually at work when this is going on and my husband is at home because the government requires someone to be at the home during his tutoring sessions.  Even if we both were working we would have to pay someone else to just be here with the tutor.

After his 4 hour session in the morning his tutor will take him to daycare where she turns into his Special Needs Assistant for the next 4 hours.  This is not the case with most families, we're paying our tutor top up for her tutoring here plus top up for her 4 hours at the daycare just to make sure we can provide a full time job for her so she can stay and tutor Ian until he goes to school next year.  If Ian were a typical child he probably wouldn't be in daycare or at least not everyday because we'd be trying to save money on childcare.  For the past two years either me or Curtis has been home to take care of these kids and save childcare costs but since he's Autistic, every person we talk to says to put him in daycare so he gets the social interaction he needs.  Aside from those day to day things we also have to coordinate appointments with speech therapists, occupational therapists, pediatricians, and his preschool autism specialists as well as just other general appointments for his eyes, doctors appointments, dental, etc.  This is all just for one child, we have 3 to coordinate.

We're lucky enough to be able to provide this for our tutor and for Ian but I just wish there were some way to make our lives a little easier.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What is a "typical" child?

As the mother of a nine year old with ADHD and a 3 year old with Autism I now realize that I have no idea what it's like to have a "typical" child.  While I sit here and watch Lyla grow and reach her milestones, I have no idea if she's "normal".


Amy seemed fine to me, she was a happy baby and reached all of her milestones either early or as the "typical" development chart dictated.  She was busy yes but aren't all babies busy getting into everything?   There were times when I'd call mom and beg her to tell me when this stage would be over and to name the date so I'd be better prepared.  Isn't that "normal" though?  At what age did it change from "normal" or "typical" to ADHD?  I remember going to her Dr. when she was in Kindergarten and asking for her to be seen by a Pediatrician and that I thought she may have ADHD.  The Dr. just shook her head and said "oh it's just busy girl syndrome".  I waited for the her Grade 1 teacher to tell me that she should see the doctor but the teacher never did.  She'd just complain about her behaviour in class and say that she was a very bright girl and very smart she just had a hard time focusing and would often wander both physically, down the halls, or mentally as her gaze turned blank.  After many talks with the teacher and Principal it was finally me who suggested that she may have ADHD and asked the teacher and principal what they thought.  They immediately said yes, that's a good idea and eagerly filled out the forms I was finally able to obtain from my Dr. to get her assessed.  All I could think was, well if you thought this half a year ago why didn't you tell me then because the Dr. wouldn't listen to just my opinion.  A whole year was wasted and now she's behind in school.


When I had Ian he seemed fine.  He was a wonderful, happy baby too and again went on to meet all of his "typical" milestones.  He was smiling and laughing and just a joy to watch.  It had been 5 years since I had a baby when I had him so I was a little out of practice plus I really thought Amy was so far ahead at her age that if he were lacking in some areas it was just because he was a boy and boys take longer sometimes.  When the Public Health Nurse asked me during one of his vaccinations and assessments if I wanted him to see a speech therapist I said "No, my brother didn't talk until he was two so I'm not worried".  It was only when we noticed that he stopped responding to his name and any type of noise that we started to wonder if something was wrong.  We thought he was deaf and had his hearing checked out.  When his hearing test came back as being normal and they suggested getting his speech assessed, then I started to wonder and do some investigating, but it was only after I had become pregnant with Lyla that I started to suspect Autism.


Now I have Lyla and she's beautiful.  I don't regret having her but I worry about her and wonder will she be "normal" or "typical".  Would I even be able to recognize what it is if I saw it?  Watching her now I realize what I missed with Ian, she is much more advanced at 17 months than Ian was.  I see her reaching up for me to pick her up, Ian didn't do that.  I see her bring me a toy to show me and passing it back and forth, Ian didn't do that.  I hear her mimicking almost every sound she hears, again Ian didn't do that.  But now with her growing personality, she reminds me of Amy at this age and that scares me.


Right now I'm starting to wonder if Amy has Aspergers Syndrome and am hoping to get her assessed this summer.  Luckily, Lyla is enrolled into a study of younger siblings of Autistic children so her development is being monitored very closely and will be until she's 5 years old or older.  So at least if something shows up, we can react to it much quicker.  The Dr. that's head of the study in this region told me that she's very interested in studying girls because they often get missed from a diagnosis of Autism because they can be very high functioning.  After I explained to the Dr., during Lyla's last assessment, of how Amy behaves, she was interested in seeing her as well.  Even though I'm grateful for this opportunity, it's disheartening to think that this Dr. thinks there might be something more going on then ADHD.


It breaks my heart to hear on the news that they've finally confirmed that Autism is genetic.  It just makes me worry so much for Lyla because she is my last baby and I want so much for her to be "normal".  It also makes me wonder if I had known about Ian's condition before I got pregnant, if I would've even thought of having another child.  But now I can't imagine my life without my Lyla and I'll accept her the way she is or whatever way she grows up to be, just like I've had to with my other children.  It's not easy being the mother of these children but again, is it easy to be the mother of "typical" children?  Obviously, I don't have a clue!

LesleyM

Monday, June 21, 2010

Amy's birth story

When I was 22 I felt it was time for a baby. My ex had gotten out of the military to pursue a career with computers which at the time was a very promising opportunity. We moved back to PEI for him to go to school and I was working for the family business. Because of my diabetes I wanted to have children while I was young because I felt the older I got, the more likely complications would arise and lower my chances of having a healthy pregnancy.


Within two months I was pregnant. I didn't tell my Dr. I was planning it, I didn't think I needed to and at the time I was on multiple injections of insulin to control my blood sugars. It was a pretty easy pregnancy at first, I was only sick in the mornings before I ate anything, then once I threw up it was over for the day. One night when I was 29 weeks pregnant (I think) I started having irregular contractions. I went to the hospital with my mother, sister and ex and they figured I was in preterm labour, but it was still pretty weak. They gave me medication to mature the baby's lungs and stop the contractions. Then they sent me over to Halifax at what was then known as the Grace Hospital for Women. Then started the barrage of specialists, an OB/GYN who specialized in high risk pregnancies which included diabetic mothers, an endocrinologist, a diabetic nurse, the dietitian and a physical therapist. They did stop the labour but now were working on treating my diabetes and getting it under better control.


When you're pregnant your body requires more insulin because the pregnancy produces a resistance to your insulin. This is why a normal mom could get diabetes while pregnant but for me it meant, checking my blood sugars up to 8 times a day and increasing my insulin to about 3 times what I would normally take prior to being pregnant, I'd probably give myself 5 needles in the run of a day. So I continued tracking my blood sugars, keeping in touch with Halifax and visiting every 3 weeks for check ups with all of the above specialists. Every time I went I had ultrasounds where they checked the baby's size and condition to make sure she was thriving and she was. I wasn't doing too well with the sugars, it was very difficult to control. The baby kept measuring in the 80th percentile for size. Finally at 36 weeks I started having pains again, we went in the hospital, here on PEI, and was there the full day. I was in pain, the nurses kept saying I wasn't in real labour....sure felt like it! So finally I asked for pain meds and the labour stopped but I had progressed to 2 Cm's and 80 percent effaced so my Dr. was concerned I'd go into labour again here on the island,
and they had no anesthetist working that weekend, and sent me to Halifax to see if I could deliver over there. When I got to Halifax, they couldn't just hook me up to the juice to get the labour going, they had to check to make sure the baby's lungs were mature first. Babies of diabetics can have larger than normal babies because the sugar in the mothers blood could spill over to the baby causing them to get fat. Even though we have bigger than normal babies that look very healthy, the lung maturity usually comes later if under poor control. So I had and amniocentesis where they take the amniotic fluid and test it for a bunch of things but this was for lung maturity. It didn't hurt! Anyway later that afternoon I got the word that her lungs were mature and I could be induced on Friday.


January 19th they started me on an Oxytocin drip at around 8am then continuously monitored me.  I was hooked up to the fetal monitor the whole time and I had to check my blood sugar every hour.  My insulin was being delivered in an insulin/glucose mix so they had to make sure that the levels were appropriate.  My mother, sister and then husband were there with me.  I remember my mothers face.  She never wanted me to have children because she was afraid of the complications my diabetes would have on me and it showed on every inch of her face that day.  I laboured through the day, mom and my sister went shopping for a little while after I got an epidural, love that epidural man!  Finally, in the evening it came time to push.  I couldn't feel the contractions so the nurse had to tell me when to push.  I must have pushed for about an hour and it wasn't really going anywhere so finally I started to panic because I could feel all this pressure and any way I moved really hurt.  The nurse was concerned enough to go get the Dr. to check me again.  The Dr. gave me the option of trying with a forceps delivery or having a c-section.  I looked at my mother and sister, my sister said forceps, my mother said c-section and I was worried over a little scar so I went with the forceps.  Then I had to choose who to bring with me into the OR, I reluctantly chose my ex.  They bring me into the OR
and they turn up my epidural so that I feel absolutely nothing, at least that pressure was gone.  They lay me down on the flat table and put my legs up in stirrups.  I watch them put my legs up and not feeling a thing or having any control over them.  Now the delivery room is full and I get self conscious.  I have an OB/GYN plus her Resident down there, my delivery nurse to my left, the anesthesiologist above me talking to me and two more OR nurses to my right then a team from the NICU of 3 or 4 over in the corner waiting and of course my ex was there somewhere too.  So finally they tell me to push, I see my nurse feeling my stomach for contractions I push and can't feel a thing and ask am I doing it right?  The mood is light and every one's excited to get this birth over with.  The Dr. and the resident navigate the forceps around the baby's head and the nurse keeps telling me when to push, they keep saying it's coming, it's coming to keep me motivated.  Finally they head is delivered but oops, her shoulder is stuck.  You know some thing's not right when everybody completely ignores the Mom and all available hand of the nurses around me and even the anesthesiologists arms are reaching over my head to push on my stomach to get the baby out.  I shout, should I keep pushing and they're ignoring me.  Finally, the doctors free her shoulders and the rest of her body is delivered.  No noise, she's passed directly over to the NICU team who begin to work on her.  I ask why she's not crying, a nurse says she has a heartbeat so she'll be fine.  Finally, after what seemed like forever I hear her cry and a tear streams down my face, Thank God!


I found out later that her shoulder was stuck for 5 minutes and when born she had an APGAR score of 1......0 is dead!  After I found out from mom and Tracy who were anxiously waiting in the waiting room that my delivery nurse came up to them after and told them we almost lost her.......almost!  Her birth weight was 9lbs 5oz and 19 inches long, 3 weeks early!  She was whisked away from me and spent the next few days in the NICU, they hurt her shoulder trying to pull her out and she would cry when she moved it but luckily it wasn't broken.  She had swallowed a bunch of amniotic fluid on the way out and had a spot of pneumonia on her lung.  She was very weak and had to stay in the NICU for about a week hooked up to all kinds of monitors and IV antibiotics.  I tried to nurse her but she wouldn't latch so I pumped breast milk for her.  She started to thrive and we were finally able to go home with her.  I was left with a huge episiotomy which made it impossible to sit up straight for 5 weeks, oh it was painful!


Amy's middle name is Grace for two reasons, she was born at the Grace hospital and the good Grace of God spared her.  I can't believe that was almost 9 and a half years ago, she's growing up much too fast.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Entitled to Eat

Right now I'm the heaviest I've ever been without being pregnant.  I've never really had a big problem with my weight before now but it's finally getting to me.  I know I'm eating through emotions, half the time I'm not really hungry but I still pile the sugar in my mouth.  I'm a carboholic, love everything carbs.  Bread, cookies, cakes, chips, etc and hardly eat any fruits or vegetables.


I know why I'm eating too.  I eat because I feel entitled to it.  It's the only thing in my life that I can truly give to myself because I don't do anything else for myself.  I get up, get the kids ready for the day, and go to work then come home, eat supper,  chase the kids around and try to get them into bed.  By the time I get them into bed I just breathe a huge sigh of relief and have a couple of hours to myself which I choose to park my butt in front of the TV and eat.


Why don't you take the kids for a walk you might ask, well the evenings around here are filled with mosquitoes and I hate the idea of putting pesticides on my children every evening.  Why don't you go get a home gym or a bike you might ask, well if you've read my previous blogs, you'd see that my Ian is a climber and her would eventually hurt himself or break whatever I get.


I know, excuses, excuses!  I just don't know what to do or how to change my eating habits.  I know what I should eat, being a diabetic most of my life we do get lectured by the dietitians on what and how to eat.  I could probably be a dietitian myself, I count carbs to figure out how much insulin to give myself so it's not from lack of knowledge.


So this is it for now, I've just got to try to cut out the evening snacking and try to eat better foods.  Easier said than done!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back to reality!

While I was away with my girls I enjoyed every moment.  It was so nice to just have two children and myself to worry about.  You don't realize just how busy your life is until you've had a chance to get away from it for awhile then come back to it.

I didn't want to come back!  My stomach was tied in knots the day before I left, I just didn't want the simplicity of the vacation to end.  We were not on any sort of schedule, all of us slept in till after nine in the morning and Lyla actually was the one that stayed in bed the longest.  We'd putter around in the mornings, get our breakfast, get dressed and get the girls ready for the day then Lyla would usually need a nap so we'd wait until she was awake before we'd go anywhere.  Each of us only had one drawer of clothes so there wasn't a mountain of laundry piled in front of the washer like there always is in my house.  Mom ended up doing most of it anyways so I got a real nice break from that.

I even finally had a day alone with Amy.  I hardly ever get to do anything just with her.  I took her shopping and we went to a movie, after that I let her play some games in the arcade, we had a ball.  For a couple of the days we didn't even go anywhere and I was perfectly content to do absolutely nothing, except of course feed and clothe the children.

For a couple of days after I got back on PEI, I was depressed and moody.  I came back and saw just how crazy our house is.  Ian goes non stop when he's awake.  We have locks on the tops of all the doors to keep him in the house so he doesn't escape without us noticing.  He climbs every surface in our house including the windows and the stove.  Aside from that, Maggie the puppy, is just crazy!  We can't have her in the house with the kids at all because she still nips at the kids and tries to chew on anything she can get at.  She drives me absolutely nuts!  Then I look around at my house and see how much work needs to be done.  There are dents and scratches in the walls and doors and I know there's no point in fixing them right now until Ian gets out of his hyper destructive phase, if he ever does!  I have no nick knacks around because they'd all be broken and hardly have anything on the walls for fear they'd be smashed.  Plus there's clutter everywhere, I'm not a good housekeeper at all and I just feel like I need to get a dump truck and just dump everything in it without looking at it. 

I know I'm blessed.  I know I have things other people don't have and that I'm lucky that I'm not dealing with really sick children and watching them suffer.  I know all of that.  It's just really hard to see the good things in life some days.  I just pray for strength, I always have.

On the other hand, when I picked up Ian from daycare yesterday, he said "Hello Mama" without being prompted!  Finally pairing words, that made mama happy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wonderful Newfoundland Vacation!

I had hoped to continue on with my last blog everyday while I was vacationing in Newfoundland but of course the Internet wasn't cooperating while we were there and when it was working either mom or Amy was on the computer or I was busy doing something else.

So Anyways, I've now learned that driving across Newfoundland with a 16 month old is not a good idea and I doubt I'll be doing it ever again!  The lovely nursery rhyme CD that we played for Lyla on the first part of our trip had mysteriously went missing, much like mom's ferry tickets, plus Lyla kept throwing her soother around in the car and we couldn't find it.  We had to make frequent stops so that Lyla could get out of her car seat and have a little crawl around.  At this point, germs on dirty floors in restaurants and gas stations were the last things on my mind since she needed her freedom to roam and was expressing it frequently in the car.

Finally we arrived at our destination at around 7 or 8pm to the house mom and dad bought just a couple of months ago.  It's a lovely house but smaller than I'm used to and I can't believe the prices of the houses!

My home has changed so much since I moved away when I was 18 years old.  Now there are houses in what used to be my favourite play or hang out spots.  MY rock that's on the beach in front of my former house, the one I always would sit on to watch the sunset is now covered with a pile of rocks serving as a break wall that blocks off the whole beach that we used to be able to walk on right up to the point where a river meets and ocean.  I brought Amy down my old road and showed her where I grew up and these places I used to play in and I was sad that they weren't there anymore.....Oh the memories!

Aside from the physical changes, all of my close friends are gone.  I didn't visit one friend and I've just lost touch with the ones who are still there.  It really didn't bother me though, I was very happy to see a lot of my family and my parents friends who I've known practically all my life.

Newfoundland is such a unique place.  Where else would you be called "my lover", "my darling", "my sweetheart", by the waitress or the convenience store clerk?  Just interacting with my fellow Newfies again was such a heartwarming experience, I've forgotten what it was like to really be on "Da Rock".

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Road Trip!

On Monday Amy, Lyla, my mom, and I started on the long trek from Prince Edward Island to Newfoundland.  We had about a 5 hour drive, which included a ferry from PEI to North Sydney, where we caught the night crossing of the ferry.

It wasn't too bad the first day, we caught the ferry from PEI to Nova Scotia first which was nice because Lyla was able to get around a bit before our long drive.  Our drive along the way was filled with Nursery Rhymes blaring from the stereo system and me and mom trying to shush Amy to be quiet so Lyla would take a nap.  Finally, we were at North Sydney early and was able to get supper, then spent a couple of hours on the loading dock while waiting to board.  Upstairs in a waiting area there was nobody around so we pitched camp there for the time being.  It was filled with vacant chairs and a tv playing Wheel of Fortune, a huge room and luckily it was all bared off and safe for Lyla to crawl around.  She was pretty cute there trying to push her stroller around in the waiting area.  Since nobody was around I was able to change her and dress her in her night clothes.

Finally we went to board the new ferry, mom had the tickets in her hand a few moments earlier and we were looking at the number of our cabin.  A lady stops us to scan our tickets and mom searches her pockets, can't find em.  She looks in her purse, in the glove box, the floor, everywhere and they're not there.  The lady finally had to pull us over to the side so the other cars could get by and mom finally had to admit to defeat and go back into the terminal to get her tickets replaced.  Luckily, it was no trouble and we got on the ferry no problem.  Once we get settled in our cabin, which are tiny compared to the older ferries, we notice that Lyla didn't have her soother.  Any mother knows that when your child is addicted to a soother, breaking them of it while travelling is not going to help your already frayed nerves.  So me and Amy go back down to the car to get the soother.  I drop it off to mom and she says she'll stay in the cabin with Lyla and try to cuddle her to sleep.  Me and Amy go off to check out the new boat, Amy was so excited.  So we found a little snack shop on the boat that was selling hot dogs and chips and we sit down to eat.  A few minutes later my cell phone rings.  Mom's calling from the cabin and says that Lyla's soother is missing and she's searched the entire room.

Mom was changing Lyla on the bed and baby had the soother in her hand playing with it.  Mom ripped her bed apart looking for it, got down and looked under the bunks and even went back to make sure Lyla didn't poke it into her diaper, she often tries to rip the diaper out from underneath her while we're changing her.  So I did all of the same things with no luck.  Finally we cease the search and lay down to try to get to sleep then mom starts searching her bra for the soother thinking maybe Lyla poked it down there because she picks at everything.  Then a lightbulb went off in my head and I snatched Lyla up off the floor and start patting her down, low and behold there's the sookie in the leg of her sleepers.  Thank the Lord!  The soother didn't make much of a difference though, we were still up half the night with her.  She bunked with me on a small cabin bunk and kept taking up half of the bed, oh my!

Other then that, the ferry ride was very smooth and we were very impressed.  I was so glad to get off the boat though, then we had the long 10 hour drive across Newfoundland but right now I have to go to bed!

To be continued....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Overwhelmed!

Our lives are busy at the best of times with all the kids day to day things, work and keeping up the house.  This month has just been crazy!  I'm really starting to feel the toll this month has taken on me, I just want to be alone and do nothing for awhile.


I've been busy at work trying to get the year ends for two companies ready for the accountants aside from doing the payables, the payroll, and getting the Lodge's paperwork in order for the sale of the company.  Our house has been turned upside down for the past two weeks.  Last year we had our basement finished but ran out of money to get the basement stairs and a few little things finished down there.  Finally we've been able to go ahead and get the stairs done, and it's looking wonderful but it's been crazy at the house with a workman here trying to work while Ian has his IBI therapy going on down there every morning from Monday to Friday and with Curtis home everyday with Lyla.  Ian has been very hard to manage because it's upsetting his usual routine and of course all the power tools around are really fun for him to play with........climbing up on the table saw!  Ian has also been actively trying to bolt from the house and we've had to put locks up high on all the outside doors.  Plus since the stairs finally has carpet on them, Lyla now likes to climb them so I guess a baby gate is in order.  Aside from that, it has been crazy trying to keep the house clean.  Dust everywhere!  Downstairs is now our living area, the tv is there and a big sitting area and all the kids toys are down there so it's just been hard to relax at all.


Aside from that we had Mother's Day this month, and my mother's birthday.  I was really happy to celebrate both events and happy to get a manicure and pedicure gift certificate from Curtis.  Then last weekend we had the fundraising softball tournament held for Ian.  It was a wonderful day on Saturday and I was overjoyed with the support from volunteers.  It was just really busy the week leading up to that because we were fundraising and trying to get door prizes donated from local businesses.  Plus, I played my first 3 softball games ever and boy was I sore on Sunday!


Now I'm getting ready to go to Newfoundland next Monday with mom, Lyla and Amy.  I'm really looking forward to the trip since it'll be a break for me from all that's happening here.  Even though it'll be busy with the two girls at least it's a change and I won't have to think too much.....I hope!  The problem is trying to think and do everything I need to do at work and at home for us to go for a week......argh!


On top of all of that, I'm also switching Ian to another daycare.  At his current daycare the Owner has been particularly difficult to deal with lately.  Since we required them to have a Special Needs Assistant for Ian at the daycare for 4 hours a day during the afternoons three days a week she's been very stringent on the times he's there.  She's getting paid by the government for the SNA plus I'm paying for his spot in daycare out of my own pocket yet she'll only let him be there from 12-4pm so I have had to leave work early to pick him up.  She wouldn't let him stay for another hour without an SNA plus when Ian's tutor went to drop him off one afternoon the owner made her wait out in the car with him for 5 minutes because they were early!  So now a new daycare has opened in Montague and we're switching on May 31st, the day I'm going to Newfoundland so I have to make sure everything is in order there.


I'm sorry about all the ramblings here but I just needed to download all of this, I just feel like I'm wound up so tightly with all the stuff I need to deflate.


Just breathe!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mama!

Ian had been saying Mama since he was about 8 months old.  I remember drilling it into his head every time I sat him in his high chair to feed him and Mama was his first word.  When Autism took ahold of him Mama went away, and Dada became one of the only words he'd say, even calling me Dada some days when I'd pick him up from daycare.  Mama started coming back though recently but it has been very few and far between.  Even Poppy is getting greeted when he comes through the door and Nanny and Nana hears their name from his mouth more times than I hear a Mama.


Yesterday, I picked up Ian from daycare.  I saw him across the yard playing around and called out his name, he looked over at me and said "Mama" with a great big grin on his face and started running towards me.  It was the biggest reaction I've gotten from him since we've started taking him to daycare.  I was so happy and started running to meet him.  You could almost hear the inspirational music playing in the background like something from a movie, mother and child running to meet each other.  Then about a foot apart, I open my arms for that big hug and Ian stops dead in his tracks and turns to run the other way.  I finally got ahold of him and gave him a big hug and kiss, which he abruptly wiped off!


My boy said Mama at three and a half years old and I couldn't be more proud......Mama's back!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Wonderful Mother!

I struck gold when I was born to my mother.  God knew that I'd need a strong woman like her to lean on when I was weak and needed guidance.  So many battles she's fought on my behalf to get me through school, to get me through Diabetes, to get me through marriage, child birth and divorce.  How can I ever show my gratitude to someone who's done everything for me without ever been asked?

When my first marriage failed and I was left with nothing, had no home, no money and a child to raise, she was there for me, gave me a home, did everything they could to supplement me so that I wouldn't have to live on welfare.  I often thought to myself, "why is she doing this, I didn't ask for this".  She could've just let me go and fend for myself as best as I could, but she didn't.  She knew if she had the means to help then she wouldn't see me and my baby do without, struggle for grocery money, rent and to put gas in the car.

She dragged me out of a dark hole more than once and never ever turned her back on me.  No matter how much she didn't like what I did, she never gave up on me.  She knew I was better than the life I was living and helped me to see that life can be good if you just let it be.

I love you mom!  I would not be where I am today if it weren't for you helping me to get here.  I appreciate everything you do for me and my family and I hope I never take advantage of you.  I only pray that I can be half the mother to my children as you were to me and that you know how much of a blessing you are to our family.

Happy Birthday and thank you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May is full of events!

Wow, there's so many good things going on this month of May.  Of course this coming weekend is Mother's Day and I hope I get my pedicure and facial......hint, hint!  My mother's birthday is on the 10th and we're celebrating this Saturday with a dinner out with her....minus the kids.....if of course I can get a babysitter.

Then on the 22nd we're having a benefit for my boy Ian.  Every year a neighbouring community, Cardigan, has an Autism Softball Tournament where all monies raised goes to a child in the area with Autism.  Ian was chosen!  I really can't wait for that event, Curtis is barbequing and will be selling hot dogs, and hamburgers and I'll be playing on a friends team, which should be funny since I've never played softball in my life!

Somewhere during the long weekend....can't remember the date, I'm sorry, is my sisters wedding anniversary.  Then the 25th is dads birthday......59! 

Then finally on the last Saturday of the month we are hosting a farwell dinner and dance for the employees who've been so dedicated to us during my families ownership of the Lodge.  That should be a bittersweet night with lots of emotions.

This will be a good, busy month.  I'm so happy to be a part of so many wonderful things!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The End of an Era

I was 10 years old when my parents purchased the lodge.  I remember that first summer well.  Mom had to rip us out of school early because dad actually purchased the lodge without her permission and now all of a sudden she had to go manage it.

Being only ten years old, I really couldn't do much to help.  My brother and sister were older so they both worked and did what they could.  I was left to explore the new building and visit with the residents that lived there.  Back then it was much smaller and very out of date.  I remember going downstairs to a big, dark, open room with no windows and black and red shag carpeting.  I remember being scared going down the dark narrow hallway to the nursing care wing with a brick wall on one side and the windows of the bedrooms on the other side.  I'd never go down there alone.  Now when you ascend the stairs the big open space is light and airy with big windows to let the light in.  The flooring has been replaced with light tiles and the dark narrow hallway to the nursing care wing now has what we've called, the solarium.  Big open windows going down that dark hallway is now where the residents sit in a bright open space.

It's hard to believe how much of our lives were spent in that place and now with it sold, it's like a huge family member is gone.  When the three of us children tried to go different ways, we all ended up working there.  We all lived in that small trailer next to it and we've all watched our babies walk the hallways knowing that they could sneak upstairs to the kitchen for a treat.  We've watched our last living grand parent pass away in those walls, knowing that we did everything we could possibly do to keep her comfortable in her last remaining years and feeling blessed that she was with us throughout our most difficult times.

For the past 23 years the Lodge has dominated our family conversations.  It's not like a normal job that you can just switch off when you leave at the end of a work day.  We've always turned our Christmas dinners, Mother's Day brunches and Easter suppers into a conversation about the lodge and what needs to be done next, when to give raises, when we can buy new furniture and how we deal with unfavorable employees.  I can't imagine what we're going to talk about now!

So even though the Lodge isn't ours anymore, it'll alway hold a deep place in my heart.  I've walked those walls in my wedding dresses, yes both of them.  Paraded my 3 newborn children through the hallways only to chase 2 them a year later, buried a dog in the back yard and watched my dying grandmother play with my little baby's feet.  So many memories. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Busy days!

I haven't been able to write much lately.  I will get back to a regimen when life gets back to normal, or probably this weekend when I don't have to work. 

We've been swamped with appointments this week for myself and the kids.  Last night, I was so tired that I went to bed at 8pm and was still tired today.

I've been busy getting things ready for the sale of the Lodge.  Our family business for 23 years!  My mind is running a mile a minute trying to remember everything I have to do and everyone I have to call and I'm so worried I won't get everything done on time.

It's hard to believe it's all coming to an end.  I will write a blog this weekend about the sale of the lodge but I don't have the strength right now to do it, it will be emotional.

Take care everyone!

Les

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lovely Sunday!

We took the kids a park in Charlottetown this past Sunday.  It was a beautiful sunny day and so many people were out walking on the boardwalk and playing in the park with their kids.

We rarely get to take all the kids to one place at the same time.  We don't go out to eat at restaurants anymore because Ian would climb out of a high chair and won't stay put in a chair.  I don't ever take them to a grocery store all at the same time, it's just too much.  First we'd need separate carts, one for Ian and one for Lyla, then I have to watch Amy at all times to makes sure she's following along and doesn't wander off somewhere.  I even have to watch that she doesn't get in peoples way because she has no spatial awareness.  I can't even let my eyes off her in a parking lot because I don't think she'd notice a car that was heading straight for her.

We met another mom in there with a son with Autism, funny how the world brings us together.  She just happened to have a lovely looking dog and Curtis went up to see it and started talking, telling her that we got a dog for our son to train as a service dog, and the conversation started from there.  I was watching her two boys as they talked.  The eldest has Autism and is about 10 or 11 and the other, I'd say was about seven or eight.  The younger boy was watching out for his older brother, making sure he didn't stray too far from where their mother was.  I was envious.  I wished that Amy was responsible enough to watch out for her brother like that instead of being in her own little world oblivious to what's going on around her.  She was playing mostly by herself on the jungle gyms announcing how she was the Queen of them and playing out some kind of imaginary play with just herself.  That girl has some imagination!



We had Samantha with us, my sister's daughter, who is thirteen.  I've trained her well on how to take care of Amy and the other kids, she watches over them, especially Amy, like a mother hen.  Ian just loved going from one thing to another, climbing on the monkey bars, he's a great climber.  Ian and Lyla both love the swings so we popped them in and they had a great time.  All the while I was keeping an eye on Amy, making sure to keep tabs on where she was and also to make sure that she doesn't wet herself.  Amy still wets herself sometimes.  She'll become so focused and involved in an activity that she'll ignore her bodies bathroom cues.  Luckily, there were no accident and we had a lovely time at the park.  Then we visited with Curtis's family for supper, which was surprisingly unchaotic!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The stigma of having a 3rd child

In today's society, there seems to be a stigma attached to anyone who has more than 2 children.  Sure two kids are totally acceptable but when they start increasing from that number, society lets you know that it is not acceptable anymore.


I was asked after I had Ian if I wanted my tubes tied, since I had him by c-section.  I just didn't feel like I should have it done even though my whole family wanted me to........mostly because of worrying over my diabetes and the complications pregnancy puts on my body.  When Ian was about a year old I reluctantly decided that I should get my tubes tied, that I shouldn't risk having another child and called for an appointment with my OB/GYN.  The surgery was booked!  About a month before my surgery I got a package from the hospital with my instructions, dates, times, and papers to fill out.  I asked Curtis if we should really go through with it and he said that he wouldn't mind having another.  I already didn't feel comfortable with the idea anymore either so I cancelled the surgery and stopped birth control.  I was pregnant the next month!  That pregnancy didn't stick though, it was different from the very beginning and I lost it at only 6 weeks.  I wasn't sad about it at all, I just knew it wasn't normal.  The dr. at the hospital said I could try again after I had one normal cycle.  Two months later, I was pregnant again.......Birth control really does work!


When I announced I was having a third child, of course all my family could do was worry.  Their reactions didn't surprise me, although it was fun putting it in dad's Father's Day card, he was finally the first to know something before the rest of the family!  The reactions of total strangers is what surprised me.  When I was a few months along and showing, Amy was in swimming lessons at the pool.  I told an aquiantance there of my pregnancy, because it was getting obvious and her mouth just dropped and no words came.  I could see the questions forming behind her eyes.  Was it an accident?  Why are you having a third?  Are you nuts?  Then it was the reactions from hospital workers that took me by surprise.  I was pretty much a regular at the hospital after 32 weeks along because I had to have weekly ultrasounds to check on the baby's health and growth.  Some of the techs were more chatty than others, asking how many pregnancies I had, how many children are home, more times than one when I'd say two more are home they'd ask, are they girls or boys?  I would tell them that I have one of each, then I could see them restraining themselves from asking the obvious, so why would you have a third if you already have one of each?  I really didn't want to explain that my eldest is from a previous marriage or that I just felt the desire to have another baby.


Now that I have my family of 5, I still get comments of having three children.  Everyone and I mean EVERYONE that I tell I have three children to, breathes a big sigh and says to me "my you're busy".  I just laugh to myself and think, you don't even know the health issues!


Even though I'm now officially part of the "crazy enough to have 3 kids" club, I feel truly blessed.  I could never imagine my life without my beautiful Lylal!  My family is now complete, I love all of my kids and I no longer feel the yearning to have anymore children, which I could never fulfill anyway because I had my tubes tied when Lyla was born.  There was no doubt in my mind at that point!


Lesley

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy and content!

This is the first time in my life when I've finally felt pure happiness and contentedness to be where I am and doing what I'm doing.  I mean I truly feel like this is where I'm supposed to be right now. I'm not worrying about my future, I'm not fretting about my past and I'm not getting depressed about my current situation or the problems of my children.  I don't even know if I can explain how I feel, I just feel like there's a growing in my chest, I've never felt it before.

So much of my life I've been down and depressed and most of the time I didn't even realize it.  When I look back on my life, so much of it I've been in this kind of fog, just going through the motions of life but not really being happy about anything.  I was always wondering what I should be doing.  Do I need to get a different job?  Should I move?  What will make me happy? 

I still have days where I'm tired and life is overwhelming and I just feel like I'm at my witts end, but I'm not sad.  The situation passes and life goes on.  I dont' have a lot of money in the bank, both of our cars need replacing, and there's thing that need to be done around this house that I simply can't afford to do right now, and I could be worrying about it, but I'm not.  I just feel like it's all going to come when it comes and this is all I can do right now.  So don't worry!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A trip the the Dentist

Walking through the hallways at the hospital on our way to day surgery, I'm thinking to myself, we really shouldn't be here.  I get to the day surgery area at precisely 9am and register Ian.  They immediately bring us to his area, number 8 I think, it's a little cramped area with a gurney and two privacy curtains on both sides where other people were waiting for their turn for surgery.  I tell Curtis, you'd better keep walking Ian around while the nurse does her checklist of questions.  Ian is in his stroller, he loves his stroller and could spend almost all day in there, as long as it's moving.  If we stop then a figures out a way to get out of it and could be all over the place or just running down the hallway........long hallways in hospitals!
Finally the nurse finishes her questions and we're left to wait until 11am, the time he's booked to have his teeth cleaned by the dentist........yes, it was only a teeth cleaning!

Last fall I took Ian to the Pediatric Dentist here on the island and was concerned about the build up of plaque on his front four bottom teeth.  Of course it was challenging for him to get Ian in the chair and lay down long enough to get a good look but he could determine, with those magnifying glasses, that he didn't have any cavities.  He realized that Ian would not let him do anything to his mouth and said that we could leave it for maybe another 9 months, no later.  Me being a proactive mom would rather get it taken care of sooner rather than later, so about a month after the first visit, we booked another visit to get him put under to have his teeth cleaned.  Luckily, a surgery cancellation came up and Ian was able to get it done pretty quickly after we had all of his paperwork in order.

So then we had about an hour and a half to kill. Curtis and I start taking turns strolling Ian around the hospital so that he'll stay calm in the stroller.  I walk up the hallway passing the Surgery waiting area where a surgeon is talking to a couple.  I continue and pass the labour and delivery hallway and see the OB/GYN who took care of my pregnancies for Ian and Lyla but never delivered either of them.  He recognizes me and says hello stopping to ask what we're in for today.  We part ways and I continue walking.  Turn around, back down the hallway and see that couple who were talking to that surgeon, walking away smiling and as I come up to them the woman says to the man.....No cancer and punches him playfully in the arm.  I think to myself.....thank God, their prayers were answered for their loved one now recovering from surgery.  I continue walking up and down over and over watching the busyness of the hospital, workers coming and going and think, we really shouldn't need to be here.  A few people walk by and give me strange looks when they see Ian......like "isn't he too big for a stroller?" looks.  Others wave at him and say hello to him and wait for a response and which point I think "do I have to explain to everyone I see that this boy is Autistic and does not act like a typical 3 year old?"  Even though I don't mind doing this, it gets tiresome.  Then people go on and on about someone they know with a child with Autism and how terrible it is but it happens when I'm trying to do something else and am busy with my own kids. I feel guilty to have to cut short such conversations.

The long wait finally is coming to an end.  At 10:45am and stay at the day surgery area and wait for the anesthesiologist, the dentist and the OR nurse while they come and tell us what they're gonna do and what we can expect.  Finally Ian is taken in, the nurse comes and wraps him in a warmed blanket and carries him in, my heart sinks.  Curtis and I go to the cafeteria and have an over priced lunch and pass time as we wait.  Finally I feel the need to go back and a few minutes after we get back they come strolling in with Ian sitting up on the gurney.....a good sign.  The OR nurse tells me that he only fussed when they put the mask on his face......he can't stand anyone picking at his face or anything on his face; he did great.  We give him a couple of drinks that we brought with us and he gulps them down pretty quickly, he'd been fasting since about 8pm the night before.  We get the okay to leave at 1:30pm and finally that ordeal is over with. 

A long day just for a teeth cleaning but his teeth are pearly white!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An Artificial Life!

It's sometimes scary to think that the only reason I'm here today is because I am pumping an artificially made, synthetic hormone into my body.

When I was 11 my body simply stopped making its own causing me to eat like a pig but lose weight, have unquenchable thirst and even wet the bed even though I had no history of it. If the discovery of insulin hadn't been made, then my parents would've had to bury me at the tender age of eleven. I watch these end of days movies with their floods and meteors and think to myself, even if I were to somehow survive all the initial destruction and terror of a natural disaster and find myself on a mountain somewhere, I would only survive until my insulin supply ran out. Scary huh?

In fact even my cat almost killed me. I have an insulin pump which is a little machine about the size of a pager that I clip only my side, belt, underwear, whatever and it has a tube that connects a reservoir of insulin to a cannula inserted into my stomach. It is programed to give me preset amounts of insulin throughout the day......think of an IV, same idea with insulin but the needle is just under the skin, not in a vein. So on this one day in my past, I woke up in the morning feeling sick to my stomach, go to the bathroom and throw up, then I smell something. I know the distinct smell of insulin anywhere so I look at my pump and follow the tubing that connects it to me, it's severed! My cat, who was a kitten at the time, snuck under the bedsheets while I was sleeping and chewed through the tubing. I checked my sugar.........29! I figured that I was disconnected from my pump for a few hours for it to be that high, I was lucky to even wake up at all. Luckily I was able to manage it on my own, gave myself a huge dose of insulin and went back to bed until it was down to normal. The cat doesn't sleep with me anymore!

I used to have the poor me's, always asking why do I have this? Why do I feel like this? Is this as good as it's going to get? I've had to remind myself about how very lucky I am to live in a time with insulin, how I've managed to live 21 years with this disease and to never have been admitted to a hospital for it other than the very beginning when I was 11. I was born to a nurse who was head nurse of the Kidney dialysis ward in her past and knew exactly what could happen to me and made sure I was taken care of. I've managed to carry and give birth to three beautiful children when not too long ago they wouldn't even recommend a diabetic have a baby. I've seen and heard numerous stories of young people having life long complications due to their diabetes and yet I have none.

I feel truly blessed!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A typical Monday

7am the the alarm goes off. I roll over and press the snooze button and finally rise just a minute before the thing goes off again. I head downstairs to get Amy out of bed and ready for school. She's wet her bed, yes she still does, and I send her off to the bathroom while I strip the bed.....yay, more laundry! I stay with Amy and make sure she gets completely dressed and starts heading up the stairs while I go get Maggie to put her outside. If I'm not there with Amy in the mornings then she'd never make the bus on time, it could take her 5 minutes to put on a pair of socks, she has no concept of time and urgency. Finally I start making breakfast for her, peanut butter on toast, and start packing her lunch bag. I put the toast in front of her on the table and while I'm puttering around the kitchen I watch to make sure she's eating. I catch her just staring at the crumbs or something on the toast and remind her to keep eating. I remind myself to give her vitamins and Omegga 3's and of course her medication for her ADHD. I know not everyone agrees with putting these children on these medications but without them she'd talk incessantly and become very silly and very unproductive.

I hear Lyla crying to get up and go in to get her, change her and pop her in her highchair for her breakfast, jam on toast which she can feed to herself so I don't have to hover and can keep on Amy to eat. All the while I'm watching the clock and making sure she'll have time to do her other morning routines. She finally finishes eating and tell her to go in and brush her teeth and brush her hair. Usually within 5 minutes I have to go in to get her to finish up and end up brushing her hair for her because she's already forgotten to do it.

I hear Ian kicking his door to get out. We have the baby doorknob things on the inside of his room so he can't open the door and let out himself. Since he now knows how to unlock every door in the house, we've had to do it for fear he would get up without us hearing him and bolt from the house.

I go check the time again, five to eight, Amy has to get ready for the bus. I go get her boots and her coat, and zip it for her because for some reason she always has trouble with zippers. I put the backpack on her back, give her a kiss and tell her to run for the bus. I go and open the living room window blinds and watch as she makes her way to the bus stop, breathe a sign of relief then off to the next child.

Ian's tutor just pulls into the driveway and Ian sees her vehicle then waits at the door for her. He's excited to see her and I'm also relieved because she helps get him dressed and ready for his day before going downstairs to the IBI room we've built for him in our basement and start their sessions.

Finally Curtis has to take over with Lyla and I go get myself ready to go to work and leave for the day. There is solitude at work in my office away from everyone. I get to think about other things other than children and their schedules for just a short time before Curtis calls and reminds me of an appointment in the afternoon with some government officials at Disability Support. We go there and state our case to ge respite care for Ian, this is an appeal since we've already been denied. We go through our daily routine with Ian, how busy he is and how hard it is to find people willing to watch him and they send us on our way and say they'll let us know by Wednesday.

I'm so tired now, I really have to go to bed, I have other news of another meeting that happened tonight but I'll write another blog about that.......it's good news!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A trip to the grandparents

Today I was reminded why we don't often go to see my parents. The drive to there is about an hour and a half away so we pack the kids and the dog into the car and head off. First stop, McDonalds, it's lunch time and Ian loves McDonalds fries so we split a chicken nugget meal between all of us while upsizing the fries, giving the majority of them to Ian. Ordering a hamburger with just ketchup for Amy, we getting Amy to steal some of Ian's fries for Lyla. They all eat in the backseat on the way, we rarely go out for a meal with the whole family anymore, Ian would just be all over the place.

About halfway there Maggie, the dog, gets sick in her kennel so we stop, I take her for a walk while Curtis cleans out her kennel. It was a cold, rainy miserable day today I was cursing the dog under my breath. Finally, everyone's back in the car and on the road. We arrive at my parents place, everything nice and clean and pretty much in order. I set down Lyla and the chaos begins. Ian heads for the living room looking for Poppy, searches their two living rooms and finally sees him come from the hallway. He smiles when he looks at him and does a little dance and flaps his hands in excitement. I bring Lyla in to see mom and dad, and we get maybe a good 10 minutes of just sitting down and visting before the children start venturing around the big old victorian house. Amy the whole time is glued to the laptop, we don't let her use our home computer but nanny of course gives her free range. The rest of the visit is divided into chasing Lyla around the kitchen and living room and making sure Ian hasn't escaped from the house and watching that he doesn't fall down the two staircases in the house. Then trying to contain Ian downstairs when Lyla finally goes for a much needed nap, which only lasts an hour because he finally escapes upstairs and makes enough noise to wake her up.

After an early supper we waste no time trying to pack up for the drive home. Ian has stripped off his clothes while there so the first task is catching him and dressing him. While trying to catch him and to get him to climb up the stairs of the back porch I start to count so see if that would help him climb the stairs. I start One, he says do, I say two, he says dee, I say three, he says or, I say four, and this repeats right up to eleven. This is the first time I've ever heard him counting and I wasn't the only one to hear it, mom and Curtis who were in the kitchen could hear him too and then come to see if we can repeat it.....he does! Mom beams with pride saying, he'll be okay!

So finally we get the crew loaded back into the car, Lyla and Ian fall asleep on the way home and Maggie, the dog, throws up again. We get home, as soon as the car stops the kids wake up, we get them into the house and I put Ian to bed immediately, he was so tired. Then Curtis cleans out the cage and gives the dog a bath........so lucky I didn't have to do it! I start to feel very tired and very irritable, I check my bloodsugar and it's 14.5! Probably that brownie at moms. At this point I realize I'm not in the best shape to deal with the kids or anything and convince Curtis to let me have a nap. When my sugar is high I really find it hard to deal with the kids, I have no patience plus I get very tired which is why I'd rather go to bed then be angry and irritable at the kids. I have a nap for an hour and get up with Amy and Lyla while Curtis runs an errand in town. I get Lyla to bed just as he comes back with Chinese food, which was great because my bloodsugar dropped and I was irritable again. Finally peace!

Although is was a busy exhausting day I'm still glad we had the chance to see my parents and hear Ian's counting. I think next time we'll have to have them over for supper though, it would be alot easier!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

About us

My name is Lesley, I'm 32 years old. I've had Type 1 diabetes for 21 years.....imagine! I'm happy to say that I'm fairly healthy for someone with a chronic illness, I manage my diabetes with an insulin pump and check my bloodsugars about 3-4 times a day. I still have highs and lows and bad days but they are much fewer and far between than before I was on the pump. It truly saved my life! I don't have any lasting complications from the disease and my life insurance actually dropped my risk catagory, which is great since it's now cheaper. I work for the family business which is community care home for seniors, I've been working there for 8 years minus 3 one year maternity leaves so 5 years. I'm very lucky to have my parents as employers since they realize the stress of having a family of three and the toll that Diabetes can have on my day to day life.



My husband Curtis is 36 and right now he's off work taking care of our children. I was off for 15 months on maternity leave last year and just came back to work in January 2010. We needed to have someone home while things started taking place for our son and to watch over our smallest baby since the childcare costs of putting two in daycare take up quite a chunk of our salaries. This is working for us now, but we're hoping that Curtis will find work during the summer. He's a Scaffolder and goes to Fort McMurray for work but the recession destroyed quite a bit of jobs out there this past year so nothings for certain, if not he'll find work somewhere, he's very adaptable and could work at anything I think. He's a good dad, takes care of our children and often tells me what to do for these kids.



Amy is my 9 year old girl, she's my daughter from a previous marriage. In October 2008 she was diagnosed with ADHD. She's a beautiful girl full of imagination and wonder. She's naturally curious about everything and is a very smart girl, loves to read and is a social butterfly. Unfortunately, she's having trouble in school and is starting to hate school because of the negative vibes. She used to love it, now it's such a challenge for her to stay focused on her tasks and do her work. She has a math tutor and is in Brownies once a week. That's all I have her in right now because our life is busy enough without dragging her from one thing to another, in time I'll put her in different extracurricular activities but for now, I'm happy with the way things are.



Ian is our 3.5 year old son and I must say he's a gorgeous boy. Blue eyes and light red hair with a few freckles dotted across the bridge of his nose and on his cheeks. Nobody would ever look at him and say he's Autistic until they talk to him and he doesn't respond. Ian was diagnosed just a few months after Amy's ADHD was diagnosed in January of 2009. We took him to a private psychiatrist to get him assessed and diagnosed because if we had waited, he would've just been diagnosed this past fall and then have to wait another year on the list for IBI therapy. Luckily, because of his earlier diagnosis, Ian has started his IBI just last month and it's looking promising. He's a very good natured boy, very seldom has tantrums and lets us know in his own way what he wants.



Lyla is our baby, she's almost 15 months old, she was born just 2 weeks after Ian's diagnosis. When she was two months old she was diagnosed with having Strabismus in both eyes, meaning her eyes are crossed. She had corrective surgery in October of 2009, just 9 months old. The surgery did dramatically improve her eyes but they're still crossing which should be corrected by wearing bifocal glases. How do you get a 15 month old to wear glasses? If you can tell me, please let me know. She's a beautiful baby, loves to get into everything and is starting to try to talk and imitating sounds, she's still not walking yet but I believe that has to do with her eyes. She's in an Autism Sibling study at the IWK in Halifax because she has an older brother with Autism.



We also have two cats and a puppy. We got Maggie, a yellow lab, to train to be a service dog for Ian. It'll be a long time training her but will be worth it, we have a local registered dog trainer helping us with this process and we're hoping everything works out.