Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Won!

See below:

Do you ever tell stories that start "My friend's brother's girlfriend's roommate . . . " - there are some connections we have that seem so distant. How did I end up religiously reading a blog about adoption from Ethiopia? Back before Autism, right after Sam was born, I was sure our next child would be adopted. My niece was adopted from China and her parents suggested I check out Gladney because the man who helped them with her adoption now works there (or did a few years ago, I have never spoken to him). I was drawn to their Ethiopia program. I read about their process to get familiar with everything involved and I followed the blogs of a few families who published their stories. Lori Rooney's blog is one I was drawn to. She makes me wish I lived in Portland.

Fast forward to now. Sam is five and severely Autistic. We have 2 year old Maya. Along the way, adoption plans had to be put off the table. The money, the travel away from Sam - all too much. I sponsor a child through CHildren's Hope Chest (who is in an orphanage but is not available for adoption). The Rooneys are in the process of adoption their second child, a five year old girl. They held a raffle to help with their travel expenses. Up for grabs was a handmade doll by a very crafty lady whose blog I also read from time to time (for the craft projects, not the adoption stories). This woman's name is Autumn and her blog inspired me to dust off my sewing machine and get it tuned up. I haven't actually had time to use it yet but maybe soon. . .

I still read Lori Rooney's blog because I enjoy her writing style and the issues she raises. I made a donation to enter the raffle and I won! I would like to use the doll as a "big sister" gift for Maya when the baby comes. Sam's disability requires that he get a certain amount of attention. A new baby will also need a lot of attention. We will, of course, try to make sure Maya gets the attention she needs as well but it will be nice to be able to give her a really special gift. I might even order an extra when I know if the baby is a boy or a girl. The gender is written on an piece of paper in an envelope in my car. I haven't looked.

The dolls look like this:

Autumn has an etsy shop. Check out her items.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Pregnancy

I am now 23 weeks along and I haven't really posted about this pregnancy. Superstition may have played a small part in that but mostly I just didn't really know what to write. My early ultrasound at 11 weeks went well. I had my 20 week ultrasound (at 21 weeks) and they couldn't see the spine properly so I had to go back a week later. The whole week that followed I convinced myself that the baby had a spine deformity. The baby had flipped over by then and the doctor was able to see everything. I have a placental lake that the doctor wants to check on in a couple of months because there is a very slight chance that it could affect growth. So far there is no evidence of that. The baby is totally normal for age.

I didn't find out the gender. I found out for both of my other children and for both of them I enjoyed knowing. For some reason I feel like waiting until the delivery room this time. I had a strong feeling about the gender for the first two babes but I don't this time. I was sure it was a girl in the early months but over the past few weeks I have had the feeling it is a boy. I really don't trust my instincts on this one. My mind is so distracted with Sam's issues of late that I don't think I have had time to process any real intuitions I may have. A girl would make me feel safe. I know girls can have autism too but it is less likely. Perhaps having Maya gives me a false sense of security. Lately though I have been allowing my mind to wonder about having a boy - a typical boy. That would be great too- more than great. I just know I would spend the first year and a half on edge.

I was much sicker this time around. The morning sickness started a little later (8+ weeks) but it lasted until about 19/20 weeks. Near the end I wasn't throwing up everyday anymore but I was often close to it. Even though I have only been vomit free for a few weeks, I already feel like that stage was ages ago. That must be how people allow themselves to get pregnant again - If I have already forgotten the mroning sickness weeks later, imagine how little I will rememeber about it in a couple of years!

Sam is unaware of the pregnancy. People ask if I have told him. I haven't hidden it but he wouldn't know what I what I was saying if I DID tell him directly. Maya knows (as much as a 2 year old can know). SHe calls the baby "Baby Juice". She is very excited to know when Baby Juice is coming but I don't think the isea has much meaning for her. It is very cute to hear her talk about it. Anytime she sees something baby related she says, "That Baby Juice's clothes?" "That Baby Juice's blanket?" Very cute.
I just made a donation. I have exchanged messages/comments with this mom a few times. SHe is insightful and her posts are interesting to read. This a great chance to win a hand made doll for your child.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not all bad

Even thought the sleep issue is far from resolved, I have seen some very nice things since Sam started Clonidine. He is a little calmer. I know many people object to the idea of controlling behavior through meds (and I might have agreed with you years ago). For Sam though, his hyperactivity and impulse control issues were becoming safety issues. He compulsively throws hard objects at the ceiling, he feel compelled to put his mouth on countertops and pots on the stove (regardless of whether they are hot), he puts rocks in his mouth, he jumps off of high surfaces, he jumps straight up in the air and lands on his knees, etc. Years of strictly bahavioral therapy didn't help this. If anything, I feel he has gotten worse. So, with the Clonidine he is toned down a bit. ALso, he is more affectionate. He reminds me of the Sam he was when he was until about age 3. He used to sit on my lap a lot, give full body hugs, nuzzle shis head into me and sit next me on the couch. He is doing this again. It is so wonderful to spend the last few mintues before bed sitting on the couch with Sam rather than trying to stop him from throwing blocks and books at the ceiling. Finally, he is a little less frantic at night. He still wakes multiple times but he settles down a little better.

I don't know exactly how Clonidine works in the brain but I know it has a number of applications. It was originally a blood pressure medication. It is also used as a sleep aid, for ADHD and as an aid for smoking cessation. For Sam, it seems to be a positive addition. We are still working out the dosage. I think we have to wait to finalize that because Sam has a fever this week and it is hard to tell whether he is groggy because he is sick or because he needs a lower dose.

I would never tell another parent to put her child on meds but I am very comfortable with this choice we have made.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Nevermind. It is 7:30 am and Sam is resting on the couch from a nearly all-nighter. I have been up with him since 1 am. There is no end in sight.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It. . .might. . .be . . .working. .

We started the Clonidine a while back. The first doses didn't work, at least not enough to get him through the night. I added a child proof door knob cover. It didn't work (b/c Sam wouldn't give up and door sucks). I took a long hard look at our medicine experience and decided it was time to re-evaluate. I do not feel that any of the manipulations of the Risperdal have helped Sam. I have weaned him off. I DID see some minor effects from the Clonidine. It helped him throught the first half of the night and it seemed to affect his mood during the first part of the day as well. He was a little calmer and happier. I spoke to the neurologist yet again and she gave me the go ahead to try slight increases in the Clonidine. Last night Sam got 1 3/4 tablets (.1 mg tablets) and he slept soundly until 4:15 am. It was great ( Of course, Maya still woke up but she usually just needs to check in). Tonight we go to 2 tablets and that is our limit. We are going to focus on this for now and just worry about getting Sam's sleep under control. Two people with no knowledge of his medication have commented on how happy he seems lately so I think that is a good sign. If it works, I will just have to re-train MYSELF to sleep through the night.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Obviously, wallowing in self-pity is not a long term solution so I have to make another plan. A reader suggested a child proof door handle cover and to be honest, I never thought of that. I bought one this morning and I am going to try it tonight. If Sam simply tries to turn the door knob, he will not be able to get out. The problem is, most of our house is absolute crap due to years of not being able to properly maintain it. The basement is gross, the windows are drafty, the back room is barely insulated. Along with that, none of the bedroom doors close properly. I have slowly been trying to replace the doorknobs that are so old they no longer turn. The doors also need planing since they don't quite match up witht he frames anymore. Sam's room has a door I fixed up a while ago but it doesn't quite latch close as securely as I would like. All it takes is a good shove and you don't need to turn the door know. So, if all Sam tries to do is turn the knob, it will probably stay shut but if he pulls, even without turning, it may open and then I will be back to hold the door closed. I bought a lock I can put on if necessary but I would liek to try all options that don't make me feel like a horrible person first.

I also bought Sam a long body pillow to try to make his bed more cocoon-like. I don't think that will have any major effect but the pillows were on sale.

Wish us all a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No Sleep 'til Brooklyn

So it is not working. At least not yet. Sam has regressed back to where he was a while ago. He wakes around midnight and wants to sleep in my bed. I take him to the bathroom and put him back in his room. He yells and cries and tries to leave. I hold the door shut until he settles down. Repeat every 1/2 hour to hour for the rest of the night. At around 5 or 6 he will end up in our bed so he can grab an hour or two of sleep before school. It is too late for me at that point. He manages to stay awake with 2 meds that should make him sleep and melatonin. That is one messed up brain.

A friend at work suggested that I might have to put a lock on his bedroom. Then I wouldn't have to stand by his door most of the night. I know many families have had to do so for safety reasons. I just hate the idea. When I became a parent I never imagined locking my child in a room. But I know I may have to. If any of you have had to secure your child in a room at night please share.

I don't know what to do next if this doesn't change. Sam is holding it together since he gets that nap before school. But how long can a little boy last on so little sleep? I am trying to function on about 2 hours of sleep a night and I feel horrible. So far, I don't think it is affecting my job or the preganancy but how long can that last? I sort of snapped at my mom that other day because she said, " you really need you sleep; you're pregnant." I know she was just showing concern but in the moment it just made me mad - as if I don't know I need sleep? As if I am not getting any on purpose? If I had a solution I would go for it but I don't.