Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Scarlett Letter

This "A" represents a different meaning than Nathaniel Hawthorne intended, but still has its own share of stigmas and life-changing effects.


Deacon has autism.

Even though I first suspected he might before his first birthday and have had doctors on the fence since then, it still felt like a huge blow after all the progress he has made and hope that we have held onto. Brian was especially taken back by the news.

Now looking at the signs and symptoms, how could he not? Below are many characteristics for autism. The ones highlighted in yellow are parts of his personality now, the blue are some he has had in the past, but is beginning to overcome.

We spent 4 hours at his appointment at the Autism Center. They asked us a million questions and observed Deacon. The doctor immediately picked up on things we haven't paid much attention to, like how he flaps his hands when he gets excited.

They took Deacon and I into a room with toys scattered on the floor. His doctor said each toy had been specifically chosen to see how he would interact with it. I was not allowed to talk/play with Deacon unless asked to do so, so I just sat and observed. First he was overwhelmed by the clutter in the small room, and began pacing circles around the room whining. The doctor asked what was wrong and I explained that because of vision issues he was probably nervous he would trip on the toys. The doctor tried engaging him with many of the toys, and even ones I would have thought he would be interested in, he paid no attention to. It was eye-opening to see him in a different environment where I couldn't interact with him. I know he does better with me at home, but didn't realize how bad it was outside of our environment. I held back tears. She tried to get him to play pretend by bathing a baby doll. Deacon ignored her most of the time, and at the very end, took the doll and chewed on its hand. She poured crackers and fruit snacks onto a plate for "snack time." He flipped the food off the plate and put the plate in his mouth.

Before they even gave us the diagnosis, I knew.

We are fortunate that he is not aggressive, is easy-going, and enjoys being around others. The doctors say this will help therapists/teachers work with him because he is so easy to love.

We haven't been told the severity of his autism (ie. what end of the spectrum), but will hopefully learn more at an upcoming appointment. The doctor told us it is great that we caught it so early, when therapy is the most beneficial. Most studies have been done on the benefit of therapy for children age 3+, so he is ahead of the curve. Dr. Voight thinks it's possible that with ABA therapy, Deacon could one day lose the autism diagnosis.

So what now?

ABA therapy is our only hope at making big changes. Unfortunately, it is VERY expensive. Like $50/hr. expensive. And the doctor suggested AT LEAST 20 hrs/week to be effective. Because we both work, we make too much money to receive help from the government. (We are on the waiting list for the only assistance he could receive. The wait is 8-10 YEARS.) The boys are on Brian's insurance, and I just found out that his insurance doesn't cover it. Luckily, because we just had Bennett, I am able to add the boys b/c of the life-changing event. It appears my insurance does cover it, but how much, I'm not sure. It could only be a couple of hours a week, or have a cap on how much they are willing to pay. Even 20% of $1000/week is going to bankrupt us, especially now that we will be spending $300/week to have two kids in childcare.

It looks like we may have to do some fundraising to get help for our most prized possession. I will do whatever it takes to give him every resource available. I just hate that Brian and I both work hard and pay taxes, but aren't eligible for any benefits our government provides because we make too much, but not enough to cover costs.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bennett: 3 Weeks

This week your neck has gotten a lot stronger. You will lift your head while we are holding you on our chest or shoulder. You still sleep all the time, which is the reason I couldn't get you awake for your picture...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Out and About

With weeks like our last one (5 separate doctor appointments!) we have made sure our weekends are filled with a little more fun that allow us to get out of the house! We took Bennett on his very first visit to the zoo.

Brian took the older boys on the train while I sat with Bennett and the stroller.
The guys loved the aquarium!
Deacon was especially captivated...

It is already getting in the low 90's here in Houston, so the misters were a nice way to cool off! Carson made sure we stopped at every mister he could find.
Carson and Deacon spent the most time on the playground, which surprisingly wasn't too crowded.
At the petting zoo Deacon was more interested in sitting on the animals than actually petting them...
Carson always knows the best places to pose for a picture!
Besides the zoo, we have played in the mud at the neighbors...
and gotten soaked in the splash park.
Meanwhile, this is Bennett's best effort to participate:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bennett: 2 Weeks

This week you had your two week check up at the doctor and are now past your birth weight at 8 lbs. 3.5oz. Your belly button also healed this week, so you were able to take your first bath! So far you are very easy-going and only cry when you are hungry. You have been awake a little more this week, but still sleep the majority of the time, making you our easiest child to care for at the moment!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Carson's Break

Last Monday Carson was running on the playground at recess when he tripped and rolled over his right shoulder. The nurse called to let me know that he had a little scrape and she gave him an ice pack, but he seemed to be fine and nothing appeared to be broken.

That afternoon when he came home from school he complained of it still hurting and laid down to take a nap. Carson never naps anymore, so I was a little concerned. The next morning he woke up and said it still felt bad. Because we had Deacon's appointment at the Autism Center that morning, I told Carson that if it was still bothering him we would go to an urgent care place after school.

When he got off the bus he was still in pain. Brian and I figured he had probably strained it, but I wanted to be sure, so off we went. The doctor gave Carson an x-ray:

...and surprise: he broke his clavicle! Poor baby.

The doctor gave Carson a sling and referred us to an orthopedic doctor to make a decision on what to do.

Our appointment was Thursday and went really well. The doctor said that because Carson is so young it will heal quickly. He suggested that Carson wear the sling as a reminder to him and his friends to be careful, but he really doesn't even need it. No wrestling, contact sports, or trampoline for the next month, but he can swim and use his arm to write with. He sure is a tough little guy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yesterday sucked. Bad.

After four hours of testing at Texas Children's Autism Center, Deacon was diagnosed with Autism.

Carson fell at recess and broke his collarbone.

When it rains, it pours.

Doctor appointments for both tomorrow. Will write more when I have the energy. Please pray.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bennett: 1 Week

Bennett- I am hoping to take weekly photos of you with updates so that we can watch you grow your first year, just like we did for your brothers. Your photo this week is so adorable!!

We have loved our first seven days with you! This week Meme stayed at our house to help us get adjusted and was a huge help. As the week has gone on you have stayed awake a little more each day (and night). You drink about 3-4 ounces at each feeding and sleep 2-4 hours at a time. You love your swing, pacifier, snuggling, and eating.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bennett's Birthday Story

I had my final doctor appointment last Thursday, the 3rd, where my doctor gave the go-ahead for my induction the following day. The hospital was to call the next morning by 5am and let us know when to come in. They called at 4:30am and said they were full, but would call again by 8am. At 7:30am they asked how soon we could be there, and I told them we could make it within the hour.

We loaded up our bags, took one last picture of my belly, and were off!

My parents stayed home with Deacon, while Carson was at school. Brian's dad had knee replacement surgery earlier in the week, so they waited at home until we were close to delivering so that he wouldn't have to sit for too long.

We arrived and were checked in by 8:30am. The hardest part of delivery for me is the iv, so once we were past that, I was great. My doctor came by to check me shortly after that. She had a student doctor with her and asked if he could watch the birth (his FIRST birth to see EVER). If it would have been my first child there is no way I would have let him, but by the third, I honestly could care less...crazy how motherhood/childbirth does away with that modesty.

Sometime around noon they gave me my epidural. Dr. Bruce came by and broke my water then checked me again, estimating Bennett would arrive around 8pm. Brian and I passed the time watching the Game Show Network and napping.

Around 6pm I started to feel some pressure and when the nurse checked me I was dilated to 7 cm. About ten minutes later I was at a 10. Dr. Bruce arrived on her phone with two other rooms who also had mothers who were ready to go! Luckily, she loves us and decided to deliver Bennett first!

When I say delivery for me is easy, I am not kidding! We were literally cracking jokes in between pushes and giving the student doctor a hard time about this being his first birth. Three contractions later, Bennett Asher Scott arrived at 7:06pm.
Our healthy boy weighed in at 8lbs. 3oz. and measured 20 inches long.

The nurses were so nice and made hats for both the brothers with Bennett's footprints.
Like last time, the big brothers (wearing matching shirts) were the first ones in to see our new addition!
Deacon was more interested than I thought he would be!
Carson was glowing!

Next came the grandparents:

and Brian's cousin, Daryl:
Shortly after they left, Bennett went to the nursery to be checked out and bathed and we were moved to our room. After not being able to eat all day, I was starving, so we ordered a pizza while we watched Bennett sleep.

The next morning more visitors arrived! My coworker and friend, Stephanie:
My sister and nephews:

Our friends, Corey and Stacy:
and Lindsey:
Bennett looks like the perfect mixture of both his brothers. Carson's size and lips, Deacon's nose and cheeks. He has more hair than both his brothers and is in the middle for length and weight. Bennett is also a finger sucker, which is a first for us. He already loves his pacifier.
Brian's strong genes took over again and the baby of our family looks exactly like him! The only part of him that I gave was my long toes, but with any luck his feet will catch up just like his brothers did.
Welcome to our crazy family, sweet boy! We already love you so much!