Starting our Journeyย 

Today was a busy day of appointments. Our first of the day was to meet with a therapist for my 12 year old son. He had been hospitalized this month for mental health reasons. He has been having thoughts of hurting himself or others, and thoughts of swears/gestures that he would never say or do. While hospitalized, we discovered he has a thyroid condition which may have contributed to his sudden change in personality and thoughts. We have to give his medication a few more weeks to see if it helps.

In the meantime we will be going to therapy about once a week. Today was a two hour appointment, to gather information. My son was a bit stressed by it all, but being honest and sharing everything is the best way to get the help needed to get back on track. During the appointment he said he wanted to be fixed, but the therapist stopped him right away to say he has to make this work and want it. Nobody can just “fix” him. They can give him the tools to help him change the way his mind is working right now. She explained that right now his thoughts are stuck on a path in his brain, and he needs to train his mind to follow a new healthier path. โ˜บ

I think we both liked the therapist we met, but unfortunately her availability is pretty limited. ๐Ÿ˜ž She’ll refer us to another therapist in the practice and we’ll meet them next week. She comforted me by saying she didn’t see my son as being an imminent risk, in need of immediate intense treatment. My husband and I agree. We know he needs help to cope with his bad thoughts and to hopefully stop having them but we don’t see him acting on them.

Our next appointment was to see his endocrinologist. She explained that we will never know what caused the autoimmune response that destroyed his thyroid, because there just isn’t a test to determine that. It’s hard not knowing what caused his condition,  but we’ll just moved forward and treat it. We are very thankful that his condition was caught, since she said his thyroid doesn’t feel like one she’d normally be concerned about. She said his thyroid level needs to be checked in about 4-5 weeks, and if his level is normal we do another check in 6 months. If the level is still high they will increase his medication and check his level in another 6-8 weeks.

I don’t have anything else to share right now. I think my stress levels will be dropping some with my son home again,  but we’re still going through  a lot. ๐Ÿ˜›

Mental Health

I’ve been absent for a while due to a family crisis.

My son turned 12, and our lives turned upside down. I had a blog started about how life with a twelve year old was going to be an adventure, but decided to trash it when things got serious in an instant.

Here’s how it started… my boy started questioning the words he was using, and whether he was telling lies by not choosing the “right” words for the situation. I explained that so many of the words we use can have different meanings and interpretations, and that he had nothing to be concerned about. He was concerned, since God sees all sins as equal. ย So, this was all my original blog was really going to be about. Then things got serious. He confessed to hurting his brothers. He said he had squeezed and bitten the two year old, and that he had shaken the baby. I was in shock! I knew he would get frustrated with them from time to time, but I had no idea he hurt them. The two year old is very difficult when it comes to diaper changes, and the baby gets distracted during bottle feeding so those get difficult too. Of course the two year old interrupts and requires a lot of entertaining and the baby crys when he needs things. That’s all to be expected.

My son’s personality completely changed. After he confessed about hurting his brothers, ย my husband came home from work to talk about it with him. My husband was obviously upset that the babies had been hurt, and he was as shocked as I was that our 12 year old had been doing it. My husband asked how he felt about hurting his brothers, ย and how serious shaking a baby could be. My son had no emotional response to those questions. His only concern was of his punishment. He also seemed to be ignoring my husband during this talk.

My son confessed to having thoughts of hurting his brothers the next day, and they were for minor things like chewing loudly, ย or for just sharing space. We were concerned that he might act on these thoughts so we brought him to an emergency room.

They were prepared to send him home with us, with the plan to find out patient therapy. We chose to keep him there and requested in patient care. We had to protect the babies who couldn’t protect themselves. ๐Ÿ˜ž

He was in an emergency room, just waiting for a bed to open up in one of the psychiatric hospitals. They did no testing while he was there, and he didn’t even have a functioning nurse call button in his room. He had security guards stationed right outside his room too. They were there to monitor the whole floor. The staff didn’t even remind my son to order his meals on time. It was very frustrating. We saw some improvements in his personality during our visits, so after 2 nights we decided to bring him home. He was home from Thursday night to Monday evening without many issues. If he had a bad thought he left the room, or I would take the other kids away from him and quiet them down or whatever was needed. We were doing ok, and just waiting for calls back from local therapists.

The two year old was napping on the floor Monday while my son and I were playing a video game, and when it was time for us to stop to get chores done he stepped over the 2 year old to put a controller away. After doing that, he confessed to having a thought of stepping on the 2 year old. We discussed how hard, where on his body and what damage it could have done. It was scary! After that he did his chore of cleaning a litter box, then took a shower. After his shower he told me he had suicidal thoughts while in the shower. He told me those thoughts became homicidal too.

I messaged my husband, and we decided we had to bring him back to the hospital. We chose a different hospital this time though. They were much more thorough, and the care seemed to be better.

They actually ran some blood tests, and discovered my son has a thyroid condition. It can be linked to mood changes and psychological changes. He was started on medication and had a “sitter” in his room 24/7. He wasn’t allowed utensils or sharp objects. We visited him every day, and were waiting for a bed in a psychiatric hospital again. ๐Ÿ˜ž

We had heard that strep infections can cause psychological changes in children too, but his strep test was negative. Since we were all very sick during the whole month of April we thought there might be a hidden infection. We were able to get him treated with an antibiotic just in case. He was in that hospital from 5/15-5/26. They wanted him transferred sooner, but there are only so many beds available in our state. My husband and I had hoped the thyroid medication and antibiotics would have made a difference before the transfer happened, ย but sadly they haven’t done enough. He says he has thoughts less frequently though. ๐Ÿ˜Œ

He was transferred yesterday. He had to ride in a sheriff’s vehicle with 3 officers.๐Ÿ˜ž It was not due to his threat level, it’s just protocol.

We met with some of the staff, saw his room/unit and had a short visit with him. We called him to say goodnight and left it at that. My phone was charging after our call, so when my husband when to check on it he saw I had a missed call from an hour before and a voicemail. It was after the time my son was supposed to be in his room for the night. The voicemail was my son, saying he didn’t like it there. It was heartbreaking to know I missed that call and chance to comfort him. I called the nurse’s station right away to make sure he wasn’t still upset. ย I wasn’t allowed to talk to him since it was after bedtime, but they left him a note to say I did return his call.

He called me at 8:30 this morning, ย and again at 9:30. Both times he asked to talk to his 2 year old brother. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The plan was for us all to visit tonight after my husband got home from work, but it would only be for an hour. My son requested that I go this afternoon with his brothers so he can visit longer. It is awful to have him away from home, and know he doesn’t like it. He says the other kids are crazy and he’s the only normal one. He said they swear, and one girl has cut marks all over her arms. ๐Ÿ˜ž I wish I could just wave a wand and take away his bad thoughts. He needs to learn how to get through this, and I don’t know how to help him. He has to be there.

I know this is a lot to share on a blog, ย and I left some things out too. This has been such a stress filled month. I just want my life and son back!

Another Car Accidentย 

My husband was leaving work yesterday, while still in the parking lot he had an accident. ๐Ÿ˜ž

Where we work there are designated travel directions in the parking lot, and you have to back out of your parking spot. As my husband was traveling in a lane, a car backed out without looking. My husband honked his horn, but the car kept coming. He swerved to avoid being hit, only to hit a parked truck. 

The driver who backed out without looking did stop, but never got out of his vehicle. He said it was his fault,  then drove away! The incident was caught on camera by the security system and the person who viewed the tape said it happened just as my husband described. The person who owns the truck he hit handled the situation well, but my husband could tell he was annoyed. Who could blame him? His vehicle was parked and he was working. 

My husband was able to drive home after he and someone from work taped up parts that would have rubbed the tire. I never would have risked driving it, and possibly have the tire blow out. Men are stubborn like that though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are some pictures of the damage.

We’ve only had this car 3 months! We bought it to replace the one I totalled when I hit a patch of ice and spun off the road into a tree. This car should not be considered totalled since it’s newer, but it will be an expensive fix.

I think the driver who backed out without looking should be held responsible, but their vehicle never hit ours. If my husband didn’t naturally swerve, and just let the car back into him this would be his responsibility. The police can’t even hold him accountable for leaving the scene. 

Since there is video evidence I’m sure my insurance company will hold them accountable if they can.

Thankfully nobody was injured…. well, my husband did cut his hand while taping the fender so he could drive home. ๐Ÿ˜’ It was a minor injury though.

We will have to bring the car to a garage Tuesday, and pick up a rental. Right now I am stranded with the kids for a couple of days. There’s no way I’m going to risk driving that car, and hubby had to take our second vehicle to work. He better not have another careless driver cause another accident. 

Another Saturday Crock Pot Meal

The picture doesn’t look great, but it smells yummy. ๐Ÿ™‚

This Saturday crock pot idea is really working well for me. Tonight we are having a pot roast with carrots and potatoes. I went to bed around 10 pm, but the baby was awake at 2:30 to nurse, and the 2 year old was awake at 3:30 with a poopy diaper. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I wasn’t able to fall back asleep until 4:30 so, I did not feel very rested when the boys were both awake for the day at 8:30. Thankfully they woke up the 11 year old too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He helped me with the 2 year old while I nursed the baby again. By 10 am I was able to have dinner going in the crock pot.  

My husband used the crock pot this week too. He cooked up some chicken breasts for dinner the other night, and made enough for lunches for a couple of days. He simply put 4 frozen breasts in the crock pot with some spices and let it cook all day. He was able to shred the meat with a wooden spoon since it got so tender. For dinner he made mashed potatoes and gravy to go with the chicken. I had made a batch of cole slaw the night before so that went well with it too.

For lunches we made wraps with the chicken, some salad mix and honey mustard dressing. They were satisfying, and a nice healthy choice. The fact that chicken breast is so much cheaper than the deli meat we were buying for sandwiches is a bonus too.  

Unfortunately leftovers won’t work for my husband’s lunch tomorrow, but I know what I’ll be having. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

I’ll probably make some more chicken tomorrow so he can have a nice wrap Monday, and the rest of us will be able to make wraps or tacos out of the chicken for our lunches too. These little time and money savers are making my hectic life a little less so. 

Sticking to a plan

After taking a week off from meal planning, I can say that I like meal planning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We could not keep the exact meal plans that I set up, due to having more food leftover than I planned on or being too busy on certain days to make the meal that I intended to make. It was nice to have a list of meals to choose from that I knew I had the ingredients for on any given night. Last night was a non-planned night, and we nearly ordered take out. We have been fighting illness, and lack of sleep so it was so tempting to order dinner. Thankfully my husband stepped up, chose what to make and made it. We really didn’t want to spend money on take out, since we both have been losing hours at work lately. We knew we had plenty to choose from in the house, and it was already 6:30pm too. He made cheeseburgers, mac & cheese and green beans. I was very tired, and about to pick up my phone to place an order. Hubby saved the day, and about $30 on take out too.

This week I am back to making a plan. I am more aware of what meals will create leftovers, and trying to separate those meals so that I don’t stuff my fridge with so many that we end up wasting food. My husband and I don’t mind having leftovers as lunches, or even dinner again, but my 11 year old has a phobia of leftovers. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Unless it is a pizza shop pizza. ;P He won’t even eat leftover homemade pizza. 

I’m also not sure what day will be grocery shopping day this week. I don’t venture out on my own to do the shopping on the weekend, so we usually shop on Tuesday when my husband and I are both off of work. That is the only day we get off together as a family though, so it’s hard to waste any of it to grocery shop. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 

This week will probably have some curve balls thrown in, because I need to make a dental appointment for my husband. If he gets in on Tuesday, then we’ll probably shop before or after his appointment and see how that affects dinner timing and the planned meal. Otherwise, his appointment will have to be after I get home from work one day, which would definitely throw off the timing of dinner, and possibly interfere with the ability to make the meal I was planning on. I think I have everything on hand for the meals I planned until next Saturday, but we will run out of some staples before then. Being flexible is the key to my meal plans being successful or not. If I was strict with myself, I would surely fail at this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think making a dinner plan helps throughout the week by providing easy lunches on days when either my husband or myself are home with the 3 kids. (2 of which who are very demanding of our time) It also makes lunch decisions easier to make if we know what dinner is going to be. I personally don’t like having something for lunch that will be too similar to dinner.

I have noticed a difference in my stress level when I have a plan in place. I’m sure that having a better routine will eventually be noticed by the rest of my family too. 

 

Feeling Blessed and Stressed

I woke up at 3:39 this morning to the sound of my 8 week old baby crying. It was just 1 minute before my husband’s last alarm clock was about to go off. He was just hoping for a few more quiet minutes before he had to get up and get ready to head to work. Oh well, such is life with a newborn in the house. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I made sure I took a moment to use the restroom before I went to get the baby, since a nursing baby can do so for more than an hour at a time in the wee hours of the morning, or actually at any time of day. He started nursing at 3:43, and by 4:03 when my husband came to give us kisses goodbye, it was time to switch sides. My hubby took the chance to hold his baby before leaving for his long day of work. (It will be more than 14 hours before he makes it home again) I warned him to be careful, since the little guy tends to puke after a feed. Of course he knows this, but thought the risk was worth it.

After saying goodbye, and that I wished he could stay I got back to nursing the baby. He didn’t nurse for too long, but I held him until 4:50 anyway. I layed him back in his crib, and went to grab a drink and snack for myself. After my snack I felt that I should take care of some laundry that I washed before bed and had to dry. So, I took my comforter out of my dryer and threw the next load in. Time to tackle another wash from the mountain, so I got that started too. Now all that activity woke me up…perhaps for the day, though I am hoping to get a bit more sleep in a while.

I turned on the tv, but didn’t find much that interested me. I follow a few blogs here on WordPress, so I checked to see if I had any new posts to read. There were some. Next I went to check out posts in tags that I follow. I read High Risk Pregnancy posts, since I have had some myself, and one quite recently. I read a story that brought me to tears, and reminded me of my first pregnancy which tragically ended in a loss at 22 weeks 5 days pregnant. The story was of a NICU stay for a set of premature twins in which one had passed. The post reminded me of my tiny daughter who was never given a chance to live. It was 12 years ago that I lost her, but yet some of the details come rushing back as if it was much more recent. I didn’t hold her long, and I regret that. I was scared, and didn’t know what was appropriate. I hope I never have to go through anything like that again, even though I would know to handle it differently.

I am sitting here now in a fairly quiet house (the wash is washing, and the woodstove fan is blowing) knowing I have my 3 amazing sons resting in their beds. I am so blessed to have them here safe and sound. The sister they will all know about when the time is right, made it possible for me to get them here that way. (My 11 year old already knows her story, and crys for the sister he lost when we speak about her, but the 2 year old and infant of course wouldn’t understand) Losing her, let my doctors know that I would need precautionary cerclage surgery during any future pregnancies. I have had those done for my 3 boys and have gone on to be induced to deliver, without any signs of premature delivery prior to. I did lose 2 other pregnancies, but they were at 11 weeks, and 5 weeks along which was too early for even a precautionary cerclage. I did add progesterone to my list of precautionary treatments as soon as that positive test is seen after those losses.

I have had some fantastic doctors see me through my last 2 pregnancies, and am sort of hoping they might get a chance to do it again. I have found that having two babies 2 years old and under, is a bit stressful. They are both in diapers, ย can’t communicate everything they want or need clearly, and have quite strong opinions about those things. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Still I think growing our family would be awesome. My husband and I have no extended family to share our boys with, and we hope that our sons build strong relationships with eachother and keep in touch as they grow up and start their own families.

I know the quiet won’t last long, but I am happy to have had a bit of time to reflect on the blessings I have, and to remember what I have lost along the way. It will get crazy and stressful any moment, but it’s a good thing and a wonderful gift from God.

 

Getting Back To Work

I had my 6 week post partum appointment on 10/25, and went back to work 10/26. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I used all 12 weeks of my FMLA coverage, so I had to return to work. Thankfully my little guy has quickly recovered from his weight loss issues and is now nearly 10 pounds. He was not even back up to his birth weight of 7lbs 10oz until he was 3 weeks old. We had to supplement with formula for a few weeks to get him there. I am taking fenugreek capsules, and pumping as much as I can to keep my production up. I have been able to keep 3-5 feedings on hand in the fridge at all times. I haven’t started freezing any yet, I just make sure we’re using the oldest first and rotating the stock in the fridge.

Getting back to work has been hard. My first night before I went back was the worst. My anxiety level was so high. I only got about 2 1/2 hours of sleep, and I was worried I would forget to bring something or have trouble pumping. Things have gone pretty smoothly.

There have been some changes made in my department while I was out for 12 weeks. Some are good, and some I think are mistakes, but I’ll just have to see how it goes. 2 associates were fired while I was out, and 2 have transferred to other departments. That makes things a bit stressful in my area and we all have to be very flexible. I am glad that I have never had a problem with flexibility. Some people just find it too stressful to go with the flow, and panic. I work in distribution for a major retailer, so this is a very busy season for us. I am happy that they have cut out mandatory overtime for now. If they have to reinstate it, my husband and I will have to take turns working an extra day each week. That will mean not having a single day off as a family. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The first day I worked, I came home to a very happy family. My 2 year old was so excited to see me, and wanted hugs right as I walked in the door. ๐Ÿ™‚ The newborn was ready to nurse, so that made me feel good and needed. My husband was exhausted from his first day alone with the boys and I was happy to have enough energy to give him a bit of a break. The 11 year old was glad I survived my day too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The puppy was even jumping at the front door when I got home.

The next 2 days were very hard on me physically, and again I had very little sleep only 2 1/2 hours one night and 3 the next. My wedding ring was stuck on a very swollen finger when I woke up Friday, so I’ve been taking ibuprofen regularly. My neck, back, arms and legs have all been so sore. I am thankful that I get 4 days off to recover.

Overall I would say my return went well, but I so wish I could have been home longer…. like forever.