Wednesday, September 17, 2014

He just needs a friend.

" She has a daughter also with Downs. Non verbal, I think she is 6. Play date possibly?"

This was a response I saw on a Facebook post. It sparked some thought in me. The lady that originally posted also has a non verbal girl with Down syndrome. I thought two girls that can't talk "playing" together. Where's the benefit? To me, it seems like that's a meet up more for the moms to bounce ideas off each other and feel a little less lonely in the world as far as being a parent to a special needs kiddo goes. But with the amazing abilities of social media you can join Facebook groups that do that same thing.

The lady that posted the reply meant well. But as a parent of a special needs kiddo I can tell you that while I welcome play dates with other special needs kids, I have found that most of the time special needs kids don't always react the way you would expect when placed with another special needs kiddo. Many times it compounds the issue. What I mean is that special needs kids many times are still trying to figure out the world in their heads, it's confusing to them. They get used to how the nuero-typical world works and then you throw a wrench in the system.  Many times they understand their issues but they don't understand others.

I would love and welcome play dates from nuero-typical kids that have been taught tolerance and acceptance. That go out of the way to see that they are literally changing a life. I would love to see parents showing their kids what that looks like.

I remember a few years ago we had gone to Hawaiian Falls waterpark and I had bought some cushy water balls to take with us to play with. Cade was in the water trying to convince Addie to play with him, but she wanted to do her own thing. Along come two preteen boys. At first I was a little concerned. What were this little punks were gonna do (because all teenagers are up to no good, right?) and then, they started playing with Cade and his toys. I'll be honest I kinda thought they would decide to play "keep away" from him and I would have to intervene and help him. But then my faith in teenagers was restored as they were letting Cade throw the balls to them and then giving then back to him. It was such a sweet moment for me as a mom and they totally made his day! They asked me if Cade could go different places with them and while I was a little skeptical as to WHY these boys would want to hang out with Cade I allowed them to take him and explained some of his challenges. They were so sweet. I tried to buy them ice cream and cotton candy, they would not let me. I told them how much they had blessed me, they told me it was no big deal and really nothing special. It was truly what Cade needed, he needed friends, he needed someone that could recognize he was different and then give him grace. There are times that special needs kids just can't extend grace to each other. That takes reasoning skills they often times don't have.

I also remember one time Addie's kindergarten teacher brought her to the car at pickup. She explained that Addie was so good at befriending one little boy in particular. He was in regular classes but had some "issues" that caused many kids to not like him or want to play with him. Not Addie! She tolerated him, she accepted him. The teacher said if he hit her, she would just hit him back and they would continue playing. It just worked. I might have cried! I just looked at her with huge tears in my eyes and thanked her for being nice to a boy that no one else wanted to be friends with. Thanked her for showing him what a real friend looked like. It was a sweet moment.

But I can't say that I would have always encouraged that. There was a time in my life where people with special needs kinda frightened me. I'm sure much of that was out of fear that I wouldn't know what to do if something happened. I also know that those with neurological disorders can be volatile and I never wanted to place myself in a situation where i didn't know what to do. So God made me a mom. Of a special boy. Life is unpredictable. What will upset him is unpredictable. And you just roll with the punches.

Id like to teach my kids to love special friends better than I did, or better than I knew how. I would like to instill in them understanding for what other people are going through or how they are feeling (sometimes I really struggle here too) and I would like them to know that sometimes just being a friend in that moment might change someone's whole day!

So sometimes what I really need is for my special needs kiddo to be able to play with nuero-typical kids and them know and understand he has challenges. That he may say or do something that seems odd. That he might want to play weird things. But for today, he just needs a friend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stevie Rae King’s Journey Earthside

I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions since I was about 18 weeks. I realized that I would have them when I needed to go to the bathroom.  Aaron and I had gotten into a bad habit of going to bed semi-early and staying up very late watching TV. On June 21st it was business as usual.  I started having “Braxton hicks” at about 12:45am and I ventured to the potty. I got back in bed and realized, even after emptying my bladder I was still having them. I started timing them. Ten minutes apart. Aaron came to bed about 1:15-1:30am and I told him, “Just so you know, I think I’m in labor”, his reply, “Oh Great !”. I told him to try and get some sleep and I kept timing them. After timing them for an hour and realizing they were, in fact, very regular, I text my midwives (Donnellyn and Lizzie). I tend to have babies very fast and wanted them to know I was in labor. They recommended taking a warm bath and seeing what my contractions did. So I did. After I got out of the bath I couldn’t really feel them and they were very irregular. I text them back and told them I was going to try and get some sleep. My biggest fear in choosing the birthing center was that I wouldn’t make it there on time (It’s about 45 minutes away with no traffic). I did finally drift off to sleep about 3am. At 4:07 I woke up! My contractions were very much contractions and not Braxton hicks, but not painful, but they were 4 minutes apart. I decided I would take another bath and see what happened. After my bath/shower they were irregular but hurting some. I thought I would try and watch a movie and just wait it out. About 5:15 they were hurting more but still irregular, about 2-5 minutes apart), I decided that I would text my midwives, and wake up Aaron.

It was the plan that we would take the girls to Aaron’s parent’s house and that Cade would go to the Birth Center and hang with Papo (Scott) while we had the baby. I had text my mom earlier at about 1:30am to let her know I was in labor and hadn’t gotten a reply. Aaron had text his parents about 2:00am and also had no reply. Now that it was go-time, we tried calling. Since I have never gone into labor that early in the morning, and because all the kids were sleeping, I thought it would be best that Aaron’s parents come to our house until the girls woke up. Aaron called and called, no answer, I called my mom, no answer. What the heck was going on! I started to panic because my contractions were really starting to hurt and all I could think was I wasn’t going to make it. I think it’s possible my midwives started panicking for me as well! Aaron decided he would drive to his parents house and wake them up. I called Scott’s phone waking him up. He in his groggy sleep mode handed the phone to my mom, who realized very quickly, as I was having trouble talking through contractions, that it was go-time, and they were on their way over! I was home with three kids, alone, in serious labor! It was intense! I gathered all my things together, and I sat down, my midwives told me to lay down and not get up, not even to pee!!! My car had NO gas and Aaron was going to go put gas in it, at this time his mom was almost to our house and just suggested we take her car since it was full! About the time that his mom pulled up, Cade woke up, and my parents pulled up, we threw shoes on him, loaded the car, and we were OFF!! I was still timing my contractions and while they hurt they were still very irregular, 3-7 minutes apart.

Aaron was so funny! On the drive he was getting cut off by people everywhere, it was like they knew I was having a baby and it would be funny if we didn’t make it. At the airport (we drove through) he chose a lane with no cars and at the last minute someone jumped in front of him, he rolled down the window and was saying, “PREGNANT WIFE, WE GOTTA GO!!” We finally arrived at the Birth Center at about 6:30am and I hadn’t had a baby in the car! Yay! As soon as I arrived they took me into an exam room and checked progress, I was at a 6! Donnellyn was surprised and thought that maybe I was at a 3. After that, I went to the birthing suite I had chosen. It was in my opinion, the most private, yet still large suite. It’s the suite that when I first saw the birthing center, I wanted to birth in. I changed into a dress, and they brought me a cup of Red Rasberry Leaf tea. I had been drinking red raspberry leaf tea for some time; however this cup was particularly strong. Aaron and Mandie were sitting next to me in some recliners. We were chatting with my midwives about previous deliveries. I took a couple large gulps of my tea as we were talking. A couple minutes later I looked over at Lizzie and said, “I don’t feel good, this is making me sick” one of the assistants went to go get me a bowl, but before she could get back I got sick, I tried to hold it in, but instead it went everywhere, and unfortunately all over my sister, who was sitting next to me. Fortunately, it was JUST TEA so it wasn’t terrible, but I felt so bad

After that, I walked some around the birth center. Donnellyn applied some essential oils and then I got in the tub they had prepared for me.  My contractions were pretty intense but spread out for varying amounts of time… I felt like it was taking forever. With both of my other girls they broke my water and in 20 minutes I was having a baby. This time we were going to let my water break on it’s own. I stayed in the tub for a while, but seemed more relaxed and contractions were slowing so I got out and they made me do this thing that Donnellyn likes to call “tilt a whirl” I had to lay on one side for two contractions, get on all fours for two contractions, and then the other side for two contractions. Aaron and I were both very tired so we laid down for a bit, but I, of course, couldn’t sleep so we decided to do some homeopathic remedies to get things going. These worked like a charm. I was taking them every ten minutes. I sat on the birthing ball and rocked back and forth and breathed through contractions, trying to really take in my music that was playing in those moments. I always had my worst contractions on the potty, and I was using the potty quite often. I stood up to go potty and realized I had some bloody show and then more when I used the potty. I had never had that before being that I was always in the bed birthing in 20 minutes after my water broke. They could tell my contractions were harder and so they asked if I wanted back in the water. I said yes, and they filled it up for me! I laid there and had several more contractions; they were hard, but manageable.  I remember my mom telling me how great I was doing and how peaceful I seemed, and truly it felt that way! I remember one time saying,” I feel like I don’t want to do this anymore”. While I was in the tub I remember actually feeling her head go down. It was so strange, she moved and within minutes I told my midwife that I thought I needed to use the restroom again. I got out to do that and when I tried to go realized I didn’t need to go potty, I needed to push.  I finished my contraction on the potty and then got back in the tub, they called everyone in the room. I only pushed for four minutes. On the last two pushes she literally SHOT OUT like a rocket! Aaron said it was the strangest thing; she was not there, and then there. It was also the most painful part of her birth! Donnellyn said that she’s not seen anyone try and crab walk their way out of a tub, but I was just trying to escape the pain. On the next contraction she was born in water. I pulled her up on my chest as far as I could get her; she had a very short cord. I didn’t even care what she was at that point just that she was born, and she was mine! I did look and announced, “It’s a girl”. She was perfect and precious! We got out of the tub and into the bed to deliver the placenta which took what seemed like FOREVER (45 mins). In that time she nursed and her cord finished pulsating and was cut. We then took an herbal bath together to help aide healing for me and lung function and health for baby!  After wards I showered and then we took baby to bed while they did a newborn exam. She was 7lbs 8oz and 20” long! She was extremely passive, something I felt she was in utero as well.  We then dressed her, packed her up and home we went! I loved being able to go home to rest! It was an amazing experience! By far the best birth experience I’ve ever had!

 Stevie's Birth Video

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Being a Peaceful Reactor

I hope that it goes without saying that I LOVE my children! I do! But I have a really huge problem (well more than one, but one for this blog) I'm an explosive reactor. I mean that I react to them sometimes in an explosive manner. I try very hard to be as patient as possible, but when I've told you five times to do the same thing, I just reach a boiling point and "patient mom" has suddenly turned into "screaming mom". Sometimes I don't even become "patient mom" I go straight to "screaming mom". I'm only instilling negative things into my children this way. Fear is one of them. The other is teaching them it's okay for people to treat them this way, and that it's normal behavior.

Fear- My kids never know what to expect of me. Is mom going to be mad? Is mom gonna yell? I want my kids to know the truth, there is NOTHING they could EVER do to make me love them less. My love only grows. I want them to feel like they can tell me anything, even if I don't like it. I don't want them to ever believe I hate the mess more than I love them.

It's okay for people to treat me this way- NO! It's not. These are the most precious little people in my life. If they are then I should treat them the best, set the standard on how others should treat them. Instead I'm teaching them that thier feelings aren't valid, that thier voice doesn't matter, that no matter what they should just do what they are told. I instead want them to know that they are important, everything they think, feel, say, it matters and it's important. That they are essential! That they should always trust thier instincts even if it goes against what someone told them.

Normal Behavior- I don't want them to think this is how people should behave. That my explosive behavior is normal. Gosh, I have so many hang ups, this is one I REALLY don't want to pass on to my kids. I realize that my behavior is childish, and immature. I want my kids to be better than me, and better than what is normal. I want to set the standard higher.

One of my new life goals, to be a peaceful reactor. I see articles all the time talking about how you should be a non reactive parent, and I don't feel like this is the key either. I feel like we should react just in a kind and gentle way. I'm a controller by nature, and the same is true when it comes to my children. I, of course, try and be the best mom I can be, and at times I think this makes me even more volatile because my kids never really know what to expect. I want to quit controlling them (or trying to) and be guiding and teaching.

I don't want to just tell my kids that they are loved, I want them to know it, to feel it. I want them to have good memories of their momma. I know that kids are forgiving and even if you have terrible parents we almost always instinctively love them. I don't want my kids to instinctively love me, I want to LOVE them with ALL MY MIGHT! I want to create these super well adjusted, Christ-loving adults. I feel like I'm teaching them that God is an explosive reactor, that when we don't please Him, He's angry! And My God is not like that. I want them to know the truth because I have shown them that.

Please be praying with me, that I can be ALL my kids need me to be. Their needs will be met, but I want them to be emotionally whole. I want to be better!

Be brave and Struggle Well...

Brandie :)