Reflective Ramblings: Heath – Our Journey (so far)

I’ve decided to give a completely unbalanced brag today.  I’m going to brag on my 3rd child and I am NOT going to feel guilty for leaving out my other kids.  They really all deserve their own posts, and hopefully I’ll get around to it before I do start feeling bad about it.

Let me introduce you to my adorable 4 year old son, Heath.

He is incredible.  Funny, smart, witty, a great cuddler and snuggle buddy, silly, charismatic, full of energy, a tough guy, animated, sly, clever, sensitive, and sharp as a tack.

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The Beginning

Heath’s birth was incredibly traumatic for me.  An easy, planned homebirth VBAC (this was my second one) turned into a complicated and quick homebirth VBAC turned postpartum hospital transfer for severe blood loss, a D&C, and 2 units of blood for me.  He came out blue at birth from actually getting stuck (one of his shoulders wouldn’t release), and I’m incredibly grateful to my midwives for maneuvering me around to help with positioning him to get out and probably saving his life.

heathbirth

The pregnancy had been terribly painful, and I suspect that I was suffering from untreated Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.  I was pretty miserable and actually felt like the delivery would be a problem.  Mother’s intuition is rarely wrong.  When he was born and blue, I stuck my hand over him and prayed to God to please heal him, keep him safe, and thanked Him for giving me this sweet baby.  Within about 10 minutes, he had pinked up, but I was clotting and losing a lot of blood.

Going to the hospital was not in the plan, but it went alright.  They didn’t force me to admit Heath (he was perfectly healthy and doing well), and even brought in a bassinet for us to use (and diapers, etc) without charging us for them.  That was kind and appreciated.

When we got home a few days later, I was grateful for my life and feeling so blessed.  I babied this little guy like I had never babied anyone before (sorry, older children!).  I swore he would be my last baby and declared my body broken. (hahaha, joke’s on me, right?)  I felt defeated, but encouraged that we were both alive and well.  I savored the moments with him as I felt these would be my last days mothering a newborn, and infant, a toddler.

The Next Stage: On the Move

It became clear when he began crawling and walking at 9 months that I would never have a moment’s rest ever again.  He would crawl or walk to a book shelf, pick a book (usually the most beloved one), and swiftly tear a few pages out to chew on.  He actually ate a few pages.  Our kitchen couldn’t keep the cabinets shut somehow and the toilets became an instant playground.

heathtrouble

I don’t know why I didn’t expect this, except my older 2 children were never that naughty.  Heath has a naughty streak that is very impressive and he is as clever as can be.  Seriously, it’s like at 9 months he changed from The Perfect Baby into the Tornado Toddler.  I actually used to refer to him as Hurricane Heath.  Yeah.

Nonetheless, he was still my baby and I continued to dote on him just a little bit extra.

Imagine my surprise when I found out I was expecting another little one when Heath was almost two!  I immediately panicked.  Oh, gosh.  How was Heath going to react now, not being THE baby?

Growing Up

heathsilly

When Heath was 25 months, he weaned from nursing.  I was just beginning my second trimester and was grateful to be done for a little while.  He was a little obsessed, though, and continued to pet my cleavage and point any chance he had.  Let’s not forget the boob grabs any time I wore a low cut shirt!  That was pretty embarrassing and I was nervous that he’d want to tandem nurse once his baby brother arrived.  (He didn’t – he forgot all about his “milkies” about a month before baby Charlie was born.  Whew!)

While he was still my sweet little cuddle bug, he turned into the Big Brother effortlessly.  He was not jealous, and I have to admit that I continued to baby him.  I couldn’t, in good conscience, make him the “Middle Child” after being the baby for so long.  To this day, I think he still feels like he’s the baby. 🙂

What Did You Say?

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About a year and a half ago, we started to really get concerned about Heath.  He had always been incredibly bright, expressive, and intelligent, but almost entirely incoherent.  While his vocabulary was vast, the words coming out of his mouth sounded more like a string of vowels.  Cup was “uh”.  Mommy was “ah-ee”.

At the age of 2 1/2, he should have been speaking in a language that most people could understand, whether they lived with him or not.  Truly, strangers should be able to have small talk with an almost three year old.  Unfortunately, I was the only one that could even partially understand him.  I knew what he was saying about 40-50% of the time, at best.  Without looking at him straight on and without any sort of context as to what he was talking about, that number would easily drop down to 20% at best.

We sought out the help of Early Childhood Intervention, but apparently the office in Dallas had no desire to return phone calls or answer when we were able to get transferred to a live person.  I called at least 6 times and left several messages to no avail.  Something about his speech just felt OFF.

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Once he turned 3, he was eligible to receive help from the local school district.  At this time, we were preparing to move, so while I did call to receive an information packet, I felt like the best course of action was just to wait until we moved to put him in a program.  The new district would have to re-evaluate him anyway, and I didn’t want him to have to do all of that twice in a 5 month period.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The month before we moved, I was able to get Heath into an appointment at our new school district to have him tested.  They tested his eyes, ears, and speech.  They found exactly what I had known all along.  He was proficient or above average in all areas except ARTICULATION.  Hallelujah!  A diagnosis at last.  He was immediately referred for a further evaluation, and they devised an IEP for him and we had a meeting with the principal and the language pathologist.

At last, my baby got some help!  Starting in March 2013, he began a speech program.  It’s for a few hours, a couple times a week at a public education building.  Yes, even though we homeschool, my sweet boy receives speech therapy during the school year from the public school system.

heathfirstdayofschool

You know what?  I’m so thankful for it.  It relieves the financial burden of expensive speech therapy sessions.  It allows him to socialize with other children.  It gives him a chance to be heard and understood by other adults.  He is free to be himself, to learn, make mistakes, accidentally pee his pants, have little class parties, make friends with other kids his age, be taught by another adult, attend school functions, and wear a little backpack.  It was the right decision for us.  For him.

heathspeech

It Makes Me Want to Cry

You know what really tugs at my heart strings?

He can say Michael.  Not “all all” anymore.  Michael.  His big brother’s name.

Know what else?
Now he can say his big sister’s name. Grace.  Not “yace” any longer.

I’m holding my breath and patiently waiting for “Chayee” to finally become Charlie – and it’s worth the wait.

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Photo Credit: The Java Mama / Becky Branch

About Jenn L

Jenn lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and 5 children. The family likes to eat healthy and try new recipes. Jenn homeschools all of the kids. She is heavily involved with local bloggers and is slightly addicted to social media.

Comments

  1. Love this. So proud of little Heath. Sounds like he’s come so far!
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  2. I love reading your and Heaths story!
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  3. Awwwww.. What an adorable little kid…
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