Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Idiot, jerk, or just a concerned mother?

My little Elinor has been a source of worry once again. This girl is going to send me to an early grave I tell you. You know how we have had the no walking/crawling concern? Frankly, she didn't score great on all her motor skills during that last appointment. Anyway, I set up baby boot camp last week and was feeling good. The last time we did it she seemed downright comfortable with the whole arrangement and was even getting around a little (she would actually be in a different spot then where I had left her). Anyway, mid week I started feeling sick. I was fevery, achy, chest coldy and sniffly. Not long after me, Elle started the same thing. We shelved baby boot camp and just worked on surviving the nights and days with our sanity in tact.

On Thursday (in the middle of all this), the doctor (she's actually the PA to the doctor that runs the practice we go to), anyway, she is the one that saw Elle during her visit, she called me and I missed the call. The gist of her message was that she went over Elle's chart and exam with the doctor and he wanted to talk about Elinor. At first, I figured he probably wanted to maybe go forward with whatever we'd be going forward with for Elle at 18 months. Well, I called back and the PA was busy and I was told she'd call back. Well, she never did and apparently the office was closed or something that Friday, so I had the weekend to stew over the state of Elle.
Perhaps it was my fever or maybe it was just the way I do things, but I started to worry over Elle a bit. I started going over her abilities and lack thereof. I looked in the childcare book I have and that was my first major mistake (looking at Scout's baby book was mistake #2). I realized how far behind Elle really is. I then stupidly, went back to her birth and how it was traumatic with the cord around her neck and my imagination started cruising around. My third and final mistake was googling brain damage in infants. I read the signs and the ones that jumped out at me were: small head size, a delay in reaching milestones, overall smallness, and jaundice when newborn. I did my best to dismiss this stuff and tell myself Elle is fine, but as the weekend progressed, I found myself thinking of it EVERY time I interacted with her. I knew this wasn't good.

I got a call from the PA on Monday morning apologizing for not getting back to me. She basically said that the doctor was concerned with possible hip dysplasia and would like to either examine her himself, or we could just do an xray right now to be sure. I said whatever they would recommend would be fine, then I decided to just spill my fears (which I proceeded with, "I don't want to sound like an irrational worrying mother but....." I told her how Elle was born with the cord around her neck, had a very low apgar and how I am concerned now with her developmental delays possibly signifying brain damage. She immediately said, well, lets just go ahead a schedule the doctor to give her an exam. She said she will have him give her a neurological exam too. She called brain damage an "unlikely" possibility (making it clear that while she professionally didn't think so, it isn't out of the realm of possibility). I was able to get an appointment with him that afternoon.

Then I was faced with the task of telling Rob. I hadn't exposed any of my fears from the weekend, so I knew this information was going to do two things: 1. be coming at him totally out of left field, and 2. open me up to a lifetime of teasing that "mommy thinks Elle is brain damaged/mentally challenged" when after the appointment, more then likely, Elle will be given the diagnoses of "sound mind". How well do I know my husband?? Very well indeed. Within an hour, Elle was already getting a little of column B, but he told me that it is good to get her checked out so I can stop worrying about it. I agreed.

All four of us attended the appointment and Elle got a good exam from the doctor. She passed her neurological exam, and her hip exam. The little monkey would not under any circumstance even try to put any weight on her legs (she did the recoiling of the feet thing that is familiar to all those who know Elle personally- this cracked the doctor up quite a bit). He asked us a few questions like does she obey simple commands- which we honestly couldn't really say she does. He used the example of "go get your shoes" and that she really can't do that since she can't get her shoes. We told him that we don't really give her commands, so maybe she would if we did more. We told him that she says about 5 words (but she doesn't use any of them with a great deal of frequency). He said that is at least average for her age so way to go Elle (a victory). We addressed the head issue and he showed us on the chart that it is following a steady growth pattern. He also admitted that Utah has a larger then average head size (basically we are a state of giant headed children), so the curve is perhaps a little skewed. Plus he is mostly fine with her head size since Rob has a smaller then average head size and Scout's is small too (none as small as Elle's, but she
is our Little Little). So, after we talked and looked at Elle for a while he told us that he didn't think there is anything wrong with her but "we'll watch her". We were told on this appointment (and by the PA) that often happy, content babies are slower to walk cause they lack motivation. He also says that some kids don't like the feel of surfaces on their feet and it hinders their walking (this is what he personally thinks is going on with Elle). I can buy that- she has always been weird with her feet (she is weird with her hands too come to think of it -kind of hesitant to touch things. Huh. Didn't think of that until now). So, I wouldn't say she has totally passed the test, but she has passed so far and will be "watched". He didn't even find an xray necessary for the hip thing- he is satisfied that isn't an issue.

So I do feel like kind of a jerk thinking my little girl has brain damage, and a bit like an idiot, but I am glad we saw the doctor. I can't say that today the issue wasn't on my mind while I played with her, but I think I was granted a little more ease on the subject. Without any preamble, I held one of Scout's toy horses within her reach, and told her to give it kisses and she instantly obeyed. Also, she was in a playful mood and I was cradling her and kissing and tickling her and she glanced at my ipod headphone that was dangling around my neck, seized it, and pretended to almost bite it with a devious look on her face and then giggled. She was trying to get me to say "no!" followed by the inevitable tickles. I was reassured by these things that she knows what is going on and can follow commands. Sometimes my kids just seem to know when mommy needs some reassurance, bless them.

I need to learn not to compare my two children. They are so different, so we interact with them differently. I've reflected a lot the last day or so, and have come to some conclusions. With Scout, she has always had a very active mind and body. She sat at 6 months and crawled at 7. She started making her first animal noises at 9 months, and her first words around the same time. She was busy busy busy (and still very much is), therefore, I had to engage her all the time. She had a fierce drive to be on the move and to explore her universe as much as possible. Elle, is a laid back, content, quiet little thing. She is happy just to watch the world around her. She only needs a little pile of blocks or a little book to be perfectly content for a long long time. She will sit there and play and I will be doing housework and she will be happy with what she's got almost indefinitely (she does need food and sleep from time to time). This means that my interaction with her is rarely anything but going over to where she is and giving her cuddles and kisses and raspberries on the belly. I also swing her around and turn her upside down cause she loves that stuff and Scout never really did. Scout would get downright panicked when she was swung and put upside down (still does sometimes.) Anyway, I have to make an effort to work with Elle on what animals say and stuff like that, cause it just doesn't naturally fit into her life at this time. Neither does crawling or walking. But as I've said, it's time.

The doctor did recommend something that the Alpine School district provides as a service for children with delays (and disabilities) called "Kids on the Move". A professional actually comes into your home and works with your child that has developmental delays and they apparently have some tricks up their sleeves that moms like me might not have thought of to get kids moving and catching up. The doctor said they also in the midst of doing this, can often notice some things the doctor might not have caught while doing his exam (I guess he was talking about brain damage -I'd like to make clear that at no time have I thought that if she had brain damage, it would be severe- there are obviously different levels of brain damage- am I just digging my hole deeper?).

Anyway, I think I'll call the Kids on the Move people tomorrow. It can't hurt, it's free and maybe it will work better then my baby boot camp (which actually was showing some promise before it was derailed). I'll get her evaluated anyways, and go from there.


Haley said...

I don't think you are an idiot at all and don't get down on yourself for feeling worried about your child. I think you had grounds to worry and I admit to worrying a little about Elles. I am glad to know that the professionals think she is still on track, just different. :) Aren't we all. I think programs like that are good to take advantage of and I hope it helps! That's interesting about the not liking the feeling of touch on hands and feet. That could definitely be a reason for her recoiling. Come to think of it, my parents probably thought I was a little slow since Sarah did tons of things before me, like ride a bike. Haha. This is a good lesson for me right now as I am having my second child soon and also need to learn not to compare them. I'm sure it's tough. I think that's a challenge for parents throughout their kids lives. Well, I hope this program maybe gets her moving and you can put some fears to rest. Once she is moving you are going to miss these days. :)

Pops said...

Ells is a trooper deluxe, She just belongs to a different platoon. Just love her and she will develop fine. Your concerns are natural and I admire your thoughtfulness and love of your child. Go Ells!!!!

Emily said...

Thanks for your input guys. I know I shouldn't feel bad, but it's a weird feeling wondering if your child has a mental deficiency- only on the side of her not actually having one. If she has one, great ya know- I discovered it, and we will learn how to proceed from there- but if not it's like -mommy doesn't think you're smart apparently.
Anyways, we have a representative coming to our house to test Elle from kids on the move at 11 on Tuesday. Wish us luck! She called it a "standardized test" which brought to mind those tests we took in school every few years. I am interested to see what it is exactly (and how Elle fares of course).

Haley said...

Haha is she going to have to fill in bubbles? Because that just isn't fair. Talk about someone setting you up for failure. Haha jk. Hope it goes well, definitely keep us updated!

B said...

Elle did belly laugh and play peek-a-boo super early... she's just so fun loving and she doesn't even have to move to do that! I love that "happy content babies are slower to walk because they lack motivation". That's so cute, and she is just too happy and content to want to walk. And, like you've said before, Scout is just so much louder and more demanding than Elle. That's the way it was in my Sunbeams class. I would have 8 kids, and this one ADORABLE little redheaded boy would just sit next to me and smile, and I wish I could've spent the whole time with him, but the squeaky wheels gets the grease. Elle will just have to learn to be loud and demanding in order to get attention, like Annie and Kelly have done.

Better to be a concerned mother than a neglectful/dismissive one!!

Sue said...

Emily, that is so sad that you thought maybe Elinor had brain damage! She is just lazy, very, very lazy, haha. And I totally agree with the doctor, she just lacks the motivation. I didn't walk until I was like 3, well not that old, but I know I was a very late walker, and I'm not brain damaged. I'm sure some people could totally argue against that. You just can't compare her to Scout. Scout is a little hurricane and Elinor is a quiet, warm, summer evening.

Pops said...

B has it spot on! Just look at the picture of her eating that corn and look into her eyes. Brain damage? No way! no way!

Amy said...

It's perfectly natural to worry about everything when you have kids. Sorry Haley, but you are a kind of right. I worried just a tiny bit. But, when you have a baby flat-line in utero, it's a little hard not to. But, my college graduate, those fears went away. You said it, Em, kids are just different. Enjoy their differences and enjoy her mildness. She's so sweet and cute.

Emily said...

Elle flat lined in utero too. I noticed the absence of sound, but no one but Rob and I were in the room and I was at the last stage of labor which equals extreme nausea for me, so I was in that land and didn't really compute. The "staff" came in right then (dr., nurses, midwife) and Elle was delivered in no more then 5 minutes (I only have to push like 3 times). The staff kept me as in the dark as much as possible about all the problems. Probably for the best. I would have freaked.

Thanks for all the encouragement and for telling me I'm crazy. It helps. And dad, her eyes are my biggest encouragement there is. They are the brightest, sparkling eyes ever.

Emily said...

I just noticed on my "linkWithin" feature a post called "Another Girl" and I thought- Ahhhh, I want to read about my ultrasound with Elinor. Look at the quote I pulled up from it:

She was sitting with her little ankles crossed and was sound asleep the whole time (a drastic contrast to Scout who was moving around so much the tech had a very difficult time doing the measurements). The tech even kept making comments about what an active one I had. Her feet didn't hold still for a second, it was quite funny. Anyway, this one was lazy as could be."

Laugh out loud! Funny how their little character's can be deduced at 20 weeks in utero.

B said...

Hehehe, that's funny that her in utero personality is the same as now.

Did you meet with Kids on the Move? How did it go?

Matt said...

I have said since she was born that she looked smart... I'm sticking to it.

I think in a lot of cases, the more you love something, the more you worry. I can relate. (see: This Monkeys Gone To Vegas. haha, hardly a relation... but we can go through weird moments where we think the worst)

Elle's more than fine. Just look at that face. (See also: This Monkeys Gone To Vegas)

I am like Sue, my heart went out to you when I read about your fears. Your attitude is inspiring about the whole thing... I liked hearing you say: "If she has one, great ya know- I discovered it, and we will learn how to proceed from there" That shows you are ready for anything. But, I don't think you need to be. We will be praying for you guys.

ajmah said...

Em -

I don't think you are crazy and I can totally relate to all in this post.

Nico and Ellie are night and day. Ellie was an early talker. Nico didn't say Mama until 18 months and that was his first word. Ellie is super out-going and Nico is super-not out going to say the least. There were honestly times when I had to remind myself not to freak out about him (sometimes I still have to remind myself).

I still get people who knew Nico only as a baby, ask me, "So, how did Nico turn out?"

In the end, like you, I had to learn not to compare my kids. And recognize that every kid is going to have their challenges. Some kids might need no intervention and some kids might need life-long intervention.

I really think that as mothers, sometimes we just have to sit back, sigh, and say, "No matter what, I'm just going to have joy in my posterity." At least I do.

Your kids are darling and I wish they could play with my kids more often!


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