Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Molly's Newest Therapist

Yesterday Molly had her first appointment with Nancy Murray, her newest therapist. I don't quite know how to categorize her because she has degrees in audiology, speech pathology, certification in specialized music therapy, and works at a neuro rehab center. It one was the most informative sessions I've ever had. She is truly a gold mine of information for me.

First, in doing a quick assessment she thinks Molly is actually closer to 8-9 months developmentally, not the 5-6 months we've been thinking. YEAH!!!! We spent the entire hour discussing everything I've been worried about from a developmental standpoint.

One of the biggest things I took away from our session was when I am working on something with Molly, work on only one thing at a time. If we're doing something physical, give her whatever makes her happy to do it. Don't worry about language, sensory things, or new toys because it can overload her system and delay her progress. The other thing was to never use 'baby talk' when when working on word association. I don't really do that anyways, but it makes sense why that would be counterproductive.

We talked a lot about music and the role it can play in organizing the brain. The method she thinks Molly would be perfect for is called the Listening Program. We tried out the first cd and Molly loved the music and didn't mind having headphones on. She did try to eat the cord, but we can work on that. Nancy spoke from personal experience about it as she has one child with severe ADHD and one with severe brain trauma. When her ADHD child is listening to the music, they can get her to sit down and eat an entire meal with the family without interruptions. I'm thinking we'll get for her for Christmas.

Nancy talked a lot about bubbles. Apparently they are one the best therapies for babies because it combines physical, sensory, language (as long as you talk a lot while doing it), and fine/gross motor skills without them realizing they're working. It was so cute to see Molly react to them.

Something else she warned me about was not to expect any kind of big language development until Molly progresses more with physical development. I never thought about it, but speech is linked to stomach, hip, and butt muscles, so if those aren't developed and stable, speech cannot develop properly. So until she is more confident with standing or figures out crawling, most of her language development will be listening to us and trying to form verbal connections to things.

Food wise, she had some awesome suggestions for me. I've been struggling with finding ways to introduce textures without vomit or massive stomach pain be the association. Some ideas were to use evaporated cane juice as a sugar substitute, spoon one spoonful of applesauce into her oatmeal and if she tolerates it increase the amount over time to help her intestines adapt slower, crumble up goldfish crackers into her veggies, try plain yogurt mixed into her veggies to experiment with dairy. I've already tried the applesauce with oatmeal, and she loved it!!

I know I've forgotten some of the things I wanted to write down. I'm so thankful we were able to meet with her and can't wait to use her ideas.

PS-Nancy also noticed something I was debating about being there. Molly's left eye has started to go cross the past week and half or so. Since someone else has noticed it, we'll be visiting the opthalmologist sooner than I thought.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Lots of things have been going on this past week. For me, I discovered that I've lost some more weight! A total surprise and very exciting. I really don't want to lose anymore though. It's nice to be back to the me I remember-just lots of extra 'grandma' skin. haha. The kids have been playing outside almost non-stop lately. I truly love fall in Utah. It's the best.

Molly is being weird today. Lots of random vomit, choking, and burping. I really hope it's not a warning of an infection. On the bright side, she's doing really well with food this past week. AND I think I found a cake recipe she can actually eat!! I picked up the specialty ingredients yesterday and will try to add them to her baby food and see if she has any weird reactions. We'll see if I can figure out the world of coconut oil, coconut flour, and flavored liquid stevia (which costs a crap load of money-the recipe calls for 10 DROPS of it). I'm really hoping it works.

I spoke with Paul yesterday. We talked about goals, and the benefits of writing them down. We also talked about learning to broaden your perspective to actually see the world around you instead of wearing blinders all the time, so to speak. I've found myself doing that lately. Sometimes I get so caught up in the maintenance of Molly and the house,etc. that I don't even notice what the weather is like outside, let alone what's happening beyond our house.

We also spoke about friendships. That is something I have struggled with my entire life. I feel like I'm that socially awkward person that just can't get it right. A few years ago there was an incident that brought all of my insecurities out in full force when someone I thought was a friend came over and proceeded to tell me that she doesn't like me and it's my fault because she's a good person and doesn't feel like this about anyone else so it's obviously me, blah, blah, blah. I cried myself to sleep for a week (of course Adam was out of town that week), and haven't had the courage to get out there since. A lot of that is due to health issues with Sarah and Molly, but still.

When I brought that up, Paul told me about his parents and how there were always a ton of people at his house. When his dad was dying, he told Paul that he was a rich man because he had been blessed to have three true friends in his life. That threw him off, but realized what his dad meant as he thought it through the next few years. I think that might be my hang up. I'm searching for this really deep, amazing friendship, but I want it with everyone. Paul suggested to gain more confidence I needed to start with my immediate family, then branch out to extended family first. Those are the friendships that need the most attention.

I liked that because it's something I've been thinking about with my kids. I want them to have a childhood that they can get laugh at when they're older and reminiscing together. He suggested to find things to celebrate and just do it. That's definitely an area I could do better in, so that's what I'm working on with the older kids this holiday season.

We also discussed depression and things to look for if I find myself struggling the next few months. One thing I never considered as a sign of depression is the overall perspective-do you overly generalize and turn everything into catastrophy, or are your reactions relevant to the specific incident? I'm for sure a more catastrophic person. Hmmm. Makes you think. Obviously, stress the past few years plays a part in it as well, but it helps me to put things in perspective as to whether or not I'm falling into a depression again.

The last bit of perspective this past week was with Adam's car. Apparently, a mouse decided to set up house in his engine, then bit the big one at some point. When we realized it was more than just a dead mouse smell, we couldn't get a place to give us a price(not even an estimate). We started imagining the worst. While waiting to find out the cost of a dead mouse, my sister called and informed me that while opening her trunk door the entire glass top fell on her head and shattered into a million pieces. The cost to repair it is $1400, and the car is worth maybe $400. OUCH. So when Adam called and said his car would be $270, we breathed a huge sigh of relief that it wasn't more.

Gotta love perspective...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Playing the Odds and Hope Phobia

Yesterday I finally made it back in for a session with Paul. It was REALLY needed. We talked a lot about Molly (if I write it all up it will be a separate post) and the discoveries made this past week. We also spoke about how I'm dealing with the memories that are hitting hard as her birthday gets closer. He always make me feel more normal, which I need.

He pointed out that my body's reactions to the memories will most likely follow classic PTSD the next few months. As the weather gets colder, it triggers memories. Each holiday, certain smells, certain songs, even certain clothes are triggering memories. And most of them are NOT pleasant. I wasn't able to process anything as it happened last year, so as my body is reminded, I'm processing them now.

The thing is, I really don't WANT to dwell on most of the memories. Yes, they happened. Yes, they changed the course of my life forever. But the panic, anxiety and tears are not things I want to relive in any way. The problem is that when everything was happening, I didn't really understand what was going on. Now, I get it. I understand completely just how close we came to losing Molly, and just how dangerous some of the mistakes were, and just how life altering the repercussions are.

When I asked Paul how am I supposed to let myself process things without dwelling on it, his answer comforted me. He reminded me that there are no guarantees with Molly. When people try to give comfort and start saying things like "well, she's going to be just fine" and "you don't need to worry anymore", it actually increases my anxiety because it's reminding me that there's NO WAY that is guaranteed. So the best thing to do is 'play the odds'. Meaning, yes, I know there are no guarantees, but CHANCES ARE she's not going to be that bad again. And the ODDS are very slim that she will be in that condition this holiday season. By looking at it from a statistical point of view, it's actually much more calming. Yes, there's always a chance she'll get sick again, but that's not what's likely to happen at this point.

While discussing the recent developments (short story-brain damage was more extensive than we hoped for), we talked about something I was thinking about on my drive over. When I think of the difficulties Molly might face as she grows up, my heart literally feels like it's breaking. All I want to do is take every embarrassment, illness, misunderstanding, EVERYTHING and feel it for myself to protect her. I thought I understood what it mean to be a mother/parent before, but Molly has shown me the true depths of a mother's love and compassion for her children. As I think of how much I want to protect her, I think of what Heavenly Father must have felt watching His Only Begotten. I truly think our bodies are not physically capable of understanding that level of love and compassion. We can appreciate it, but we will are incapable of empathizing.

Another topic we talked about was something I've thought about for a while now-my inability to finish things. The last couple of weeks of the weight loss competition I found myself sabotaging my efforts. There was this idea of 'I'm done with this, It's lasted too long and I should just quit'. I had to keep forcing myself to focus and stay on target. I realized afterwards that I do that to myself with pretty much everything. How many thousands of projects/trips/surprises, etc. have I thought about or started but never finished????

When I asked him about it he said the best description he has for it is called 'Hope Phobia'. The best example is vacations. You think about wanting to go, then you start planning it. You get really excited about all the amazing things you're going to do. Then you think about the letdown of coming home, and decide to just bag the whole trip because you don't want to feel the disappointment of coming home. The fear of letting yourself experience the full range of emotion keeps you from doing anything that would swing emotions too far one way or the other. In trying to keep yourself from feeling the negative, you end up losing all the good in the process and just feel neutral all the time.

For me, that makes so much sense and is really true. In my fear of looking uneducated or embarrassed, I just give up instead. We talked about how to get out of the cycle of that. He said the best way to do it is by letting the implicit become the explicit. With the competition, I had to write things down. It kept me grounded when I wanted to give up. Paul also said that we have to give ourselves permission to feel ALL emotions, good and bad. Even if it's something small, find ways to celebrate life and find joy. And don't be afraid to feel the bad when it comes either-just don't dwell on it.

Along the same lines, I asked him how I prevent my kids from doing the same thing (as I see it in them to a degree already). His answer??? By modeling the behavior and pacing them. He also said to look for specific behaviors to encourage and be sure to acknowledge them when I see them.

So I'm taking his advice. Paige asked me if we could run a 5k together on the 29th, just her and me. Normally I'm completely against paying to run. But then I thought about how Paige is finding something great right now. I really want her to learn to love being active. And if that's a way the two of us can bond, how awesome is that??? (and way better than a tradition of food) So, I signed us up. It might take her forever to actually finish, but we'll be wearing costumes so at least it'll be funny. I'm finding myself getting really excited about it now.

If you're in the neighborhood, you should come join us!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

This past weekend turned into the semi-annual switching of the wardrobes at our house. While making massive piles of kids clothes to pass on to our neighbor, I decided to go through my clothes as well. I discovered my 'super skinny' jeans in the process. I set them out, but was too chicken to actually try them on. Afterall, I only wore them twice before the 2.5 year pregnancy saga began.

When I went to get dressed today I figured, what the heck? Let's just see how close I am. And then the most amazing thing happened....they fit!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it. I am literally dancing around the house today with this discovery.

Friday, October 7, 2011

All Kinds of Crazy

Alright. I lasted almost a whole week after the competition before I broke down and bought myself a 20 below chocolate shake this morning. That's progress right???? I'm now freezing inside and out, but it was divine. Big Baby thinks so too, as she hijacked half of it.

Today was a follow up appointment with Molly's rehab specialist. While overall things went really well, I still felt sad as we left. She's making some great progress, especially in fine/gross motor skills. However, Dr. Gooch said tortecullis (sp?)is starting to develop. So I REALLY need to step up the massaging and stretching so it doesn't get any worse. She also wants Early Intervention to do a cognitive evaluation as she is seeing some signs of developmental delays. I got a referral for a speech therapist/audiologist she wants me to meet with. Doesn't mean she needs therapy yet, but apparently this therapist specializes in the use of music for brain development. Since Molly LOVES music and always has, she wants us to really utilize music as much as possible in helping her brain overcome the damage.

We also talked a little bit about her physical development. Dr. Gooch was hoping Molly would be crawling now, but she's no where even close yet. Since Molly is much more fond of standing, she said to go with that as she needs the standing practice to help develop her hips and feet properly.

I'm so sad that she's showing signs of developmental delays on top of the physical delays. I'm glad that we are catching it now and being proactive about it though. Combine that with her upcoming birthday and I've been quite the jekyll and hyde emotionally lately. Now it's only six weeks away I'm forcing myself to start making some decisions. We still want to do something for the NICU families at Primary's and possibly Timpanogos. I finally got in touch with the right person so we can move forward there. I'm excited about giving back, but I know that I'll be a sobbing wreck going back there that day.

I'm also torn with how to celebrate. I want Molly to have some kind of food to tear into and eat, but there's just not anything she can handle yet. We thought rice cereal was okay, but nope, that's off the list. Thought she was handling spinach and sweet potatoes, but both of those got taken off the list yesterday due to poo issues and vomiting. I've tried websites and blogs and friend's ideas, but I'm at a total loss. Adam says to just get a thing of spam and use the cookie cutters, and I'm starting to feel like that might be the best option. It just feels so discouraging.

I thought I was moving in a direction away from needing my therapist so much, but now I realize that won't be the case until I get through the holiday season. So many memories and emotions are starting to pop up to the surface from last year. If only there was a way to just turn off parts of your brain for a little while...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A (not so) Gentle Reminder

So after I weighed in and sent off my final weigh in pictures, I decided to participate in our oldest family tradition...the semi-annual donut breakfast. These are the only days of the year I allow my kiddos to indulge. I ate my token cake donut, then spent the next three hours sick as a dog in the bathroom. By the time dinner rolled around, we were frantic for a quick meal and ordered a sausage pizza from a local pizzeria. I then spent the next 2.5 days totally sick and living in the bathroom.

Why does food hate me so much? I wasn't gorging on anything. I was relaxing just a little in the food department and ended up losing almost 5 pounds in 2 days.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Last Weigh In

So that's it. I lasted for the whole competition. I didn't get down quite as far as I wanted but I did get back to my prepregnancy weight. I am much happier with who I am now. It is exciting to think about where I am going from here. Hopefully everyone will continue to blog about their journey. Some great habits have begun. Here's to making them last!