Friday, September 28, 2007


I have good news about Lauren's teeth issue. As of a few weeks ago, she needed to go to the hospital, get put under general anesthetic, and have surgery to fix the cavities that she has. The whole process would have been inconvenient, painful, and expensive.

The day before I had to turn in the co-pay for the surgery (which was a little over $600) , I got a call from the dentist's office that we recently went and got a second opinion from. They were looking at Lauren's file and decided that she would be a good candidate for doing the procedure in the office instead of the hospital. Woo-hoo!

I got to come to the office and see an Autistic child go through the same procedure that Lauren will do. There is a nurse anesthetist and a anesthesiologist on hand to make sure that she is safe. They have a recovery room right next to the room that she will be getting her teeth fixed. She will get to be the first patient which means that we won't have to make her wait all day with no food or drink. I also feel very confident because it is the same stuff they used to put her to sleep for her last hearing test. So I know that she does not have an adverse reaction to this type of anesthetic. All in all, it is a much better deal.

The best part of the whole thing is the fact that it will save us a few thousand dollars. My medical insurance will not cover the procedure in the hospital because it is a dental issue and the dental insurance will not cover the hospital because it is a medical issue. There were forms I could have filled out to request a review of that process in hope to get one of them to cover it, but I'm glad that we don't have to worry about it. The nurse at the office we are using said that she has seen people save $5000 - $10,000 by doing it here instead of the hospital. Um, sign me up! I would rather not spend $5000 - $10,000 on teeth that are just going to fall out!

God bless last minute phone calls!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


This won't be a very long post. I am currently trying to pass a kidney stone and I am not having very much fun. I get them on average every six months to a year since I was in my early 20's. I don't bother to go to the hospital anymore. They just give me fluids and drugs and send me home hours after I passed the stone. I hate going there. So I have a steady supply of legal prescription narcotics for occasions such as these. It saves me and my insurance company thousands of dollars if I just wait it out here.

I must go now, the Hydrocodone is kicking in!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

3 am

Here it is at 3 am again and here I am at 3 am awake. I really hate nights like these. This is the time my mind starts working me over like a red-headed stepchild. Lauren got up about 45 minutes ago and I got up to put her back to bed. I have had a stressful week so far with more chaos on the way. It's weeks like this that I find it hard to go back to sleep after I put her down. The cruel part? It's this time of the night when the most worries about Lauren find there way into my brain and set up camp. I am so tired and all I want to do is go to sleep. It's not that simple for me. It seems that every time I shut my eyes my brain is still going full throttle. Sometimes I am able to think about other things and distract myself enough that I fall asleep. Not tonight.

The thing that's hitting me the most tonight? The realization that Lauren's hearing loss and physical limitations are permanent. That might sound like, duh, no kidding. It really hits me sometimes like a ton of bricks. What's making me emotional is that these things will affect our family forever. It never goes away. IEP meetings will not go away until she is 18 and out of school. Doctors appointments for hearing aids or leg braces, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy will never go away. There will always be a constant reminder that our life is different and there is nothing I can do about it. I can't say that I walk around everyday moping and throwing myself pity parties. It always seems worse when your tired.

Sometimes I just want a break. A break from making appointments. A break from making tough decisions. A break from worrying about things. A break from being different. Sometimes I wonder if I really have what it takes to do this. I stink at being organized. Lauren's paperwork is in three different places. I have zero ability to even know where to begin finding it all. I suck at remembering things. There are therapies, appointments, and meetings ALL the time. Add to that my regular job and the responsibilities that come with that, too. I forget things on a daily basis because there is literally no more room in my brain or on my calendar to put one more thing. I am the most sensitive and emotional person you will ever meet. What was God thinking? I cry at Hallmark commercials. I have shed more tears in the last three years than I ever had before. Sometimes I feel like I am the worst person to try to be a mom of a special needs child. I don't have the skill sets to make this whole experience easier on myself or Lauren. My weaknesses actually make this job harder.

I have gotten better with the things that I struggle with the most. Unfortunately, life doesn't wait for you to get it. It keeps moving whether you are ready or not. The only thing I can do it keep on trying and making sure I make less and less mistakes along the way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


We took a walk yesterday to get out of the house and make Lauren really tired. She has been getting up 4 or 5 times a night to explore the house in the dark. I have really had a good time with that. Not the least bit annoying to put her back in bed 4 or 5 times.

As we walked by houses, Lauren took pleasure in pointing out dogs every chance she gets. She goes like this every time:

Lauren: Mommy, puppy!

Me: Yes, Lauren. There's a puppy. Good job.

I said that the entire time we walked. Then the funniest thing happened. Lauren walked past a house where a Pug was sitting on a stool in the window. I had to point it out to Lauren, but I thought she would enjoy seeing it. So I pointed and told Lauren:

Me: Look, there's a puppy in that window.

Lauren: (Looking around but can't spot it) Puppy?

Me: Yes, in that window. Look over there.

Lauren: (spots the puppy) Bunny?

Me: No, not a bunny. A puppy.

Lauren: Cat?

Me: No, not a cat. A puppy.

Lauren: Puppy?

Me: Yes, a puppy.

Lauren: Puppy!

To her defense, we were at the road and the dog was rather small. Since she lives with a 115 pound lab, Pugs probably look a lot different to her. It was classic. I laughed all the way home.

Monday, September 24, 2007


How in the world am I supposed to teach a 3 year old how to pull down and pull up her own panties when she only has the use of her left hand?

Lauren has gotten the whole potty training thing in the bag. She's a pro. But only if I am there the whole time to help or if I let her run around bottomless. I have images of her never leaving home because she can't go to the bathroom without me. She will be 30 and I still have to help her go potty. Not an appealing image.

Have you ever tried using one hand to maneuver the undergarments? Not fun or easy. Which leaves me to teach Lauren how to do it. I am stumped and perplexed. Maybe I can just invent a tool that will help her and other kids like her. Then I can go on the show, America's Next Inventor and win $1,000,000. Alright then, problem solved. I've gotta go make some drawings now.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What do you think?

I am going to take a blog poll.

Do you think Lauren will grow up to be a Tomboy with permanently scabbed knees?

Do you think Lauren will grow up to be a Drama Queen Diva?

Do you think Lauren will grow up to be (fill in your own idea here)?

Friday, September 21, 2007


Has this ever happened to you? You see a new fashion come out in the stores and magazines and decide you would like to try it, too. Then all of a sudden you see it everywhere. It was probably there all the time, but now you see it even if you don't want to. Or if you buy a new car, and a million of the same drive by you in a week. Happen to you?

The same thing happens to me when it comes to disabilities. It's like I have this radar and can spot any kid or person in a five mile radius that has a special need. I'm not even looking for it and I seem to be able to locate people like I have an internal GPS navigating system. What's the point? I have no idea. I don't go running up to them and show them our membership to the 'parents with special needs club' or anything. (Although, that would be a really cool club if it existed. I would totally be the president. ) I guess since it is always in the fore front of my mind, I am a little more sensitive. So watch out. If you have a special need and are close by, I'll find you. I won't do anything, but I will know you are there.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Did you know?

Did you know that if Lauren gets a teacher that has a moustache, we have the right to ask that teacher to trim it if Lauren can't read his lips?

Did you know that we have a right to require a classroom add certain elements that make it sound proof enough for Lauren to be able to concentrate?

Did you know that we can require teachers to photocopy notes or provide Lauren with a note-taker in school?

Did you know that we have the right to ask Lauren's teacher to not to chew gum when talking to Lauren?

Sound crazy? These are all from a list of IEP recommendations that parents have a right to ask for when Lauren enters the CMS schools this year. It nearly blew my mind. I got a visit from the Beginnings program for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. They are advocates for children and parents. They are with us until Lauren turns 21. They make visits and are there to help anytime I have a question or concern. I get info from Lauren's case worker every time we meet and this was just some of the stuff I learned today.

IEP's are powerful things. I recently reviewed the IDEA (Individuals w/ Disabilities Education Act). I had to be familiar with it when I got certified in Special Education, but have not looked at it in a long while. Until now. I went to school for this stuff and I still feel overwhelmed. Hearing impairment is a new world. I think I have only begun to scratch the surface.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Close Call

Last night Lauren walked over to me and told me that she had a boo-boo. I looked down and on the side of her foot was a rather large bump that was as hard as a rock. I would touch it and she would not react. There was no redness or lines of red traveling from the bump. She could walk on it and not seem to be bothered by it. My concern was that it looked like a spider bite. Around the bite, it looked as if it was beginning to bruise. Her foot and toes looked a bit swollen as well. Needless to say, I debated taking her to the urgent care. I didn't want to put her down for bed and she have a reaction while we all slept.

I did the next logical thing...I called my mom. We decided that there was no emergency at all and it was probably a mosquito bite. The bruise and swelling was from her leg brace (we need to get a new one apparently). Can I say that I long for the day that we have another kid. I always hear that on your second one you worry a little less. I hope so, because I feel like I hold the Platinum membership card for the over-reacting club. I think my job would be much easier if Lauren could tell me things. That way I don't have to guess like I did last night. Hurry up hearing aids...Lauren doesn't want to go to urgent care for the rest of her life!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quick Update

Feeling a little under the weather, upper respiratory issues. Nothing a little NyQuil can't take care of I'm sure. This will be short and sweet.

Lauren is finally getting her hearing aids. The date is set and ready to go. October 8th is the slated date for Lauren's long awaited hearing devices. Paperwork is in and approval numbers have been faxed. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm considering it a late birthday present (my birthday is the day before) so nothing better screw it up this time. I am ready to open a boot factory in any one's hind end that makes this fall through.

Getting some tea now and slipping off into peaceful sleep. That is until the NyQuil wears off.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Lauren!

I know you can't read yet, but I wanted to let you know that I am so glad you were born. You are such a good little girl and I am so honored that I have had you in my life for three years. You do things everyday to make me laugh. You give such good cuddles and kisses. I can't wait to see what's in store for you as you grow up. I know that God has wonderful things planned for your life. Thank you for letting me be your mommy. I love you!

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I play softball for a co-ed team in Charlotte every Wednesday night. Softball is my cheap version of crack. It's my secret indulgence. I always have a good time and meet a lot of really cool people. Last night, however, I saw someone that made me sympathetic, compassionate, and inspired all in one. The funny part is that I didn't meet him and I have no idea who he is.

I could tell right away that something was a little different when he was going on to the field. He was trying to tell someone from his team that he needed a glove. He was deaf and couldn't get across to the players what he needed. He used simple gestures, not really sign language and after a few minutes he was able to get the umpire to lend him a glove. He put it on and trotted out there like he didn't have a care in the world. When he came to the plate to hit, he swung his bat for all he was worth. He looked to the umpire every time the ball crossed the plate to see if it was a ball or a strike. The hardest part to watch was when he got on base. He stepped off the bag too early and was called out by the umpire. He had no idea why he was out and no one on the other team could make him understand. They had to take his hand and pull him off the field. The look on his face made me want to cry. I heard the umpire say on a few occasions, "Someone tell him he is out." That wouldn't be so bad if you didn't hear the obvious annoyance in his voice as he said it.

I felt an instant compassion for this stranger. I wanted to make things easier for him. It was almost as if I wanted to protect him from getting embarrassed or frustrated. For an instant I saw Lauren standing there 20 years later and almost crying think about her going through this. Would people get annoyed with her if she tries something that requires the help of others? I know that she is going to try things and fail miserably sometimes in her life. My challenge? To help her understand that it has little to do with her limitations and everything to do with her outlook on life. Am I going to be the type of mother that fills her with so much confidence that she, too, could walk on a softball field and not have a care in the world? I hope so. There is no other option.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Three Years

It was just three years ago today that my parents walked through the door at Gaston Memorial Hospital expecting me to still be in labor with Lauren. Instead I was sitting on the bed and Tyler in the recliner next to me. It was around 8:00 am when my parents arrived from PA after driving all night. They walked through the door and I had to tell them the news about Lauren. By this point, she had been resuscitated, had two seizures, and was hooked up to all her wires and feeding tube. That's hard to tell anyone, especially the grandparents. I saw my parents cry a few times in my life. This was one of them.

So I guess I need to send a belated thank you to my family who drove 500 miles this time three years ago only to hold their granddaughter one time before they left a week later. Thank you for letting me focus on my little angel and be there when we had to drive the 25 minutes every day for a little over a week to see her. Thank you for doing ALL my laundry, cleaning the couches, and the entire house. Thank you for organizing my closets and making the beds. Thank you for thinking of the things I wasn't thinking of. Thank you for being strong for me. I know that it wasn't what you thought it would be, but you helped in so many ways. Your strength gave me strength.

Even though Lauren's actual birthday is Saturday, I couldn't help but think what was going on three years ago. It's etched into my mind and it's important not to forget what you went through. I makes the hard times seem easier in a way. I we made it through the first twelve days, we can make it through anything.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Under the Knife

For the second time in Lauren's short little life, she will be going under general anesthetic again. Would you believe it if I told you she has FIVE cavities? I guess the Pepsi in the sippy cup for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime didn't work. Kidding. The stroke affected her mouth and she keeps her mouth open constantly. Apparently this is a breading ground for decay and the dentist assures me this is a huge factor. It really makes me feel like a horrible parent. The most frustrating part is that I am always brushing her teeth. When she gets up, after lunch, and before bed. Yet, there are five cavities.

Anyway, she goes October first to CMC (Carolina's Medical Center) main campus to have her cavities taken care of under anesthesia. They aren't sure how bad the cavities are so they don't want to make her sleepy in the office in case it's really bad. If she's out cold they can really repair the damage and not worry about her drifting in and out of sleepy land. Comforting? Not really. I got a second opinion from another dentist and they said they would do the same thing.

It's sickening to think that we will spend all this money (insurance only covers half) and these teeth are going to fall out!!!! The dentist said that if we don't take care of it, they might have to do a baby root canal. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. CMC, here we come again!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Hate Making Decisions

Lauren goes for her last round of vaccines this week. She is on a delayed schedule because of her rough beginning. I really get torn about these things. I know that this might be a touchy subject for people, but I feel the need to vent. I hate making these decisions. I hate it like I hate the devil. I'm not trying to ride the fence, but I can see the points for both sides. To make it worse, my husband's side of the family did not vaccinate any of the kids/grandkids and my side of the family did. I literally see both sides.

My one sticking point is the side affects. Lauren had two seizures when she was born and it scared the you know what out of me. One of the side affects for one of the vaccines (can't remember which one) is seizures. SCARY!!!! So, it proves my point. I hate making these decisions. If I allow her to have the vaccines and she has another seizure, I will never be able to forgive myself. If I don't give her the vaccine and she gets something awful I will never be able to forgive myself. Either way, I get the short end of the stick. Being a momma is tough.

By the way, please do not be mean when you comment. You know who you are and so far you have stayed away from my blog. Thanks. Please don't start being mean now. I am aware this is a passionate topic for a lot of people. I respect your opinions. If you feel the need to share them do so in a constructive, respectful way. You get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Penn State Fever

You can tell college football has started. My daughter has about seven words in her vocabulary and my husband has taught her to roar like a Nittany Lion. What's wrong with that picture?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Be Honest

My brain is constantly going and sometimes I have a hard time getting it to slow down and take a break. Questions randomly pop into my head and I think about them all day. One just found it's way in so I thought I would ask it in hopes that it will leave my thoughts for a while. Please be honest, it won't hurt my feelings...

Is it hard to be a friend, acquaintance, or relative to a mother of a special needs child?

I often wonder if Lauren's struggles make the people closest to me just as sad as I am sometimes. There are a lot of people who love Lauren and I often forget that it might be hard for them, too. Even the wonderful support I get form the fantastic people that comment on this blog give me such hope and encouragement. Some of you never met Lauren and I can feel that you care so much. I don't want to take that for granted and I don't want to be a whining complainer all the time. I don't want to make it hard for you to be a friend to me. I don't want my family to feel like all they get to do is hear the bad stuff. So this is my gut check for the month.

Am I making it hard?

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I just fed my daughter Cheeze-its for breakfast.


Feel free to send my Mother of the Year Award directly to my house.

Maybe for lunch I'll give her rotten apples and horseradish.

We can wash it all down with a giant glass of Red Bull.

Awesome parental instincts I have.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Special School

Do you know what's weird to me sometimes? It's the realization that Lauren will be going to a special preschool for children who are hearing impaired. A special school. That's weird to me. Not because it's a special school. It's because it is yet another reminder that life is not normal. I got so excited about regular preschool that I almost forgot that there was anything "wrong" with her. All the other kids in the world go to preschool. Not a lot of kids go to a special school.

I wonder if there will ever be a day that things feel normal to me or if there will always be those reminders that snap me back to the reality at hand. I don't want to spend my life waiting for the next road bump to throw me off track. I feel like I am starting to become a different person. Maybe because I am tired of waiting for hearing aids, cleaning my house for the 5 therapies I have a week, or because I started back to work. Whatever it is, I am not the same person I was a few years ago. I am assertive because I have to stick up for someone who can't stick up for herself. I am impatient because I have spent the better part of three years waiting on something or someone every time I turn around. I am sad because I see the things that Lauren wants to do but can't. I am lonely because I don't have time to enjoy in the friendships around me. I am unorganized trying to keep up with the of the mountain of therapies, doctor appointments, paperwork and meetings that come with a special needs child.

I am confident that one of these days I will get into a groove and find my rhythm. Until then, I will just have to continue to fight for the things that are right, find a way to be patient, look on the bright side of things, and call some friends up. This, too, shall pass.

Monday, September 3, 2007


How in the world do I get Lauren to stop using her pacifier when I don't think she has the language base to understand what I am saying? Do I just take it from her hoping she knows why I am taking it? Do I wait until the hearing aids come and the language develops enough for us to talk about the whole situation? She's going to be three September 15th and I would love for her to be done with the pacifier by then. Any advice?

Saturday, September 1, 2007


The funniest thing that happens around this house on a daily basis happens when Lauren gets wound up and starts running around. It usually happens around the 7 o'clock hour, right before bedtime. If you have ever been in our house, you know that we have an 'L' shaped couch that you can see when you walk through the front door. If you enter the house the small part of the 'L' is facing you. You will need to picture this in your head to gain a full understanding of the sheer hilarity of my evenings.

Lauren starts the night by running in circles, literally. She runs in circles on the area rug in front of the couch. She falls, giggles, and gets back up to do it again. It takes her a few times to wind up before she takes off like a shot around the couch running full force down the hall. Well, more times than not it doesn't work out like she planned.

While sitting on the long part of the 'L' I am looking at the front door when Lauren tears off down the hall. The small part of the 'L' is blocking my view of Lauren except for the pigtail on the top of her head. So as she runs down the hall, all I see is a blond pigtail bouncing along. The couch blocks the rest of her. I would say that nine times out of ten Lauren doesn't make it very far. A few steps towards her room I see ponytail one minute and nothing the next. She falls face first in the same general area every time. I know she falls because all I see is her hair floating in the air for a split second as her whole body falls like a rock. Her pigtail gets left behind momentarily but catches up to the rest of the body once gravity sets in. I wish you could be here to see it. She doesn't even bend her legs as she goes down. Her body stiffens like a board and she goes down hard and flat. It's pretty much the funniest thing I see all day. Now, if I was a nice mom, I would run over and see if a sniper really did take her out. The reality of it is that it happens so much it doesn't even worry me anymore. It always sounds and looks worse than it is and she always gets up giggling.

I wonder if God is going to give me a shack when I go to Heaven. Surely, laughing at a sweet little girl doesn't get you a mansion. Streets of gold, maybe. But definitely not a mansion.