Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12 Days until my baby girl is here!

Hayden really enjoyed shouting "Uno Moo!" with his uncles.  We all enjoyed the time with family this past week.  

All night Wednesday and into Thursday morning (the 23rd) I tried to sleep but was having pretty strong contractions.  I got up to time them at 2, but they were irregular, so I tried to sleep for another hour.  By 4 I could tell that they were every 4 or 5 minutes, so I called the OB on call and she said I should go to the hospital.  I felt a little silly, since I had an appointment with my OB in 4 hours at 9:30, but the doctor said it would be better to be at the hospital.  Uncle Jeff was at the house and stayed home with Hayden. 

I'm glad the doctor sent us, because by the time we got there and they got me hooked up to the machines, the contractions were getting stronger. By maybe 8:30 or 9 my pain level was 8 out of 10.  My OB came by on her rounds and said that she just transfered a 36 week baby to another hospital's NICU last week because s/he wasn't breathing well, and so she wanted to see if lots of fluids, pain meds, and rest could calm my contractions.  If not, we'd deliver her, but if we could give her more time that would be optimal.  I woke up at noon and the contractions had stopped.  I was really grateful for the rest since I hadn't slept all night. The nurse said I could stay and sleep some more, but since the contractions were stopped I wanted to just go home and sleep in my own bed.  When we got home Jeff and Hayden were cuddling on the couch and watching a show together.  I took a nap, got up to eat dinner, and went to bed early.  The next day I felt like I'd done hundreds of crunchers, and I've been more tired since, taking big morning naps.  At this point there are only 12 days until my C-section!

Christmas Eve
Grandma and Hayden played tickle until Hayden got overexcited and Mommy made him stop, which started a minor tantrum.  Everyone had a great time Christmas Eve, making cookies, eating some Christmas chili, and exchanging gifts with the Carney family. Sadie and Daisy had fun wrestling.

Bob and Daisy

Grandpa and Hayden (and Daisy)

Christmas Morning
 Santa Came! Hayden didn't want to go downstairs. When we finally convinced him that Santa was gone, and that he just left presents, Hayden crept down the stairs to make sure there were no Santas around.  He did pretty well opening his presents, and patiently waiting for us to cut all the boxes and ties off so he could play with his new toys.  His last present, Soft Luigi, was hiding in the couch.

Hayden eats his Christmas chocolate bar (he even asked permission before he ate it) while seeing what else is in his stocking.

He always wants to wear my robe, and I saw this one at Target. He's been wearing it to bed every night.  He also always wants to buy this Latches board when he sees it at Barnes and Noble, but I thought $25 was a bit much for it.  When I saw it at Toys R Us for $16 I snatched it up.

Hayden and Daddy Christmas morning. 

We had a wonderful holiday and are now patiently awaiting the arrival of Rylie Noelle. : )

Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

Merry Christmas!  2010 has been a good year for the Damron family.  There have quite a few ups and downs, but for the most part we are all happy and healthy, and better off than we were a year ago, which is a wonderful thing to be able to say.

Main events:
  • In February I took Hayden sledding for the first time.  I don't know which is better, experiencing these things for the first time as a kid, or as a mom.  We giggled so much, and had fun cuddling in our warm PJs and watching tv when we got home.
  • Hayden received a giant cardboard robot named Gigantor. 
  • In February the Mooresville bus driver and aide picked up Hayden and two other children from school one day, dropped off the two other children, parked the bus in the lot at the Transportation Department, and went home, leaving him alone on the bus for 2 1/2 hours on a 30 degree day.  Luckily he was asleep and wearing a coat, and luckily Angie at day care noticed he was missing. Compounding the stress in the days following the incident was the fact that Jason works for the Corporation, and so what I wanted to say and what I did say were quite different things.  In the end, Hayden was ok and seems to have no memory of the event, and the old buses all got alarms because I pushed the issue.
  • I attended the Autism Expo and my first TACA meeting, which helped put me on a positive path toward how I handled my feelings since the diagnosis, and gave me hope and so many insights into curing Autism.
  • We started the GFCF diet with Hayden and saw vast improvements in his language and other skills.  I can't believe it hasn't even been a whole year since he's been on the diet!  We started seeing a nutritionist who has been vital to our success.  Thanks Staci Small!!
  • We attended the 12th annual Mario Madness at Nick's house and had a great time with old friends. At the end we were trying to pack Hayden up to leave while he was having a meltdown, and Jason came out of the house gesturing with his hands up like he was conducting and said, "Aww-ti-Summmmmmmmmm!!"  Probably a had-to-be-there moment, but I'm writing it down anyway. : )  We have a lot of these moments as a family, where Hayden's special needs over-rule the situation at hand, although in the last few months these moments are becoming fewer and far between!
  • lots of visits to the Children's Museum, Gymboree, and the local park. 
  • Jason had a good time on his trip to Florida with the choir. 
  • I spent a day with students and staff on Lockdown at my elementary school after a local bank robbery.
  • Hayden finally got his official Autism Diagnosis so that we could get him services.
  • In June Jason and I found out we were expecting.
  • We took our first family vacation, to Gulf Shores, and had a really great time with minimal tantrums.
  • Successful first visit to the Special Needs Dentist.
  • Bill and Sadie came and spent a week with us in July. 
  • Hayden started at Cornerstone Autism Center in October.
  • Bob separated from his wife and spent a few weeks at our house.
  • Dad got a new job.
  • Hayden and I were in a car accident that sent me into early labor and an overnight hospital stay.  I've been on bed rest since but baby is doing well. Thanks to Jeff for picking Hayden up each day from school since the accident.
  • On the day of the accident, I was called for an interview for a grant position at the Education Center for Perry Township, the school system I work for.  A few weeks later I interviewed over the phone and was offered the position of Learning Resources Advisor.  I will be helping people with technology throughout the township. It will be a great opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to starting in March.
  • Hayden trick-or-treated this year!
  • Hayden was invited to his first friend's birthday party and had a great time. 
  • Jason's first year holding the Madrigal Dinner at the State Museum was a big success.  He got a lot of nice emails from parents and the community. 
Much happiness here is due to Hayden and his awesome growth in the past 12 months.  It is funny to think that just a year ago I told people who didn't know him that Hayden was non-verbal, speaking only a few words at a time.  In just a year, he has changed so much.  He wears clothes more often. (Maybe not a milestone for some kids, but sure is for mine!) He can wash his hands and put on his socks. He can have more of a conversation... when I ask him a question I usually get a response now instead of the quiet chirping of crickets. He has fewer tantrums and MUCH fewer meltdowns (if you don't know the difference, think of the difference between a level 2 and level 9 earthquake, and how much clean up there will be afterward). He doesn't throw things or hit (ok, as much).  He no longer says his tummy hurts. He can tell us when he is hungry or thirsty or hurt. He lasts a lot longer during parties and family events. He is more tolerant of noise and music. He said "I love you" for the first time spontaneously.  He is really thriving at his new school and learning more every day (and proud Daddy is happy to report that Hayden was the only kid at school who knew what the picture of the light saber was.) His current favorite song to sing each morning on the way to school is Little Bunny Foo Foo. Today he said the Fairy gave Bunny Foo Foo 10 chances... that was a long one!

Touching the Robot Factory that he's not supposed to touch.

Favorite Hayden quotes this year:
  • What do you want for breakfast, Hayden?  He immediately does a little dance and says, "Chips!" 
  • Hayden are you tired?  "No. I think Hayden needs new batteries."
  • We can't play robots, it's time to go to [Waverly] school.  Hayden, rolling on the ground:  "I NOT go to school every...single...day!"  (We haven't had any morning complaints since starting at Cornerstone!)   :  )
  • Let's pretend to walk like a gorilla. Watch this.  Hayden: "No. Just walking."  me: Now I'm walking like a snake.  H: "No."  Now I'm walking like an elephant.  H: "no, just walk!"  me: Oh, like a person? Should we be people?  H:  "NO!  Just-- Hayden and Mommy. And walk. That's it." 
  • Look Hayden, the soccer team is here!  "It's the Super Heroes!"
  • Hayden's therapist at school says her head hurts. H: "Oh your head hurts?  Have some water. It will feel better."
  • H, restless in bed: "Mommy, I so sad."  I know honey, I think you're just tired. It's time to sleep.  Mommy is going to sleep, and Daddy is going to sleep. We're all going to sleep.  H: "And Hayden is sleeping... And Why-Wee... And Char-wee."  He smiled and turned over and closed his eyes and was asleep in a few minutes.  [Charlie is his pet turtle. I guess when you're listing family members you have to list everyone.]  : )
  • Jason, leaving to take Hayden to school: "Ok, love you Mommy."  H, as he passes his toy, instead of saying bye to Mommy:  "Love you Pirate Ship."

Jason, Hayden, and I are so excited to meet Rylie Noelle soon and are looking forward to a nice holiday with family.  Thank you to everyone who has given us support this year in our journey with Autism and our journey through life!  We are lucky to have such great family and friends.  Thanks for being a part of our lives.

Merry Christmas!
Jason, Sheila, and Hayden

Friday, December 10, 2010

Madrigal Dinner

The set up at the State Museum was very nice this year.

 Jason directs the concert.

The Dinner went really well.  Hayden was very patient while we had to wait in line. When we first drove into the parking garage he said, "The Museum!"  He thought we were at the Children's Museum, since that's the only time he's been in a parking garage.  

As soon as the singing started he said, "let's go back."  After each song he would say that, too.  He curled up in my lap with his hands over his ears and asked to leave.  But once the initial singing was done, he sat at the table with the family and talked to people.  It was only once the game show began and there was yelling up on stage that he went back into his hands-on-ears position.  Grandpa took him out of the room to play since I was still trying to eat.  Grandpa almost got him to come back until he heard singing and went back to the cafeteria to hide.

I put a black t-shirt and gray pants on him in hopes that he would agree to put the black knight's costume on over it.  We really tried, but he didn't want to.  So I should have just put him in dress clothes.  Oh well.  He did carry the shield around that I found at the dollar store, and had fun looking at the castle with Daddy.

After the dinner Hayden found some of his friends from the Soccer team.  They were playing "step on my shadow" with him.  He ran around and laughed and had a great time. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Little Elf

Someone didn't want to cooperate with the Christmas photo shoot. I know you're surprised.  Also note that Mario and Luigi needed to be present.

Today at my appointment with the OB she said I can stop taking the Procardia on December 20th.  I'm excited because I'm tired of being in such a daze all the time.  She did say that some people go into labor within 48 hours of stopping the Procardia, but I'll be at 36 weeks so all should be well if that happened.  (And what 8-month-pregnant woman doesn't wish for that anyway?)  : )  I've been having a lot of pains in my upper thighs, which she said is my pelvic bones stretching out. Didn't anyone tell my pelvis I'm having a C-section?  No stretching needed, please.  Sometimes the pain is so bad at night I can barely get out of the bed.  Just warming me up for the C-section pain, I guess. : )  The pain is usually worse on days I get overzealous with chores or grocery shopping, and I have to take a day off to rest up.

Jason really wanted to share the name we'd picked out, but in my usual style I couldn't decide for sure if I was happy with it.  I just think a name is so important-- she'll be stuck with it for life!  Or at least until she's old enough to change it, but let's be honest, once you're given a name, it sticks.  So anyway, Jason kept bothering me each night-- is this the name?  When I finally grudgingly conceded that the name we had chosen was what we'd go with, he ran upstairs to share it on Facebook.  Ah, how our world has changed!  It touched me that he was so excited, though, since in typical guy fashion he's been trying to be ho-hum about the whole baby thing.  This is what he posted:  

Jason Damron needs to make a formal announcement: our new daughter will be named Rylie Noelle! I gave Sheila an 18-minute warning that she couldn't change her mind for the 146th time. If it's on Facebook, it's official!

The name Rylie is of uncertain origin, according to the Internet, which never lies. : )   It seems to be either Irish or Welsh and comes from Riley or Rileigh. It means either 'valiant' or 'rye field'.  I was uncertain of the name in part because I know it's becoming more popular.  But I really like the sound of the name.  I liked the spelling Reilly, which seems more Irish, but Jason said it was too boyish.  I also loved the sound of Noelle and really considered this as a first name.  It's a fairly uncommon name, and she'll be a winter baby.  We also like that one of the meanings of Noelle (Noel is the boy spelling, by the way) is 'a medieval song,' which is so fitting for us.  But I know she'd get all the 'First Noel' jokes, and it was hard to find a middle name to go with it, because it is such a strong name. Rylie Noelle flows well and I like the sound of it, so there it is. Plus, Hayden means 'hay field' and Erik 'peaceful ruler', so I thought it was cute that we'd have a peaceful little hay field and a musical little rye field. Though I think Hayden is more 'ruler' than 'peaceful'.  : )  Since Hayden can't say Rs or Ls, he says "Why-Wee."  

Luigi and the Marshmallow S'more people have a chat.

Mario and Luigi hide in the gingerbread box.

Hayden's having a rough week at school, since he's not been sleeping well.  He has always had this trouble, and it comes and goes.  I have been keeping a pretty good record of his supplements and sleep, but I can't seem to find a pattern.  He's usually good at getting to sleep at bedtime, but has trouble sleeping through the night.  Some nights he wakes up screaming, and usually I think it's nightmares (which I had as a child, as well) because he says things like "play wit me!" or "no!"  But sometimes I think it must be his stomach hurting, or maybe acid reflux as the DAN doctor (Autism specialist) suggested, because he is already awake and drinking juice and then starts screaming like he's in pain.  I really feel for the little guy.  I would love for our waiting list date for the DAN doctor to be moved up so we can see her earlier-- right now our appointment is June 1st.  If anyone knows what dosage/brand of acid reflux medicine you can give to a 40 pound 4 year old, I would try it in an instant.  Because he's not sleeping well and is more cranky, he's having lots of tantrums at school.  They are going to try new discipline tactics to see if something new will work.

Otherwise his progress at school is going REALLY well. His language skills often grow in bursts, and the last couple weeks have seen huge improvements. (Such as, using 'I' instead of 'You' to describe himself, using more little words in his sentences, asking questions including a Why question at school for the first time the other day, responding more quickly to questions and with a more appropriate response.)  He is doing better at retrieving things ("Can you bring me that remote?") and following simple commands without me having to hover ("Go wash your hands please.").  He mastered putting on socks in just a few days, and can almost put on his shoes on his own.  He has gone on the potty without being asked at least 3 times at home, and maybe a few times at school.  He still isn't really going on his own overall, and he balks at having to use the potty in the evenings after school, because he's probably tired of taking orders all day!  The presents have helped though.  He has been earning new shirts and small toys (like the robot shirt and Mario and Luigi toys in the top picture). Yesterday he was fascinated with shaking hands, so someone must have been teaching him that.  Most of the time he will now say "hi"  if someone says hi to him (rather than completely ignoring them), and if someone asks "how's it going?" he says "it's going pretty good!"  Lately on the way to school he wants to sing all the songs they've been teaching him, like "Where is Hayden/Here I am,"  "What's the Weather?," "Months of the Year" (including the hand movements to the Macarena), "5 Green and Speckled Frogs" and Jingle Bells.  But Jingle Bells has to be sung super fast so he can laugh.  We're still not allowed to sing any songs that he doesn't know.  Jingle Bells was only allowed once they started to sing it at school.  I tried to play my new Christmas CD last night and as usual was denied. (I turned it on and he went over to the computer and hit "stop" on Media Player.  Darn his computer skills!  : )

Tonight we're going to Jason's Madrigal Dinner, and I hope Hayden will at least sit for some of the singing.  We don't usually go to Jason's concerts because Hayden holds his hands over his ears and shouts "No singing!  Time to go!"  We sometimes visit backstage for a few minutes at the big concerts.  But we've always gone to the Madrigal Dinner, and he's able to walk around the room or the school with me when the singing starts.  This year a former student of Jason's contacted him and asked if they would like to perform the Dinner at the State Museum.  This year is kind of like a trial to see how it goes, and if it goes well then next year the Museum will pay the choir to perform.  I think the head boss-types weren't convinced that it would bring in people and money, and were probably surprised when both nights sold out in a week.  At any rate, it's exciting that it will be in a huge grand area, rather than the school cafeteria, and they've built a new castle which should look pretty cool.  When Hayden was 1 year old one of the choir moms sewed him a knight's costume, but silly me washed it and it got a bit raggedy.  So, I saw one at Halloween and snatched it up.  I've been trying to make it sound exciting that we're going to go see "real" kings and queens tonight, since he likes seeing them on Backyardigans, and I'm hoping he'll wear the costume.  I think he wore it for a little while last year.  Tonight could either go really well or really badly, depending on what kind of day he had at school and how overwhelmed he is by 6:30.  I've got a nice bag of toys and snacks packed to entertain him as usual, and Grandpa and the Grandmas and Uncles Bob and Jeff will be there, so that should help.  Either way I know I'm going to really need to rest up tomorrow!  I have to make it through at least tomorrow without going into labor so Jason can be done with his choir commitments. : ) 

Hayden's school is having a Christmas program, and while they were practicing with their hats on yesterday he told his therapist, "I'm a little elf!"   

Take care and keep warm!    : )