Today I’m going to start at the beginning. It’s quite an adventure story.
Many years ago, in a land far away…ok, not so many years ago, in Illinois…my hubby and I had bought our first home, gotten settled in, and were expecting our first, long-awaited child. (the long-awaited is part of another story, we’ll save that for later) Pregnancy was great, everything seemed perfect, until about 30 weeks. Suddenly my blood pressure went sky high. Diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, I was put on bedrest at home, started swelling like a balloon, and got very, very bored. Week 36 brought about a hospital stay, as my pressure kept climbing and my protein levels were jumping up, too. It was quite comical to kick every doctor that tried to test my reflexes (another symptom of pre-eclampsia was these huge reflexes!) but other than that, just more boredom. We were hoping to make it a few more weeks, but after the protein test came back 400% higher than the week before, I was induced at 37 weeks. My beautiful daughter, Squirt, was born on a very cold day in March.
Squirt was 6 lbs. 11 oz., a tiny little peanut, but seemed healthy and happy, and we were sent home on a Friday to enjoy our little girl. She nursed well, but seemed to fall asleep right away, and we tried everything to get her to wake up and eat. By Monday, the whites of her eyes were yellow, and we were back to the hospital with jaundice. Squirt spent 4 days under the bililights with her little gauze sunglasses on, and was positively orange when we finally got to go home again.
By 9 pm the next day, we were back at the hospital, getting ready for me to have surgery to remove a very large clot. Since we were on the women’s floor, baby was able to stay with me, and again, we thought this was the end. As the nurse was discharging me the day after surgery, she went to look at the baby and told us we should see the doctor again, because she thought Squirt had RSV. Having no idea what that was, we followed her advice.
Forty-five minutes after leaving the hospital we were right back where we started, as Squirt’s pulse-ox level was down to 78!! (anything under 94 is worrisome…) Squirt had stopped breathing in the car on the way over, but choked it out before I could pull her out of the carseat. In the hospital we listened to things like, breathing treatment, oxygen tent, helicopter flight to Children’s hospital…After a very, very long night, they were a bit more positive, and told us we were staying put, but she was still one sick little girl. During the next 2 1/2 weeks I learned more about hospitals, IV’s, numbers, and breathing treatments than I ever wanted to know, but we finally got to take our little girl home the day before she was 1 month old. Welcome to parenthood, huh?
Squirt had multiple breathing treatments a day, including steroids, for the first several months of her life, and grew like a little weed. Our tiny little baby was not so tiny after that! She was a happy, busy, crazy baby, and kept us on our toes. By the time she could walk she was overactive, seeming to get into more than most toddlers, but she was our first, so what did we know? By 18 months we had her in baby gymnastics, because it seemed to us like she had more energy to burn than most kids we knew. By the time her brother was born when she was 2 1/2, the doctor asked me if we had ever considered that she might have ADHD. Two and a half?? I thought they didn’t diagnose that until 7 or 8 at the youngest?
Fortunately, we had a doctor that listened well, and knew that we were trying all types of discipline plans, motivation charts, and STILL this child had too much energy. At age 3 we went to Riley’s Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, for a formal diagnosis, and our first attempt at medication. At this point her symptoms were disruptive and hard to contain. I couldn’t take her anywhere without a stroller with 5 point harness, and didn’t understand parents whose children just walked quietly by their side. That wasn’t real, was it? Well, not in our world, anyway! After 3 different meds, we did find one that worked, and some of the major disruptive symptoms seemed to be controlled. By now Boyo was almost 1, and it was a relief to think that things were going to get better.
In Part 2, I’ll fill you in on Boyo, Squirt starting school, and the birth of Booga!