Sunday, January 25, 2009

Signs of somthing wrong???

I wanted to post some of the 'signs' in Brian's body that the doctors brought up but yet no one could explain.

* high arched palette

* unable to unbend his legs fully (they said he must have been cramped in the womb and no room to kick).

* unable to open his hands all the way without help; notice in the previous pictures how his pointer and pinky stick out and the rest are curled under.

* poor muscle tone overall; especially notable in the face; he couldn't suck on a bottle and no gag reflex. He couldn't hold his head up well.

* at about a year we noticed one side of his chest appeared not as developed as the other (this was the doctor's explanation when I questioned how something didn't look right)....turned out he had scoliosis due to the poor muscle tone (more on that in a later post).

* unable to eat any solid foods

* no smile on his lips....but definitely could see his smile in his eyes---they sparkled so.

* frequent refluxing of his feedings (however, we were clueless for a while as to what was going on there too)

* never crawled; rolled to get where he wanted to go (more on that later too and how we helped him there).

* any kind of cold would send him to the hospital in respiratory distress. (unable to cough up the congestion in his chest or even breath through it)

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Adoption Journey, 1992

I guess it is best to start from the beginning. I was married at the age of 20 to my high school sweetheart. We started trying to have a child sometime in 1987. In 1988 I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I went through a laporoscopy and then a round of lupron shots to help myself heal up. I went on fertility pills for two months, with no luck of getting pregnant. The month I went off of them, I got pregnant. I was ecstatic! The baby would have been due around mother's day in May of 1991. Unfortunately it was not to be. I miscarried at 6 weeks. (Wow, I was amazed at how much a body could change from that little bitty baby). My husband, at that time (I am now divorced) and I decided not to go through the expense and possible frustration of invitro or other means of trying to have a baby naturally. He had two adopted sisters, so adoption was totally an option for us. It didn't matter to me, as long as I had a baby!

We started looking into Catholic Charities and other agencies in our area. We even looked at foreign adoption. The expense of foreign adoption was too much for us at the time, so we put ourselves on the list at Catholic Charities. Well, we didn't even really get on the list, when I received a phone call from my sister-in-law that she knew someone who had a baby boy, but could not keep him. The state of IL was involved and getting ready to take him away and put him in foster care. She said if we wanted him the mother wanted us to have him. Immediately I called M. (my husband) and we agreed, we needed to meet this little boy. The timing was too perfect.

The next day, June 1992, we drove an hour from St. Louis to a town in IL and met the birth mother and her little boy, Brian. He was 3 months old at the time. I fell in love immediately. At that time, we knew he had a feeding tube and that he had spent the first 6 weeks of his life in the hospital. He had a feeding tube put in his first day as he had no gag reflex and could not suck on a bottle. The BM had a job that kept her away from home and another girl's mom would watch Brian while she was away. This woman could not keep taking care of him because of his needs. I believe the state got involved when she was unable to pick him up from the hospital when he was ready to go home. He was hospitalized at one point for a urinary tract infection and then on meds for a month after that.

He was alert and happy. A very content little guy as we played with him and talked with his mother. We wanted to be sure this is what she wanted. She was sure. She didn't give us a lot of details about his health, but she did say they did genetic testing in Springfield and they didn't find anything. I didn't notice anything unusual at the time, except that he was small. He only weighed 6 pounds at 3 months of age. His records show he was 6 pounds at birth. We chalked that up to him not getting enough to eat through the feeding tube and where he was living. Of course, as my first child, I was awestruck that he could be mine!!! It didn't matter if there was anything wrong, he could be my son. Looking back at pictures now, I realize how pale he was and other signs we became aware of later on. (However, it woudn't have mattered).

Brian with mom and dad the first week he was in foster care.

He weighs 6 pounds and is 3 months old.
Ugh, please ignore my hair-do!

His BM (birthmother) told us she went into the hospital thinking she had appendicitis and came out with a baby! She did not even know she was pregnant. She told us she was a healthy person and didn't drink. We don't really know the whole truth of what happened during his 9 months in utero as she didn't even know. We also don't have information on the BF.

We left our meeting, with her taking Brian, and us driving home. The next day we contacted an attorney in MO and IL. At that time, in MO, it was not good for you to know or have met the BM. Luckily in IL it was okay. We decided to use the atty in IL and finalize the adoption there. The other good thing about IL was that if we would have lived there we could have fostered him until the adoption was final. In the meantime though we had to wait for the BM to come back into town. She had an appt. at St. Louis Children's Hospital with a genetists. The social worker was taking her and if she didn't show up than the baby would be taken (and we would not get him). We waited frantically for phone calls from BM to tell us she was back. It was the night before the appt. I was scheduled to meet her at the hospital to see the dr. with her. We then had an appt. to go to the atty's office and court house. She was going to sign her rights over. I didn't sleep all night as I was so afraid my baby would be lost to the foster system. At 3 am the phone rang. I jumped over M. to grab the phone. It was her and she was home. She would meet me at 9am at the hospital.

We had the appt. and the doctor reviewed the information from Springfield which didn't give any information. They looked at him and just basically told us, 'yes, he has a feeding tube because he can't drink out of a bottle, but nothing else is evident'. I called M. and told him the news. We proceeded to go to IL to complete the signing over of her rights as his mother. This is an experience I will always remember. She was so strong. She truely loved Brian, it was evident as she wanted to give him a good home with people who could raise him and attend to his basic needs in life. After the court signing we went to the atty's office and started the paperwork there. We cried tears of joy and tears of sadness. We hugged and she handed Brian over to me, he would be mine. She then left with her social worker. A foster home was found for him and I had to take him there. I did not come supplied with ANY baby car seat, no clothes, no diapers...nothing. I had to make a trip to WalMart while the ladies at the atty's office watched Brian, (how weird that was). All turned out well. I bought supplies and we went to meet the foster family.

He went to a WONDERFUL foster home (they had 6 adopted children of their own). We were able to visit him as much as we wanted. It was an hour drive, but on weekends we would go to IL and keep him with us. The FM fattened him up (he got quite chunky thighs- I'll post pics later). I dropped him off that first day with the Foster Parents (FP) and went to work that night on cloud nine! The next day the genetists called me to give me some more information. They told me they thought he would be mentally retarded! I said, "how bad?" They said they didn't know that his facial features just didn't look right and he would probably have learning diasabilities. I hung up the phone and cried. I was so angry they didn't tell me that yesterday. Would it have changed anything, probably not, but now I didn't know what to do. I made it a point though to tell myself, that this little boy would get the best care imaginable and the best love out there and he would be okay. I would love him no matter what. I told myself the doctors were wrong. (And they were!)

Four months old. We had him for a weekend while still in foster care.

We then had to start the process of getting our homestudy completed and paperwork done for the adoption. After a few phone calls to Jefferson City urging they hurry with our background checks, we were in court with in 3 months to finalize the adoption. He came home to us forever at 6 months of age October 1992. We were excited to know we were going to have a first Christmas together. (Little did we know what was going to happen.....)
Gotcha Day, October 9, 1992. Brian is 6 months old.
Weighs 15 lbs. 11 oz. (The foster family fattened him up)

During his 3 months in foster care though, he went through:
* a hernia (which sent him to the hospital and surgery). This was a very traumatic ordeal in that he was so dehydrated, they ended up sticking the IV in his bone to get him hydrated. We drove an hour in the middle of the night to meet the FP at the hospital in their town. An ambulance then brought him to SLCH for the night. He was released and scheduled for surgery the next week. We took him back to the FP that morning. He faired well the rest of the week. The surgery also went fine.
* he pulled his feeding tube (G-Tube) out (he had one in that had the long cord hanging down) and was swirling it around his head late one night, laughing and having a good time. This was another trip to the hospital in the middle of the night. The FP drove him to SLCH while we met them there. This was when we learned how to insert a new feeding tube and how it all worked. We were happy they put one in that was flat to his stomach...less chance of pulling it out.
* there was another hospital trip and I can't remember what it was.
I thank God for the wonderful FP he had. They were so observant of him and took just wonderful care of him. Another family that loved him immensely.

While in foster care we would continue to try to get him to drink out of a bottle by holding his mouth shut around the nipple. It would take him so long and he would be so tired and not really getting any food. Often, even with the feeds going in the feeding tube he had what we began to call 'fits'. He would suddenly start screaming and crying, get all snotty, and phlemy in his nose and throat, often times throwing up. Nothing would calm him, until he just wore out and would fall asleep. Little did we know he was refluxing and aspirating on his own food. It breaks my heart now to think about what he endured and we didn't know it. As first time parents and never having really babysat any children I wasn't real up on what babies were suppose to be doing and how to act. (I quickly learned).

Anyway, I'll stop here as that is our journey to get Brian into our lives. We had a few bumps up to that point, but the roller coaster was only going to get bumpier.

6 months old. He had such low muscle tone he couldn't hold his head up and leaned forward to sit. He is still as cute as can possibly be. He has beautiful, thick, blonde hair.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A new blog for me

I have decided to start another blog that addresses the issues of CMS, Congenital Myasthenia Syndrome. This will be an updating and ongoing process as Brian is now 16 yo. He was born with CMS, however, we did not know it until he was 7 yo. He is getting ready to start another step in his CMS journey and that is surgery to his jaw. He will be having a jaw/facial reconstruction. He has an open bite and has never been able to actually bite into a big, juicy hamburger with his front teeth.

I have found a few blogs of others with CMS so wanted to add another one. I have searched for others with the same syndrome as Brian so he could know he is not the only one out there.

Bear with me as I try to add old photos as I wasn't digital 16 years ago and will have to scan photos to add.

I'll still add information to as that is our family blog now that baby Luca is home, so check them both.