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A Diagnosis 

Noah is just a few weeks away from turning 3. We recently had him evaluated for the Metro Nashville Public School preschool program. Talk about overwhelming…in the evaluation there was a Special Education teacher, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a developmental therapist and a child psychologist. They all had questions for me about Noah, his behaviors and development thus far. There was also lots of paper work and questionnaires I had to fill out about him. At first they just observed Noah playing alone. In typical Noah fashion he hummed a tune while lining up the cars, the people, the trucks, and then the pizza. Eventually they took him over to a table and asked him to do different tasks. The process took 2 hours but it felt like we were there all day. At the follow up appointment a couple weeks later we went over their findings and Noah was officially diagnosed with Autism. 

This is something that I knew was a possibility but hearing the official diagnosis is still overwhelming. When I first saw the diagnosis on paper my eyes welled up with tears and it was all I could do not to start sobbing right there in front of these ladies. I’m terrified of he unknown. What does the future look like for him. Will he be able to be in a “normal” class later. Will he catch up and ever be on track with other kiddos his own age. I try so hard not to compare him to others but it always creeps in the back of my mind.

The plan is for him to start school when he turns 3. He will go 5 days a week from 8-12. They stressed to me how good the structure of school will be for him. He will continue to receive therapy twice a week while at school in a small group. He will be placed into what they call a blended class. A blended class is made up of some children like Noah with special needs and a diagnosis like autism and the other half of the children will have no special needs or delays. This type of class will help Noah catch up developmentally and socially. 

I know that we are doing all we can to help him. They keep telling us how early intervention is key and I don’t know how much earlier we could have caught it. Of course this doesn’t change how much we love him. He’s still our precious little boy that we adore. Just trying to lay aside all of our worries and fears. I know that we are very lucky that he is happy and healthy. It could be much worse so I am thankful for all we do have. Just taking a moment to let it all sink in. 

~M 

    
    
    
    
   

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gay family

Progress

In March Noah started therapy. He is seeing a speech therapist for his speech delay and an occupational therapist for his sensory and development delays. He really likes both of his therapists. They are both so sweet and work great with him. Of course I wish I could say that we had instant success and that he is rambling on in sentences but it doesn’t work that way. I remind myself of that daily but he is making progress. Each week I see them challenge him with new activities and he does a great job adapting to new things and tries to do what is asked of him.

As a parent I still have lots of moments of feeling overwhelmed and sad. I love to hear his little voice and we cheer every time he says anything. He still only has a few words. He doesn’t say mama or mommy yet and that along with I love you are the things I want to hear the most. Some days I blame myself for not doing enough and think what can I do differently to help him. I just wish I had answers and wish I could do something more.

We are moving in June for Les to start her third year of medical school and to start clinical rotations. We are planning on starting Noah in a mother’s day out twice a week in August and it makes me a nervous wreck. I know it is a silly thing to worry over because I’m sure he’ll do fine but because he can’t talk I worry that the teachers wont know what needs. I’ve become an expert at knowing his little quirks and knowing when he’s thirsty, hungry, tired, wants his monkey, etc. But its time for him to be around other kiddos. I know it will be great for him and I’ll look back and think how silly I was to worry.

I just love that little boy soooo much. He has me wrapped around his finger.

I’ll leave you with a few recent pictures of our little guy ☺️

   
                 

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Overwhelmed

Every parent has fears and worries for their children. They may worry that their child may not be accepted or deal with bullying one day. Especially as a gay parent, I know I’ve worried about what Noah might face having two moms. I have worried about the discrimination he might face growing up but here lately I’ve silently been dealing with new fears and worries. I have felt quite overwhelmed recently and decided that it might help me if I wrote about what’s going on.
Noah turned two back in November and he still isn’t talking. He babbles and makes noises but still says only two words clearly and none really consistently. Our pediatrician mentioned some concerns at his 12 month check up and again at his 18 month visit but also suggested that maybe he just needed more time, that boys tend to be slower to talk. Now here we are at 26 months old and he’s still not talking. And I feel panicked and stressed that he’s so far behind other toddlers his age. Despite knowing I shouldn’t compare him to other children I can’t help but do it. I feel so overwhelmed seeing how far he needs to go to catch up.
At our two year visit we discussed the delay in his speech and discuss the possibility that this might be more than a speech delay. We’ve asked about a possible hearing deficiency or autism or aspergers. We aren’t afraid of the possible diagnosis’s just wish I knew why he wasn’t talking. The doc doesn’t seem to think that he fits into either of those categories of autism or aspergers but just simply believes that speech therapy is the key to helping him. So we’ve started down that road. We have a speech evaluation referral and hopefully will be starting therapy in the next couple of weeks. To rule out a hearing deficit he’s had not one but two hearing screenings. The first screening left me feeling unsure and questioning the results bc the told me he was on the low end of normal but offered no real explanations. After the second screening we feel confident that it is not his hearing. That screening at Tennessee School for the Deaf went really well and we felt like he was responding well and they covered all areas of concern.
So now I am hopeful that we’ll have everything going that he needs very soon.
I can’t say enough how sweet and loving our precious boy is. He gives the best kisses and hugs. He brightens our home with his energy, contagious smiles and laughter. He brings such joy and happiness to all of our lives already that I can’t imagine how much more our world would change hearing his sweet voice express his thoughts and feelings. But if he never says a word I’ll love him just the same.

I’ll give another update soon.

~M

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Summer Time!!!

Well we did it or should I say she did it. Les finished her first year of med school. I couldn’t be more proud of her and how hard she worked to end the year with a 3.5 GPA. As soon as she finished her last exam for the year we packed up all of our summer clothes and living essentials and headed back to Nashville for the summer. We are staying in a tiny little studio apartment behind my grandparents house and we’re making it work. It feels like our own little vacation condo for the summer.
I have packed our calendar full of fun stuff. I didn’t want to waste a min since this is the last Summer Break Les will ever have. This time next year she will be studying for her first round of board exams and we will be packing up to move to her new clinical core site.
The first thing we did when we got back to Nashville was join the YMCA for the summer. It’s 15 mins away and they have a great gym and an amazing pool. So on the days we don’t have anything going the Y can be our thing to do. Noah has become our little fishy. He loves the water so much. No fear at all. He wears his floaty and is all over the place in the pool.

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We’ve started making our rounds to see friends that we haven’t seen in so long. We have a few small trips planned and a big family vacation to Destin,Florida with my family at the end of June. I’m so excited that summer is here and I have my wife back for a couple of months! Bring on the fun! It’s Summer time!

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Easter Photo Shoot

Our little guy had his first little photo shoot with live animals…of course we didn’t catch him smiling in any of them but at least he didn’t cry!

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Noah loved the fake carrots that came along with the bunny shots. He kept trying to eat them!

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He really liked the chicks but they kept running away from him, Ha! He smiled and laughed at them when they first brought them out but as soon as the photographer started to shoot no smiles for the camera. Of course!

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The little lamb was adorbale…I think Noah may have thought it was a dog. As you can see from the pictures he barely paid it any attention.

 

So no smiling pictures but I still love them! He couldn’t have been more handsome in his Easter outfit!

HAPPY EASTER!!!

~M

 

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Starting Down That Road Again

We’ve started talking about having another baby. Just typing the words out seem crazy considering Noah just turned one! But as many of you understand this is not a quick process and it takes lots of planning to even get to the point of actually trying. I started a To Do list of things that we need to get done to get the ball rolling. The earliest we would even try is late summer so we’re 6 to 7 months out but there is so much to do.

First on my list was to contact Noah’s donor to see if he would be willing to donate for us again. As some of you know, we used a known donor that we found through a website. The last time we spoke with him was when I was 9 months pregnant asking him to go to our attorney’s office to sign paperwork concerning  terminating his parental rights to Noah. So to say the least it had been a while and I was insanely nervous about contacting him.

A few weeks ago I sat down and wrote out an email to him. I spent hours typing, deleting, typing then deleting again. I thanked him for giving Les and I the chance to be parents together. I told him how much we loved and adored Noah. I told him how much he had changed our lives. You would have thought that I had written a novel considering how long it took me but nope just three paragraphs. Finally finished with my request and of course I was too afraid to hit the send button. I went back to it the next day and edited some more but still could not bring myself to hit send. I’m not scared of him but I was terrified that his answer would be no and I would be crushed. I know that he has a very busy schedule and donating takes time. I was worried that he just might be in a different place in his life and just not be willing to do it again. A week went by and I finally pulled the email back up read through it several times and forced myself to hit send.

I didn’t check my email for a few days not expecting a response. When I finally did there it was… my answer. I nervously read through the email. I read his words congratulating us on our healthy boy and our happiness. Then there it was it a perfect sentence. “I would be happy to donate again.” Tears began to flow without reserve. I am so thrilled about his response and actually feel silly now for worrying so much.

So the ball is rolling but there is still so much to do!

~M

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Just a little Family Photo Shoot

I was so thrilled about doing Noah’s One year Photos and getting our family photos in too. It was a beautiful Fall day in Knoxville when we had these done and I can’t thank Sissy Sullivan enough for doing such a wonderful job.

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