Wow, where to start! I am honored that Kelly has given me the opportunity to hang with you all once a month. So I guess I should start with how I got here.
My name is Courtney, but my friends and other half call me Court. I’m a 30 something mama of one human, one step human, and two fur babies.
I have always been a writer of sorts. It helped me through many tumultuous times as a teenager. Boyfriends back in that day often got letters or poetry, instead on conversations with me. Weird? probably, but that was who I was. I took a hiatus from writing in young adulthood to pursue a career in tattooing. That was my life until I became pregnant with my son. I conceived during hurricane Katrina (yep, you read that right) and since my pregnancy was high risk, I gave up my career.
BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE! (okay, one of the best.) I soon welcomed my son into the world. From infancy I was concerned. Liam hit milestones on time if not early, but he NEVER slept. Serioulsy. When he was two weeks old, I still hadn’t slept. We went to visit my parents, and I slept, for HOURS, while they and hubby cared for my son. My hubby and his son both have ADHD, so I guess I expected Liam to be the same.
When Liam was around 18 months he had started to change. He didn’t want people to hold him. He would scream and cry for no reason. He would no longer sleep in his nursery. He didn’t want people to look at him. He went from eating almost every baby food to only eating like three things. At that time, my mother told she thought he had autism. I was LIVID! Matter of fact, I quit talking to her for a bit. How could she think my child was autistic? Don’t get upset with me, I really didn’t know much about autism back then.
So let’s jump ahead some, because I don’t want to bore you on my first day at the cool kids table! ;) When Liam was 4 we enrolled him in preschool. He spoke, though we were the only people to understand him. He barely ate anything and they didn’t let kids bring lunches. I was worried. He did okay. He was evaluated per state law by Early Intervention. His speech was a bit below, but they said not severe, so services were our choice. We declined. We didn’t want him pulled from class and alienated. They went on to tell us how hyper he was and we should seek an ADHD diagnosis.
What they neglected to tell us was that he didn’t play with other children. He only spent time with teachers. He didn’t eat what they served. He wanted to be alone, and so on. So naively we made an appointment with his Doctor. He told us there was nothing wrong. He told me I was over reacting and the school just didn’t want to handle our son.
This didn’t sit well with me. I knew in my gut there was something more. So I made an appointment with a new pediatrician and a local psychologist. The latter was a waste of time. The ped had us fill out paperwork as well as the preschool. Liam was diagnosed with ADHD.
Fast forward to Kindergarten. I was upset. I didn’t want to send him. I kept thinking of all the things that would and could go wrong. But I sent him, I mean, that’s life. We go to school. Long story short, by day 4 my son quit talking. He quit eating. All he did was cry, and rock, and bang his head when he was home. When he would get off the bus, his shirt would be stretched out at the neck, and soaked, and he wouldn’t speak. So I kept him out of school. Hubby called around and found a child psychologist in town. They saw us quickly as they considered it an emergency.
Mr. and Mrs. B, your son has autism……..
Those 8 words changed our lives forever. Same kid, yes, but now we had
a name for what was going on. I now knew we weren’t bad parents. I now knew he wasn’t a bad child, who would kick and scream and cry for what seemed to be no apparent reason.
I took to Google and the public library like a fire storm. When I read
all the local books on autism (which wasn’t much) I turned to an autism support group in Pa that offered a free library. I read a book a day. Therapists started coming in and out of our home. There were charts, and graphs, and incentive jars for Liam everywhere. Things were looking up. I was educated. I started home schooling him as well, and he has thrived!
Let’s jump ahead a bit more. Liam started to regress. Each year, around the same time, he would regress. We assumed it was because he’s autistic. Each year, it got worse. This past year, my 8 year old child was almost hospitalized in a children’s psychiatric unit, about 4 hours away. Thankfully it was our choice, and we were able to get in to see a child psychiatrist
as an emergency, so we took him home instead.
Mr. and Mrs. B, I believe your son also has Bipolar…..
So now, on top of autism, and the comorbid SPD, ADHD, then the OCD and Anxiety, our son is bipolar. My brain was spinning. How much more can one kid handle??
This sums up Liam’s almost nine years, in as little words as I could find. Now add to this, my hubby died twice in 1993. He now suffers from injuries related to that accident and is working on coming Iron Man, with all the metal in his body. I suffer from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, endo, and many, many more. I too, was diagnosed on spectrum just
over a year ago. It has answered so many questions for me.
To sum it all up, we are like a bowl of alphabet soup with all our diagnoses. But we’re alive, and we’re happy. We have bad days, we have great days. This is what I will be offering to you all. A look into our lives. No filter. Raw. Our struggles, our triumphs.
I hope you enjoy our journey. I hope it makes you feel less alone. I will be here once a month.