I feel like I haven't talked much about Matthew on here in recent months. Ironic considering he was the reason I started blogging seven years ago. I still can't believe I have stuck with this blog for that long. Anyways, it has been interesting to read back on all of the posts about Matthew over the years. Usually the past posts spark memories I had long forgotten. Funny things he has done or said. Stages he has gone through. Seasons our family has been through. Lately though, some of the words, concerns I had, delays he has struggled with, have all added to my suspicion that he may have a mild case of Cerebral Palsy.
Most people that know me, know that Matthew's birth was anything but calm and relaxing. Well, anyone that knows me knows that is nearly impossible considering I hate pain and would have gladly gotten an epidural about six months along in pregnancy. I wanted to try and have Matthew vaginally. Long and painful story short, I had a long labor, my epidural never did work and by the time they took me back for a c section, Matthew was deeply lodged in my pelvis. After much pulling, yanking, a midwife, a nurse and my OB on TOP of my body, my OB swearing like a sailor on leave, (HORRIFYING by the way), Matthew was finally dislodged from my pelvis. I remember seeing him briefly and then I passed out from all the drugs and probably from the shock of all that had just gone on. When I awoke, I was literally alone in what seemed like a hallway, no doctor, no baby, no husband. Someone finally came and took me to my room. I didn't see Matthew again for nearly six hours. I remember finally getting frantic at the end and saying something to effect of, "Get me my baby now! or ELSE". After that rocky start, it seemed that Matthew was fine. I kept him with me for the rest of our stay at the hospital and a few days later, we went home. Matthew had a horrible case of torticollis, he always had his head to the far right. In fact he did it so much that he got a flat spot and had to wear a helmet! He always slept in his swing. Being newbie parents we never even considered that perhaps something more than a neck strain happened during his traumatic delivery. Seven years later, I am not so sure.
First of all, let me be clear. For the most part, Matthew is a typical seven year old! He loves sports, playing outside with friends, Wii, Star Wars and war games in general. He is a good student, a great friend with a kind heart, an awesome big brother and a fabulous son. He can walk, talk, play, run, etc. But Matthew does struggle with several things. He constantly walks on his tippy toes, despite our best efforts to remind him to walk with his whole foot. He has always had sensory issues. Matthew can never be hugged tight enough, he loves to play hard, to wrestle and of course there is the snow boot story. When Matthew was three we were outside playing in the snow. We must have gotten 15 inches so I couldn't see his little feet in the snow. At some point his boot had fallen off, along with his sock, and he had no idea! That is when I knew for certain that there was something up with Matthew's sensory system. He did go to OT for about six months and it seemed to help. Matthew also flaps his hands and makes a grimacing face when he is overly stimulated or excited. He is aware that he does this and it doesn't seem to bother him when other kids ask him what he is doing. He simply states, "That's what I do when I am excited. " Matthew struggles with fine motor skills. Writing is very difficult for him and when he writes it looks like someone must younger did it. He struggles with putting on his clothes as well. He has issues with is balance too. All little things, but when I started putting them all together, I wondered if perhaps there was something more to it?
At his 7 year check up I discussed my concerns with his doctor. She brought up the possibility of mild cerebral palsy. We've started the process of obtaining a definitive diagnosis. Matthew had an occupational therapy evaluation yesterday. It was very interesting considering we do a lot of OT testing at my internship. To be the parent of the child being tested was hard. I knew when he was struggling and when he "failed" a task. The great thing is I know how wonderful occupational therapy is. It will help Matthew so much with the tasks he does struggle with! Matthew will be going to OT once a week for an hour. We have an appointment with the pediatric neurologist in December too.
We realize in the grand scheme of things of ailments that can strike your child, this diagnosis certainly doesn't even come close to grim. In fact, most people wouldn't even notice half of his symptoms. Still, it is something to deal with and to make sure we're doing all we can to help Matthew be all he desires to be. We hate to see him struggle and to get teased.
Looking back, I wonder if this had happened with Caroline or Ellie if I would have done something differently in handling this? I certainly would have been more suspicious of how they treated him after he was born. I would have maybe asked more questions about his status of how he was doing immediately after delivery. But in this world of malpractice lawsuits, I probably wouldn't have gotten many truthful answers. One thing I do know for sure, we've always addressed any issues Matthew has had right away. Maybe that is why he doesn't significantly struggle with these cerebral palsy issues. I have never been one to bury my head in the sand. I am so grateful to have access to great medical professionals and therapists that can come along side Matthew and help him be all that he desires to be!