Our first few weeks home with the new baby were a mixed bag of smooth sailing and rough seas. For baby, there was lots of love and attention from mom and dad. We were lucky that dad had scheduled a vacation time for when we thought the baby would be arriving. He took family leave when the baby arrived 7 weeks early, which ran into his vacation; so we had dad home until our little guy was about 2 months old. For mom, this time was one of trying to heal from a c-section, being chronically sleep deprived, and dealing with a baby who was learning to nurse.
I would nurse the baby as best as he would; then give him a bottle; and follow that with pumping milk. Because the baby was a fussy baby, starting about the time he came home, this feeding and then getting baby to be settled or asleep, could take several hours. I was pretty much a wreck. We would see the pediatrician weekly at first. The doctor was happy with how our little guy was growing; but then the fussy baby became so unhappy and uncomfortable that if he was awake, he was miserable. It took forever to get him to sleep, and then he’d sleep for 2 to 4 hours. When he’d nurse, he’d take about 3 swallows and then begin to cry. He’d take a little bit of a bottle, but he wasn’t doing well. After 3 or 4 weeks of trying different formulas and my going off dairy, I was about to lose my mind. Then I found an online bulletin board discussing reflux. That week when we went in to see the doctor, I asked about reflux. He prescribed medicine that was amazing. Almost immediately, our miserable baby became much happier. He became even more happy when I stopped nursing and put him on soy formula full-time. At that point he was almost 4 months old.
After that mystery was solved, our little guy did much better; but he still needed to be held a lot. As he grew and developed, I assumed everything was normal. Every visit with the pediatrician went well after that, until we hit 2 years old. The doctor went through his checklist of developmental milestones and when he asked how many word combinations the little man used, I answered, “Word combinations? He has 3 words.” Hmm. That was our first indication that everything was not all right. As not to alarm us, the doctor suggested waiting 3 more months before recommending an evaluation from a speech therapist.
At 2 years and 3 months old, weekly speech therapy began. The first therapist left the practice after a short while, and another gal began working with our little man. This new gal noticed a few things while working with him, and asked me if I wouldn’t mind filling out something called a Sensory Survey. A few sections in particular stood out like red flags. Soon thereafter there was an evaluation from an occupational therapist, followed by weekly occupational therapy. We learned that there were a few labels that fit our boy: speech delay and sensory integration dysfunction.
The fall of our little man’s second year, after a developmental evaluation, we enrolled him in our town’s developmental preschool, two mornings a week. As part of our state’s Birth To Three program, all babies and toddlers to age 3 with disabilities or developmental delays, are entitled to receive early intervention services. Early intervention during the first years of a child’s life can make a big difference in the future of that child. The evaluation that was performed showed that our little guy was delayed in five of the six areas examined. The only are he was not delayed was large motor planning. That would explain why he had earned the nickname of Motorboy.