As a reminder, I still have a giveaway going for e.l.f. cosmetics here and several more to come when I have more than ten minutes to put up a post!
I wrote last week about Little Miss’s first word because I thought it was pretty funny. Really, how often does a one year old know the world “eyebrow” (notice I said know and not pronounce correctly), let alone have that for her first word.
That being said, I can’t just leave Mister Man out. After all, he’s quite the verbal little guy. He didn’t start out that way, however. Like Little Miss, he didn’t babble as an infant.
In fact, when he didn’t talk at fifteen months, I expressed concern to my pediatrician. She told me that she wouldn’t be worried until he hit eighteen months without talking, but that if I were really worried she would help me through the Early Intervention process (which I had asked her about, having a friend who knew enough about it to give me the basics).
Any parent with a child under the age of three who is concerned that the child might developmental delays from social to speech to fine or gross motor and more can have the child evaluated for free to determine if there is actually a delay and, if so, how severe. Each state does it differently, but let me encourage you to google Early Intervention for your state if you have any questions. It’s much better to know and be prepared than it is to try to deal with something at a later age. If therapies are needed, they’re far more effective the younger the child is.
PSA over, and back to my point.
We started down the path of requesting an Early Intervention evaluation for Mister Man. We received the paperwork via mail and returned it as quickly as possible. From that point, the county (it’s done at the county level, at least in Illinois and I believe most if not all other states, as well) had sixty days to set up an evaluation to determine if he had more than a 30% delay in any area, which would then qualify him for therapy.
While we were waiting, a seventeen month old Mister Man was playing in our guest room around 11am one Sunday morning. He bent over to pick something up and leaned slightly into the guest room. He puked. I sent my husband over to clean it up, since I don’t do puke. We thought it was weird, since he was playing just fine but shrugged it off.
Within an hour, he had vomited another seven times and the diarrhea was starting to kick in. We called our doctor who told us to keep him hydrated and just watch him. At that point, he’d fallen asleep atop our guest bed and seemed relatively comfortable.
As soon as he woke up, he began vomiting over and over and was completely listless, and we called the doctor again. This time, she told us to go ahead and take him to an emergency room with a pediatric specialty. We packed Mister Man up in the car and drove the forty-five minutes to that hospital, with me on the phone along the way trying to determine from my insurance company whether this hospital was covered and what we had to do. It was, fortunately, our first ER trip.
As we walked into the ER, I carried Mister Man while my husband parked the car. Mister Man began vomiting again as I walked through the doors. A nurse kindly gave me a puke catch bucket for him as I began to cry and started to register him. It was now 4pm.
At 7:30, we still hadn’t been seen by anyone, but his vomiting had stopped since the major episode when we first came in. Part of that was likely due to the fact that he’d puked up everything in him, and he had no interest in any popsicles or cups or anything. We sat in our little corner as far away from anyone else who might be contagious as possible, and I rocked my limp ragdoll of a baby.
We were finally taken back, and the doctor immediately started fluids by IV. Mister Man perked up a little. He now had a fever, and the diarrhea had returned. His poor bottom! The doctor told us that he likely had rotovirus. The big question was whether Mister Man would be sent home because he appeared to be doing better or whether we would simply be back in the morning and he should be admitted. Around 11:30pm, they finally decided to admit Mister Man.
We were ushered up to the pediatric wing, and Mister Man wore a tiny little hospital gown with cute clowns decorating it. He was hooked up to all sorts of machines, and the IV was continued. Luckily, he was asleep for most of this.
By morning, he was far worse. It was definitely rotovirus, and he simply lay there like a doll with his eyes open and staring at the ceiling. He had no energy to even blink, let alone move. Nurses checked him every hour, taking his temperature, fixing his pulse-ox meter that kept falling off his tiny little finger, giving him shots, adjusting his IVs, listening to him breathe, and more.
The whole time, he lay there unmoving and silent. It was heartbreaking. I was lucky enough to be able to stay in the hospital with him, and my parents also took shifts sitting with me when my husband had to go teach. In fact, the second or third night we were there, my father saved Mister Man’s life.
I was asleep in the hospital chair and Mister Man had rolled over such that his IV line was wrapped around his neck and was strangling him. My silent boy struggled, and my father was luckily awake and was able to untangle him before it was too late. I still shudder to think what would have happened had my dad not been there that night.
By the third day we were there, Mister Man was starting to feel slightly better. I was able to take a short break to run home to shower and grab some Baby Einstein DVDs to entertain the boy who no longer wanted to lay in his hospital crib. He was finally standing up or sitting on our laps and needed entertaining. With so many wires still attached to him, he couldn’t go far!
The nurses were still monitoring him regularly, and he was not a fan of the temperature taking (keep in mind, he was seventeen months), nor did he like the shots they gave him. The probiotics they were not giving him to counteract the massive doses of IV antibiotics he’d received were also not high on his list.
As the kind nurse stepped toward him one morning, he was standing up leaning between my legs as I rubbed his back. He heard her coming and craned his neck to see who was coming. As she approached, his eyes widened. He shook his head back and forth rapidly. Nonononononono! he shouted.
His will was denied, and the nurse did what she had to do as he fought her to the best of his ability. And me? I sat there in shock, reeling from the fact that my little boy who had been near death just a day before had finally spoken his first word.
As a post script, Mister Man was evaluated for Early Intervention less than a month later. He had over a thirty percent delay in a few areas and began speech and occupational therapy twice a week shortly thereafter. His big issue with speech was luckily not comprehension but simply that he didn’t have the core strength to draw enough breath to make sound. We added physical therapy later that summer, and the improvement he made was impressive. He picked up on the major signed within a few weeks of starting. By twenty-two months – less than four months after beginning his therapies – he was putting together two and three word sentences. And now? His speech rocks. I thank my lucky stars for my friend who knew enough about the services that are available to recommend the Early Intervention testing. And I encourage you to check it out if you are at all concerned. It is often nothing, but what a relief just to know for sure!