Physical Therapy, 6mo. later

Physical Therapy, 6mo. later

We started physical therapy when Logan was about 5 months old. At the time, I thought Logan was rockin’ it when it came to meeting his milestones. He was doing tummy time great, and he was rolling from prone to supine (I’ve picked up a few terms over these sessions lol), holding his head up like a champ and all! However, after the initial evaluation, I quickly learned just how mislead I was.

Whhaaaa?

Yes, Logan was doing great in meeting his milestones, but he was cheating and using disorganized body movement. Something I was completely unaware of, as I had no clue what to look for. Diana, his physical torturer {ahem!} I mean… therapist, quickly filled us in on how Logan was overcompensating his movements by using extension to accomplish most of his actions.

tsk. tsk. tsk.

Not like that little Logan.

We came into physical therapy doing 3 sessions a week for 30-minute sessions. When we first started, Logan was using his shoulders to hold up his head and neck (looking like the Uncle Fester all day) and was preferring to utilize extension to accomplish his rolling. These were the first movements we corrected, as Diana began to work with him, and cue-ing him towards the correct movements.

We experienced A LOT of crying during these first initial sessions.

But we worked at it. Every day. We worked not only at therapy 3x a week, but we also worked as a unit at home, intermittently taking turns, ensuring little Logan was practicing correct movements. All. The. Time.

I began to ask excessive questions during our sessions with Diana. I wanted to know as much as I could about what he was learning to do, with what muscles, and how it would help him further his development.

“And what was that word you used?” “How can I do this at home” What if he does this?” “How do I correct this movement?” “What if he does this movement?” “He does this a lot, is that normal?”

I feel like that is my number one question:

Is that normal?

but what’s normal?

Because I’m not, and with him I only see perfection. 

Today, at the 6mo. PT re-evaluation I was able to show Diana how I’m learning to crawl on my own. I came into therapy 6 short months ago, unable to hold my own head up properly. But with constant support and dedication from my family and the amazing people at  Nicklaus Children’s Outpatient Therapy center, now? Now I can sit completely unassisted, I can roll all over the place like a crazy animal, and I’m finally beginning to learn to crawl.

Mommy is so proud! Not only of the progress I’ve made, but also of the way I continuously learn. The way I can pick up cues quickly, and continuously work at these movements, even when no one is helping me. Sometimes, mommy catches me in my play pen practicing weight baring, and she can’t help but laugh.

Physical therapy is quickly becoming one our favorite ways to start the moring. ♥

 

 

 

Here we are, 10mo. later…

I didn’t originally want another baby. I was satisfied with just Evan and content enough to raise just him. However, my husband (sneaky bastard who knows me so well), appealed to the younger me who dreamed of a large family — similar to the one she grew up in.

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We tried one time, a random day on my ovulation cycle, exactly 2 weeks off the pill. When we woke up the next morning, we second-guessed that decision and said:                    “maybe we should wait” | “maybe we’re not ready” | “maybe in another year”

But guess what?

You don’t get to choose.

I knew instantly I was pregnant with Logan (which is probably why I felt like it was the longest 9mo. ever). The vomiting began just 2 weeks into gestation, and it would never stop. I’m not saying I gagged a little in the mornings, had a bit of nausea, or threw up a bit of stomach acid.

No, my friend. I. THREW. UP. All the time. ALL THE TIME.

It’s called hyperemesis gravidarum, which translated online means “severe vomiting”. Severe vomiting?! During my first trimester, I lost 30 pounds and was seen in the ER 12 times for severe dehydration. I couldn’t even hold down water. Add to that my loose bladder from Evan’s pregnancy, resulting in tons of amounts of pee coming involuntarily out, therefore making me smell homeless. Real attractive pregnancy glow [cue sarcasm].

I couldn’t leave the house without vomiting and pissing everywhere. On myself, down my pants, in the car, in the chairs I sat on, in the beds I laid in, in the stores I went to. EVERYWHERE. I felt disgusted with myself and spent most of the day at home changing my clothes, vomiting, and crying myself into hysterics.

I want to say it got better, but it didn’t. -_-

They gave me my first ultrasound at week 20, 5 weeks behind schedule. At the initial ultrasound, I was advised that something didn’t quite look right, in a very nonchalant, this is of no importance kind of manner, and that there were some images which the doctor felt might reflect Down Syndrome. They referred me to further testing, but otherwise, I was shrugged off and no other information was given.

At week 22 sequential blood work through the Harmony Blood Testing exam revealed a possible positive marker of Trisomy 21 for our little Logan. They would like me to come in to discuss our chances and other options for testing.

But, our little Logan, who already had a name, who already had a brother waiting for him, and with which whom I had already fallen hopelessly in love — might be, what? defective? No one had even told me what Trisomy21 was, nor did they even bother to explain it.

Google became my friend.

Shortly afterward, we opted for the amniocentesis, and I have to say — as a mom who has birthed naturally twice using an epidural… nothing compares to the pain of that needle piercing through the skin, then the abdomen, then the uterus, then the placenta. You feel, each. and. every. puncture.

And when you have a hyperactive fetus (like Logan), you get to ride that ride twice.

Fun times.  😉

Not.

In less than 2 weeks we got a call from Dr. Q at Maternal Fetal Medicine, that he would like to see me. Today. Within the next hour if possible. At that moment, I felt my heart sink. We were seen immediately upon arriving at the office and given another full work up ultrasound. Shortly after we were given the results, and asked very nicely about whether we had thought of how we wanted to proceed with the pregnancy?

I was so confused in this moment, as termination was never an option, no matter the results of the amnio. Hearing the doctor voice this question aloud, gave me uncertainty for one moment. One. Split. Moment. that I thought I was not meant to have this baby.

But I loved him. I loved him so much already, and I had faith that the universe knows why it does what it does. What’s meant to happen will happen. Have faith in your destiny. All that other horse shit.

So of course, we were confident in our choice to keep Logan, and raise him just like the other savages kids being raised in our house. Dr. Q was nothing short of magical as he followed our case. Through him we found the initial strength we needed, to know that our baby was going to be ok. And he was the most perfect thing we would ever lay our eyes on.

“The world needs more parents like you”

-Dr. Q

And now 10mo. after being with Logan I am ashamed at that feeling of overwhelming loss I had at the moment they told us we had a positive diagnosis. After all, an amnio has a 99.2%. accuracy rate. At that moment I just felt loss, for the life I had begun to envision with my two boys, which now seemed to be so unclear, so tumultuous, and so uncertain.

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I’ve never met an individual with Down Syndrome, and now I was about to be the mother of one. To say I was sadly unprepared is an understatement. But now? Now the only thing I know is that Logan is the biggest blessing we have ever received, and the universe truly does know what you need when you need it.

I spent the remainder of my pregnancy fighting all kinds of emotions as I processed an immense amount of information, and struggled with daily anxieties and fears… all while being unmedicated for the first time in 15 years. To say that my Bipolar Mind had reared her ugly head is the understatement of all these understatements. So, the Support System stepped in, and 2 weeks before giving birth to Logan, I moved back home with mom and dad. Half my stuff in one place, half my stuff in another. But it was the best decision I made. Not only for my own mental health and sanity but for the health of my children and family as well.

Now? Now Logan is 10 months, and in just two shorts months, he’ll turn 1. I don’t even know where the last ten months have gone as I have been through some crazy moments. I’ve lost my mind and my cool on more than one occasion, and there have been some hella crazy times. But motherhood is quite possibly the scariest hood I have ever been through. And I’ve seen some {bat shit} crazy stuff in my day.

At 10mo. my little wolverine has made huge leaps in overcoming any obstacles put before him. His “delay” is considered within “normal” (someone please define normal for me) limits and considered on par for someone who does not even have a disability.

He does have a delay in his fine and gross motor movements, so we go to physical and occupational therapy 3x a week, for 30 minutes each. We call it our “gym time”. We have upcoming therapy evaluations for speech and feeding, in hopes that we can get in front of the delay, rather than behind it.

I’ve learned so much from Logan over the past ten months. So much on motherhood, life, perspective, outlook, and love. I’ve learned to be quieter (which if you know me, is a difficult feat in and of itself), I’ve learned to be more patient and open-minded. I’ve learned compassion and strength. And I’ve learned, ultimately, that moms really can do it all, and then some!

♥JessG.

Defined by Bipolar

An introduction to the Bipolar Mind, and who she is…

by a Not-so-Anonymous Means

I feel like I have written and rewritten these words a thousand times. I have imagined these words in countless multitudes, and each time a different version is born. New words, new paths, and new imaginings. A multitude of possibilities, each one possessing a thousand new beginnings, a thousand fresh starts; always and always new words. Each new possibility brings with it the promise of a new beginning, the ideology that anything can shift your life onto another course, to launch you from one chapter to the next. And yet, each version lays unfinished on the tethers of my mind to be forgotten on the winds of tomorrow. Each thought flits away at the end of each night and the morning brings fresh new beginnings; fresh new thoughts, fresh new starts. Always looking forward and always in perpetual motion. There is never a pause in this life; there is never a redo, a take-back or a repeat. There is only forward, an unknown future that holds a thousand possibilities as the sun rises over the horizon. What does she bring in her wake? What will the days hold as life continues to revolve around what we do not know? The thought of new fresh beginnings should be exhilarating and thrilling, for the promises that can be felt on the future winds of tomorrow. But what happens when forward only strikes fear in you. When forward is not where you wish to go? What if the future, grey and unknown as she is, only builds anxiety for fear of the unknown?

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Each thought brings me to a new path, a new point in the endless line of moments, each springing life into the next sequential movement. The cannabis that I breathe in slowly and exhale with pure joy, fills me with the creativity and productivity that I need to write this down. To give to you, faceless as you are, this anonymous message built from all the corners of my mind. Like the pieces of a puzzle slowly falling together into understanding. Over the years a blackness has shrouded the pathways of my memories, and the more Indica I take in, the more the blankets are lifted, and the light is shown on the truth. In these moments I can see my life from a different perspective. I can allow reality to shine a light on the false images that my Bipolar Mind has created. For she will always twist reality to her means and make the eyes always doubt what they see, and leave the ears always straining for the truth.

What is reality?

What is the truth?

Who am I ultimately?


Crazy? Or Sane?

Crazy? Or, Sane?

Crazy? Or? Sane?

In my mind there coexists two warring powers struggling for control of the physical. There is me, and there is the Bipolar Mind. The other half of me, the one that I try to keep locked in the deep dark corners of my consciousness. She is the ugly sister that I keep in my closet, the one that I try with all my might to keep hidden from the public, for fear of being shamed. She is the Beast I cannot control, the Demon who haunts me at night, and the Banshee who screams and feeds on the fears of others. She has no care for those around her, and uses her words like the cut of a blade. She makes those closest to her bleed the tears of love, until they are pushed to the limits of their hearts. She makes them doubt their patience, and whether they can endure the malice that she produces. She is the beast I cannot control, and if you have met her, I am sorry for her words and actions. To her loved ones, I hope you continue to endure, for she wears her shackles with strain.

Crazy or Sane?

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At the end of each night, and rise of each morning there is always something missing. Some thought that goes unanswered, or some trail unfollowed. Each path is lost due to the shackles on my mind, and the dosages of the medical poison they prescribe. Each of these toxins I put in my body creates a haze over the events of my life, both past, and present. My mind falters at lost images of my past and doubts these events as though they are not my own happenings. These lost moments haunt me each night and always have me thinking, trying to recollect each moment, trying to see them through. As always though, they are lost to the night and the demons that will eventually pull me under.


Sometimes I don’t even know where to begin with the rollercoaster that is my life. Can you imagine living your life at about 160 mph each moment of each day? And that’s cruising speed, my life with caffeine or on drugs is much, much faster, factor in my manic episodes, and time seems to fly by you. It’s exhausting, exhilarating, exciting, and frightening. It’s liberating to the point that you want to throw your hands up and yell into the air; and yet it can be so frightening that enduring with your eyes closed might just be preferable. Sometimes you run straight back to your hidey-hole, and sometimes you ride the rollercoaster with such a ferocity that you feel your heart rip from your chest, somersault into oblivion and land you back on the floor with your two feet firmly planted. Who’s ready to ride again? Because I am!

When life comes at you that fast you thrive on your impulses, and sometimes you don’t get the chance to sit back and think about your decisions. Sometimes you live in the moment and the past doesn’t have time to catch up with you. You race forward, from one moment to the next, not taking a moment to stop, breath, and think. Just think for one moment of the future and its consequences, think of what can happen to you and those around you and think of the consequences of each action and how this might affect you and others. When the Bipolar Mind is in control there are no moments for these thoughts, there’s just a race to the imaginary finish line located at infinite. When she’s in control, she makes the decisions, she makes her moves at lightning speed, and she does what’s best for her at that moment. She is selfish and cruel, and her conniving malice is never-ending. She looks out for her. That is all.

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Who picks up those pieces though? Who deals with the consequences that lie in her wake, and the destruction that she has caused. Those who get hurt, either get lost or get over it.  There are no other options. The Beast is in control, and she takes no prisoners. Those with blood ties to the Monster within make their appearances scarce until the demons are under control. Family is forever, no matter what demons you carry. When the damage has been caused, and the Bipolar Mind has retreated to her corner, to lick her wounds, who is it that nurses the wounded, and rebuilds the ties? Family endures beyond the lines of conscious and subconscious. All beasts are linked to another in some way, and this tie is what keeps us humane.

You can say that each individual on this planet is in possession of his or her own kind of crazy, but none can compare to the crazy, which thrives in the dark recesses of my mind. I am no one, and yet I am everywhere, the only difference between you and me? I have no control over the emotions that wrack my body at each moment of the day. My emotions are magnified to the utmost possibility, without literally destroying my soul. Although, I will say that, on occasion, said soul has been lost to the darkness far longer than I would have preferred. And yet, when you flip my coin, I am on top of the world and my power is untouchable and limitless. I am unstoppable and the world is my oyster. But what can you do? The Bipolar Mind does what it wants when it wants.

But who is she? Where does she come from? And why was I cursed to carry her burden on my conscience? She is me, but I am not her. Of that I am certain. I carry her memories and share her mind. She thrives on my emotions, and I thrive on her energy. However, I know for certain I am not the malicious beast that the Bipolar Mind paints me to be. My life is full of bright, glimmering pieces of light. They shine with such exuberance, that you feel blinded by their beauty. I am surrounded by the utmost outstanding people who make nothing but positive influences on those around them. They are the picture of a kind, caring, loving family, who only do good unto those around them. Together we are a family. So who is this demon that lives within the recesses of my mind? Why does she haunt me during the quiet hours of the day? Whispering a tortuous tune into my ear, over my shoulder, always nearby to drag me into her underworld.

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This is her message to you. The remembering’s of our collective memory, in both her perspective and mine. This is our story. It can be loud, scary, and insane, but it is ours, and it is begging to be told.

 

Illustrated by: Alexis Bringas

Say Hi Logan!

An introduction to Logan James Galdamez.

Hey There! This is our new space, and we would like to welcome all our new visitors. My name is Logan James — and yes, I’m named after the infamous Wolverine. I’ve been with mom and dad for 9mo. now and it has been nothing but pure love and joy. I have to note that their joy and wonder as they discover this world with me is nothing short of magical.

It was during week 22 of mommy’s pregnancy that genetic blood work came back with a positive marker for Trisomy21.

After an amniocentesis at week 23, mommy received her confirmation of a positive diagnosis for the chromosomal disorder of Trisomy21. Also, more commonly referred to as Down Syndrome. Although, I will say there is nothing down about my attitude, nor my outlook on life.

I was born in June of 2018 at 38 weeks and 5 days. My doctors at Maternal Fetal Medicine, who followed my case weekly — believed it was best for me to come out a bit earlier than we anticipated, due to my growth restriction. During weeks 32-37 of mommy’s pregnancy, I had only gained almost a pound. So, SURPRISE! Here I come two weeks early!

After the initial induction, and finally after having the water broken, I arrived in 15 short minutes. Mommy likes to say that she didn’t even know I came out until I was screaming in her arms.

“Wait, what? He’s out?! That’s it?!”
-mommy on June 27 at 9:42pm

I spent 10 days in the NICU due to feeding reluctance, and PPHN which had me oxygen dependent. During this time mommy and daddy would come to visit as much as possible, while also readying my room at home. 

Mommy likes to joke that “you would never guess I ate from a feeding tube for the first 5 days of my life”. Why? Now I eat like a champ and there hasn’t been food I don’t like. I spend most of my day discovering the environments around me while trying so hard to get the attention of Evan and my cousins.

Those first weeks after the diagnosis was rough for mommy and daddy. But, they know that the universe knows what it does. Therefore, I was meant for them, and them for me. This could be for a reason we don’t yet but certainly, for reasons we have only just begun to understand. Considering how little mom knew about Trisomy21, and the none to nil contact she’s had with individuals like me — it makes sense she was a nervous wreck.

But these smiles make it all worthwhile.

Now, almost ten months later mom and dad aren’t the only ones who have fallen completely, and totally in love with me. Due to my infectious smiles, and the wondrous beauty I see in everything, the individuals I meet and come to know, also come to see the world with the same sense of wonder.

Don’t get me wrong, I know my journey is a slow one as I meet my milestones slower than my brothers and cousin did. Mom likes to say I’m lazy, dad likes to say I’m just observing how it’s done first.

But now, at 9 months I am finally mastering the art of sitting and beginning the learning movements of crawling. When mom compares me to my brother Evan (which, yes yes, I know I shouldn’t) I’m nowhere near the running and climbing he was doing at this age.

But that doesn’t stop me from being the most perfect thing mommy has ever laid eyes on.

Follow along on our journey to hear more about my developments, as well as different material relating to mom’s journey into motherhood while managing mental illness and health.

 

-LJ