Share the first part of Easton's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?
Easton's story started before he was born. At about 28 weeks pregnant, I found myself very sick in the ICU with an infection, pneumonia, and relentless fevers. At the time I was blissfully unaware of what cytomegalovirus (CMV) was. However after weeks of testing, I was diagnosis with CMV and told that there was a chance that my child would be born with a congenital form of CMV as it could pass through the placenta. However, I was told to not worry and that it was unlikely to cause issues. This was far from true for us and so many. A few months later, Easton was born! At 36 weeks and 5lbs, he was doing well but had issues from the get go. He did test positive for CMV at birth but I was again reassured that he would be fine, and there was nothing to do for it. He was jaundice at birth and didn't as eat much as I felt he should. Every time he ate he would spill so much milk around his mouth that it soaked his shirt and mine. He sounded like he was gargling milk when he drank, almost like he was drowning. It was so concerning to me, but it was brushed off by doctors very frequently. I took him to his pediatrician, lactation consultants, chiropractors... I was desperate for help, He cried all the time, slept restlessly, and developed thrush. He was diagnosed failure to thrive at two months old weighing just 6lbs 7oz. This is when we were able to move to a larger children's hospital and start on this journey!
Share the first part of K Bear's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?
When K Bear was 6 months old we took him to a Christmas party with lots of similar aged babies. They were all rolling and some were even trying to crawl. I felt alarm bells ringing but friends and family reassured me that boys take longer to develop and that K Bear was just lazy but we felt uneasy. We put the delayed development down to lack of sleep and almost zero time spend doing tummy time as he’d just scream. At his 9 month check-up, the paediatrician was concerned that he rarely rolled and still couldn’t sit unsupported. He recommended physiotherapy and reassured us K Bear would only need two or three sessions. Now looking back at photos before this check-up, K Bear was starting to sit unassisted but had slowly lost the ability in the run up to spasms starting. He’s also not smiling in most of the photos around that time which we now know are tell-tale signs of IS. A few days after this appointment K Bear made a strange movement, a little like he was losing his balance and putting his arms and legs out to steady himself. His arms and legs would fling outwards like he was falling forwards. He had an ear infection at the time so I thought it was due to that, however, I sent an email to the paediatrician describing the movement the best I could. He told me not to worry and that it sounded like a normal baby movement. A couple of weeks went by and K Bear was still doing this strange movement a few times a day. We had started referring to it as ‘jumping’ or ‘falling’. My father-in-law was very concerned when he saw it, but I told him the paediatrician said it was normal. He wasn’t convinced. We finally got footage of the spasms and sent it to the paediatrician on a Saturday, two and a half weeks after we first saw one. He replied later that day which we thought was strange as it was the weekend. He told us he’d forwarded it to a neurologist and the lump in our stomachs expanded. We were terrified.
Share the first part of Morgan's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?
After my 20 week anatomy scan I went to a specialist in high risk pregnancies. I was tested for CMV after my daughter had an echogenic bowel. I told that CMV was nothing to worry about after my blood test cane back as a primary infection. The high risk doctor said my daughter would be just fine and I was referred back to my primary doctor who said the same thing, not knowing any different. Due to my health problems during pregnancy, such as blood clots in my lungs and having Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, along with my daughter failing a non-stress test very early on, I believe around 25 weeks, my doctor referred my care to a different high risk clinic. At that time, I was very worried. After my first appointment they had a emergency NICU care plan set up so the NICU nurses would be in the room when my daughter was born to do assessments and take her to the NICU of needed.| After my doctor had set up the NICU team with me, I had a NICU tour at 30 weeks. The same day I had an appointment with a team of doctors to explain what to expect for my daughter- they didn’t give a very positive outcome. I had appointments with my doctor, ultrasounds, and multiple non-stress tests weekly from 30-39 weeks and I was worried every time I went in that there would be something wrong and I would be having her that day. I, was told due to her echogenic bowel, my blood clots, and her IUGR., that it would be possible Thankfully I was able to deliver her full term at 39 weeks. As soon as she was born she had lab draws, urine samples, an ultrasound of her head to check for CMV damage, and an ultrasound of her spine since she had a birthmark that is common for spinal cord abnormalities. The ultrasound of her brain came back with cysts, calcification, missing white matter, and a hemorrhage. The spinal ultrasound came back clear. They later confirmed the ultrasound findings of her brain with an MRI. The next day she had her newborn hearing tests and failed it after they did it 3 times before she was discharged at 3 days old. She had to start seeing specialists out-patient right after she was discharged from the hosptial to be able to keep her out of the NICU and come home with me. From the time she was born she has seen many specialists, Morgan has been in and out of the hospital often, and has progressively had more diagnosis added. It can be very stressful at times. I wouldn’t say it has gotten easier, it has just become our new normal in life. It isn’t a shock every-time she has a new diagnosis, gets sick, or her care team adds a new specialist.
Share the first part of MyPerfectGirl's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?
During pregnancy I barely felt her move. But scans always showed a healthy baby. At 3 months she was diagnosed with Plagiocephaly (flat head) while in hospital for a respiratory virus. So we were referees to to a neurosurgeon, who said it would correct itself and she was dismissed until 10 months when I emailed photos back to the neurosurgeon of how bad her head had gotten. They called us in for an urgent appointment the next day and she was diagnosed with brachycephaly (her head protruded severely on one side from laying on it all the time) and had to start helmet therapy. Other than that I was worried as she was not rolling or sitting like my first child had, so I’d been taking her to different general practitioners and 3 Physios, but everyone told me she was just lazy and overweight. The hard thing was, no one was linking the flat head to her inability to move. I felt like I was going crazy in this period. Finally, at about 11 months I took her to see an amazing paed listened to me, and as soon as he picked her up he said “she has low muscle tone” and diagnosed hypotonia and the diagnosis process started (genetics, referral for an MRI etc).
Share the first part of Emmita's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?
At about 6 years old, E was making repetitive noises, it started with humming, then we noticed throat clearing. It eventually evolved to other repetitive sounds and phrases. Then we noticed repetitive movements, head shaking, mouth widening, rapid eye blinking. This caused us to look even further back, old photos/videos and we noticed things that were a little “odd” in the past but we didn’t exactly think of as a big deal may all have been a correlation to what we were noticing now: motor and vocal tics.
Share the first part of Pawishhh's story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?
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Share the first part of J.'s story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?
When my son was born, I said, “His breathing sounds super-congested.” The doctor said, “Yeah, he probably swallowed a little amniotic fluid. Don't worry about it.” I saw his chest pulling in a little bit when he breathed, and I kept on questioning. (Now, I know those were called “retractions.”) They said, “Don't worry about it. That's normal.” He was born at 35 weeks. We knew that potentially at 35 weeks there could be some minor respiratory issues. But he was six pounds eight ounces. He looked great. His Apgar scores were really good. All the things that we use to measure the typical stuff were good. Then, my husband pointed out that he was not really responding the way our other son had responded 24 hours into being in the world. Bright lights weren't really making him squint. A bunch of things just weren't happening that we thought were normal. (My first son is a healthy, typically developing six year old now.) He also has what I call his “cute” ear, a malformed ear. That was something I also pointed out, and the doctor said, again, “Listen, your kid is healthy. Don't worry about it. He's okay.” My son was born in Jamaica because both my Husband and I had successful careers there. It was a private hospital with a reputation for great doctors. So we thought, “We got this. This is okay. We didn't need to come back to the U.S. to have a baby.” They transferred him to an ICU unit because of his breathing. He had a little jaundice. We were in the ICU unit for about a week. While we were there, I kept on asking questions: “You know, when he cries, I noticed his mouth is a little lopsided.” (“Don't worry about it, Mom. It's not a big deal”.) “His breathing is still a concern to me.” (“Don't worry about it. He doesn't need oxygen. His O2 is fine.”) He wasn't feeding well, and they said, “Well, sometimes with babies it just takes a little time for them to figure out feeding.” They discharged us from the ICU because they had more critical kids. They handed me a syringe and said, “Just keep squirting some milk in his mouth until he gets sucking under control, and head home.” I thought something doesn’t feel right. We went to our pediatrician, and he said, “Listen, I hear your concerns. I can refer you to any doctors you want. Yeah, his breathing looks a little off. Maybe he has something like a PDA (patent ductus arteriosus), which is very common in a lot of kids.” He sent us to a cardiologist who seemed to be rushing. She said, “He has a minor PDA. It's nothing to worry about.” My husband said, “Listen, this is actually good news. It's not like he has a major heart condition.” But again, something felt off. We went to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor). They said, “Everything looks great. His airway is perfectly normal.” I thought, okay! But again, he still wasn't feeding. We just kept on pushing and pushing. It was constant: “Mom, you're freaking out too much. There's nothing to worry about. It just takes time.” But while this was going on, he was losing weight. I could see it. I mean, I could see it. He was the most miserable baby as well. My other son was such a happy little baby. I know kids are different, but there was just something about it that didn't feel right.
Share the first part of M.'s story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?
In utero, we already had a few challenges that came up. We found out about clubfoot at one of the early scans. It was a non-issue really, in the scheme of things. When M. was born, he had left clubfoot and torticollis. Those were the only issues of note. We started seeing a physical therapist right away for torticollis at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. My dad, who is a retired physician, noticed that M.’s eyes were non-reactive to light at about three months old. (It wasn't the pediatrician who noticed. It was my dad.) That is where I would say our journey really began. Then, one by one, other issues started to crop up over the years. For his vision, we saw an ophthalmologist. We went to one ophthalmologist when he was still three months old. This is one of those stories: The doctor was like, “Well, he could be blind.” We thought, “What? What are you saying to us?” So that guy was out. We switched to another doctor. And actually, M.’s eyes just kind of caught up to other kids. He was diagnosed with cortical visual impairment years later, and he wears glasses, but his eyes did catch up to a degree. Some of my friends have a similar story, too. You end up seeing a lot of different physicians to get all the information you need. But after this, M. wasn't really meeting the expected milestones. We had gotten into Early Intervention early. He must have been six months old. He needed physical therapy because he wasn’t rolling over and the torticollis was unresolved. Then, at 12 months, M. wasn't really verbalizing at all. I think one of the main reasons M. was given an autism diagnosis early on was because of his visual impairments. It's the way he used vision: when he's thinking, he looks someplace else. When he's walking, he doesn't look and instead he uses his feet to feel. He wasn't he wasn't making eye contact when you were talking to him, and then he also wasn't speaking. The autism diagnosis is definitely not correct. It helped us get therapy early on, but it also was not accurate. Later on, that diagnosis also didn’t help get other kinds of support. I always knew it wasn't autism because of his social engagement. M. was always so sweet and engaging. He was also given a diagnosis of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified). I don't think they give it anymore. It was a catch all: “We don't know what's happening here, so we’ve got to give you something.”
Share the first part of M.'s story for readers on Sleuth! When and why did you start to feel concerned?
I had a little heads up that things might be different. At the amnio, they found a marker on Chromosome 17. This was back in 2008. My daughter is 11 years old now. I went to everybody I could find: my doctor, other doctors, other specialists. I said, “What would this look like?” because the genetic counselor at the obstetrician’s office was trying her best to persuade me to abort. She went as far as to propose a date. They didn't know what a marker on 17 meant, or what it would look like when my daughter got older. My daughter looked okay in the sonogram. Finally, I found a genetic specialist who said it would look like learning disabilities and wouldn't show up until she was in elementary school. I'm a teacher, so I thought, “How could I possibly abort a child who has learning disabilities?” Anyway, the birth proceeded, and everything looked okay. This was my first and only child. I had no idea what to look for, or what the milestones were. Then, as she got older, it was clear there were issues with her development. She didn’t roll over. She didn’t sit up. She had hypotonia: she was like a rag doll with no muscle tone. She did make good eye contact, though. She talked early, before two years old, and has never stopped talking! She crawled late - two weeks before she turned two, and then she started walking at two or thereabouts. She couldn’t climb the steps, initially. She couldn’t run well. She has always had a problem with the right leg not quite keeping up with the left. She definitely has signs of ADHD. She has a very poor attention span and very poor frustration tolerance. She’s a brat, if there’s not a better term. She’s very oppositional. She wants what she wants, when she wants it. And she’s also needy. She always wants attention. She loves negative attention the best. It’s like she’s an addict, and her drug is being yelled at or being scared. She should eventually be a skydiver because she loves that high. She likes this more than positive attention. More than: “Hooray!” She’s really good with language, and has a really good memory. But she behaves like a two-year old. Except that a two year old goes and destroys something because they don't know better; she will destroy something because she wants to get a reaction. She’ll rip her book. She’ll grab a plant. We have to baby-proof the house. Knives can’t be out. She’ll grab one… She did it twice yesterday, because my brother made the mistake of leaving one on the island in the kitchen.