Hello all Amanda again introducing you to Samuel my 5 year old!
Samuel was born in August 2011 exactly 4 years, 7 months, 1 day and 15 hours after his older brother.
Samuel was originally going to be named Wyatt Ray so some of my old facebook posts say that name instead of Samuel Ray. Daniel wanted to name his baby brother Fireman Sam after a cartoon he loved! We compromised and picked Samuel after the cartoon Daniel loved and an uncle!
My pregnancy with Samuel was pretty uneventful. I did have high blood pressure my first 6 months and by the last 3 months my blood pressure returned to normal range, and stayed that way (still has). My blood pressure had stayed high after my pregnancy with Daniel and then after my pregnancy with Sam was fine.
Samuel weighed 7lbs 8oz with a full head of dark hair! Daniel came up that night to meet house brother and it was the most precious thing I’ve ever witnessed! At the time I was pregnant with Samuel my twin sister Becky was pregnant with my second neice Aubree! My due date was August 17th and her c-section was scheduled for August 18th. We thought for sure we’d be up there at the same time with the newest members. But as luck would have it Samuel came early, which worked perfect since we had the same doctor.
Samuel never really seemed to meet developmental milestones at the appropriate age, some he would others not so much. He had 11 ear infections before his first birthday! Asked his doctor for a referral for tubes and he said he’d out grow them so I got a second opinion and that doctor gave me the referral. One month before Samuel had his first birthday he was having his first of many surgeries. He got tubes and I’ll tell you, you really don’t have time to even worry! I feel like I’d barely sat down in the waiting room and they were coming out to let me know he was done.
AEA was contacted by me to see if they could help with Samuel’s speech at that time he had enough sounds and gestures they couldn’t offer services, I was frustrated because he was going on a year and a half and still not saying many words if any. They also told me he had no stranger danger something most kids have outgrown about 9 months old he still wasn’t afraid of new people. He still isn’t to this day he’ll walk up and hug anyone given the chance! I talked to his doctor and he wasn’t concerned about Samuel’s speech. I continued working on it at home, reading to him, practicing colors, shapes, numbers etc.
By the time he was 3 he was talking but was extremely hard to understand. There were days and still are some where people will ask me what he said and apologize for not knowing what he said. I always tell them not to be sorry it takes time and that there were and occasionally still are days even being his mom and around him 365 days a year I can’t. Talk about feeling bad! Samuel started headstart that year. And would attend for two years. In that first year his teachers approached me about having a school eval for Speech. I think they were a little shocked at how excited I was they asked! I told them yes please do I’ve been wanting to do this for so long but was getting no where. They wanted this done because they were having trouble understanding him, peers were, and he was getting so frustrated. Samuel began speech services at school a few weeks later. Samuel continued with speech the two years he was in headstart. During this time the doctor he had retired and he got a new one. This doctor has been amazing! I asked him for a referral for speech when Samuel would be turning 4 and he gave me one. Samuel has been in speech almost two years now! And he’s so much more intelligible! Less and less I need to tell people what he says and he’s less frustrated. We learned from going to private speech that Samuel has 3 speech disorders. Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Phonological Processing Disorder, and Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder. In the past year and a half I’m just amazed at all the goals he’s met! And in kindergarten he continued speech at school as well.
I guess I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself. Samuel has had 7 surgeries total although I will not list them all. The longest and scariest for me and I think him too was his bilateral eye surgery at age 3. Samuel got glasses at 18 months old due to poor vision and his eyes crossing. His local eye doctor had me try putting drops in his right eye because it was his strong eye, these drops would blur his vision some and force him to use the left eye which was his weak eye. At this point his brain didn’t even recognize his left eye was there anymore and he was at risk of losing his vision completely in that eye. After several weeks of drops and no improvement we were sent to Iowa City to see a pediatric eye surgeon at UIHC strabismus clinic. Samuel had strabismus and amblyopia. A crossing of both eyes. Our doctor there had me try patching his right eye again in hopes we’d see improvement with the left. We went back every two weeks for a little over a month (quick thank you to my family who helped with these trips and hotel stays as going every two weeks is expensive) but again I was given the news that it hadn’t worked. Samuel now needed the bilateral eye surgery. The surgery would take an hour give or take not including pre-op and post-op. I was allowed to dress in scrubs and booties to take Samuel into surgery because he was so scared. Holding him while they put him under and seeing his body so limp made me cry. I cried the entire way to the waiting room. And I prayed, I prayed so hard that everything would go well and there’d be no complications. After what seemed like an eternity a nurse came and got me to tell me Sam was done, everything had gone well. He still needs his glasses but for now his eyes are staying straight, there’s a chance he could need the surgery again. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that.
Summer of 2016 we again traveled to Iowa City to the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) to have Samuel evaluated for Autism and to have his IQ tested. During this trip Samuel was diagnosed with a Cognitive Developmental Delay and his IQ tested on the higher end of impaired (7pts higher than having an intellectual disability). They said Samuel didn’t have autism and that he’s too social for that. I may not agree but there’s always second opinions.
After getting this information i went to AEA and Samuel’s past and future teachers. Samuel had his IEP adjusted so that it was no longer just speech it now included academics. It was decided he’d do better in the special education class as it’s less kids and he’s done beautifully! Still behind peers his age but doing great. Samuel will now move on to first grade.
Samuel enjoys people, he’s most defintly a people person. Loves hugging everyone and can make friends anywhere we go. Samuel enjoys drawing, building with Legos and blocks, doing school work on his iPad, and playing video games with his brother or me. He also enjoys the time we spend at OLC At Play helping me volunteer and asks every weekend if it’s our turn to go to the mall. He loves being with family!
I love Samuel and wouldn’t change him or his brother! I couldn’t ask for better, more caring children. My heart is full.
**Edit to add in 2015 Samuel was also diagnosed with Sensory processing disorder (SPD)**