Thursday, October 2, 2014

Happy First Birthday, Camden!

My sweet baby boy,
One year ago on this day, at 6:02pm, you came into my life. On this day, I saw your face for the first time, and my heart became full instantly. On this day, you changed me. You changed the way my heart loves and the way my mind thinks. On this day, your beauty and strength gave me hope in all things. I never knew that a 4 pound 8 ounce, 12.5 inch long little boy could have so much of an impact on my life. 






I remember touching and kissing your newly born head. The feeling of meeting you for the first time was the best I have ever felt in my life. It was magical. Everything felt right. In my heart, I knew God created us both to go together. I knew I belonged to you and you belonged to me. You were the missing piece to my puzzle.





The first month of your life went by and you had taught me so many things. Before you were born, I was so unsure of how life would be. I was afraid it would be hard and that every day would be a battle to protect you from ignorant people and comments. It wasn’t that way at all. There was no need to protect you. Just in your first month of life you showed everyone all by yourself, including me, how amazing you were. It was just the start. 





Your second month of life was one of my favorite months. We flew from Texas, where you were born, all the way to Georgia, where Mommy was born, and you met almost all of your family.





On your second month of life Mommy made a promise to God that I would raise you in his word.





On your second month of life, we became a family on Christmas day.




Your third month of life you showed me that sometimes Momma has to stand up for you and be your voice. To show people, including doctors, they need to give you the same chance I gave you! To not hold you back. To let you be everything you want, can, and will be. To NEVER say you cannot do something. To let YOU SHOW THEM, instead them telling you. To let you decide your own future. I learned that if you couldn’t get the best treatment at “the best hospital” then I needed to pick up everything and move all the way back to Georgia for the same reason I picked up everything and left, to get you the best! 




During your fourth month of life, Daddy became your new best friend. The months of being a Mommy’s boy were over and you became a diehard Daddy’s boy. As much as it hurts my heart when you scream your little head off and wrap your tiny little arms around Daddy when I try to take you away, it also makes my heart feel full to know that you love each other that much.




March came around and you turned five months old. You were getting so big and so smart and... you lost all of your hair. You made Mommy and Daddy more proud every day. 




When you were six months old you had your very first Easter! It’s also when you, Daddy, and I got our first house together. You seemed so happy to have your Mommy and Daddy every day and night. It made me so happy we could finally give you that.




At seven months old you got to tell everyone that you were going to be a BIG BROTHER in November!!! 





On your eighth month of life, life was pretty normal. You were just a growing smart baby doing your own thing. Exploring your world and trying all kinds of food. Your hair started to come in really good and started to show little curls! You swung at the park for the first time, you had your first emergency trip to the hospital for a dry drowning scare, and you got to spend Father’s Day with your Daddy! We also found out you were getting a baby sister!!




Nine months came up really fast and we were on our way to Shriners Hospital for Children, for the very first time! Mommy was scared we were going to have the same outcome as the last hospital we went to, but thank God we didn’t!! They welcomed us warmly and gave you a lot of gifts!! They told us you would get your first wheelchair at two years old and we would start trying out prosthetic arms when you are 7 – 10 years old. This hospital had so much hope in you and I could tell that they believed in you just like I do. 




When you were ten months old you started eating breakfast all by yourself and we started sensory play with food and toys. A company called, Healing Helpers, sent you a bear that was just like you. Soon after that you did tummy time on your own for the very first time!! Mommy was so incredibly proud of you! 





In September you turned eleven months old. That’s when we decided to show the world a beautiful picture you drew for Daddy's birthday. Some people said that you didn't really draw that picture, so we took a video and showed them! On that day you did a big boy thing and showed thousands of people that they don’t need to be so quick to come to conclusions about what you, or any other differently abled person, are able to do! You showed them that if you wanted to do it, you did it. You made me very proud!




Today, you turned ONE YEAR OLD. I let you blow bubbles in your milk at breakfast, let you have yogurt and spaghetti for lunch, you had Chick-fil-A and a cookie for dinner, and you are wired on the chocolate milkshake Daddy got you. You make me more proud than I could have ever imagined you would. You can say, dada, daddy, mama, hey, bye, stop, doggie, bath, crap, yeah, and okay. I'm sure I am forgetting some words. You have three bottom teeth and one top tooth. You sleep in your own bed like a big boy, but you still wake Mommy up several times a night. You can roll over all by yourself and sit on your own as long as you have a back support. You don't have a favorite food because you love everything and your favorite drink is whatever someone else has. Your favorite person is Daddy and you LOVE to be crazy together! You are the cutest, funniest, happy little boy with the biggest attitude.Thank you for making me your Mommy and showing me what makes life wonderful. Happy First Birthday, Camden Lee Steele Whiddon. Mommy and Daddy love you more than words could explain!







Saturday, August 2, 2014

Life is Such a Crazy Beautiful Thing!

So much has been happening lately and so much is about to happen! 

On July 9th I had my LAST ultrasound of Camden's baby sister, Ryleigh, until my 32 week ultrasound. You know what that means? GOOD NEWS! My blood work came back good and the ultrasound did NOT show any abnormalities! So, no more extra appointments or ultrasounds! My baby girl is just going to be on the small side, with her arms measuring in the 15th percentile and her legs in the 25th percentile. Her measurements are completely normal, just on the small side of normal. I am so blessed to be able to say that I have 2 healthy children!


Before my ultrasound, I had a video conference with a genetic counselor to talk about Camden. She recommended getting Camden tested when he is around 5 (That age is what she recommended without a reason. I am sure we could get testing done sooner, but I don't feel that finding the answer is necessary until Camden is old enough to ask questions and let him make that decision for himself. So we might wait even longer than that until or even if he ever wants it done.) to see if they can find a genetic reason for his limbs not developing. The ONLY way it could be genetic, is if me and Camden's Dad BOTH carry the gene for his limbs not developing. If only one of us carried the gene, then it would be the same as neither of us carrying it. If we both carry the gene, our siblings could also carry it, but it would not affect their children unless they had a child with someone who also carried the same gene. What are the chances of that though? We would have to have a very lucky family if one of our siblings drew the same straw as Frazier and I! Hope that doesn't confuse you too bad. It's very complicated. 

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Camden has FINALLY started occupational therapy! He had his evaluation 2 weeks ago and his first real appointment last Wednesday. We discussed that it would be good for him to do sensory projects and about getting him a sensory table made. I couldn't wait for a table to be made, so I started our own sensory projects using his walker! So far we have done oatmeal and Froot Loops, peanut butter and apples, and yogurt and Cheerios! Here is a short video of Camden going to town on some peanut butter! He made such a mess, but it filled my heart to see him so happy!

video

I am 6 months pregnant with baby sister, Ryleigh, now! She is starting to be a very active baby girl! This pregnancy is just so much different than my pregnancy with Camden. Ryleighs movements feel so strange compared to what I felt with Camden! According to my pregnancy app, she weighs about 1.5 pounds and is about 13 inches long! That is half an inch longer than Camden was when he was born! She is also starting to produce "surfacant" which means her little lungs are getting stronger and stronger everyday and if she were born now, she would be very likely to survive! Isn't that such a huge milestone! I am so blessed to be this far in my pregnancy and not having any complications so far! It really is such a relief! At my last appointment with my OB we talked about scheduling my csection at my 32 week appointment (thats only 7 weeks away!) and I am really hoping he will let me go to my due date as long as I don't go into labor and everything is fine with Ryleigh. I am so afraid of her having to be put in the NICU for breathing complications like her big brother had, and he was born only 8 days before his due date! That showed me every day in the belly matters a lot. 


Camden likes playing with my belly button. Baby sister doesn't like when Camden is on my belly though, she's always pushing him to get off of her!


Yesterday, Camden got something VERY special in the mail, and just in time for him turning 10 months old today! There is a company, Healing Helpers, that makes stuffed animals to help children going through all kinds of medical issues! I messaged Healing Helpers a couple weeks ago about making Camden a stuffed animal that is just like him! A little while later I decided I wanted to get it for Camden's birthday (which obviously he got it a little sooner) and Healing Helpers messaged me around that same time letting me know that someone had paid for Camden's Healing Helper and that they needed an address to send it to! That was such a blessing and I want to thank the person who paid for Camden's bear one more time! When we got it in the mail I saw "Healing Helpers" on the box and I got so excited!! Me and Camden took out this beautiful soft bear that was made EXACTLY like him! Right down to the length of the arms! Camden's left arm is half the length of his right arm, and that is exactly how his bear's arms were. Inside the zipper was a sweet little heart with Camden's name on it. WE LOVE HEALING HELPERS and we love the lady who is using her talent to make these beautiful stuffed animals for children who need a buddy to go through life with! To check out Healing Helpers and/or to see about getting a Healing Helper for your little one, click here. Don't forget to 'like' their page and show some love. 



Today Camden turned 10 months old! 


Time is going by so fast and I feel like I don't have enough of it! Ryleigh's baby shower is in ONE MONTH. I just cannot wait to celebrate my baby girl and to share the pictures with all of you! Camden's FIRST birthday is in TWO MONTHS. His party is going to be a pirate theme! It's going to be so much fun and I hope I can capture it all for you to see! In THREE MONTHS will be when baby sister is born! Makes me so nervous that I don't have that much time! We are going to be so busy this whole time and its going to blow by. 

Thank you all for your love and support! I feel so blessed that Camden has so many people who care to follow his beautiful journey and when baby sister arrives you will all get double the fun!! I am so happy that God answers prayer, because I know without your prayers we would not have the wonderful and beautiful life that we have today! God is so good!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Our First Visit to Shriners Hospital for Children

Camden had his first appointment at Shriners Hospital for Children today! We had such a wonderful time and we feel truly blessed with our whole experience! Everyone we met was so sweet and welcoming!! They made us feel right at home and we cannot wait to go back!


Camden and Mommy


Camden had an Xray done to see what his spine looks like and to see if he had any kind of bone around his hips at all. We were told that Camden has a great spine and some femur on his left hip, but he just doesn't have enough down there to get prosthetic legs. A man that works with the wheelchairs came in and said that when Camden is around 2 they will work on getting him a cool wheelchair that he can make move around with his arm or with his head, whatever will be best for him at the time. 

Camden wont be getting prosthetic arms any time soon, which I figured anyway, but I didn't know it would be 7-10 YEARS from now! They said his muscles and joints and all that good stuff need to mature before they add all that extra weight on there. They also said he will have a higher chance of taking well to them when he is older rather than younger. He will get aids for his arms from his Occupational Therapist as he gets older to help him eat, brush his teeth, draw, and all kinds of other stuff to help him be independent! 


Camden and Daddy playing in the mirror.


The nurse practitioner we saw today wrote a prescription for Camden to have an ultrasound of his kidneys done. She said that in a lot of cases with limb deformities, there is something wrong with the kidneys. They just want to rule out that problem or catch it early if there is a problem. 

In between waiting for different people to come in our room to talk to us, the nurses kept bringing in more and more stuff that people had donated the day before. We couldn't believe it! Everything that they brought us was such nice things! I was surprised it fit in the car with our suit cases! After we got home I was looking at everything and I realized some of the stuff was very expensive and from what I could find, everything totaled up to be over $800! And all I can say is, WOW! I just want to thank Shriners Hospital for Children for truly caring for my son and giving him everything that he needed!! I don't know how you knew what he needed, but you did. It had to be God! We are just so thankful and I just can't say it enough! 



When we were about to leave one of the Shriners came up to us and made sure that Camden got a new toy! He picked out this lion. 



I also want to thank Shriners for believing in my son and for being so willing to give him all the chances that he deserves! Thank you for not saying that he couldn't do something. You guys are EXACTLY who we were looking for! Oh, and you guys did a good job thinking about that nursing pillow being a support to help Camden learn how to sit up! So far that is his favorite gift!! THANK YOU!! 






Friday, June 20, 2014

OH BOY!!!

Today was a very long day for Camden, Mommy, and Daddy! I had a Level II Ultrasound this morning at 11am to find out if Camden is getting a baby brother or sister and to check the health of the baby!!
After the ultrasound we had to wait almost two hours to have a video conference with someone in Atlanta who had to look over both Camden's and the baby's ultrasounds. 
The woman we had the video conference with said that she is going to talk to a genetic counsellor about figuring out why Camden never grew his limbs. She said most likely it was just a freak thing, since no one on either sides of mine or Camden's Dad's family have any limb deformities. So we will talk more about that in the future and I'm excited to see what we can find out!! 
The woman said that my little peanut looks wonderful! Heart rate was 140 BPM and weighs 8 ounces! There are no abnormalities at all, that they could see. The only thing is that the baby's arms were measuring in the 10th and 15th percentile and the baby was hiding its face on my placenta just like big brother did, so she couldn't see the mouth or nose that well (checking for cleft lip or palate, I'm guessing) and they also couldn't see all the details of the heart, which was because of the position the baby was in! She said that the percentile for the arms are normal, but they are going to monitor the baby every 3-4 weeks to check on the growth and to get a better scan of all of the organs. I had some blood taken today to check for downs syndrome and Trisomy 18, and I think that will come back in a few weeks. 

I feel so blessed that God planned for my babies to be born so close together! They will be best friends, just like me and my brother that are 17 months apart, and I think that will be wonderful for Camden!! 

IT'S A SISTER!!
Little Miss Ryleigh Ann River

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

One Year Later

On this day last year, I could have never imagined the amazing life I have now. I had so much hate in my heart. I could not understand why God didn't give my baby arms or legs. I had never seen or even heard of a person being born like that! All I could see was darkness, but we have an AWESOME God that told me there was a light in all the darkness. Little did I know, the day I thought was the worse day of my whole life, was the start of something BEAUTIFUL! It took me a couple of days and a lot of prayer. I was very unsure, but I trusted Him. God was right. There was a light, and his name is Camden. 


Exactly one year later I have a beautiful, happy, giggly, noisy, chubby, silly 7 month old son. I am so thankful God didn't give up on me when I started to give up on him and I am so blessed that God gave me the chance to give Camden a chance! I couldn't imagine my life any different! 

~

On April 29th, 2014 I was walking down the halls of the OB/GYN office where I found out Camden didn't have arms or legs. I felt fine-ish. Then I passed the ultrasound room that it all happened in. I realized I was holding my breath. All of the emotions that I felt May 13th, 2013 hit me at once. I stayed in the bathroom for about 5 minutes trying to calm myself, but those emotions weren't going anywhere. I couldn't believe that one room could make me feel like that. I felt silly. I wanted to cry, but I didn't let myself do that. My blood pressure was high of course and I couldn't get my heart to calm down. Once I had my Camden in my arms again everything was okay. All the bad emotions left.

May 6th, 2014 I found myself in the same place. Sitting in the waiting room sweating, heart racing, wanting to run and hide. My name is called and I walk back. I look at my cousin and tell her that I am freaking out. She is freaking out too. I laid on the exam table and Camden starts with his bubble blowing and talking. He knows when to say something to make Mommy feel better.

What was the answer? I wasn't sure how I would feel after I found out. I was so scared. I saw a hand on the screen and I started crying. Camden was sitting there making fart noises with his mouth making me laugh at the same time. Then I saw another hand, two arms, two really long legs, and two little feet crossed at the ankles. I was relieved, but it was weird. I have a baby inside of me that has arms and legs. The ultrasound tech asked if I had any questions or concerns, I didn't, but Camden sure did and he started talking away!

As of that ultrasound the baby's heart looked great (159bpm) and was measuring 12 weeks and 4 days, so I have a healthy baby just like his or her big brother! My next ultrasound is June 20th and I will know more about the baby's health then and we will find out the gender! The gender will be a secret to everyone, even myself, until my gender reveal that night! I am on team PINK! :)

Baby brother/sister is due November 14th, 2014


~

Camden had an appointment with his new pediatrician this past Friday. Camden was 12 pounds and 18 inches long and was such a big boy getting his shots!! He only cried for a few seconds.

His pediatrician asked if I was ever told why or what could have happened for Camden not to have arms or legs, and I have never been given any answers besides that it just happened for no reason. I even had an amniocentesis that came back saying that Camden had no chromosomal abnormalities. He does not believe that Camden doesn't have any arms or legs just because it happened that way, especially because his baby sister/brother has the same Father and has all of her/his limbs. So he is going to be running some test on Camden to see if he can find any answers for us. Hopefully we can find an answer for this so other families will have answers as well!

Camden is also getting a referral to Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, FL. I'm hoping and praying that there will be an pediatric orthopedist at this hospital that is willing to give Camden the chance he deserves with his prosthetic arms. Camden's pediatrician says Shriners is aggressive with their treatments, so I'm really excited about this!

~

All within this past year God has given me two miracles and Camden will get his best friend from God in November! The future scares me, but I know God knows what he is doing. He hasn't let me down yet and here is the proof...

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. {Matthew 19:26}

Friday, February 7, 2014

Dear Anonymous...

Yesterday I was checking my blog and I saw that I had a new comment on my last post about Camden's appointment with Scottish Rite. I read the comment and I thought of it to be rather rude, I was very confused and I felt like it brought negativity to my blog, a place where I do not accept negativity. I started to write back to this person, who left their comment anonymous. I stopped though. I will admit that this person got to me and made me kind of mad. So I just deleted the comment to cause no other problems.

I am part of a mommy/baby Facebook group (that has been one of my main supporters since the beginning of mine and Camden's wonderful journey), and before I deleted the comment I shared it with them and told them how I felt about it. Then I deleted the comment from my blog because I felt like I would just give this person satisfaction if I responded. I got some responses from my lovely mommy/baby group; I slept on it, and this morning I feel like I need to address it. 

Here is what Anonymous said:


"You're a good mom and all but seriously you're not the only one going thru stuff like this how's about you use your Facebook popularity to bring awareness and show support instead of just talking about you and him all the time. God chose you to be his momma for a reason so be the change that you want to see in the world and show some support and let others be aware so that when we see children like this we will not think of them any differently, we are all equal. Don't take this the wrong way it just pisses me off when I see people who have the power to make a difference and all they do is talk about themselves almost makes it seem like they want pity. Hope I'm wrong. May God continue to bless you both." 

Well Mr./Ms. Anonymous... instead of just giving you a comment back, I will give you a whole blog post. 


At first, I wasn't even sure if I knew what to say to this comment or if I wanted to say anything at all. Before I deleted the comment, I had something written out, but I didn't want to regret a word I said. This confused person confused me too... One of the MAIN reasons why I started Camden's Facebook page and my blog were to SHOW SUPPORT and BRING AWARENESS! I wanted people that are going through the same thing, a similar situation, or even people who aren't going through anything even close to this to know, Hey we're here! I didn't give up on Camden. He's okay, I'm okay, and you'll be okay too! I wanted people to know that just because Camden was born with a little less surface area doesn't mean that its the end of the world or that he is different than you and me or that he will never be able to do anything for himself or others. I wanted to give everyone a peek into our life to see how God has blessed us through the good and bad times. The page and the blog are about CAMDEN, what he goes through, and what I go through as his mother. I like to share our NORMAL everyday life. So yeah, there is going to mainly be talk about us. I'm not going to just post a picture of Camden and say, "hey, this is Camden, he's limbless and you shouldn't look at him and think he is different... or stare... or talk behind our backs... Shame on you if you did! You should just look at his heart even though you can't see it in this picture." Yes I am being sarcastic... I like to post normal things, like talking about how cute and chubby he is, how proud I am to be his mom, or talk about something new that he figured out! We are just your normal everyday Mommy and son. There is nothing special about us. We are no different than the other Mommy with the 4 month old baby with arms and legs. I want everyone to see that. 
Camden is only 4 months old. I don't know all the ins and outs of this stuff... We just started!! Is this person expecting me to go out tomorrow and start some organization for kids with limb deformities and spend less time Mothering my child... You know, because God made me Camden's mom to go make sure that everyone else knows YESTERDAY about kids like Camden, God didn't make me his Mother to feed him, bathe him, clothe him, and go 3 days without taking a shower. And for this person to think that I am asking for PITY! That is so insulting! I have never once said boohoo me or boohoo Camden. I don't feel sorry for myself, nor do I feel sorry for Camden. I don't want ANYONE to feel sorry for us. There is no reason to be! I'm still trying to figure out why anyone would feel sorry at all... Because he was born without arms and legs? Big deal, he'll figure out how to do things. Don't you think that if we all were born with just heads and an butt on the back of it we'd figure out some way to wipe it... I mean, why in the world would I want someone to feel sorry for him? He isn't unable. He does it different. Yeah, there will be some things that he cannot do... But I can't ride a bike or swim that well. There are so many things I can't do. Do you feel sorry for me now? One day, I would like to make a difference in the world in a bigger way than just posting about Camden and his accomplishments and our accomplishments as a family, but that is the only way I know how to make a difference at the moment. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

All He Needs is a Chance.

Today, January 28th, Camden had his first appointment at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Let me first off say that Scottish Rite is a great hospital and I would recommend it who anyone who has limb abnormalities. Everyone there is so kind and they have a lot of cute old people who volunteer at the hospital. Today at Camden's appointment, things didn't go how I thought they would. I expected to hear that Camden would be able to get prosthetic arms and that he would never be able to get prosthetic legs. I was so so so wrong!!!

First we went to the hand doctor. She looked over Camden’s arms and I thought I heard her say something that I didn’t want to hear, so I asked her, “Will he ever be able to use prosthetic arms?” She said, “No.” I started crying immediately. The more I looked at Camden, the more my heart broke for him. I knew that nothing was my fault, I didn’t do anything wrong, and there was nothing that I could do, but I felt like I failed my son. I don’t really know how to explain it better than that. The Doctor said that he would never use the prosthetics because he would never feel with them and they would be heavy.  I may have totally taken this first appointment the wrong way, but all I heard was someone telling me that my son would never be able to do something.  That was her first mistake… Please don’t ever tell me, or my son, that he will never be able to do something, without giving him a chance. I gave Camden a chance at life and I expect everyone to give him the same respect. All he needs is a chance. I am planning on moving back to my home state, Georgia, and I will be getting a second opinion, I may have to get 3 or 4 different opinions, but I will find a Doctor who will give my son that chance, when the time comes, for him to start trying out prosthetics. I don’t care AT ALL if Camden NEVER uses prosthetic arms, but that will be Camden’s choice. I will not allow someone else to make choices for Camden.

Last we saw an Orthopedist and a couple of other people. We were told that Camden is smart for his age (proud Momma moment) and they said that the activities we do with Camden are great right now since his movement is so well, but I need to work more on tummy time and try to start getting Camden to prop up on his arms and roll over. Let me tell you something though, Camden Lee Steele Whiddon is SUCH A FLIRT!! When one of the ladies walked into our room he must have fell in love because he was smiling at her and turning his head side ways and giving her a look. He is just way too cute!! Anyways... The Orthopedist came in and looked at Camden’s hips and sent us off for an ultrasound of his hips to see if he has any femur at all. We went into the ultrasound room and Camden was awesome at first, but then he started screaming so loud, so I had to lean over the table and breastfeed him while they did the ultrasound. I think that may have been one of the most difficult things I ever had to do! When we went back into our room the Doctor told us that Camden either has a little tiny bit of femur or a ball in his socket. They aren’t sure which because he is still so small and his bones haven’t calcified yet. I am also not sure if this is on both sides of his hips, or just one. But, this means that there is a chance that Camden will be able to have some sort of prosthetic legs in the future!! Only time will tell!!

Today I went into Scottish Rite thinking my baby boy had a chance at getting prosthetic arms and no chance at ever walking. I came out having to tell myself that I can never give up on my baby boy getting prosthetic arms and I was given hope to see him walk one day. Its funny how things can switch up. I did not hear what I wanted to hear at all, but I know that MY God has an AWESOME plan for Camden!! I just need to remind myself to ALWAYS pray and to put all of my trust in HIM! I know God will do what is best for Camden.


{Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6}