Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Limb-Different Buddy Wednesday: Jeremy

"My name's Caroline and me and my kids love your blog and your facebook posts. 
We live in Madagascar where I'm a missionary. I adopted three kids, and youngest one Jeremy was born with 3 limbs missing, and just has one hand with 3 fingers. His birth parents gave him up, and He came to live with us when he was 3 months old. He's now 3 1/2 and he's so fun! he loves to ride his skateboard and his favourite thing ever is to go swimming! 
He also loves looking at your photo's of Camden. He loves to see a little boy who has similar limb differences to him, and he always asks to see his pictures over and over again. 
Jeremy has a facebook page called Little Mr Jeremy. 

Thanks for all you do in showing people what a joy and blessing your children are. I really can't imagine my life without these gorgeous little blessings!"






*If you would like to be a part of Limb-Different Buddy Wednesday, please send me a message on the Admirably Diverse Facebook page or email me at katiewhiddon@admirablydiverse.com with your photo, your story, and links to your social media if you would like for others to follow you!*

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Baby Jaxton: Pregnancy-Weeks 22 & 23

I'm sorry that I didn't post a pregnancy update last week! Last week was very hectic for us traveling to Texas on Wednesday, having my brothers wedding rehearsal Thursday, wedding on Friday, and then we drove back to Georgia Saturday night. Camden had a fever the whole time we were there and Ryleigh had a snot nose and cough. We left the kids in Texas so my parents could trade them back and forth for 2 weeks since they haven't seen them in 10 months. Thankfully my mom is a pediatric nurse and all 4 of my parents have car seat safety beat into their heads, so they're in great hands!

This week I will be covering weeks 22 and 23 of my pregnancy.

Week 22:
According to my pregnancy app, Ovia, Jax is the size of a water bottle! I was slacking last week and forgot to download his hand size, so you won't be seeing that for this week. Sorry!!



I didn't take an official week 22 belly pic, but this is from last Thursday at 22w2d.



At 22w6d I had an OB appointment! I gained 5 pounds in the past month. When my midwife was trying to find Jax's heartbeat he decided that he wanted to be stubborn and move all around. She had to literally grab him to keep him still enough and he was STILL moving around, so she didn't get an exact number for his heart rate, but you can hear all of his movements and little glimpses of his heart in this video.



Week 23:
For week 23 my Ovia app says that Jaxton is as big as a Barbie! He is now over 12 inches long and weighs over a pound. From here on out he's going to start packing on lots of fat! I'm huge this pregnancy, so I predict that he is going to be my biggest and chunkiest baby!



And here is his sweet hand!



Our week 23 belly!!!




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

When My Three Year Old Spoke Up About His Disibility

For the past couple of days I have been teaching Ryleigh the names of her fingers- thumbs, fingers, and pinky. Keeping it really simple for her. So last night at dinner I was showing Cole that Ryleigh mostly knew the names of all of her fingers, then Camden chimed in- "I don't have fingers. I have a big arm and little arm right here."

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If you don't know, Camden was born without arms or legs. You can read about that here and here.

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Your first reaction to what he had to say was probably sadness or pity, but y'all. What he said made me SO proud. One of my biggest fears is that Camden is going to be too nervous to talk about his limb-differences or that he won't even know what to say. But last night. Man. He made my heart fill up with pride. Hearing him independently speak up and point out his differences and showing us what he had made me realize how smart and aware he is. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing good enough with him, and then last night he lets me know that I'm doing an okay job and that when I'm not around to be his voice, he will be his own voice. And his three year old voice may be little and sweet, but his words are SO STRONG! I am so proud to be this boy's momma and I cannot wait to see just how amazing and strong of a man he turns out to be!


Limb-Different Buddy Wednesday: Payzlie Chapman

"Hello ! My name is Ashley Chapman and my daughter's name is Payzlie Chapman. She was born October 20th 2013 !
Payzlie lost her left forearm to cancer when she was just 18 months old. They amputated her arm through the elbow to save her life. She is now in remission and May will mark 2 years since the amputation. She is a very outgoing girl and don't let her differences stop her. She even tells people "this is me!""





*If you would like to be a part of Limb-Different Buddy Wednesday, please send me a message on the Admirably Diverse Facebook page or email me at katiewhiddon@admirablydiverse.com with your photo, your story, and links to your social media if you would like for others to follow you!*

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Baby Jaxton: Pregnancy-Week 21

We're 21 weeks pregnant today! This week was a good week. I wasn't extremely uncomfortable or anything and Jax is getting more active. Every night he just moves around like crazy. Cole had his hand on my belly last night and Jax kicked, punched, and rolled non stop for like 5 minutes. It was great! It made me laugh because I've never had so much movement at one time this early on with my other pregnancies. And I'm definitely getting nervous about how strong he is going to be! His strength when kicking startles me all of the time and I can't imagine how strong he is going to be another 3 months from now. Hopefully I'm not one of those women who end up with broken ribs!

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Now size updates from my favorite pregnancy app, Ovia!

This week Jax is the size of a baseball hat! Is it just me, or is that crazy big for 21 weeks?


And look at that hand size!!! I'll never ever ever get over it. I love it soooo much!!


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Here is our week 21 bump! I'm definitely feeling large. Getting in and out of the car is starting to be a pain in my butt and Cole says that I spread my legs when I bend to get something off the floor now, but I don't notice it so I can't say if that is true or not, haha! Check out the week 20 pregnancy update to see how much Jaxton has grown in the past week!



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Camden's Diagnosis: Amelia/Phocomelia Syndrome

This is Camden, he is three years old and was diagnosed with Amelia/Phocomelia Syndrome at birth.



How many people have Amelia/Phocomelia Syndrome?
I don't know of any exact numbers or any adults or children diagnosed with Amelia/Phocomelia Syndrome, but I do know a few who were diagnosed with Amelia Syndrome, Phocomelia, and others similar to those two. Amelia Syndrome is where a person is born without all four limbs. Phocomelia is where the person was born with shortened and absent limbs. There are several children around Camden's age who's limb-differences are very similar to his, but most of them were given different names for their diagnosis.

How does Amelia/Phocomelia Syndrome affect Camden?
Camden has both of his humeri, but does not have a radius bone or a ulna bone on either arms. While I was pregnant with him, his right humerus was growing 2-3 weeks behind and his left humerus was growing about 9 weeks behind. You can see the difference as his left humerus is half the size of his right humerus and his right humerus is smaller than the average three year old child's humerus. Camden also only has a few inches of femur on his left hip. He does not have femur on his right side or tibia or fibula bones on either side.

What causes Amelia/Phocomelia Syndrome?
There is no known cause of Amelia/Phocomelia Syndrome. I had an amniocentesis when I was pregnant with Camden and there were no chromosomal abnormalities. What doctors have told us about the cause of it is this is a thing that just "happens" sometimes or that me and his biological father both have a mutated gene for limb deformities. Also, if it IS a gene thing, it can ONLY happen when BOTH parents carry the gene. We have not had any further testing and will not have any further testing done unless Camden says he wants to look into it when he is older.

Will Camden be able to get prosthetics?
Yes! Our doctors at Shriners Hospital for Children told us that if Camden wants, he can start trying prosthetic arms when he is 7-9 years old. Also, we found out this past November at his last prosthetics appointment that this coming up November they're going to start working on figuring out a way to give him prosthetic legs!

Will Camden be able to have a successful and fulfilling life?
Of course! As long as Camden has an amazing support system, which he always will because we have great family and friends, he will be able to do anything he wants! Camden is already able to mostly feed and bathe himself, build with blocks, use things to write, draw and paint with, can climb up and down stairs, and pull himself into the upright position, so mobility hasn't and won't be an issue at all. There are other people very similar to Camden that are motivational speakers, one man that doesn't have any arms at all and works for NASCAR, and there is even a man who is a pro bass fisherman! The possibilities are endless! I personally see him being an engineer because he has a brilliant brain, but only the future can tell!    

What if I find out that my child is going to be born with a limb-difference?
Please contact me! I can most definitely give you advice and point you in the right direction. I am part of a great little support group for parents with children that have limb-differences and can add you to that too. There is also the Lucky Fin Project page on Facebook that has thousands of people with every limb-differences imaginable!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

With Or Without Hands, We Still Color!

Today has been a little hectic, even though we haven't left the house. I have been working on setting up our new Instagram and updating our Facebook and website, but the kids have been driving me absolutely crazy! They have been fighting over Ryleigh's toy kitchen, breaking apart blueberry cupcakes and throwing them all over the living room, and crying because I'd keep separating them. I finally had enough and needed them to do a quiet time activity, coloring!

I know that I've posted a few times on our Facebook page about the kids coloring, but I'm still so impressed every single time with how well Camden does! I am so thankful that he can do this simple little thing that I thought he would never ever ever be able to do. And I'm so so SO very thankful that God sent him a little sister that encourages him and tells him that he's doing a good job.




Do you want to see something really awesome? Check out this video of Camden choosing the exact marker he wants and picking it up like its no big deal. And now after watching the video, im not sure if he was making "wishes" or "witches".







I just love how sweet they are when they aren't making me want to pull out my hair. Oh, and the reason Ryleigh only colors with crayons and color pencils is because she thinks that she is a tattoo artist for herself and Camden. And the reason why Camden only colors with markers is because he can't press hard enough with the crayons or pencils to make the colors dark enough to satisfy his toddler self.





And here is the finished product! I'm not allowed to throw away their color pages because they'd get really mad at me and I'd probably regret it when they're older and don't color for me anymore. For now I just pile them on the fridge and pray my magnets are strong enough to hold up the 20 pages I already have. I think it's time to invest in a big folder. 



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Baby Jaxton: Pregnancy-Week 20

We're finally half way there, y'all! 20 weeks!!! This pregnancy has gone by so fast already and I'm very much enjoying that part this time. This third pregnancy is really taking a toll on my body. I'm more tired than I've ever been and I have Braxton hicks a lot more frequently than I did with Camden and Ryleigh. I'm just hoping that I don't get admitted to L&D several times like I did with Camden for Braxton hicks. But I sure do love growing my sweet little Jax, regardless of what he's doing to my body.

Now time for updates on Jaxton's growth from my favorite pregnancy app, Ovia!

This week Jax is the size of a paper airplane. But I really want to know out of what kind of paper, because paper airplane sizes vary by paper, haha.



Look at the size of his sweet little hand! Go back and look at my pregnancy updates from week 18 and 19 to see how much his hand has grown!



Here's our 20 week bump! I'm not much, if at all, bigger than last week, but it's definitely getting harder to bend over and he's getting so much stronger! He's getting to the stage where he doesn't like when I rest my arm on my belly or when I lean against the counter while washing dishes. Sometimes I do that just to feel him kick me super hard. I'm already able to all that his personality is going to be a lot like his big sister's! 




For this weeks pregnancy and parenting blog post click The DOs and DON'Ts Of Visiting A Newborn. It's a great post to share with friends and family, if you're expecting a new little one soon!

Monday, March 6, 2017

The DOs and DON'Ts Of Visiting A Newborn

I have two children and pregnant with my third, so I feel pretty well seasoned on the DOs and DON'Ts of visiting newborns. Since I was pregnant with my first, I have been very adamant about people respecting my privacy, until I make it public. I didn't want anyone visiting us in the hospital until I was ready or anyone sharing information or pictures until I gave the green light. So, here is my list of DOs and DON'Ts for visiting a newborn in the hospital or at home.





DO call before you visit. One of the things I worried about most was someone showing up to the hospital when I wasn't ready for visitors! My first child has a limb-difference, so when he was born I wanted it to just be me, him, and the few family members I had there. I didn't know if it was going to be a very emotional time or not, so I wanted to be around those who I could feel comfortable with. And with all of my babies, I breastfed so I didn't want 30 people all up in my boobs with a newborn that had no idea what they were doing. Also, I just didn't want to share my baby with anyone and I didn't feel like having to tell people no, which I had to do anyways because some family members just don't know their place and need to be put in it.

DON'T take or share pictures of the newborn without the parents permission. DO NOT. I REPEAT DO NOT TAKE OR SHARE PICTURES OF THE NEW LITTLE HUMAN WITHOUT THE PARENTS PERMISSION. I, personally, like to be the first one to announce the new member of our family. I grew and birthed him/her, it's my right to be the first to share anything about him/her. If you don't feel this way, awesome. If you do feel this way, put your foot down. When I had my second child everyone knew not to post anything without my permission or they would be dismissed and not allowed to hold my baby at all. A little dramatic? Maybe. But I'm doing the same thing this time.

DO bring a snack or even a whole meal. A new parent does not want to cook. They're exhausted and probably haven't taken a shower in days because they've been up every hour of the day and night with a new baby that is either eating or pooping literally every hour. You taking a little bit of time and making them something or ordering food for them is like the biggest thing ever. But be mindful of things that could upset a newborn baby's tummy if the mother is breastfeeding.

DON'T wear perfume or smoke cigarettes before visiting. Seriously. This should be common sense. Babies could be very sensitive to the smells of both perfume and cigarettes. Plus, cigarettes leave behind the toxins on your clothes and skin and you could pass that to baby. That cigarette or perfume is not worth the health of a baby.

DO offer to help mom out in whatever way she needs. I needed this. I had all the help I needed when I had my first, but with my second I hardly had any help. When you visit mom ask her if you can wash her laundry, straighten up the living room, load the dishwasher, or watch the baby so she can get a shower or even take a nap. I'm sure all parents understand this one, but non-parents, this matters a lot. Parents with a new baby NEED you to offer your help.

DON'T offer advice unless asked for. New parents are tired and are learning right along with their new baby. The last thing they want to hear is your unsolicited advice. If a new parent doesn't ask you for advice on breastfeeding or how to get the baby to stop crying, don't give them the advice. The only time you should give unsolicited advice is if you see the baby in serious danger.

DO wash hands before touching baby. You might not be sick, but you could've touched an area that has someone's flu germs. The best way to avoid passing on germs and sickness to a newborn baby is washing your hands. It will make mom very happy with not having to remind you to wash your hands.

DON'T act weird when the mother starts to feed her baby. Mom shaming should not start from the beginning. If you're visiting a new baby and mom just whips out her boob or puts on a cover to feed her baby, don't freak out or jump up and leave. If she's comfortable enough to breastfeed in front of you, then you need to be respectful and act like she's not doing anything out of the norm. If mom asks you to leave the room, politely ask if you can get her anything while you excuse yourself. And if mom whips out that can of formula, put a smile on your face and ask if you can do anything to help. Feeding a newborn is hard. Moms don't need anyone making it harder. Be the support she needs, no matter how she has decided to feed her baby.


Breastfeeding Is...



Beautiful.

Ugly.

Waking up every hour of the night to feed.

A full nights rest.

Cracked and bleeding nipples.

No pain at all.

Walking around with a toddler connected to your boob all day.

Begging a toddler to relieve your engorgement.

Loving every moment because breastfeeding is amazing.

Dreading every moment because your boobs cannot handle being pinched, clawed, and sucked on for another minute.

As easy as it gets when it comes to feeding.

As hard as it gets when it comes to feeding.

Dealing with engorged boobs at work and school.

Pumping every two hours so your NICU baby can have your milk.

Taking supplements and power pumping to get your supply back.

Continuing to pump your milk even after you've weaned your last child, just so another mother's baby can have the benefits of breastmilk.

Frantically searching for a mom who will donate her milk to your child.

FINALLY getting two ounces of milk from each breast.

Not getting any milk from the pump at all.

Patting your boobs for a job well done.

Cursing your boobs for not doing what they're "supposed" to do.

Taking your baby to the doctor to learn that they've passed their birth weight at two weeks old.

Taking your baby to the doctor to learn that they've lost even more weight.

Having that perfect latch.

Having to use a nipple shield.

Eating everything in the house.

Cutting out all of your favorite foods to make your milk safe for your sensitive baby.

Empowering.

Discouraging.

Giving your baby only milk straight from the breast.

Exclusively pumping and feeding baby by bottle or feeding tube.

Supplementing with formula.

Feeding your friend's baby a bottle with the pumped milk she left.

Feeding your friends baby from your own breast because she doesn't respond to a pump, but also desperately needs a break.

Not being able to breastfeed and thinking you failed.

Not being able to breastfeed and being proud because you did the best you could.

Being praised by the public.

Being shamed by the public.

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Being a part of a few breastfeeding Facebook groups and being a breastfeeding mother myself, I've leaned that breastfeeding is all, and more, of the things I have written above. It's not all good. It's not all bad. It is beautiful and ugly wrapped together.

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I'd like to know, what is breastfeeding to you?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

11 Things I Learned From Having A Disabled Child

Just to give a little back story, I found out at 18 years old that my son was going to be born without arms or legs. Some things have been a struggle, but my sweet boy, Camden, has been the biggest blessing in my life!! He has helped me grow up and learn so many things. You may find it difficult to understand how a baby or toddler can teach you anything or especially how a disabled baby or toddler could teach you anything, but he did! These are 11 things that I have learned from having a disabled child.



How to be patient. The best parenting advice that my dad has ever given me was to be patient. Patience has never came easily to me before I had children. And let's get real, it didn't just come to me naturally and magically the moment I got pregnant. It took me having a disabled child to learn patience. And I didn't learn it from having to have patience with him. I learned it from watching him have patience with himself. I was always so worried that he would struggle all of his life, but he doesn't have a struggling bone in his body! He has the most patience and will practice doing something over and over again until he gets it just right. You should see him build a house with blocks. He's so impressive!

You will learn who is part of your life because they love you and who is part of your life just because they're nosey. I have always been what you would call "the black sheep of the family". When I got pregnant with my first child, everyone talked about me because I wasn't married. Then all of a sudden when we found out that he didn't have arms or legs everyone cared and everyone wanted to be there for us. They even gave me and him a big welcome home party when we moved back to Georgia from Texas. But then when I got pregnant with my daughter who didn't have a disability, everyone disappeared. Hardly any of those family or friends showed up to her baby shower or visited us when she was born or even way after. Now don't get me wrong, I've made some amazing friends because of my child having a disability, but those people also care about his siblings equally. Know who your people are. Get rid of the ones who are just being nosey.

Having a child with a disability can be a blessing in many ways. When I first found out that Camden didn't have arms or legs all I could focus on was the negative. I didn't know anything about this kind of birth defect. I've never heard of it or seen another person born missing even part of a limb. But then I learned that what I went through during my pregnancy and what he would be going through in his life could help other people! So I made this blog and put out my story while I was pregnant with him. Then right before I had him I made a Facebook page. We have reached thousands of people. I've gotten messages from people giving us love, messages from other families like ours, and even messages from some people who decided not to abort their child because of mine and Camden's story. It makes me cry just thinking about all of that because I never thought that we would have THAT big of an impact on people. That we would inspire, give hope, and even save lives. It's amazing and a blessing and we wouldn't have been able to do any of that if God gave Camden arms and legs. And that's just not all it is going to be. Camden is only three years old. He has a whole 70-90 more years in him to make a difference in this world. Now I have more tears because I just feel so blessed!!

How to be kind. Kindness doesn't come naturally to me either. I think I have a little too much sarcasm in my blood to truly be considered as a nice person. But Camden taught me how to be nice. When we go out in public we get a lot of stares, pointing, and even people talking. I've walked away from Camden before and heard people talking about him right beside me and I said, "you're talking about my son." They ran away sooo fast. Most times I will just smile at people who are looking too hard or ask them if they'd like to say hello to him or tell Camden to say hey to them. I could be mean and yell at them, and I'm sure one day that time will come when an ignorant person is just being too much, but I always have to remember that Camden is watching me. He will learn how to deal with the public and their reaction to his limb-difference in his own way, but how I react while he is a child plants little seeds in his brain. He needs to know that just because other people don't know how to act, doesn't mean he should forget how to act. It is my #1 goal as a parent to raise my children to be kind and loving adults, to all people. Even the ones who look at us like we don't belong or like we are too different.

Disability doesn't mean you're not normal. Come on y'all, you cannot put ANYONE in a group labeled normal. I literally don't know a single person who is normal. And if you think you're normal, that automatically makes you not normal. We all have our differences. I have one ear that sticks out further than the other and I hate those hospital mesh panties. That's not normal. My daughter does the most random stuff in the whole world that will make you speechless, her feet smell awful, and she's always talking about someone's butt. That's not normal. And my son doesn't have arms or legs and hates chocolate milk. We're all different and not normal. But that's what makes the world beautiful and not boring!!! D-I-V-E-R-S-I-T-Y.

There really is more to a book than its cover. I know that most people look at Camden and think, poor child. But when he gets comfortable in his surroundings and starts doing things on his own, everyone always gathers around to watch! He's awesome and can do so many things you'd never believe unless you've seen it with your own eyes. The comment I get most is, "I never knew how fast he can move!" He might not have legs to get up and run, but that boy can roll and scoot super fast! Don't underestimate someone just because of the cover they were born in.

Children are more accepting of disability than adults. Most children aren't afraid to come talk to Camden and ask questions about his disability. A lot of parents start apologizing immediately and snatch their children away! STOP DOING THIS! Camden needs children to ask about his disability. That is the only way people will accept him and be his friend. If you make your child think that they can't talk to a disabled person, you're doing more harm than good. Camden knows that he doesn't have arms or legs. If you ask him, he will tell you! You being hush hush about it isn't going to protect anyone's feelings.

God will give you more than you can handle. I always see and have even been told the saying, "God won't give you more than you can handle." Yes he will. He will give you something that will break you in two. Being 18 and finding out that my child didn't have arms or legs completely broke me. I was going to have an abortion because thinking of my child having to live a life of suffering in this world would be more cruel than ending it. But I still couldn't stand that thought. I completely fell apart and just gave it all to God because I couldn't pick myself up. And I automatically felt that sweet peace everyone talks about when you just give it all to God.  If God wouldn't have given me such heavy burdens, that made me want to die some days, at such a young age, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't be the mother that my children needed. I wouldn't be the woman who stands up for herself or other women. God broke me and gave me more than I could handle so I would give up and give it to Him! And with that broken self of mine, He turned me into a new and stronger self so I could help others.

Just because one doctor said no doesn't mean that another doctor isn't confident enough to try. When Camden was two months old I was told that he would never be able to get prosthetic arms or legs. And I didn't take that no as an answer. I was mad. I was mad that these doctors weren't confident in my son! He might've only been two months old and couldn't even hold up his own head, but I knew he was going to be great. I knew him. I knew his eyes and he has "do-er" eyes. I found a new hospital and a new doctor that wouldn't give up on my boy! Not only are they confident enough in Camden to be able to use prosthetic arms if he wants them when he's an older child, they're also going to be working on making him prosthetic legs next year! Legs were something we never even considered since all he has are his hips. But, hello! S-C-I-E-N-C-E!

You can be the voice for someone who is too young or shy to have a voice of their own. I knew that I was going to have to do this, but I didn't know the extent. I'm always having to be Camden's voice and tell people that "he CAN do that", so don't hold him back! And with learning to be the voice for my boy who is too young to speak up for himself, it's made me be braver to speak for other people who are too young to speak for themselves or adults who are too shy or embarrassed to speak up for themselves. I wouldn't have that courage if it weren't for Camden and I'm so thankful I have that now!

You can love greater than you ever thought you could. I knew that I was going to love Camden no matter what disability he had, but the love he made me have for him has grown into so much more! My love for him has opened my eyes to so many things. That no matter the disability, EVERYONE needs love and deserves to be treated equally. And with me wanting that equality for all disabled people, I learned that they cannot have that until ALL humans are treated equally. And I know that I cannot make the world open their eyes and see that, so I started with myself and my family. And I hope my children pass down that love and acceptance to their spouses and children.