September 30, 2014

The day that I met my daughter...again.


In 2009, I was thrilled to become a mommy. M came into this world after 23 and 1/2 hours of labor. I was exhausted and delirious from a full day of no sleep and constant contractions. But something amazing happens the moment your child is born, everything else just stops. The first time I heard her little bitty cry, my heart was overwhelmed with joy. The nurse handed her to me and I just melted. She was mine- lopsided nose and all! No worries- her nose straightened out after a few days!

When our journey first began...

As I sat there holding my first born, I knew that I was changed forever. I looked to my husband and knew that he felt the same way. She was still screaming and her eyes were struggling to adjust to her new surroundings. To try to calm her, I spoke the first words out of the millions of words that I would ever utter to my daughter, "Don't worry. I am scared too." It was a truth that I did not even realize myself until it came out of my mouth. I could not have imagined a more perfect thing to say. It was her first time being a baby and it was our first time being parents. We were in this together- the three of us!


As the years flew by, we watched M grow into a beautiful, funny and intelligent little girl. She had her challenges, but for the most part, she was a fairly "easy" child. Around the age of 3, I started noticing that those beautiful eyes, that looked so terrified the day I met her, hardly ever met mine. She was listening, but struggled to make eye contact. A year later, after noticing many other signs that also suggested that she was just a bit different than other kids, she was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism also known as Aspergers. She was still our daughter and we refused to mourn just because of some diagnosis. 



We used the label of "Aspergers" to research ways to assist M. One of the things that came up was a gluten free diet. I brought it to the table once and we pushed it aside. A few months later, one of my husband's co-workers mentioned that their son had made tremendous strides with a GF diet. We finally decided that it would be worth a shot and worst case scenario, we would go back to eating wheat. During our research, we came across the fact that a gluten free diet is not an instant fix. Some doctors say that it can take up to a year to see the full effects of eliminating gluten. As you can imagine, we were thrilled to notice improvements within a month! People can claim that a gluten free diet is all placebo- but you try telling that to my 5 year old who has no idea that was ever any issue in the first place. Her meltdowns almost disappeared, her toe walking decreased and she was more social.


One night after dinner, I was doing the dishes and M came to ask me a question. I will admit that after a year of not getting eye contact from someone, you assume that it is just normal to not attempt it. I was ready to listen, but kept my eyes on the dishes. M started talking and then stopped abruptly. After a brief moment of silence, she said "Mommy, will you please look at me?" That is when I literally dropped what I was doing- I almost broke the plate I was washing. With tears in my eyes, I responded with, "Yes! I will!" As I looked down to my side, I was stunned to see the most beautiful eyes that I have ever seen in my life. She was looking into my eyes and I felt the same feeling of joy that I had the day she was born. I got down to her level and got lost in her beautiful brown eyes. I could not tell you what she was talking about- I was too busy falling in love again.




 I am thrilled that we are getting to know M all over again- I only wish that we had made the change sooner. She is still autistic. She still learns, plays, reacts and communicates a bit differently than other kids her age. If nothing else, we removed part of the fog that she was trapped in making it easier to help her with the next challenge.


So, is it worth it to go gluten free? Yes, a million times yes! For any parents out there on the fence about trying something to help your kid in any way, get off the fence. Going gluten free is not an instant miracle fix and it won't work the same for everyone. Be sure to do your own research before you make any changes to your child's diet or routine.


5 1/2 years later... our journey starts again!




14 comments:

  1. GREAT post! I love this so much! :) xoxoxoxox

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  2. Thank you! It felt good to share more of our story.

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  3. I love it! The big eye contact moment gave me goosebumps! God gave us great instinct to know what our babies need! Well written post.

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  4. I love this and I love that a change in diet helped you reconnect with your daughter. :)

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  5. Dude. Tissue warning. Seriously, goosebumps and tears. I'm so glad you made the change and it's impacted her life!

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  6. Crying at the office, at my desk, after reading this. Love you Carly! I love your children too, and I just want to give you all a big HUG!!!!!! Xoxoxo

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  7. BalancingMama (Julie)October 1, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Oh, wow. What a perfect way to describe that amazing moment of re-discovery. Keep moving forward!

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  8. Atlanta's Frugal MomOctober 1, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    I'm over here in tears reading this, not just as a spec ed teacher but as a mother as well. My daughter, my first born is also five and a half, and I can only imagine the amazement you felt in getting to gaze in to those beautiful eyes and fall in love all over again. I pray your story serves as a vehicle to help other families in similar circumstances find some answers -and perhaps a dab of hope- in their situation. Thank you for sharing!

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  9. Thank you for your sweet comment! This post was very personal and I am glad that it has touched so many people!

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  10. We will! Thank you for reading our story!

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  11. I got that response a lot today! I am sorry that I made you cry Jen Jen!

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  12. Yep! She is the reason for the entire blog! I am glad that you stopped by!

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  13. Me too! I get goosebumps every time I tell someone that story and I was just waiting for my brain to catch up so I could write it all down and share it with our readers!

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  14. I love this post because it's all about what being a mom is about to me. We get these little people and we love them but we don't know them. I feel like I'm learning something new about my boys all the time. They constantly amaze me and I'm so proud to be their mommy.

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