On August 13, 2006 a big boy came into this world weighing 9lbs 5oz. After spending the whole pregnancy not sure if I was ready to be a Mom to another child and in all honesty not wanting to have this newborn baby, I fell in love with a little boy the moment he was placed in my arms. This was the day I realized a mother’s love rises above all doubt, all worry and all fears. A mothers love can appear the moment that newborn baby is placed in her arms and that love gives her strength to fight the battles she will need to fight for her child through out it’s life.
This little boy was named Aedan and shares a middle name with his grandfather. This little boy, although large in comparison to average babies birth weight, looked so tiny, so fragile as he latched onto my breast nursing for the first time. This was a little boy who was going to need my strength more than I realized that day he arrived into this world, and little did I know the strength a mother’s love gives a woman until I had to fight for my son.
Aedan spent most of his baby years grumpy, and when my ex husband and I had our first chance at a date night we took it. Leaving Aedan with his great grammy aka Grena for a few hours so we could enjoy our favorite restaurant, Olive Garden. When returning to pick up Aedan, Grena informed us we were lucky we didn’t have a cell phone at that time, because Aedan cried and cried, didn’t stop until he finally passed out. We asked if she had fed him and she had but not as much as he was used to, you see, Aedan seemed to require more food than your average baby but we thought nothing of it really; after all he was a chunky boy and large in size. Apparently Grena just didn’t realize how much this baby truly could consume before he would stop being grumpy.
We thought Aedan was simply grumpy because he enjoyed having a very full belly, all of his pediatric check ups went well, he was healthy and nothing seemed to be wrong with him, even though he rarely slept through the night and seemed to be a moody child with ups and downs like crazy; he was healthy according to the doctors. Many years were spent without sleep which made parenting my other child, only daughter Kiara, all that more difficult. Mommy had to focus most of her attention on Aedan and had little time to play with Kiara like she used to, which caused a distance between mother and daughter for quite some time.
As Aedan grew, we still noticed he had one emotion; anger. Although I can go to my YouTube Channel and see videos of him around age 2 being happy and silly on camera, he really was quite the moody child. We evaluated Aedan to see if maybe his moods were simply in response to the word “no” and not allowed to do things he wanted to do, but that was not the case; he truly had some weird mood disorder going on & we had no clue what to do about it.
This was the time we decided to reach out to Aedan’s pediatrician, after all my sister was diagnosed bipolar in her early 20′s, I grew up with her mood swings and it was horrible not only for me but for her I am sure. Attempted suicides, extreme highs and lows, behavior that was unexplainable and a temper like you could not believe. I refused to let my son, Aedan, who at this point I was convinced had a mood disorder to ever live the way my sister had to live. I was not going to sit back and watch as he struggled to build good relationships, keep a steady mood and struggle to live a normal life. I wanted better for my son, for my family.
Of course the pediatrician was not going to diagnosis Aedan bipolar at age two, it just seemed silly to both pediatricians I saw who would rather assume that maybe he is ADHD, although they were not convinced that either since he could “sit in a doctors office for 15 minutes just fine”. I remember feeling so pissed off at the pediatricians but I kept going back there and I kept pushing them to help get some answers, a solution to find out how to keep Aedan’s moods steady; we wanted someone to see Aedan the way we saw him so that he could get a diagnosis or we could learn how to parent him. After all we didn’t want Aedan on medication, we simply wanted to learn how he “ticks” and how to parent him properly so that he could have a chance to excel in life.
Visiting a family psychiatrist after a referral, Aedan through a huge fit in that mans office, he threw chairs and he went nuts, that’s the only word I can use to define his behavior but I was used to it – the family psychiatrist was not and clearly noticed that Aedan did indeed have an issue. The family psychiatrist pulled out his RX form and proceeded to tell me about this medication he was going to put Aedan on, the side effects were insane and this person truly felt the side effects were worth it – it was a scitzo medication, for people who have a split personality? Seriously? Age two… no thank you. I walked out of that office and never looked back.
After seeing a neurologist and having an EEG completed, it was said that nothing was wrong with Aedan, he was a smart kid and although he certainly had some mood things going on – no one could quite put their finger on what it was. The neurologist discussed ADHD medications but was reluctant to really write a script for them, which we liked because we didn’t want someone to drug him, we wanted to know what truly was going on with Aedan; did he have bipolar that runs so heavily through the gene pool? Did he simply just need different parenting techniques used on him? What was it with Aedan that made him so moody?
Fast forward to about age four, finally Aedan was seeing a counselor and we worked with this counselor on various parenting techniques, because if he is indeed bipolar he would not respond to any long term parental changes and discipline techniques. Bipolar people and children do not respond to things in a normal way and would not take to long term discipline tactics, but this had to be done in order to fully diagnose Aedan. By now Aedan had been placed with an ADHD diagnosis and was on some non stimulant ADHD medication and although it wasn’t 100% helping with mood disorder, it was allowing him to get a good nights sleep, at least for the first week or so he was on this medication.
Once he outgrew that medication and was on the highest dose they could give him, they decided to prescribe intuniv, an ADHD medication in a time released tablet. This medication seemed to truly work – Aedan was doing a bit better, but again he still had those up and down moods. After being on Intuniv for a while he started to become so irritable that we feared he would not do well in Kindergarten but no one would switch him just yet, they had to play with the dosage. Aedan entered Kindergarten on Intuniv and had major anxieties, which of course were blamed partially on him never being away from his parents.
Then it came, we were referred to a pediatric psychiatrist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and things have moved forward in the direction my instincts has always told me that it would; my son was diagnosed with a mood disorder. I am not 100% sure they placed the bipolar diagnosis on him, but they do indeed believe he is bipolar or similar. The symptoms he was having just pointed all too clearly for them to bipolar and they decided to go with the “big guns”, meaning placing him on a high risk medication because out of all the options that seemed to be the possible answer; Risperdal.
Although we shed some tears placing Aedan on Risperdal we had walked every path up until now and this seemed to be the only option to try. During April vacation of the Kindergarten school year, Aedan was switched over to Risperdal after being weaned off of Intuniv. That was the roughest week we had since the day this child was born, oh my goodness, he was out of control moody, up and downs like crazy and just so hard to handle during the process of taking him off Intuniv, but he made it and started Rispderdal just before school went back into session.
Aedan has never been better. People who knew Aedan all of his life or even seen him for a short period of time in his life can notice the difference in him. He has spirit, he has energy, he has humor, he has smiles and he is loving. Never an overly affectionate child, Aedan isn’t going to be all over you hugging and loving you all day but he does express his love to his friends and family unlike before and his moods are steady. Aedan engages with others, has less anxiety in school and is making friends. Aedan enjoys walking with me and his siblings to get a slushy and can be found telling the funniest of stories at the dinner table, making us all laugh.
Sometimes I think we laugh harder when Aedan tells a joke, because it’s so nice to see my son. It’s so nice to see him having a chance at life and I wouldn’t trade all of the long term fighting for the rights of his well mental health being for anything. The long road seemed to have been all worth it just to see how Aedan is now, but just the other night and the night before that and quite possibly, if I remember correctly, a couple nights prior to that, Aedan woke up with a major nose bleed. We saw the ENT who stated nose bleeds are a very rare side effect of Risperdal, there is nothing wrong with Aedan’s nose and boys tend to have nose bleeds more often than girls. The ENT also informed me boys will sometimes have nose bleeds during growth splurts, and so we are here again, using the mother’s love I have inside of me to go find answers to Aedan’s nose bleeds and to ensure he has a chance at life again; hopefully he won’t have to switch medications because we finally have one that works and doesn’t make him groggy and doesn’t ruin his true spirit.
The battle never ends when you are a parent, but I wouldn’t trade my job as Mom for any other job in the world!