Monday, February 8, 2016

Elizabeth from Chasin' Mason {The Mommylogues Series}

This next guest blogger for The Mommylogues Series is one of my favorites! Elizabeth from Chasin' Mason is wonderful and I count her as part of my blogging tribe. I'm not even going to sugar-coat this but I cried ugly tears reading this post and practically burned dinner because it's that touching.

Hi everyone! My name is Elizabeth and I blog over at Chasin' Mason. I blog about my adventures in motherhood and daily life with a toddler (more like preschooler now though!). And if you couldn't guess by the title of my blog, I mostly blog about my son, Mason. Occasionally I like to throw in some recipes and DIYs and whatever else strikes my fancy, but for the most part, I just blog about our daily happenings. Thank you so much, Whitney, for having me here today!


My journey to motherhood started on November 19, 2011 -- the day I found out that I was pregnant with Mason. I remember it like it was yesterday (which must be why I still remember the exact date!). The day before we had met with our photographer for a "trash the dress" session at the beach. I remember thinking that my wedding dress felt a little tighter than normal, but I attributed that to the fact that it had been a year and I'm sure I gained some weight since then. We had just celebrated our first wedding anniversary on November 7th and I thought it would be fun to do a little "trash the dress" session to celebrate.

The next morning I realized just how late I was and decided to take a pregnancy test. And sure enough those two pink lines appeared! I'm pregnant! I ran into the bedroom, shook (my husband) Seth awake, and shoved the stick that I had just peed on right into his face. Romantic, I know. And then we just stared at each other in disbelief. We had been trying so it's not like it was a big surprise to us, but at the same time, it was a surprise. I mean, you never really know when it will happen!

After that, I texted my sister in law and my best friend a picture of the pregnancy test (TMI, I know, sorry girls!) to tell them the good news. Although it has been approximately 22 minutes (I'm sure) since I had taken the pregnancy test, I had to tell someone! I'm horrible at keeping secrets.

I wish I had started my blog back then so I would have my pregnancy documented (especially since I'm 99% sure that Mason will be our only one (more on that later) but I can't say 100% for sure so I have to leave the 1% open to potentially change my mind!) but I didn't end up starting it until after he was born in 2012. Instead, I documented my pregnancy with weekly bump pictures. I'd post them to Facebook so everyone could see the progress and then once I was on maternity leave, I scrapbooked them and put them into a little photo album.


Mason was born on July 18, 2012 (you can read his birth story here) and I was overjoyed to finally be a mom! Everything went as smooth as possible and after a few days in the hospital, we were on our way home as a family of three! I felt extremely unprepared to be in charge of this baby especially since I knew nothing about babies, but like they say, your motherly instinct takes over and you just know what to do.


The first few days at home were great. I was having some trouble with breastfeeding (more on that here) but made an appointment with the lactation consultant to discuss my concerns and figured everything would be fine. I was wrong. Long story short (long story here), I couldn't breastfeed Mason. I couldn't produce enough milk to sustain him and he wasn't getting anything. I tried pumping and would get maybe 2 oz after each 20 minute pumping session. It was torture. So, ultimately I decided that the health and wellbeing of my child was most important and we switched to formula. This didn't come without some challenges though and we later found out Mason had silent reflux.  Silent reflux is like regular reflux but instead of throwing it up, he would swallow it. So it hurt coming up and hurt going down. He would cry in pain and arch his back every time he ate. It was AWFUL. So after talking to one of my friends, I finally figured out what the problem was, spoke to Mason's pediatrician and we got him some liquid gold (aka the most expensive formula ever - Similac Alimentum) and everything went a lot more smoothly and I had my happy baby back!

The months went on and I adjusted to being back at work and we seemed to finally be in a good groove. I never thought of myself as a boy mom, but once Mason was born, I couldn't picture myself any other way. I was embracing the cars, planes, trains, and trucks, and loving every minute of it.

We celebrated Mason's first birthday, celebrated holidays, celebrated New Year's, celebrated his second birthday, celebrated holidays, and celebrated another New Year's.



By now it was 2015 and Mason is 2 1/2. We've noticed that he's not necessarily at the same stage on certain things as other kids his age, specifically talking. I didn't really think anything of it, I just thought he was a late talker. He was late to walk, so I just assumed he was late to talk too. Boys are lazy like that sometimes, right? Or so I thought.

Then came April 2015 and my whole world was turned upside down. We found out that the reason that Mason had a speech delay was because he has autism. The moment that the doctor said those words to me, my head started spinning. Not in a bad way. I never, ever, ever thought any different of my sweet and perfect boy, but I just had NO idea what this meant for him and our family. I was so overwhelmed with all the information that they gave us and didn't know what to do with it all. Thankfully I had an amazing resource to turn to or I don't know what I would have done. She helped me and educated me so much.

A month later, I wrote this letter to Mason.

An excerpt from it :
"...This diagnosis does not define you. You are still the same sweet, loving, caring, amazing little boy that we've always known. You are friendly, you are outgoing, you are fearless. You are a joy to be around. And your dad and I... we will make sure we give you every tool you need to grow, learn, and thrive. I can't wait to enroll you in kindergarten and cry my eyes out that my little boy is growing up too fast. I can't wait to see you make your first science fair project. I can't wait to see you play sports. I can't wait to see you graduate high school and to help you move into a dorm at college and then really cry my eyes out that my little boy really is ALL grown up. And furthermore, I can't wait to meet the girl you know you are going to marry and then walk you down the aisle to wait for her. One day (long, LONG from now), you will make me a Grandma and make me the happiest I've ever been to hold a baby since July 18, 2012, the day you were born.

I never thought of myself as a parent of a child with special needs. But here we are, here I am. A parent of a child with autism. And while that might be true and we might have some hurdles we need to jump over, you, your dad, and I are no different than we were on April 8. And I intend to treat you exactly the same way I did on that day from this day forward. I am constantly in awe and inspired by you. You make me want to be a better mama. I love you more with every day that passes...."





To this day, I still cry when I read the letter I wrote him. And to this day, every single word is still true. Our life is definitely a lot different today than it was on April 8, 2015 (the day before he was diagnosed), but all for the better. He has since gotten tubes in his ears and had his adenoids removed. He has started talking SO much more and I could not be more proud. He knows all his (primary) colors and can say them out loud (sound them out - bew for blue, gree for green, reh for red, etc) and identify them on paper. He knows the numbers from 1 to 10 forwards and backwards. He knows tons of sign language. He knows how to spell his name (Mmmm - Ahhh - Sssss - Ohhh - Nnnn). He can identify all the basic shapes. He can do the whole alphabet in sign language and can say the letters (sounding them out) from A to F but gets more letters daily. He understands way more than he can communicate verbally. And so, so much more. He is loved by everyone at school and is a joy to be around. He has great social skills and good eye contact. He is growing and thriving and I couldn't be more proud.



Though this is definitely not how I pictured my life, I have learned so much from Mason and wouldn't change a thing. Sure it can be more challenging, more stressful, and definitely more expensive at times, but at the same time, I am learning so much just seeing life through his eyes. He lights up with joy when I ask him to help me bake cookies. He screams "YEAH!" when I ask him if he wants to go over to his best friend's house. And he is a total pain in the butt sometimes when he steals my drinks, eats the food off my plate, and tells me what to do. But he is the most loving little kid. And even though he can't use words to tell me that he loves me yet, I know he does. He shows me through sign language and through the huge, wet kisses he gives me every morning, every day when I drop him off at preschool, and every night before bed.



This is our story, my journey through motherhood, and I can't wait to see how the story continues!

Whitney, thank you again for having me today!





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And in case you missed them:
My Journey to Motherhood {Introduction to The Mommylogues Series}

24 comments:

  1. Obviously I'm a huge fan of Liz and love how she shared her story with Mason. I'm always impressed with how she's working with mason and his diagnosis and how well he's thriving!

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    1. Thank you so much!! That really means a lot! :)

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  2. Amazing post Liz!!! So glad you have this series Whitney! Loved how you describe the entire experience and your feelings. There are some people out there who's outlook on motherhood would change with autism and although (I hope) that percentage is small, you are one heck of a woman and mom for your amazing outlook! Mason is pretty dang awesome and I love watching him grow and make progress through your blog!

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    1. Thank you so much, Jess! I definitely had a few moments of jumbled thoughts but mainly just because I was overwhelmed with all the stuff they were telling us and I had no idea where to start. But my outlook on Mason never changed. He is the same amazing kid as he was the day before his diagnosis! We just have more knowledge on how to help him now :)

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  3. Huge fan of Liz and Mason. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  4. That letter melts my heart. Liz, you are an amazing mother. Mason is adorable and always looks so happy. Thanks for sharing your story!

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    1. Thank you so much Leslie! He is one happy kid (99% of the time... until you tell him no lol). He makes me so happy!

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  5. I always love reading your beautiful story!! Mason is SO LUCKY to have you as his mom!! He is such an amazing child!

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    1. Thank you so much, Jess! I think he's pretty wonderful too! :)

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  6. I love Liz! Such a beautiful story!

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  7. Such an amazing story of motherhood! You inspire all of us to be better moms, Liz, and Mason is one lucky little guy! And Whitney, thank you for this amazing series! I can't wait to continue reading about everyone's perspectives of motherhood!

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    1. Thank you so much Sarah! I agree, this series is amazing and I can't wait to read everyone else's stories!

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  8. Mason is one lucky kid! You are such a great mom, looking forward to continue to watching your journey!

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  9. I love Liz's blog! And I totally cried (again) reading your letter to mason again.

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    1. You're so sweet! Thank you so much Evelina!

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  10. Thank you so much for having me, Whitney! I'm loving reading everyone's stories and am so happy I could share mine today!

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  11. I LOVE Liz!! I cried the first time I read her letter to Mason, and I cried again. Mason is such a lucky boy to have such an amazing momma (and dad)!

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  12. Such a great recap of Liz, Seth and Mason. So fun to see it all in one place. They have such a great story.

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