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Friday, January 25, 2013

Stranger than Truth

I'd say what a wild and whacky year...but then, that's the only kind I have ever had really. I would/could also say how bizarre that is, but all you readers know better. After all, this close bond that has brought disparate strangers together here proves that the only place the word N O R M A L belongs is on our washing machine cycle..

My life is so different now. Gosh, time flies! Seems like only yesterday that the babies were born and now we have a new baby. This situation is so different, yet very similar to the old situation.

There are no drugs involved. But there is impairment involved. The difference, I guess, is that Baby did nothing to contribute to her impairment, whereas Calamity stuck needles full of heroin into her veins.

Baby is schizophrenic. She had a major psychotic episode almost one year ago to the day. She had to be hospitalized for a week. Then, right after that, she got pregnant. We chose not to terminate as we don't believe in abortion. She had to stay on her anti-psychotic medication to keep from being psychotic. There was some small risk to taking the meds while pregnant. She chose to accept that risk.

1/8 Pint was born 3 weeks premature, went into labor naturally and ended up being a c-section baby. She is growing like a weed now, almost 7 weeks old. She is being tested in Feb for Down's Syndrome, which the doctors think she has, but which we don't.

There are no pyramids around, and we are not standing knee deep in de-Nile..... 1/8 Pint really doesn't have all of the markers. She has no “simian crease” on her hands, no epicanthal fold on her eyes, but her ears are a wee bit lower than they should be, and she sticks out her tongue more than normal. So, the doctors want her tested. Bloodwork is all it is. And in any case, she is a “keeper”, we love her and regardless of the testing we are not giving her back!! Mommy (Baby) is doing so well with her.

Parenting a schizophrenic is much like parenting an addict, only worse, and weirder.

With an addict, you have to watch them with the baby in case they nod off. With a schizophrenic, you have to watch them with the baby and say, “honey, look at her and smile”, “Sweetie, look at her and make eye contact....honey this, honey that. It takes a lot of reminding and supervision.

Hard? Yah. Because of the brain trauma from the accident in 09, her memory is gone. Most times we have to repeat instructions about a gazillion times before they get through.

All that being said, for the most part, she does remarkably well with 1/8 Pint. She has learned to feed her, cuddle her, and talk to her. She still feels uncomfortable with it, but she forces herself.

Schizophrenia is a very weird disease. There are two facets to schizophrenia. One, the most apparent, is what is called Positive symptoms. Not positive as in “good”, but positive as in ACTIVELY HAVING delusions, hallucinations, psychosis. Then, there are what are called “Negative” symptoms. “Negative symptoms represent a reduction of emotional responsiveness, motivation, socialization, speech, and movement. Primary negative symptoms are etiologically related to the core pathophysiology of schizophrenia whereas secondary negative symptoms are derivative of other symptoms of schizophrenia, other disease processes, medications, or environment. For example, antipsychotic medications can produce akinesia or blunted affect. Depression can cause anhedonia, lack of motivation, and social withdrawal. ...Negative symptoms can also be the result of psychotic processes. For example, social withdrawal can be caused by paranoia or by immersion in the psychotic process to the exclusion of real-life relationships. Primary and enduring negative symptoms are often referred to as the "deficit syndrome." Individuals with the deficit syndrome have been found to have greater cognitive deficits and poorer outcomes than patients who do not have this syndrome .”

So, Baby has good control of Positive symptoms, but not so great with Negative symptoms. And, the negative ones are way harder to overcome. That is sad, and a lot of hard work. Especially when there is a new infant in the picture. There are days when I have to take care of the baby almost totally, when Baby is having a bad day. Then, other days, she is fine.

They will most likely live with us for years. Or at least until her psychiatrist says she is capable of living on her own and caring for a child as a single parent.

Some days, it feels a lot like enabling.....and brings back many bad memories. I constantly have to keep reminding myself that this is not an addict, this is my child with schizophrenia. And, it's my job to help her as much as possible to be the best person, the best mother, and the best she can be at everything.

Frustrated? Oh yah. Tired? Definitely. Also a lot of driving as I got her into a program that is about one and a half hours away, top in the nation, called Special Treatment for Early Psychosis. She has to go weekly.

However, she has improved so much since we started taking her. She still has negative symptoms, but they come and go now, instead of being there all the time.

I will try to post more. There are some really funny parts to our lives. Without humor, I wouldn't have made it this far!!

Love to all.


  1. As usual, you seem to have a handle on all that is going on. I admire your strength and dedication to your family.

  2. You are a Saint in my book, Dawn! Prayers are being returned, sweet friend!

  3. You are right - you have to see the humor in things or we wouldn't survive. I too admire your strength and dedication to your family.