School's Out

 It's the end of another school year and I can't help reflect on how much these two have changed. The first pictures are the "last day of school" and the second ones are the "first day of school".

 Hannah has less teeth then she started with and reads books all by herself and  reads to Ben.
She did incredible this year and loves learning!

 Ben had a wonderful time and teacher's in Kindergarten. He made some great friends and as you can tell by these 2 pictures, he has grown up from being my "little" boy.
 (Now he just has to learn how to keep his eyes open in a picture!)

Arghh a Pirate Birthday

 For Ben's 6th Birthday we threw him a pirate themed party, and the aquarium was the perfect place to go. 
 These are three of his friends from his Kindergarten class.
(Matthew, Ben, Kevin, & Jimmy)

 the otters are so graceful to watch

about 6 children long


My Sweet Boy - a birth story and more

Benjamin Arthur Hogan
born May 30th 2007
8 pounds 6 ounces

  • Loves boats, & ships, & anything that has Pirates
  • Loves to cuddle with mommy and lets her kiss him as much as she wants
  • Loves being with friends and his cousins
  • Is a really good brother. Very considerate of others
  • Loves Scooby Doo or anything with monsters - aliens
  • Has a very stubborn "Lazy" eye that wont seem to improve
  • Has been diagnosed with PDD, an austism spectrum disorder
This is my first attempt at writing about the trials we've been going through with this sweet child for the last 3 years. I am not good at composing my thoughts to print but I just felt that I needed to share. Let me start from the beginning...
Sept 2006. Came home from work to an adorable 6 month old baby girl and anxious husband holding a pregnancy test box that he had purchased for me. 10 minuted later... I was standing in my living room looking at my baby thinking how are we were going to handle the fact that I was pregnant.  I was working full time, Brice was staying at home taking care of Hannah and trying to finish his degree and graduate, and living in my grandparents 1940's home with my brother and his family. 
My pregnancy progressed normally and up until the 20 week ultrasound Brice was convinced it was another girl. Every thing was fine. On memorial day I started having regular very small contractions all day but by the end of the day they had stopped. At my appointment the next day we discovered that I was dialated to a 5 even though I had no contractions since the previous afternoon. The Doctor asked me if I would like to come in the next morning to be induced, if he didnt arrive by tonight. Of course I said yes.
At 7:30 we checked in and I was at a 6. By 9:30 they administered the pitocin and within an hour I was having regular contractions.  By 11:00 they broke my water and I was given an epidural. The epidural however was only working on my right side. I asked if I only had to pay for half of the bill since the other half of my body really hurt!! They gave me an extra boost of meds by 12 and had me lay on my left side to help it out.. it did, but now the right side of my body was completely dead to me. A little after 1 the doctor was on her way and the nurse decided to see how far along I was. She asked me to turn on my back.  As soon as I turned over Ben came out.  The nurse was shouting for someone to come help her and telling me to push my help button and not push the baby. I assured her that I was in no way pushing and she turned to Brice and said," You might have to help me catch this kid." The nurse did a fantastic job delivering Ben and the Doctor showed up right after. Too bad I couldnt pay the delivery fee to the nurse!
Ben arrived at 1:14 pm.
He was beautiful!! A healthy baby at 8.6 pounds and 19 inches. He had a full head of hair, like his sister, but it was streaked with blonde. He looked like a little surfer. The nurses could not stop playing with his hair to 2 days we were there.

The nurse that delivered him.

Hannah loved him from the start. At 15 1/2 months old though she was also walking, climbing, and running.  It was not a smooth start  to our family of 4. The day we came home from the hospital Brice wasnt feeling well. He didnt feel well for the next month and had also just gotten a full time job. He had chronic fatigue. And I was just fatigued and chronically stressed out. After my 3month maternity leave I went back to work and gave my 2 week notice.  Managing both kids was really hard. Hannah was a super active toddler, Ben was not a great nurser, and I felt that could not get more that 6 hours of sleep in total (not all at once).
I wasnt feeling myself, and kind of still dont. This year we discovered that I have a thyroid problem, and looking back to after Ben was born it probably started around that time. Fatigue, irritability, moodiness, weight problems, & anxiety are a few of the problems. But that's another long story...
Brice was working full time and finishing school and I was working part time on the weekends still, to keep my sanity. I did not go out much during the week by myself. The anxiety of running after Hannah and dealing with her tantrums and energy while toting Ben around with us was usually too much to handle by myself. My darling dad came with me on a lot of doctors visits.
He was a good baby for the most part. Happy , a little fussy, but pretty similar to when Hannah was that age. He quit nursing on his own at 7 months and although he was under the 10% in everything he was progressing normally. From between 2 - 2 1/2 years old I began to be concerned about his speech. I felt he wasnt talking as much as he should and his tantrums were getting more frequent and severe. Hannah however had been a queen at tantrums herself , but the more she was able to communicate the better they became, so I felt that Ben would be the same. The doctor said not to worry and give it some time.
In January of 2010 Brice graduated from BYU and got a job the following month with Goldman Saches in Salt Lake. We began looking for a house in SLC and purchased our home in May.
Before Ben's 3rd birthday I was still really concerned and took him to the school district to be tested.
They said that he did have a delay and would qualify for developmental preschool. Within a few months of moving I had him retested with Granite School District and evaluated at a place called "The Childrens Place" that primarily help children with autism. At that time the therapist felt that he was fine and that he just had a speech delay, but since he was 3 by then I had missed out on the Early Intervention programs available. I felt like I was doing what I should.. I talked to the Doctors, the schools, the therapists about my concerns but was told not to worry that he would catch up.
If you are concerned about your childs growth and development keep pushing. Get as much help as you can even if people say you dont need to worry. I will forever regret not getting him help sooner. 
At 3 both he and Hannah started preschool. Ben had an IEP and eventually they had to get him an aide as well to help him through the routine. He would cry for 20-30 min sometimes after I left him and I would cry in the parking lot on the phone to my mom. He was always happy by the end of the class though. He was getting speech and development help but I still wasnt seeing the progress that I thought he should make. Plus his tantrums were getting worse. Now he was hitting people when he was upset.
I actually went to a workshop for teachers to help with kids with behavior problems (my mom helped my go to.) to try to understand how to handle him better and help him out.  My emotions felt as out of control at times too. I was stressed and anxious and sad and felt like a horrible mother! I had wanted more children but felt like I was failing with the kids I had already. I still feel that way sometimes.
He speech was getting better but very slowly. He started preschool again the next year and had his wonderful full time aide Brooke from the year before. I dont know how either of us (Ben or I) would have done without her. This time he didnt cry when I left and by the end of summer we had gotten him out of hitting but the emotional outbursts were still there. During this time I happened to find a book at the library called " The Parent's guide to speech and language problems." It was a God send. Truely!
After reading the book I was determined to get Ben more help. I scheduled evaluations with the state health department on his speech, hearing, and cognitive development. We also learned that he failed his eye test at school.  He has an amblyopia in his right eye. He started to wear glasses and have his good eye patched for a few hours everyday. With both things he put up a long and drawn out fight!
By march of this year we had an official diagnosis of PDD-NOS on the autism spectrum. Pervasive developmental Disorder - not otherwise specified.  I was upset and relived at the same time! Now we could understand and learn why Ben had the difficulties he was having and how to better help him and what kind of help he needed, and at the same time sad for the difficulties I knew he would continue to be facing. On top of it all Ben's eye sight is not getting better and kids with Autism are very visual learners.
All of this information helped us to make the decision to have him in a special ed Kindergarten class this year which I could not be more pleased with so far. Instead of being in a class with over 30 students and an aide to help him an hour an day, he is in a class with 5 other kids facing similar difficulties and a staff of a teacher, 2 aides, a speech therapist, and a behavioral therapist to help him.
Im confident that with the right help he can progress and hopefully overcome this diagnosis.

We all still struggle everyday but I am so thankful for this beautiful child and only hope that I can live up to being the mother that he needs.