These are getting harder to write. I’m not entirely sure why. I think it’s a combination of less time having passed since I was actually living it, so the feelings are still raw, and that the stories are less “gelled”. I also think that it’s getting closer and closer to when Rory died, and that’s also hard. I hope you’ll bear with me as I push forward through some things that are difficult to remember, and difficult to write about. I want to thank you, exquisitely, from the bottom of my heart, for being with me this far.
Life on the lake felt like home again.
It was different. It was better. It was really beautiful.
We spent so much of our time outside, in the driveway or back yard, walking to the mailbox, or walking just to walk. Ronan was still in preschool and Ruby and Ryder and I had a few hours together each day. Brock was enjoying his new job, and everyone was helping out with life. There was so much joy, and feeling on top most things. Not everything, of course. The house was still a mess usually… but life was really good.
When Ryder was 9 months old, I noticed that he had some discoloration on his teeth. I thought it was strange, but I didn’t look too much into it. A few months later, he fell and one of his teeth chipped. I sat down to inspect his broken tooth and noticed there was what looked like brown spots at the top, near his gum lines. I used my flashlight and made him let me look very closely and realized his teeth were decaying. They were covered in cavities. I had a panic attack and called Brock crying. I didn’t know what to do. He was only 11 months old.
I called a dentist, and we went in for an exam. His teeth were extensively decayed. The backs of his crowns (the white part of our teeth that show outside of our gums) were already completely gone, and he was losing the fronts of his teeth. I was beyond comprehension. How could this happen?? Ryder had the benefit of being the third child – bed time brushing habits were already established. We never drank juice, we NEVER had candy… Ryder had been a breastfed, organic, gluten-free, dairy-free child his whole life. I was instructed by the dentist that his teeth were rotting because I nursed him at night, and because he was allowed to eat and drink too much junk. I knew it wasn’t true, and it crushed my heart to be told so. I asked what our options were, and I was informed that the only solutions were to put him to sleep to have them crowned, or put him to sleep to have them pulled. There were no other options at 11 months old.
I went into a tailspin of despair. I couldn’t put that baby under general anesthesia. He was my bright and beautiful love. There was no way I was going to expose him to that risk. There was no way I was going to take the chance that he would be taken from me. I wasn’t going to let him die. And I was ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that, if I had let him be put under anesthesia, he would die.
You see, from the moment Ryder was born, he was special. My third child, my little brown eyed boy… I looked into his eyes the moment they first opened, and I just had this sense of knowing. At my follow up visit with my midwife, I sobbed to her that he wasn’t going to be here for long. “He’s too bright. Too beautiful. He’s too magical for this world. He’s going to leave me, I know it. He’s telling me.”
I didn’t share it with everyone… hardly with anyone. I felt like I was completely insane. I just… I just knew that he was going to be here for a short while, and I had to enjoy every single moment that I had with him. I had to love him hard, and love him well because he wasn’t meant to stay.
When the dentist told me that my only option was to put him to sleep to fix his teeth, I refused. After I spiraled down into panic and climbed back out again, I decided there must be other options, other avenues. We went to several other dentists and were given the same information again and again. I started looking into alternative and homeopathic reasons and remedies for tooth decay, and began learning everything I could. Absolutely everything. I read about dr. Weston A Price, and the nutrition-based dental theory. I read about gut healing and inflammation and cod liver oil. I started learning about minerals and vitamins and what was required to make teeth – and what had to be eliminated. I started reading about people who had halted their children’s decay, and others who had seen remineralization occur.
I got hopeful.
We overhauled our already gluten- and diary-free diet. We removed all grains and all sugars. We added thousands of dollars worth of supplements. We only ate organic, grass-fed, local and whole foods. Lots of eggs. Lots of vegetables. Tons of cooking and food preparation. I seized control over every single aspect of our diet in order to heal Ryder’s teeth. I knew it was going to work. I knew that I could do it. He wasn’t going to need to be put under. I wasn’t going to lose him.
Then we consulted with a holistic dentist, who agreed with most of what I had learned. He agreed that Ryder was too young for general anesthesia and that it wasn’t worth the risk. He agreed that our goal would be to keep Ryder comfortable (without pain or infection) for as long as possible. He agreed that we were doing the right things for his teeth, and recommended that we add topical iodine to our routine in order to prevent abscess. However, he didn’t believe we could halt the decay, and that Ryder would eventually require extensive dental work. I chose to ignore him and kept going full speed.
What I didn’t count on was the stress and the toll that the intense control over diet, and the worry over his teeth would cause me. I didn’t see how it was killing me – every day our diet was perfect was utterly exhausting, and day that failed and allowed him to eat something that was forbidden was ridden with guilt.
Guilt and exhaustion. Guilt and exhaustion.
And Ryder’s teeth continued to decay. They fell apart in his mouth. Every time I looked, more of his teeth were missing.
It was heartbreaking. I didn’t feel like I was doing the wrong thing… I didn’t feel like his teeth were WORSE or MORE DAMAGED than being capped or pulled. It just happened slowly, rather than all at one time. And he was alive. That mattered to me more than his teeth. He was a happy, cheerful soul with an incredible smile, the squintiest joyful eyes, and a powerful appetite. I felt like we were doing the right thing.
Other tidbits from the same timeframe:
Brock and I started practicing Kung Fu several nights per week.
Ruby and Ronan started taking dance classes.
I chopped off ALL of my hair in order to combat some massively frustrating scalp issues.
Ruby suffered with poop-witholding and pooping once per week was a nightmare that we both hated and endured.
I had my tongue tie released as an adult.
To be continued…