Bismarck News

Raising North Dakota: Mom Instinct

Bismarck - Call it maternal instinct, mommy gut, or intuition - it's real.
I've been there...I know.
So I reached out to learn how many other mom's natural instinct kicked in and helped their child.

That's this week's Raising North Dakota.
I listened to my mommy instinct the day our daughter was born, and it is a big part of why she is with us today.
I listened to my gut when things didn't seem right with our son, and he got a diagnosis and medical treatment and therapy for a rare genetic disorder much sooner.
I'm not alone.

Steph Orr is one of those moms who went with her mommy intuition, with her son Brevin.
"In Dec. 2013, he woke a up a completely different kid. He was always so easy going, a super social butterfly, and all of a sudden he was clinging to me like his life depended on it," Orr says.
It was after Brevin's preschool Christmas play that instinct kicked in and Steph just knew...
Orr says, "I called my mom and said 'Something's wrong, like theres something really wrong with him, cause he just wasn't there anymore."
At first, many doctors tried to pass it off as autism, general anxiety, and other disorders.
Orr recalls, "I just thought, that's not what this is. There's a reason he was just fine, then all of a suddent wasn't fine.
Steph wondered if her instinct was wrong. 
Orr says, "I doubted myself constantly. It felt awful because I felt like nobody ever had my back, and as a parent you try to do the best you can. You want what's best for your kids, and it was so frustrating thinking there were people who wouldn't back me on that."
But it turned out, she was right.
It was an autoimmune reaction to strep throat that ultimately led to Brevin's diagnosis of Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome, or PANS.
"I knew that's what it was, it was exactly the definition of what happened, went from one kid to a different," Orr says.
After all the heartache, and all the self doubt, Steph's mommy intuition did its job.
"You just know yourself, you know your kids, you know their demeanor, and if you don't feel something's right, just keep looking, it's really important to keep looking," Orr says.
Steph is one of many moms who shared stories with me.
Kylie Schaaf of Hebron stopped feeling her baby move at 38 weeks - she learned her baby was in respiratory distress. Had she not listened to her mommy instinct, Schaaf said her son Elliot, who is a healthy 5 month old, would not be here today.
Donna Epperson of Minot said she knew something wasn't right when her premie baby Fiona had a larger than usual tummy. Medical staff thought it was normal, but she insisted it was not, and it turned out her Fiona had a bacterial infection that could have cost her her life.
It's all motherly intuition kicking in and protecting your child.
"I think just your mom instinct, you really become a mama bear. It's a crazy thing..." says Orr.
Reporting for KX News, I'm Alysia Huck.
Other mother shared their stories as well.
Nicole Thomas Dalbol of Bismarck said after her daughter Amelia was born, she was a very poor eater and would get frustrated and fall asleep. The doctors wanted to send them home the day after she was born, and she refused, wanting to work on breastfeeding. Just before being discharged, the doctor decided to check Amelia once more and discovered she had something very wrong with her heart. About an hour later, she was airlifted to Mayo.
Recently, Samantha Fannik, Minot felt something was wrong when her son Easton's illness was not subsiding. He had been ill for two weeks, received antibiotics, had a fever for seven days, and struggled to take the antibiotics. She was concerned with his heart beating fast, and she worried about his breathing. Samantha's mother also suspected something more was wrong, and her instinct confirmed Samantha's own gut feeling, and Easton was hospitalized for a scary case of pneumonia.


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