Baby Elle 5 Months

Here we are on the tippy tail end of Aril and Elle is closer to 6 months than she is to 5, but I haven’t posted an update yet.

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At 5 months she weighed 17 pounds. She is in the top 25th percentile for weight. Maybe that’s why she isn’t very mobile yet.

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The day she turned 5 months (April 10th) it snowed, which is crazy, but as soon as the weather cleared up a little I took her outside. I wanted to get a picture of her in some winter clothes that she wouldn’t be able to fit in next year.

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Unfortunately Elle was captivated by all the sights, textures, and sounds of the outdoors and she didn’t give me and my camera the slightest glance. I eventually gave up. The perk of being a photographer is that when she woke up from her nap with a big smile on her face I grabbed the camera again and started shooting.

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She rolls over now. Mostly back to tummy and she can push herself up a lot more than what you see her doing in this photo.

She still has blue eyes although I can already see some pigment coming in. The jury is still out on whether they will be brown or green though.

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Elle continues to do well in occupational therapy and speech therapy. She is also still exclusively breast fed and obviously not missing any meals (I hear that comment a lot). So everything is going great with baby Elle. She could not be loved anymore than we all love her, that’s for sure. She is precious and I am beyond blessed to be her mom.

 

By | April 29th, 2016|My Life|1 Comment

This Time is Different

I sat in the exam room with a  tightness in my throat. I had felt fine, but as the reality of it all sank in the emotions rose up. I began to cry hot tears. I felt the need to apologize because I don’t like making other people feel uncomfortable. The audiologist responded in a firm voice ” Do not apologize.” She told me that I was completely entilted to respond any way I wanted and that just because I have been there before that does not make it any easier.

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This was what happened a week and a half ago at Elle’s ABR hearing screening. As you can imagine this means that the results were not good. I thought Elle could hear, and I was right. She can hear. She responds to many different sounds, but she still has hearing loss and it’s in both ears. I wasn’t going to talk about it until I knew more, but I am ready to talk about it now. Especially since I just got off the phone with the early intervention specialists who are ready to come over and set up her first IFSP. SJ has an IEP which is an Individualized Education Program because she is in school. Before that you have an Individual Family Service Plan which is when case worker helps you come up with appropriate strategies or goals for your preschool age child with special needs.

So just like that Elle has Special Needs. She is 6 weeks old and already considered delayed because she can’t hear well. I am being blunt, but don’t worry. I am not concerned for her. I think labels are silly. I remember when I was being interviewed for a research study and I was asked how I felt about my daughter’s “exceptionality” and I said “Excuse me? Her what?”. “Exceptionality” she repeated. That’s what they are calling it now. I laughed at such a desperate attempt to not offend. I am comfortable with hearing loss, deafness, disability, exceptionality whatever you want to call it. It does however mean our calendar, our budget, and even major life decisions like where to live will look different over the next few years because of this.

Hearing that my daughter has hearing loss is so different this time. I continue to process a  myriad of emotions. On the one hand Elle’s hearing loss is mild. It’s complicated and I won’t go into all the details, but that’s good news. SJ’s hearing loss was profound. At least by the time we found out it was. When Elle had her appointment J explained that we speculate SJ had previously had more hearing, but then lost it over time. He asked if that could happen with Elle. The audiologist said it certainly could. That’s a hard fact to swallow. I don’t know if I should assume the worst and hope for the best? I have a lot of questions for her ENT.

On that note, the fact that we already have an ENT, an audiologist, a school, and a support group in place is awesome! With SJ I was given a stack of books for parents of deaf children and I felt completely overwhelmed. This time is different. I have a newborn instead of a toddler. I live in Ohio rather than Kentucky. I will be dealing with hearing aids rather than cochlear implants (at least for now). I feel fairly equipped, but also uncertain.

I have so many questions and other concerns, but I will have to wait another month to even talk to certain specialists. The day of Elle’s hearing test was the first day of Christmas break for the kids and we went right into all of the Holiday gatherings. First was celebration with my family followed by a week of festivities with my in laws. That was actually good timing though because I had no obligations and have been pretty much distracted by Christmasy things. However now we prepare for evaluations, testing, hearing aids, and therapies. It’s really happening. I am doing okay, but I am also a bit of a basket case from time to time. Elle on the other hand is doing great. She is such a precious treasure and we all adore her.

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I know many of my family and friends are going to be finding out about this for the first time. I didn’t know the best way to deliver this announcement. It’s not dreadful news like a terminal illness or something, but it’s not like announcing a pregnancy either.

I hope you’ll bear with me as I navigate this new journey because it might look similar, but this time is different.

By | December 28th, 2015|Babies, Hearing Loss, My Life, Special Needs|25 Comments

Her First 3 Weeks (with photos)

I recently shared how difficult the first three weeks postpartum have been for me, but the good news is Elle would never know it. Her life has been comfy and sheltered.

12195876_10153760323994700_2412055774264314316_nI feel like being born two weeks early really did make a difference for her. My sister in law said she has friends who had preemies and noticed that on their original 40 week due date it was like they suddenly had an alert fully developed baby. Elle wasn’t a born premature (she was 8 pounds!) but she did practically sleep through her first two weeks of life and I wonder if that’s why.

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I know my mom was slightly concerned, but the Doctors said as long as she’s eating, pooping, and gaining weight then she’s good. She definitely was doing all of those things so I’ll take it as a blessing that she was so easy going.

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Sure enough on her due date she started acting like she was “out of the womb”

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From then on she was so much more alert. Her eyes were really wide open and she would express herself a little more. She had several “firsts” at two weeks.

She went to church for the first time.

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She visited SJ’s school. On a side note, I could be a millionaire and it wouldn’t matter. There is nothing in the world that I could buy or do for SJ that would amount to the kind happiness that she gets from her little sister and the joy of having a baby to help take care of.

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She and all of her classmates have been anticipating the arrival of baby Elle for a LONG time and I told her she would be able to have her visit her school before Thanksgiving break, but then I got sick. I was so worried about canceling the plans I made with the teacher and with SJ because I knew it would devastate her.

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So I took a Motrin and rode over to the school, but my mom was the one that actually went in and introduced the baby (I wasn’t contagious or anything, but I was just feeling too fatigued and achey thanks to my bladder infection). I was sad that I missed it, but I got to see pictures and it sounds like the introduction went really well.

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The other two week milestone was that Elle had her first bath. She liked the water, but she didn’t like being cold afterwards!

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She also had her first Thanksgiving, although that was pretty uneventful since she didn’t eat anything and slept the whole time.

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She is three weeks old now. I don’t have the latest photos uploaded yet. She is getting control of that neck though and  trying to lift her head up. She seems to like to sit upright more (with support of course) rather than being completely in the cradle position.

I have been blessed that all 4 of my children breastfed really easily. Elle has had no problems latching on and she loves to eat.

The biggest obstacle we’ve faced with her so far is thrush, but my friend gave me some Colloidal Silver and I just put a drop on my finger and rubbed it around in her mouth once a day and it cleared right up. Her diaper rash is gone too, but it was really inflamed so we used nystatin cream for that.

I’ll admit I am hormonal and emotional these days. It’s been bitter sweet to watch how quickly they change from being a tiny precious infant. I used to not care for the newborn stage so much. I wanted to skip to the part where they were walking and interacting. Now I LOVE this stage of innocence and simplicity. I absolutely adore it.

And her dad and siblings are just obsessed as I am.

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Next up, baby’s first Christmas!

By | December 3rd, 2015|Babies|5 Comments

Elle’s Birth Story

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When I planned to have my baby at a birthing center that was an hour from our house I got a lot of different reactions from concerned people thinking that would be too far of a drive. However, this was my 4th baby and all three of my other pregnancies and deliveries were pretty consistent. So I felt like I knew my body well enough to get there with time to spare.

Monday (November 9th) gave me NO indication that I was anywhere close to being in labor. It was nothing like my other births where I had mild contractions that built all day long. Nothing was happening. Not even braxton hicks. Plus I was only 37 weeks along.

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That night I fell asleep earlier than usually, but I woke up at 10:30 pm and that’s when things got weird.

I was confused by the signs. I had lower back pain and some pressure, but I hadn’t had any contractions. I told J (my husband) that I didn’t feel good and then I felt the first contraction at 10:41 pm.

I called my parents to come stay with the kids who were asleep in bed. I had only had one measly contraction at this point, but my parents live an hour and a half away and I just knew something was up! I tried to relax in a bath which is supposed to slow things down if it’s false labor, but instead I just started freaking out. Not because of contractions, but because I felt pressure. I felt nauseous. I was trembling and it looked an awful lot like transition!

I told J that I was scared and I wanted to go to a closer hospital. I had no idea where or what that would be. I felt so confused and panic set in. J said we just needed to get in the car and go, but I was insistent that we couldn’t go because I didn’t want to bring the kids.

At about 11:40 pm we loaded up the van with our partially packed bags and three groggy kids who were all in footie pajamas. My parents would have to meet us at the birth center. The contractions were strong, but they were still only 10 minutes apart and I was relieved because I assumed that meant we would have plenty of time.

About 11:50 things started getting intense. I was praying out loud. I would sing worship songs through contractions and really tried to stay focused.

Moments later the contractions were coming one on top of the other. As soon as one would stop another would begin and I vocalized this to J. Then we began to pray. I started praying with authority

“Lord, you are in control. I trust in you! I will not have this baby in the car. We are going to make it to the hospital in JESUS NAME. Labor has to stop until we get to safety!”

I was declaring very specific things and I can look back and laugh at it now, but I was serious about it. I have never wanted an unassisted birth. I was not comfortable with the idea of having the baby in the car.

Then when we were about 15 miles away I knew God wasn’t answering my prayer in the way I was hoping. The baby was coming. There is no fighting it. I had done this before and when the baby is ready to be born you can not stop it. So I gave in, and let me tell you the grace and peace of God was all over that van. My mindset changed to being very assertive. It’s weird. I became my own midwife and I narrated everything that was happening out loud. I can’t tell you why I did this, but hey, it worked out.

Here is the dialogue that transpired. J and I were both completely calm. It had to have been the Holy Spirit because even the kids were calm (one was asleep).

Me: Okay. I feel the urge to push. I am taking off my seat belt. I am going to have to take off my pants now. 

I had on a long T-shirt and a sweatshirt, and I quickly removed my cotton sweat pants. I was in the front passenger seat with my body slightly tilted and right leg lifted up and apart from my left. Luckily I had brought a towel and had it under me.

J: Do you want me to pull over?

Me: No, by the time the paramedics get here we would have already been to the hospital. Just keep driving.

Plus it was a dangerous freeway and dark and rainy. We both felt this was a safer option given our proximity to the hospital.

J: Do you need any light?

Me: No.

Then I reach down to see if I am imagining it, but I do feel the top of the baby’s head crowning.

Me: Okay I feel the head.

After another contraction her head was out and I had my hands gently cupping her head.

Me: The head is out. Alright. We need the body to come out now. Come on baby girl with the next contraction I am going to push the body out.

Another contraction and a slight push from me. I felt the shoulders and the body being pushed out. I kept my right hand under her head and my left hand scooped her up under her armpit and behind her back.

Me: I am going to wrap her in my pants and put her on my chest now.

And I did

J: She is crying. Good. Does it look like she’s okay?

Me: Yes, she’s fine.

I looked over at my husband as I held my now calm daughter who was so peaceful and perfect. Everything was quiet as we rode along in the dark .

Me: Is this real? Did that really happen… or am I in a dream?

J: Yes. It’s real.

 

After that we called the birth center (which is inside of a hospital by the way). This was at 12:27 am. There was a team of nurses with a wheel chair waiting for us at the entrance. I felt like a million bucks as we rolled up and they congratulated me and helped me get my shoes back on. I was fully prepared to hop out of the car when it hit me. The adrenaline drained from my body. I was light headed. I felt pain. My “super powers” were gone and I was bleeding. I know that sounds so dramatic, but it really did happen like that.

Since I couldn’t get out of the car they had to put me on a stretcher and roll me into the hospital where a Doctor would check on me and the baby. That’s when I delivered the placenta.

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They reminded me to breath and as I did I felt relief. It was over and we were both doing fine, but I knew it would be a while before it all really sunk in.

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My parents showed up shortly after that. We all chatted in the hospital room and watched in awe as they washed, weighed, and measured the miraculous little package that had turned our world upside down.

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I didn’t expect her to be 2 weeks early. I didn’t expect the labor to be so fast. I wasn’t prepared for any of it. Still, God is Faithful and in the end I am really glad our entire family was together in the brand new mini van that no one is allowed to even eat or drink in! It was really special.

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So that’s my fourth birth story.

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There’s the one at the birth center, the one in the bathtub at home, the one at the hospital, and now the one in a moving vehicle. Yes there are more options for birth locations, but I think that’s enough adventures for me, at least of this nature.

 

The End.

Or in Ellis’s case the beginning.

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By | November 15th, 2015|My Life, Natural Living, Pregnancy & Birth|50 Comments