Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ray of Light

It's late, and I'm tired, but wanted to put some thoughts down before they left my head. I had a super awesome day with my three year old today and I've been reflecting on just how lucky I am.

Lilli entered this world on her terms, no surprise there, a little over three years ago. My pregnancy with her wasn't as difficult as Everett's, but it wasn't worry free either. I remember hearing at one of my ultrasound appointments around 30 something weeks I was carrying too much amniotic fluid and they would "keep an eye on it", as this can cause a pre-mature rupture of membranes, thus causing early labor.

It wasn't long after this I was at home, on a Sunday evening, and my water broke. I remember being in the bathroom when it happened and saying, "oh no". Dave heard me and asked what was wrong and I told him. I was a bit panic stricken as I was only 34 1/2 weeks pregnant and we didn't even have our bag packed for the hospital (Dave told me we had plenty of time to get that done). It was just earlier in that month we had finished our birthing classes. We went to the hospital and my Dr. met us there. She informed me since I was past 34 weeks they didn't give steroids for the lungs and my labor wouldn't be stopped. They delivered me in the O.R., not because it was a c-section, but because it was closer to the NICU. Lilli came out relatively fast, only three sets of pushes! She looked bewildered as they put her on me for a brief moment, almost looked like she wanted to say, "what the hell just happened"? Her eyes were wide open and we remarked on what a good size she was for being early, 5lbs 14oz and 19 1/2 inches long. Lilli's lungs were a little sticky when she was born and had to be "jump started" with a bag shortly after she was delivered. Once they did that she thrived from there on out! She only spent a short 6 days in the NICU, although if you asked me at the time it felt like an eternity!

The first year was rough as she didn't start sleeping through the night until she was over a year old. She was diagnosed with severe acid reflux at only 2 months of age and we spent her first Christmas in the ER with the reflux was so severe she decided to stop eating because of the damage it had done to her poor little throat! We finally got on track with a GI doc, an ENT and a new pediatrician! She had to have tubes put in at 8 months due to chronic ear infections from the reflux pushing it's way up to her eustachian tubes repeatedly! She had horrible textural issues because of the damage done to her throat (would cough, choke and gag on foods), she aspirated on liquids unless they were thickend, and had to be given medication six times a day. We got her in with a very talented Occupational Therapist through an early intervention program here, who worked wonders, and the rest is history. All of this now feels like a blur.

Even with all this going on and all the pain Lilli was having she was a very happy baby. She smiled all the time and the more you smiled at her the more she smiled back. We were told at her old daycare that teachers would come into her room to visit her if they were having a bad day just to get a glimpse of that smile. It's the type of smile that would just melt you and make all your worries go away, at least temporarily. Lilli truly is beautiful from the inside out. It radiates from her, even at three years old. I know I'm her mom, but I'm also not the only one who has noticed this! :) Sure she has her typical three year old moments, lately more so than not, but she always returns to that smiley happy go lucky girl.

This evening as I was laying next to her, trying to get her to fall asleep, she wanted to tell me all about her evening (it was grief support group night for me). She was full of excitement and just so happy about her day, a total chatter box. She told me several times how she had "such a good day today". She would just smile and look at me with her big beautiful blue eyes twinkling at me. Then to top it all off, she told me I was her best friend. I should get that on tape now, as I know she will not feel that way when she gets older.

When we lost Everett, Lilli had a sense about her that seemed mature beyond her years, which scared me a little. Her normally boisterous voice would change and become soft when she talked about her baby brother and how sad everyone was at the hospital. She still does this whenever she mentions him. Dave and I are so grateful to have her in our lives and both had stated we don't know if we could get through this without her. She brings us back to some sense of normal.

I guess you could say Lilli is our "miracle" child. We spent many months of fertility treatments to have her and considering how her first year was, I think it's ok to categorize her as that. All I know for sure is I am so happy to be her mommy, and even on her crankiest of days, I wouldn't trade her for the world. She will never know how much I love her, that is until she has a little darling of her own. Lilli truly is our ray of light.

~Steph

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