Friday, January 13, 2012
There was so much about Ella's life that was absolutely perfect! When I was pregnant with Ella, I was incredibly ill for the first three months. With my other two pregnancies I did not have "morning sickness" that, by the way, lasts ALL day long. So I was sure this time it was a boy. Well, I wanted a boy. I thought this might be our last child, possibly one more, but no more than four. Turns out it was not a boy, and turns out "morning sickness" is a good sign that the baby is thriving very well inside the womb. Studies show that women who experience morning sickness are less likely to miscarry. The morning sickness played an important part in the perfectness of Ella's story. Thankfully Drew was home working on remodeling the girls' new classroom during this time, so I was able to lay on the couch with my head buried under blankets day after day. After the morning sickness was gone, I picked up right where I had left off in caring for my two toddlers, two and three at the time. For about a month and a half before Ella was born I had contractions pretty regularly. Dozens of times a day. I thought for sure she would come early. Soon my due date came and went. I was due on October 25, Ivy's birthday was the 26th, but we were happy that Ivy got to keep her birthday all to herself, but I was ready! On the morning of November 2 at about 12 a.m. I knew that it was the day. Around 3 a.m. my contractions picked up drastically and by 5 a.m. my mom was at our home ready to watch the girls, who were wide awake with the excitement! At 7 a.m. we arrived at Cortland hospital, Drew, my sister Ana, and I. Right away I was "checked" and the nurse called my Dr. in immediately. The Dr. came in and broke my water, and with that breaking came my first urge to push. It was one supernaturally long push, seriously, and Ella was born at 7:41 a.m. By far my easiest delivery! This, too, was another perfect piece to Ella's story. Eight hours later, and after a lot of contention, we were dismissed and on our way to Crouse. While in Crouse, Drew would stay by Ella's side all through the night while I was resting in a nearby hotel with Nadia and Ivy. It was during these long nights that Drew got to know and bond with our daughter. He would come back to the hotel early in the morning and update me, and I was a little jealous of the intimate one on one time he was able to spend with our baby. During the day, when I was able to visit the most, we were surrounded by family and focusing a lot of time on visitors and who was going to watch the girls and meals and dealing the the Dr's, and the shift changes....all the "not so fun" stuff that goes along with the hospital atmosphere. So I didn't find myself "bonding" as intimately as I had with my other children during this early stage. Also, I was unable to nurse her, so I missed out on that time as well. I was on an every three hour pumping schedule, so many hours were spent attached to the pump in a nearby pumping room. Because Ella was born with a cleft palate, Drew was able to feed her breast milk from the bottle. It took at least an hour and a half for her to finish each bottle because she wasn't able to get good suction on the nipple because she couldn't form a good seal. Sometimes just feeding her would tire her right out as it took so much of her strength and so much time. However when we look back on our time with Ella we are so very grateful for the small things that had such a great impact on us. Of all the babies who are labelled with Trisomy 18, 90% die before they are born, and less than 10% survive the first week. So praise God for the "morning sickness!" Statistically girls have a better chance of surviving. If they do make it to full term, most do not survive a vaginal delivery because it is too much for their little bodies and hearts, many times they will have heart problems. I believe that the weeks of contractions before her birth was preparing my body for a speedy delivery.The average weight of a Trisomy 18 baby is about 4 lbs, but our little Ella was a whopping 6lbs 10oz! When we look back at her delivery, we know that it was all in God's hands, if it would have been any longer, she may not have made it. I nursed my other daughters, and therefore Drew was a little jealous of the time I was able to spend bonding and learning about them as they were attached to me. So he did not take the late nights in the hospital for granted. He held her and talked to her and promised her that no one would ever look at her the way her daddy did! He really knew her and he was in love with her. At home we both got to hold her, we never put her down, and love her and feed her and bond with her. I am so grateful that these circumstances made it possible for both of Ella's parents to really know their child. So miss Ella's 23 day stay with us was full of little miracles that still wow us to this day. She has taught us more about life than anyone could ever imagine, especially that we have so much love to give. We look forward to a future with more babies to share our love and our home with.