In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Duckling turns 3

Wow...I can't believe it!  My baby girl turned 3. 

Now, I haven't blogged about my mother, so unless you know her, you couldn't have a full understanding of the relationship she has with Duckling.  Someday, I will blog about that part of our story...but for now, I will say that my mother is very fond of Duckling and we'll leave it at that ;)  

Duckling was quite clear in what she wanted for her birthday.  A Horse.  Nothing more, nothing less...that girl wanted a horse.  While living at my parents for the first two years of her life, she knew nothing more having horse pastures against her back yard.  We often fed and pet the horses and there was nothing better than hearing the "neigh" of those horses to start your morning.  So, Duckling...knowing no different, grew quite fond of horses.  She gets it honest...I was quite a horse lover when I was her age too.  So, it was very important to my parents, mostly, my get Duckling a horse just like she wanted.  We searched for months and we were finally able to find her a Fur Real Pony.  She was amazed and immediately in love with the horse that she named, Rylee.                                       

Adoring her new horse
It seems like just yesterday, I was in a panic, trying to figure out who was going to go to the hospital with me and who was going to watch my other kids.  I had unexpectedly became a single mother just seven weeks before.  There was so much going on that it never dawned on me, that I hadn't made arrangements.  Normally, I had a plan A, plan B and a plan C in place months before a due date...but I also never had to pack myself and my kids up to move into a Rape and Abuse Shelter just weeks before I was due and I never had to request a change in a court date because my husband's indictment hearing was scheduled too close to my due date...I never had to schedule my delivery, so that I could be assured the capability to show up in court.  I never had to do a lot of things that I had to do around the time Duckling was born.
I had never planned a home birth, this time I did.  Just weeks before I was due, I made the decision that it was best to deliver in a hospital.  I needed to be closely monitored at the end of my pregnancy, as the stress I was under, put a lot of stress on my little duckling.  She was not nearly as active and sometimes she was downright still.  I lost 15 lbs. in a two week period.  I was physically sick and couldn't hold any food down.  Just a few weeks before she was born, I had literally "lost" my pregnant looking belly and was left with a slight hint of a bump.  I didn't get to do my belly cast because I didn't even have enough of a belly to do it.

I entered the hospital late in the evening.  The amount of security I had there, made my life feel like something you'd see on tv.  I wasn't listed on the hospital registery, so anyone who called to check on my was told there was no one by my name in the hospital.  It was also very difficult for anyone coming to visit me to actually get back into my room.  I had security outside of my door and pacing the hallways making sure that we stayed safe.  I had my mother and Cardinal by my side, but in a way, I still felt so alone.  My labor was extremely fast...only really lasting a few hours.  I was induced, but I was able to make it through labor and delivery without the need for pain medications.  There was a point where I did change my mind, but it was too late.  I remember little about Duckling's birth.  Cardinal video taped and took pictures, my mom cut the cord.  Duckling was small, but she was surprisingly healthy.  She did have problems regulating her body temperature on her own, so she did spend some time in NICU. in the arms of her mighty protector!
A bond that will never be broken

A ray of sunshine, to brighten our darkest days

In our state, as part of a newborn's screening, they receive a hearing test.  Duckling failed!  She showed no nerve response in her right ear.  She was deaf.  I took the new surprisingly well.  Actually, I was completely unphased.  I really "didn't care".  She was here, she was healthy and that was all that really mattered.  She had made it through so much already...her being unable to hear seemed so minor! 

I had never stayed my 2 days in the hospital, this time I requested it.  The next morning, I received a phone call from my sister-in-law, who said two of my kids were up sick the entire night.  I felt my kids needed me and so, I requested to leave.  I hadn't named Duckling yet and I was not allowed to leave until she had a name, so we were stuck there for a few hours.  It had snowed and I scraped my own windows, so that I could drive myself home from the hospital.  My sister-in-law brought my kids to the hospital and then she took my mom home, so that I could drive my son to Children's Hospital, as he was very sick.  We were permitted to spend the first night at "home" before we had to return to the shelter. 

At the shelter, we slept in a room that was only 48 degrees.  When Duckling went for her week check up, she had lost a lot of weight and only weighed 4lbs. 8oz. so she was admitted into the hospital.  She was released 3 days later, at which time, we left the shelter and moved in with my parents.  I will never forget my in-laws walking in unexpectedly that day while I was waiting for her to be discharged.  It was nearly one of the most uncomfortable and uneasy times I have ever faced.  It was the first day that I had an overwhelming fear of her safety.  This is a fear that will carry everyday for the rest of my life.

4lbs. 8oz. but yet the biggest bundle of joy!

Duckling had so many health problems and so many challenges!  I'm sure that I can't even remember them all!  She often had ALTE's where she would stop breathing, go limp and be unresponsive.  There was one particular time, when I truly thought she was dead and it was like I was living through a nightmare.  My parents witnessed a number of these episodes as well and they too know what it feels like to think Duckling was dead.  When she was 4 months old, she also often projectile vomited about 10 minutes after she ate solid foods.  It was later determined that these things were the result of severe food allergies.  She developed a feeding disorder and received therapy to basically learn how to eat.  She struggled with her weight from day 1, so she was followed very closely by a GI specialist and was put through every test you could imagine.  It took 5 months to get a proper diagnosis on her hearing loss (Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct) at which time, she received her hearing aid and entered into speech therapy.  She was late on every milestone.  She spent the first few years of her life going to speech therapy, physical therapy and occuptional therapy.  Whe was so tiny, her high chair had to be specially adapted for her by one of her therapists.  She did roll over, but later regressed and at 9 months old, she was just rolling over for the first time.  She sat up by the time she was 12 months old, then she progressed very quickly.  By the time she was a little more than 2, she had caught up to all of her peers...only lagging behind in Language (surprisingly, not speech).

Now, at 3, her progress has been remarkable!  We are awaiting her speech and language evaluation, but considering she speaks in paragraphs...we have no worries.  Developmentally, she has stayed on target.  At only 22lbs. she is followed closely by a new GI specialist, Nutritionalist and an Endocrinologist.  She is tiny, but she is thriving!

Duckling entered into such an unfair world of uncertainty.  She was truly born during the darkest time of our lives!  She was the best dose of medicine my ailing mother could ever have!  She has been the brightest ray of sunshine anyone could ever ask for.  She has brought so much joy and happiness to every member of our family.  She is truly a gift from God and she could not have been sent to us at a better time!  She has come a long way and she has proven that she is the most stubborn little fighter you could ever meet!

Happy 3rd Birthday to our precious Duckling, thanks for all the memories so far...

My new hearing aid at 5 months
8 months

10 months

1st Birthday (6-9mo. pants)

1st Birthday Jello Cake (food allergies suck, but I didn't seem to mind!)
My new glasses - 18 months

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