Monday, March 29, 2010

What a week...

Sorry I went missing! I had so much pent up emotion that the first week of blogging was easy, I just sat down and the words poured out of me. This week, it has been harder. I sit down to write and I type a whole post and then delete it. I mean, do you really want to hear about how difficult it is to own your own business or how my children and husband embarrass me on a daily basis? I didn't think so. :) But, just in case you did, scroll down.

Spring break is over and life has settled into this crazy but normal routine. I have been watching this:

Reed at his first flag football game

and adoring this:


Between sports, school and my kids, by the time I have the peace and quiet to blog, I am fast asleep. I miss writing though and am hoping I get my writing mojo back this week!


Why do my husband and kids embarrass me? Well... Ryan had his first real "play date" this last weekend at our house. I was a little bit of a nervous wreck. At some point each day, I am afraid one of my kids might get hurt by randomly running out into the street and getting hit by a car or by ingesting 10 pretzels at a time and choking. SO, now I not only have to worry about my kids, but for 3 hours, I have to worry about another kid that I don't know all that well. Sure, I could let them go off and play alone, but leaving 3 boys alone in the basement seemed like a bad idea, so I came up with the idea that we should all go to the park. Bad idea. First - Ryan doesn't seem to play well with others. I am horrified by this fact as I thought it was just his little brother, but apparently any idea that isn't his just isn't cool and he refuses to do it. Great when he is 13 and offered weed, but not so great when he is 6 and needs to occupy his friend's time for 3 hours. The park was turning into a disaster. But wait, Mike would save the day! He was going to play football with the boys. Perfect! Oh, wait, you mean it isn't a good idea to kick a football as high as you can into the air and hope the little boys know it should bounce first before they catch it? No, it isn't a good idea at all. Poor Ryan's friend got beaned in the head with the football. Awesome. First playdate and the friend probably has a black eye. I was so embarrassed. How do you tell the mom that the giant bump was from a football thrown by your husband? Yeah, it wasn't fun. I don't know if he will be allowed to come back...

Work on the other hand wasn't embarrassing, it was just awful last week. It was a week where if you didn't own your own business you would call in sick for 3 days straight just to avoid the gloom. I don't have that luxury, calling in sick means the gloom just finds you at home under your covers so while the week sucked we all forged ahead and hopefully bad news comes in 3's so we are officially done with bad news for a while.

I didn't really have much to post about Ella. She is doing great, but then, tonight, as I was feeding her, I looked at her and got so sad. She looks so big now and I miss my little baby. To most she is still a little baby, she probably only weighs 6.5 lbs, but to me, she is no longer the little newborn. She has grown out of her preemie clothes and is up more during the day and eating more at each feeding. All signs she is growing up. I don't like it. I want my little 5.5 lb baby back! I can't believe that tomorrow she will be 6 weeks old. The time has flown by. In 6 weeks I have changed so much as a person and have come to love my little bean more than I ever thought I could love something. I relive the day we had Ella alot in my head. Not the Down syndrome part, but the having a baby part. I relive the first night at home, the first bath, everything. I cherish it all because I know this is the last time I will ever be doing this and I love every minute of it. I wish I could freeze time for a while. Ryan would stay 6 and so helpful and caring, Reed would stay 3 and be my little heartbreaker and Ella would be 6 weeks old and need me so much. Every day that passes seems like a year in terms of how quick they are all growing up. I just want them to be little. I think this is how people have 10 kids, they just love the little feet and kisses and cuddles and don't want to miss it. Now, I am not delusional, I am no super mom and 10 kids is 7 to many for me, so instead, I will hug the 3 I have more, I will play instead of vacuum and sing instead of talk on my cell phone. I will go on the field trips and save box tops for box top day at school. I will swing Ella in my arms instead of using her swing. I will do what I can to live these moments with them.

I am off to bed. I'll be back tomorrow. I got my mojo back.








Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just a boring day around here...

I don't have much to report tonight. I did spend an hour dancing with Ryan, Reed and Ella to a CD it took me about 4 hours to make (apparantly I am MP3 challenged). Is it bad I am in love with a song called Bartender by T Pain? I am so unhip, I guess this song is old, but I just heard it a few weeks ago and yes, I did wake up this morning and go straight to the computer to play it. I am trying to hold on to my youth... Unfortunatly, I think the longer I try to hold on, the more silly I look. Imagine a mother of 3 jamming to rap music in her SUV.  Yep, that was me today. I am so cool. :)

Other than that it was a normal day filled with work, homework and kids who don't want to go to sleep.

Mike started a new workout routine and since I refuse to give in to working out (how long can I milk this having a baby excuse?) I have an hour a night to spend time alone. Before Ella was born I would have spent this time catching up on all the shows I missed, but now I save that for her middle of the night feedings. I normally post to the blog, but I said I was taking a break for a night, I mean, I am not that exciting and I didn't have anything to post. BUT then I went on the computer, typed down syndrome into google and spent 2 hours reading news articles about down syndrome. I tend to stay away from reading to much about down syndrome as I am trying this one step at a time approach to life, but I figured reading news articles was different, so I read everything google had posted on the first 2 pages.  It was awesome. I read about advances in medicine, weddings, early intervention techniques that have worked, etc. There was so much to read and it all seemed to actually reference real people with Down syndrome, not text book speak and clinical research jargon.

I came acrosss one thing I wanted to share. It probably doesn't mean as much to you as it does to me, but reading these quotes was a good way to end my google searching. 

http://www.thepreciouslivesgroup.org/uploads/What_Parents_Wish_Theyd_Known.pdf

Wish I had more to say, but I am even boring myself tonight, so I am off to bed now.  Ms. Ella is fed and hopefully asleep for the next 3 hours, I must get my beauty sleep in now!

Monday, March 22, 2010

2 steps forward and one step back

Today stared out crazy, kids back in school, forgot to set the alarm.... Reed was, oh, just an hour late for school...  Ughh. Welcome to Monday.  The middle of the day was uneventful. The last part of the day? It sucked...

Why did it suck? Well, first, Mike and I had to start preparing ourselves for the tax bill we have to pay in less than a month and that was no fun. Since we are self employed we save money from each paycheck for taxes and then, right around April 15th we part with all that money and while it was never ours in the first place, it still makes my stomach drop a little to write that check every year (well, technically Mike writes it. If I was the one handling our finances we would own 1 boat and 1 very fast Maserati and have zero to pay to Uncle Sam, which is why I handle dinner and Mike handles the bills :) )  Thinking about taxes started my afternoon off poorly and it just got worse...

We have been waiting for Ella's Karyotype blood work to come back from the lab for 5 weeks now. The Karyotype blood work is where they photograph the chromosomes and cells in the blood and count them. Basically, it is the way to confirm Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome).  We received the preliminary results from the blood work on the Friday after she was born, but we have been waiting on the "written proof" since then.  We wouldn't be so anxious to receive the results (being we already know that she has Trisomy 21) but without the results back we can't move forward with her therapies and the state application for aid. So, I have been waiting and waiting to get it back. Today I had finally had enough waiting and after some google searches realized it shouldn't have taken this long to get the results and I started calling around to see how we could speed it up. I reached a nice woman in medical records at the hospital where Ella was born and she told me to come in and get the results.

I was frustrated that the results have been there since 3/3 and no one has figured it out but happy that they were there and we could get moving on with the state stuff.. What I wasn't prepared for was actually reading the results...

I don't know why getting this one piece of paper affected me so much.  I sat in the car after we got her records and read and re-read the results. It was pretty basic stuff, confirmed she was a girl, listed her birth date and height and weight, but then, right under her vital information it says:

INTERPRETATION: Female chromosome complement with an extra copy of chromosome 21 (trisomy 21). Trisomy 21 is consistant with the clinical findings of Down syndrome.

I read this and right then and there, in the parking lot of Fry's (where I was stopping to buy the oh so important chicken nuggets for dinner) I started to cry.  I don't know why, but holding this piece of paper, seeing the words on it, made me sad and angry and almost sick to my stomach.  I know Ella has Down syndrome, I didn't need this paper to confirm it, but seeing it in writing by a genetic doctor seemed to make it so much more real. My little girl got her first ever progress report and it alreay has her labeled.  I wanted to take the paper and throw it away. 

Soooo.. How did I get myself from crying in the car to buying chicken nuggets? By calling Erin. By telling her I finally got the results. By telling her it almost made me cry (I didn't want to admit to actually crying). By hearing her say. "OK, so you have the results. You have known she has Down syndrom for 5 weeks, what's the big deal with a silly paper saying it?" Right. What's the big deal with the paper? I couldn't answer her. I just agreed and then, right there between waffles and whipped cream, I stopped feeling sad and angry and remembered that just 1 hour ago there was no big deal and I thanked her and found my chicken nuggets and came home to my boys and life went on. 

I needed to remember that no one, no doctor, no genetic counselor, no one is going to label my baby as anything. Not me, not a doctor, not a teacher, no one. She might be slower to talk or read or walk, but that doesn't make her a simple diagnosis on a piece of paper. That makes her - her. I know this piece of paper is important for the state and her doctors but to me and Erin and everyone else, that piece of paper is so unimportant in the whole realm of Ella's life. Yes, she has Down syndrome, yes, it was confirmed by a dr. but that test, that paper will never define her. NEVER.

My night got better. I got my bottom kicked by a 6 year old in the Wii and I ate some green beans (did I do a blog post yet on how much dieting sucks?). I looked at facebook and admired a VERY cute 10 month old baby I know and I cuddled with my husband and my baby.  Screw her paper diagnosis. She rocks at cuddling and looking cute in her swing.  That's all I need! Thank you Erin, thank you Mike (for basically being the guy version of Erin and saying the same exact things) and thank you to my mother who bought my babt what resembled skinny jeans and called them capris. Oh, to be Bridget.... (yes, I did tell her to take them back.)

I am off to bed. While I was very happy spring break was over, I forgot that meant I have to wake up early and get kids fed and off to school. No fun and not easy to do when you spent the 4 AM feeding watching 16 and Pregannt and crying your eyes out.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eyes, toes and pinky fingers...

Today was one of those days where you want to run away and hide from your kids. The kids who don't stop asking for things or yelling at each other over who gets to sit where on the couch. It was one of those days where no matter what tactic you tried, they refused to listen. I was nice, I was mean, I tried bribes, nothing. It was as if I was talking to the air. I have never been happier for bed time. Now I get to sit with Ella, admire her little fingers and toes and stare into space. I love my boys, but spring break couldn't of ended at a better time.

Speaking of little fingers and toes..  A lot of people meet Ella for the first time and when they hear she has Down syndrome they are shocked. They tell us they don't see it and ask how it was diagnosed.  It was officially diagnosed with blood work called Karyotyping, but when she was born the dr or nurse (I have no idea who saw the signs first) thought she might have it based on her eyes, her pinky fingers and her toes.  I guess that often, Down syndrome babies will have pinky fingers that curve inward and Ella sure does have that. The other sign is called "sandal toe" when a Down syndrome baby will sometimes have a greater space between their big toe and the next one, like where the strap of a sandal would go.  I don't see this one at all. Her toe spacing looks very normal to me.  Compared to my toes which seem to have a very large space between the first and second toe, Ella looks almost like there isn't enough space, but the Dr. assured me that she has the space, so I believe her and moved on. The other thing is her eyes, they are more almond shaped and slant a little upward at the corners.  I love her eyes, regardless of the shape or slant. Right now her eyes are the only way I can tell how she feels (she likes to squint and grunt when she is mad and when she is happy she refuses to shut her eyes, even if she is dead tired) and when they are open they are so clear and big that I just can't stop staring into them.  I love her eyes, toes and fingers, even though they make her different, they make her so darn adorable.

Today was World Down Syndrome Day. I wish I could say we did something to help raise awareness of Down syndrome, but if you read paragraph one of this post, you would see Ella's big brothers made our day a little challenging and the only thing we raised awareness of was how many times I could take away Super Mario Brothers for the Wii before I was taken seriously (4). I feel bad, like I should have done something to make this day count for Ella, but I didn't know what to do. I am thinking that at only 4 weeks old, I can let this one slide but next year will be different.

One last thing I have been wanting to share.  People constantly ask us how we have been able to handle this so well so soon. For us, finding out our baby has Down syndrome was no different than someone else finding out their child has autism or sending your teenager off to school one day and they get in a car accident and are severly injured. The initial news is hard to process, very hard.  As a parent you never, ever want there to be anything wrong with your kids. We would all be kidding ourselves though, if we think that you can raise a child without there being a moment where something happens that is so horrible that it makes you want to roll into a ball and cry for them and for you.  Whether it happens at birth or 20 years later, every parent will be faced with a challenge that won't be welcomed.  Maybe it isn't health related, maybe it is a developmental delay or maybe something like seeing your child experience rejection for the first time, but there will come a time when you wish it wasn't happening to you and your family.  It is how you handle this moment, this experience, that matters.  You might run away from the problem at first, you might throw a fit or break a window with your fist because you are so angry, but when you are done experiencing the pain of the initial shock, you just have to pick yourself up and get on and that's what we have done.  My new favorite saying is "It is what it is". I can't change what God has given us, I can't pray every night that Ella will wake up and be free of her diagnosis because that would be useless. All I can do is accept it and accept her. That is how we get by, by knowing our situation isn't unique and by accepting everything that is thrown our way, whether we like it or not.

I am off to bed and a busy week ahead. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

World Down Syndrome Day - March 21st

Ms. Ella enjoying tummy time....

I am not much of an activist. I have never had a cause to support or even really wanted to have a cause to support. I was happy working, playing with my kids and drinking wine at night with Mike after the kids were tucked safely into their beds.  I vote for the president and I stand up for myself and my beliefs when I need to, but I don't really have one thing I support and pour my heart into.

By having Ella I now have something that I not only support but will be pouring my heart into.  The day after we had Ella, I told Mike I was going to take everything that has happend to us and everything that I will learn as we go along and I am going to use it to make a difference.  I really think what I want to do is be there for moms and dads right after they find out the diagnosis of Down syndrome.  I can't tell you how important it was for us to have people come visit us in the hospital who listened to our feelings and then validated our feelings of loss and selfishness.  Alot of what I was dealing with was how horrible I felt over how I reacted to the news but hearing other moms tell me they felt the same exact way made me be able to put those feelings to rest and just get on with our new lives.  I know that I am not expert on Down syndrome, Ella is only 4 weeks old after all, but I am an expert on processing the raw emotion of receiving crazy, life altering news and not driving my car into a river to deal with it.  I want other moms and dads to cry and know it is OK, I want them to know that I did think for about 2.5 seconds about just giving her to a family that could handle a special needs child and that it was ok to feel that way, that you will love your new baby so much that it will all be just fine. Your baby needs you, but in a way, you learn you need them more. You need them to look at you and grab your finger and fall asleep on your chest and just do those baby things to help you remember to take it one step at a time and to cry when you need to and to hate the world still every now and then but that you have a baby that needs you and that's the only thing that matters. New moms and dads of a Down syndrome baby need to know that life isn't over. I want to help them with that.

SOOO, why all this talk about my new found feelings of wanting to help others??  Well, tomorrow is World Down syndrome Day.  I have one request for all of you.  Send my blog to other families you know because somewhere out there is a parent who will be just where I was 4 weeks ago and they might just need this little blog to help them out in those first few days. They might need to talk to a new mom and dad of a Down syndrome baby and I want to be there for them. As Ella gets older I imagine we will use these types of awareness days to help raise money for research for those with Down syndrome, but right now, only 4 weeks into it, all I can offer is my support to those who are just like us.

On another topic, I am feeling guilty.. Why? Because I have 2 other kids and no other blogs named RaisingRyanMichael or RaisingReedMatthew.com...  I think I have already taken more pictures of Ms. Ella than I have taken of Ryan and Reed combined in the last 6 years.  I feel like if my other two kids knew how to type a web address into the browser window and saw how much time I am spending on blogging about Ella they would use it to get more toys and a later bed time...  I know that this is a silly feeling and Ryan and Reed are just fine and in fact I have been so much more aware of spending time with them lately that they are probably sick of me hanging around them so much, but I still feel bad. I think this has to do more with learning how to juggle the needs of 3 kids more than anything else, but mommy guilt is no fun.  I keep telling myself that Payton and Eli Manning are 2 of a 3 kid household and they all turned out just fine, but because none of my kids are exhibiting superior football skills quite yet, it isn't helping as much as I would like it too.  I just don't want my kids to be the one on a reality show one day saying that had their mother just of paid them a little more attention they wouldn't be searching for their 15 minutes of fame by eating cockroaches or proclaiming their love to a washed up singer.  So, because of that fear, I took pictures of all 3 of them tonight and I sat and watched The Princess and the Frog with them and I read about kangaroos and I let them have popsicles and stay up late. I also practiced throwing a perfect spiral with them and talked about how silly March maddness is (really Kansas and Villanova????) They better remember this!

I will leave you with a picture of my 3 kids...

Friday, March 19, 2010

I guess this is a milestone...

See this picture below?









Well, about 2 hours ago, my dear little baby fell off a bench in this carseat and I have never been so horrified in my entire life.

I would consider this a milestone. Not one that you put in a baby book or brag about to your perfect friends, but more of a milestone for a not so perfect parent to remember and reflect on one day when the baby they watched tumble off a park bench in their car seat is 10 and seems to have gotten on just fine with life, regardless of the park bench incident.

It took me 3 kids to achieve this milestone, but tonight, in front of friends and a softball team, I did it, I somehow managed to let my child fall off a bench on to the dirt in her carseat while I was rocking her..  Yep, I rule as a mom.

She didn't seem harmed at all by the event but I was mortified. Does this really happen to people in public? How embarrasing! I picked up the car seat, saw her still strapped in tight and I realized she was fine, but let me tell you, I will replay this incident in my head for a while..  How is it possible I have two other kids and this never happened to me before? Everyone around to witness this event told me that this happened to them with their own kids at some point in time, but I think they just said that to make me feel better.

To add to my great night, the housekeeper decided to overload one of the outlets while vacuming and the entire house smells like an electrical fire just took place (but there was no note to explain the incident, just a burnt outlet, an extension cord keeping the fish tank running and a VERY bad smell throughout the house). My super duper husband left his cell phone at the restaurant we had dinner at and I went to target to buy formula and of course they were out of Ella's super expensive and apparantly super exclusive formula.  I didn't remember that Target was out of formula until her 10PM feeding... So, poor Ella not only got dropped in her car seat tonight but she had to settle for different formula for her feedings until morning.  I swear, when it rains it pours...

On a happier note, it is Friday and I am looking forward to no work, no deadlines and hanging out with the boys and baby this weekend. I need a do over of today! I am heading to bed. Kiss your babies and don't rock them on park benches this weekend, it can be a dangerous sport!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just Breathe...

Ella had her 4 week check up on Tuesday. It was a huge deal for us for a few reasons.... 1.  She HAD to gain weight at this appointment or we were back to more dr's and tests... 2. Mike and I were sure that this was the big appointment, the one where we would hear all the things that we were going to be different because Ella has Down syndrome.

Well...

1.  She gained 7 ounces!!  Yeah!!  I have never been so excited to see weight gain in my life. Her goal was 7 ounces and she did it! Not an over-acheiver, but thats OK, she did just what we asked of her and that's all that mattered. 

2.  After the big weight gain excitement, I was ready for the "talk". I was sure Dr. Sudha would sit us down and tell us all the things that we would find different about Ella in this next month.  She didn't do that... I thought maybe she forgot to bring it up.  I asked her what we should  be looking for with Ella and her having Down syndrome and if there was anything we need to do differently. She looked at me, said - Nope - and went on talking to us about tummy time and RSV warning signs.  I didn't want to dwell on the Down syndrome question, but I asked her again if we should be doing anything different or if Ella would be doing anything different.  She told me no again and basically told us to love her and feed her and play with her and that is it. She is just a normal baby..

Just a normal baby.... How funny that sounds now, 4 weeks after what I thought was the worst day of my life... 4 weeks ago nothing was ever going to be normal again, no beach, no eating out, no playing outside, nothing normal for us..  Well, let me tell you, in the past 4 weeks, Ella has:

1. Gone out to eat with her mom and dad who were dying to get out of the house after a long time on bed rest.

2. Is going to the beach for Easter

3. Played outside (or slept peacefully as her brothers played around her)

4.  Been a totally normal baby

Only 4 weeks old and already she is proving me wrong... :)

I know that the challenges of having Down syndrome will come eventually and that just makes me a nervous wreck.  I wish Down syndrome had a timeline that I could reference to know what to expect and when to expect it, but it doesn't.  She could walk on time or she couldn't. She could say her first word right on schedule or it might take her an extra month, or year, we just don't know. This is what is no fun. I am the type of person who likes to control everything. I know we will be putting her in physical, occupational and feeding therapies to be proactive with her development, but god, do I wish I knew which areas of development she would need the most help in. I am sure as she grows we will be figuring it all out, but right now I feel like I can't focus my energy on the things that she will really need, I just read about EVERYTHING that might go wrong and make myself a nervous wreck.  I am learning to be different though, trying hard to just slow down, live one day at a time and just worry about what I can control right now.  It's not easy, but I am working on it!

Not much else to report. It's spring break here in Phoenix, so the boys are home this week and having a blast making the house a mess and annoying Mom. I am having a blast with them too. I love feeding Ella while the boys sit with me and tell me stories and try to get me to laugh with their newest knock knock jokes. It is just a perfect way to spend a few minutes a day... Me, my boys and my baby.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

4 weeks already?

Ms. Ella Lynn is 4 weeks old today. These 4 weeks have flown by and have been so life altering and so predicable all at the same time.

We are just like every other family with a new baby. No sleep, worrying over how much she eats and poops, begging for just 10 more minutes of sleep before the next feeding, hoping our 2 other kids are getting enough attention, taking the older two to sports, birthdays, homework, you know, just normal life.

On the other hand, nothing is normal in our lives right now. We are going to doctor after doctor checking on her heart (all good), her eyes (still waiting), her feedings (getting better). We are learning all about early intervention programs and how to apply for the disability programs she will need through the state. We are meeting moms and dads of other kids with Down syndrome and learning about their experiences. We are making sure Ella is going to be afforded every ounce of therapy and extra help she will need.

I am embracing my new role of being Ella's advocate but sometimes still feel like I am in this dream world and I will wake up from it still pregnant with a baby in my belly that doesn't have any extra chromosomes. I know that isn't going to happen and I have accepted our new life, but there are times I catch myself thinking "is this really happening to us". I wouldn't trade Ella for anything but just 2 months ago my thoughts about having a newborn were more along the lines of how fast I could get back into my bathing suit, not about how fast we can get physical therapy lined up and what exactly having extra chromosomes mean.

Everyone we meet keeps asking us if we are allright. They look me in the eyes and say things like "are you sure you are OK" and "do you need to talk?" I feel weird because I am OK. I am still me, I still get mad at my kids and frustrated when Ella won't eat. I feel like I should feel different or be crying all the time or not want to hold her or something. The only things I feel are happiness at our new family and anxiousness (is that a word) for the future. I worry about a lot of things that are out of my control right now but I worry anyways. Will Ella have friends in school? Will people look at her funny when are out? Will she drive, go to prom, have a boyfriend? I stay up at night worrying about these things and I know I have to stop and only worry about tomorrow, but I can't. I guess if that is the worst thing that I feel then I am OK. I worry about the same things for my other kids too and that helps me get through the night. Just because they are "normal" doesn't mean life won't be hard for them too at some point. Life is hard for all of us and how we embrace the challenges makes us what we are as adults and I hope Ella learns that even with the challenges she faces, she will have a family that is always there for her and love her no matter what.

Ella has her 4 week doctor appointment this afternoon, I am anxious to see how much weight she has gained. The weight issue has been our only problem so far. She is little and the dr had wanted to see more weight gain by now. We have been doing everything we can to get her to eat more, but she is very strong willed already and when she is done, she is done. No amount of bribing (I tried to bribe her with her very own Prada purse as soon as she could walk, no luck) works. We think she is just a slow starter and want to give her time to figure out this new world and eating and all that. The dr's like to immedialty jump to scary things like feeding tubes but we think that option is a long ways off. Hopefully I will have good news to report about her weight gain after the dr. apt this afternoon!

Other than being a little shrimp, she is doing great. She loves watching her brothers argue and she seems to love to be out and doing stuff with us. She justs fits into our lives so perfectly and while I miss my sleep, I wake up to feed her so excited to just stare at her for a little while. Ryan and Reed are the best big brothers. I worry that their excitement might result in smothering her little head sometimes, but with a gentle reminder they back away and admire baby from a far.

Ella has been a little trooper and is coming along to work with Mike and I. She does great and makes it much more fun to be at work, I mean, there is nothing quite like using my desk as a changing table or answering the phone while I am holding a burping, squealing baby. I still plan on conquering the world, so it is good that she is so laid back about hanging out with us at work. :)

I will leave you all with a picture her Grandma Bridget took this weekend of her. I think she is precious and perfect, don't you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friends... Who needs them...

I do!!!

I think most people would say I am not an overly "friendly" person. I am pretty guarded and always felt that I didn't need alot of friends. One or two close friends was good for me. Well, let me tell you, Ella taught me a very important lesson in her first few days of life. Friends are just what you need when you feel like the world has caved in on you.

I mentioned that Brandy and Susie stopped by that first night. It was so great to see them and such a shock that someone would come to the hospital to see us! It was even better when Brandy came back the next day just to say hi. I was on cloud 9. When I found out I was pregnant with my third baby, I felt like part of the "3 kids" club. When I found out Ms. Ella had down syndrome, I felt like I would be kicked out of the club (irrational, yes, there isn't even a club). Brandy coming back that next day made me feel like our friends would still like us and hang out with us! It was such a silly feeling but a process I needed to go through. We were then visited by Wade and Jill (friends from softball) and I suddenly felt like Ella was bringing me out of my shell. She was forcing me to talk to people and I actually liked it!

Ella also made me think about a friendship I have had for almost 17 years. There was a time when Erin and I were inseperable and there was a time when we didn't talk for almost 4 years. Having someone with you on a day like the day Ella was born who knows you so well was so important. The few days after Ella was born were so confusing and emotional, I needed to talk to someone that knew the "real" me. I didn't have to hide anything from Erin. I really didn't have to say anything either. She knows me so well that it was like her being in the room was enough. We became friends again because of work, but I wonder now if this God I say I don't believe in knew that one day down the road I would need her to be there for me and he was just getting us ready for that day.

That was the first time I remember thinking that Ella having down syndrome was actually helping me in a good way. She was forcing me to talk to people about more than silly little things like what vodka I like (I could talk about that topic for days though) or things to do in San Diego. She made me realize friends are good to have. They don't judge you or stop coming around when life gets hard. They actually come around more and do things like get you in touch with others in your same situation or make you dinner or just be there and make you laugh. I want to be a good friend and have good friends. Thank you Ella for helping Mommy realize this.