Friday, January 14, 2011

Thinking back..

As we draw closer to Ella's first birthday, I am full of emotions. I know we have a full month till her official birthday, but tonight, as I rocked her to sleep, I couldn't help but think of the feelings I have had in the last 11 months.

There is a part of me that is drawn back to thinking about the month leading up to her birth. The stay in the hospital in San Diego, the crazy bed rest rules, the scramble to get her room ready before she came, the tug to want to be at work, amidst the craziness of my team closing deals and the sadness in seeing my boys grow older because they had to be a little more self sufficient because mom was not around to do "mom" things.

Another part of me is right back to her birthday - February 16th. There are things about her birth I will never forget, like the feeling of togetherness of everyone who was a part of it.  Mike and I dealing with the contractions, our family racing around to get to us, Erin watching my boys and counting the hours till our nanny got to the house to relieve her so she could be at the hospital. All of the things that led to the actual birth that day were amazing.  I literally didn't move a muscle in my entire body for 8 hours because I wanted everyone that meant something to me to be there when I delivered and it worked, when my circle was complete, Ella came.

Then there is the - After Ella was born emotions -  As we learned our baby was different, I felt nothing but shock, sadness, anger and pity for myself.  As a parent, I wanted my baby to be afforded every opportunity to be the same or even better than the other kids. I didn't want to hear that right out of the gate she was already different. I wanted to take her home, join play groups and go about our merry way.  I wasn't prepared for the news and it hit hard. The first few days of her life were a blur of emotion so raw that when I think back, I immediately tear up. I remember trying to be strong, sending an email to our family and friends to let them know Ella was here and she had Down syndrome. I remember not sleeping, I remember Mike going home to shower and when I asked if he cried when he got home he told me he did and I lost it and cried for an hour straight. I remember being so sad and so unsure of myself and my life and what we were given that I would beg for it to be a dream and for me to wake up back in my bed on bed rest, watching Oprah. I remember holding this beautiful baby and not really understanding how it all made sense.

As the news slowly permeated its way through my body, I became at peace with it. I didn't really have a choice. I couldn't leave her at the hospital and she was awfully cute and needed me, so we took her home, cried some more, read way to much and made a promise to Ella and our family that we would be a team. 

Our team has expanded to include therapists, friends, random parents I track down who also have kids with Down syndrome, her doctors and sometimes, I won't lie - a glass of white wine.
Today's emotions - Since Ella has been home, I still have my rough moments. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about how our lives are forever changed. I will admit that I still get sad. Life isn't peaches and cream always, it's hard. I cry, I wish my beautiful baby didn't have to work so hard to do things that come so easily for other babies. I wish that she could crawl or say mama or hold her own bottle or take a sippy cup. All those things I took for granted with my other babies, I wish my Ella could just do them too. I see how hard she tries and I love her so immensely for being such a strong soul that I can't imagine my life without her, just as she is.  I hold her and she smiles and I literally never want to put her down.  That baby has taught me more - has taught my family more - in 11 months than I could ever hope to teach someone. When Ella sat up for the first time, well, it wasn't just a yeah - she sits up type of event, it was an all out celebration. These celebrations have taught me a lot about goals, baby steps and believeing in yourself, no matter what the books say.

While I have my rough moments, I have more moments that are filled with peace and happiness and pure love for my new life.  Seeing her brothers love her and help her, watching my amazing husband hold her, seeing her therapist work with her, seeing Ella so excited to greet each day, I can't help but be happy.

Her birthday is soon and I want to focus on her and how amazing she is and what she HAS accomplished. I want her birthday to be a day of fun and celebration and well, I won't lie, pony rides. Ms. Ella deserves pony rides... 


  1. Thank you for sharing this! I was pretty emotional as Russells first birthday approached and I was wondering if anyone else experienced the same thing. Ella is adorable, love that last picture :)

  2. We all have learned a lot from your little angel, Liz. We can't accomplish anything over night - baby steps and hard work are the things we should be celebrating! She is truly a blessing to this world and I bet she has a lot more to offer - she is just getting started! :) -Brandy