Tuesday, July 07, 2009

baby steps

We are still moving along in our adjustment period - Emerson has good moments and bad, as do we all! Unfortunately we have all been battling what seems like three different cold viruses for over a week, bouncing around between us; Dawson has gotten the worst of it. Emerson has been receiving therapies for two weeks now and she does great with our therapists. Our days are busy but manageable.

Holden is getting big and is now in vertex (head-down) position so we are feeling and seeing lots of movement. Last week I canceled my next appointment with the local hospital midwives - I have been chewing on the decision since we had our ultrasound confirming all was well and I ultimately knew there was no way I could abide by "rules" with which neither I nor science agree but merely exist to placate their malpractice fears (i.e. not being "allowed" to birth in their birth pools because Cade was a c-section, even though I've had 3 vaginal births since then), especially after having such a wonderful homebirth experience with Dawson. As with him, the sense of freedom is amazing and I am so relieved to be taking full responsibility again and looking forward to another fast but peaceful waterbirth.
* For those that asked/are yet to ask - yes, I am planning another UP/UC (Unassisted Pregnancy/Childbirth). Practical as always, as with Dawson I will be doing my own regular prenatal check-ups just as any provider would do, right down to glucose monitoring around 28 weeks. I also do intermittent fetal monitoring during labor with a waterproof doppler, and will probably need to brush up on my midwifery textbooks before October. As always, if any complications arise requiring assistance at any point I'll happily make an appointment again. But statistically speaking all will likely go well. :)

Feeding continues to be our biggest challenge with Em. We have now progressed from her screaming hysterically for over an hour at the mere sight of a baby spoon or jar of food to her allowing us to "feed" her while keeping her distracted with some toys - she isn't ingesting much as her tongue thrust is so very strong, but we are happy to be beyond those crying fits. I have to say that unless you've adopted a child with major feeding issues, it's hard to grasp exactly how emotionally charged a situation it can be - I know I certainly didn't understand until now.

It is not a matter of personality; she has plenty of that, and though sometimes she dives back into her old world, for the most part she is happy, playful and seems to love her new surroundings - she has a great connection with Cade especially. Feeding though is one of the most basic means of expressing a parent's love and devotion and when you have a child refusing to allow you to help her in that way, it's very upsetting.

She's nearly two years old. She weighs 16 lbs. Her diet is that of a newborn baby. She is not gaining weight, though we try to make her bottles as high-calorie as possible without taxing her body and we have been feeding her 40+ oz per day. She's just not getting what she needs, and though we try to give her that she's not equipped with the skills to accept that because she was never provided with those skills during the golden window of opportunity. I have a lot of feelings on that subject, but as Thumper's father would say, if you can't say something nice... save it for your book. Or something like that. ^_^ I will say I hope things change for those other children - it doesn't take much time to introduce baby foods to a 6 month old, and it can mean all the difference in their future if they get the chance to have one. As it is, every day spent there is not just a day lost, it is a tomorrow lost. And that is the greater tragedy.

She does still scream when we brush her teeth, but again she no longer cries inconsolably for over an hour afterwards - she is easily calmed by hugs and words. She is also now grinding her teeth nearly constantly, perhaps a sign she's seeking more oral motor stimulation. She tolerates massage on the outside but any venture into her mouth results in more screaming.

Still, we struggle on, glad for even the tiniest baby steps, the smallest glimmer of a more normal future for her. Though she won't be enjoying her birthday cake this year, we hope very much that by next year she will be one of the messiest 3 year-olds ever!