Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Something you might not know about me...

When I was just a wee little girl--just three years old--I owned 3 dolls named 'Big', 'Medium', and 'Little'.  I remember my mom asking me what their names were, and 'voila!' that was when they were christened.  (You can guess that one was big, one was smaller, and one was very small.)  I recall Mom chuckling at that.

I was already very much aware of how much I wanted to be a mommy, even at that age!!

As I grew, my favorite toys remained dolls, and I accumulated over sixty dolls throughout my childhood.  Each one was special to me in its own way.  I dreamt of someday having my own 'real' dollies to take care of.

John and I met through Buhl Summer Playhouse, and within two weeks, we decided we were going to get married.  (I was 17.)  We waited for four years, of course, because I've never been that impulsive!!  I warned him that he had better want a houseful of kids because I did.  He said that he would love that, and hoped for at least five kids.  Done deal!!

We were married on June 8, 1985, and I was overjoyed.  Our wedding was so meaningful and memorable.  Everything was just the way I'd hoped it would be.  The honeymoon was one of the funnest times of my entire life.  We drove to Florida, went to Disneyworld and Epcot, then drove back to PA.  It was truly wonderful.

John and I conceived our first child the following February.  I was beyond ecstatic.  I loved being pregnant.  We attended childbirth classes, I watched my 90 --something pound body round out, and I carred Ian like a basketball in my shirt! 

He was due on October 23rd, but that day came and went.  So did the next day.  And the next.  Finally, on Sunday, November 2nd, I went into labor.  I labored all night, and into the morning.

At 9:03 on Monday, November 3rd, little Ian Gerard Elliott made his grand entrance.  It went nothing like I'd planned for.  The heart monitor during my labor had indicated fetal distress, which created terrible mother distress.  My mental state was frazzled, which made dealing with my first labor and childbirth a nightmare.

Thank goodness John was there the whole time to support me because I was way beyond worried.  I felt 'out of control' with worry. 

Why was my baby completely blue?  Why was he as floppy as a dishrag?  Why couldn't he cry?  The nurses snatched him up before I could really get a good look at him.  The pediatrician was already in the room with me, examing Ian.  I finally heard something that sounded like a weak kitten mewing, it was his first sound.  To make a very long story short, they found a lung collapsed.  They operated on that.  He didn't improve.  I couldn't hold him or nurse him.  I sat in my room and sobbed.  I was deliriously tired.  I was so exhausted I didn't have the strength to walk to the nursery to see him.  I had lost a lot of blood, and was being monitored for that.

That night, the pediatrician told me that Ian would be transferred to Tod Children's hospital in Youngstown.  The diagnosis was Esophageal Atresia w/Tracheoesphogeal fistula.  "TracheoWHAT?"  They showed me a diagram.  Ian was born with an esophagus that ended in a tiny pouch in his throat.  He could never eat, and therefore, he would die if he didn't have surgery immediately.  In addition to this, his trachea (windpipe) was connected through a tube to his stomach.  This could result in a deadly problem as well--stomach acid could enter into his lungs and cause a caustic pnuemonia.

I can't begin to express the horror this news brought.  I was so ill equipped to deal with anything near this.  I was just 22, had never really been through anything that had tested me to any degree, and then: WHAM.  I don't know how I made it through the next six months.  John was a tremendous help to me, as well as my parents.  My aunts and uncles were very helpful and supportive as well.  Ian had a feeding (gastrostomy) tube inserted into his duodenum so he could be fed through that.  He had the major corrective surgery at 4 days old.  He remained in the hospital all through November, through Thanksgiving, then almost half of December.  He finally came home with us at almost six weeks of age. 

I had so wanted to breasteed my baby, but that proved to be futile.  He didn't have the strength and energy to nurse.  He had to learn to suck all over again because he lost the instinct to suck.  He had physical therapy for that, but a bottle was easier for him to get milk from, so I had to accept that and move on. 

We stayed at my parents' house the first couple of weeks that he was home because John worked long nights and I needed their help.  I had to feed him every 1 to 2 hours, and whatever he didn't take in through the bottle, I would pour down the G-tube.  If I poured to fast, he would vomit the formula up through the tube!  It was weird. 

Well, enough of my story for now...

I'll write more later....

Gotta do some housework or I won't be able to walk through the house without tripping over something.  Yikes.


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