Most Exciting Milestone!

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*suck from a special nipple- 5cc at 6 weeks
*lift head from surface while in prone position – 20 weeks 1 day (my birthday!)
*removal of gastrostomy feeding tube -8 months
*chromosomes used in research which successfully resulted in a new method of stretching and staining the bands which means more accurate diagnoses – 1 year
*sit – some of these require that I locate her baby book
*first tooth-
*pull to stand-
*crawl –
*walk – somewhere around 3 years

As I attempt to write about these early milestones, I notice that the milestones most parents fret about must have been inconsequential in the scheme of her life. I have no recollection of when they occurred. As you can see though, I remember the ages she did things that other parents would not know were momentous events. Sucking and neck strength, most of your children had these skills the day they came home from the hospital. Every time I hold a newborn I marvel at the strong neck holding up its heavy head and remember the games and histrionics we performed to encourage Katie to lift hers. Tears well in my eyes when I hear a baby suckle at a breast and my memory turns to the sweet nurse who was brave enough to break through my “I must keep pumping – breast is best” barricade to grant me permission to stop. She had witnessed my relentlessness in attempting to bring forth milk from breasts whose only stimulation came from the “swoop-swoop” of an electric pump. I drank copious amounts of water and was never a second late hooking up the pump. I would sit alone in the “Mother’s Room” rejoicing if any dribble of milk appeared, but mostly I grieved the moments lost with my precious child while I wasn’t in the nursery. I slurped my water, the machine swoop-swooped, and my heart pounded through my chest while I wished I was near enough to see and touch her. While we drove the 90 minutes each way to see her, I splinted my abdominal incision with a pillow and ignored the pain brought on by each bump in the road. Pardon me, I lapsed into a story for another day, but you can see why I didn’t want to spend any of my moments in Peoria without her…. back to milestones.

One thing I learned very early on was that things happen when they are supposed to happen. I can encourage, cajole, wish, hope, pray, stew, worry, pace, cry, bribe, demand, threaten, and give up; all to no avail. None of these things will make any difference if the time is not right. Encouraging and cajoling will help bring the child to the milestone. Hoping and praying will bring me peace and comfort during the wait, but always the most important part for keeping sane is to know that  “I am not in control”. I find that to be a relief. I realize that if the milestone is never reached it is not due to my lack of trying or through any fault of my own. I am not in control. This did not give me a free pass to not try to help her reach the milestones, it simply made me realize that if I did my best, everything would happen as it is supposed to….when it is supposed….IF it is supposed to happen.

When I learned about Prader Willi Syndrome’s bizarre characteristics. My main concern was that my child would always be hungry. In Social Studies we learned that the three basic needs of civilization are food, shelter, and clothing. Knowing that I would never be able to squelch the pangs of hunger of my child left me feeling inadequate as a mother, unable to provide an essential need. Elimination of the hunger has been my fervent prayer since she was four days old when we were alerted to the possibility of PWS. I have always hoped that modern medicine would accomplish this in her lifetime. I never expected to see it during mine. Her gila monster spit medicine(<ahref=”http://http://vandemom2.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/rescued-by-a-gila-monster-and-the-creativity-of-scientists-we-hope/“></a>)
might not be the full monty, but it surely is the closest anyone has come thus far.

I was at work and Katie was with her father after spending the day with her grandmother and various aunts when she sent me this text:

July 22 5:35 pm

what should i do dinner i went tramimu because aunt chris want to show aunt mary is good she had a bad one last night and not very hunury had bumch salad what should do

TRANSLATION of the words, not the punctuation what should I do for dinner, I went to tiramisu (a restaurant) for lunch because aunt chris wanted to show aunt mary that it is good because she had a bad meal there last night, so I am not very hungry because I had a bunch of salad ….what should I do?

BEST TEXT EVER.

A milestone I never thought I would see.

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Chronic Sorrow~ insight into me

This is a look at a term that lives within me. The first time I heard it was when Katie was a baby and I read the book ANGEL UNAWARE by Dale Evans . The way she described it made relief wash over me. I realized that my feelings were not irrational. That the sadness and grief could co-exist with thankfulness and gratitude. Knowing that the sorrow was chronic and could surface at any time, but especially at times that would usually be times when major milestones would have occurred has helped me to put my devastation into perspective when it happens. I’ve always said there are times that feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck, well those times are usually when the chronic sorrow rises up and shows it’s ugly head. I just wanted to share this with you so that you will now have an explanation of all those times you have needed to comfort me and for all of the times that you will in the future. Thanks. lots of love~~~~~~~it truly is my dominant force.Image
I borrowed this description from a newsletter from the Hydrocephalus group…..I liked the way they explained it…….so if you are interested :
“Chronic Sorrow is a term coined by sociologist Simon Olshanshy to describe the long-term reaction of parents who have a child with a disability. This pervasive reaction is often not recognized or understood by those around the parents–professionals, family and friends. These feelings of chronic sorrow are normal and to be expected and accepted, given the life-long implications for the family and child.
Many factors can affect the intensity and exhibition of chronic sorrow: the parent’s personalities, the severity of the disability, the nature of the disability and the adequacy of support and services provided.
Chronic sorrow does not mean that the parents don’t love or feel pride in their child. These feelings, and many other feelings, exist alongside the sadness. It is as if many threads are woven side by side, bright and dark, in the fabric of the parent’s lives. They co-exist; they do not blend into one color, or feeling. Because ours is such a “can do” society, there is pressure on parents to quickly put their feelings of sadness away or deny them. Parents are told to “think positively” and “to get on with your lives.” They are told that God has “selected” them to receive this special child because they are such strong people. These kinds of comments, while well meant, deny the validity or parental long-term grieving. The discomfort of observing pain in those we care about can be part of the reason for such comments from others.
Grieving, however, is a process that takes time, often years. It’s a prickly bush that one must go through, not jump over. However, there are ways to support the process of grieving. Most parents found support in a community of people who understand because they, too have lived the experience. It is lonely to be the only family on the block with a child with a disability. Being part of a support group or organization helps to combat feelings of isolation. Engaging in personal activities that do not center on the family member with a disability can help increase feelings of competency and self-worth. Counseling, especially at times of significant stressful milestones, can be useful.
Chronic sorrow becomes a permanent part of the personality structure of most parents who have a child with a disability. It’s a normal response. It’s thread narrows and widens depending on life situations; most often it is accepted with courage. And, although permanent, if is not the dominant force in interactions with our children. The dominant forces are love and feelings of connectedness to them.”