Thursday, February 18, 2010

Resilience



When asked to name the blog, the first thing that came to my mind was "resilience". Somewhere in my memory this word was waiting to be used. The only time I remember seeing the word was when I read a book written by Elizabeth Edwards titled "Resilience". Maybe I associate that word with strong women, such as Elizabeth Edwards, or maybe I associate it with the difficult circumstances that have forced her to be strong. . . infidelity and terminal cancer to name a few. When I did a search on the word this was the result...

re·sil·ience
1.

the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2.
ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

When I read this definition, I wanted it to be prophetic. . . .

You see, since March 6, 2007, every day has been exciting, strange, crazy, scary, or just plain frustrating. On that day my first child was born - Annabelle Karen Flowers, 4lb.2oz. and 17 inches long. Annabelle was and still is, very beautiful. All of our nurses kept going into the NICU to check on her. She had the cutest red lips. Women get their lips injected to look like Annabelle on the day she was born :)

Annabelle was very healthy aside from her low weight. They kept her in the NICU for 8 days because she was not able to keep her body temperature up. Finally, after what seemed like forever, we were able to take Annabelle home. The entire time she was in that nursery, I would not let myself cry. . . even when I had to endure the stress tests (putting her in her car seat and watching her heart rate drop). I told myself that I would not cry, because I must be strong for her! There was not enough time to cry. I promised myself that I would wait until this was all over. So, as I had promised, the day she was released my parents drove us home, and after they left I locked the door and sobbed for about 10 minutes . . then we took a nap :)

Unfortunately for my husband, we had to keep the apartment HOT. Annabelle was wrapped in several blankets and we slept with the lights on. The NICU nurses warned me over and over, "If she gets cold, she is coming right back to the NICU. We see babies come back all the time". I was terrified of taking her back to that place where I couldn't even hold or feed her if I wanted to... where they fed her formula that she was highly allergic to when I wasn't around.

During Annabelle's first month, her weight doubled to eight pounds. She had horrible reflux. Everything came right out her nose making it next to impossible for her to breathe. She slept sitting up so she would not suffocate. Over all, everything was O.K.

People constantly said, "She is so good. She is the best baby. She never cries!"
On reflection, her constant quietness should have been our first signal that something wasn't quite right. . . she was our first . . how were we supposed to know?

At 4 months Annabelle began to rock her head back and forth. Caleb, myself, and everyone else, thought she was dancing. After all, it was more pronounced when there was music around. She also started to do some sort of high pitched hum.

At 6 months, we relocated. For 18 months, we were unable to find a local doctor who was accepting new patients. . . unbelievable, right? We took her to the emergency room several times. The E.R. doctors told us that we should make an appointment with her primary care physician, but good luck on finding one. . even they knew that nobody was taking up new patients. . . one doctor said, "since there aren't any doctors accepting patients, we'll probably see you back her in a few days". During this time, Annabelle was chronically sick. She coughed till she vomited for four months.

At 12 months, Annabelle weighed in at a whopping 14 pounds. Her doctor (our original doctor in Puyallup, WA) flipped! He refused to believe that she would not eat. At this time, she was still only eating 2 to 4 oz. of formula every 3 hours. He told us, "Put butter on everything. . put cream on everything . . give her whole milk!" I reminded him, "Remember when she had milk before, she was projectile?" He said, "Well now she is a year old. . all babies are allergic to milk".

Desperate to get as many calories in her as I could, I began to give her whole milk, sometimes with an ounce of cream. I would spend my entire day in front of the computer with Anna next to me in her high chair, while I put peanut butter on those little star puffs and fed them to her. It was all she would eat. I tried everything . . I tried every kind of baby food, constantly . . . I tried pureeing our table food . . we tried pizza, ice cream and pudding. Nothing! She would clamp her lips together really tight and turn her head. I would try to force the spoon in and she would spit it out.

Her stools became very hard and large . . she would bleed and scream. . this continued till she was two.

Now Annabelle is almost 3 years old. She still barely eats a thing. She has continued to rock her head and she is still not talking. She has tubes in her ears, but continues to have chronic ear infections. She has a lot of repetitive behaviors.

I listen to the stories of moms who have been in my situation and come out with their child intact and communicating. One of my biggest dreams for her is that she will be able to sing like me. For now I would settle for just being able to hear what's on her mind.

We are on a long wait list to see a pediatric neurologist. For now, we are going to blog about our experience, our journey. I am reading and learning so many things about diet and toxins in our environment. I believe the Lord brings people and literature into our lives to teach us. I hope that you will find all of these things interesting and learn from our experience. We are also believing for a complete healing for Annabelle. Maybe not the miraculous, instant variety. But possibly by meeting the right people, reading the right material, and eating the right diet, all in God's perfect timing.

While Annabelle will always be perfect to us just how God made her, as parents, our main concern is her overall health and comfort. For this reason, we believe in taking a 'whole body' approach to her wellness. That is, developmental delays and social oddities can be the result of a "starving brain". A "starving brain" may be caused by food allergies, food sensitivities, vitamin deficiencies and environmental toxins.

We look forward to sharing our trials and triumphs with you, and would love feedback and advice.

7 comments:

Tasha said...

Thanks for sharing. I didn't know any of what you shared. I will keep you all in my payers.
Tasha

T-bone said...

Dear friends,
I'm so glad that you've taken this approach to put your story on here so others will learn how to better face anything like this. I believe you will find that you don't stand alone in your struggles and others will offer you advise that will be helpful.
I know that God has great plans for your lives including health & wholeness for Annabelle.
We love you and are standing with you in prayer. Julie

Anonymous said...

I admire your strength and your positive attitude while going through all of these. I am a mom and I know how it feels, especially with our firstborn. I'll be praying for you always. Gina

Anonymous said...

Laurin, it's Dad. From the first moment you began to voice your concern's and we all watched the symptoms come to light, I thought to myself. This is a special couple here. God is possibly going to take them through some things that others will not be asked to go through. As you know, your mother and I as well as the rest of the family see Annabelle as perfect and we love her dearly. This challenge you have found yourself in will brings rewards others will never understand. We are so proud of you both as we watch you under this task. We will continue to pray and watch for God's manifested hand.

Joel said...

Caleb & Laurin - your fortitude and resolve has been incredible to witness. I have no doubts that Gods hand is on your lives and with you and your children. Laurin, your writing touches my heart and speaks to the strength of character that I always believed in. It will manifest itself thru your daughter. I love the 4 of you and hold you in my prayers and my heart.

Sheila said...

Laurin,
The past three years have been filled with wonder, laughter , and tears of both joy and fears. As I have said to you before, I am amazed by your and Caleb's love and commitment to Annabelle's needs. She is one very blessed little girl to have y'all for parents. I'm glad you are doing this blog. It will be a source of encouragement from friends and family as well as informative to others that may face similiar situations. Everyone will be able to watch through this blog, God's will for Annabelle unfold.
Glad I am your mother-in-law
Sheila

Kristen said...

Wow Laurin,

That blog ripped my heart out. Hearing all those things that little girl went through and is going through. You two are amazing parents and i've always thought that. I somewhat knew of the things that were going on with Annabelle but i had no idea it was that scary.

My prayers and support is with you guys.. and im privalaged to be able to in some capacity take this journey with you and hopefully help you with my support and prayers.

God is good and always on our side. Love you guys! Kristen