Finally, Fall has arrived!!! Charlotte, Lilly, and I took a wonderful stroll this morning to bask in the crisp air. I have to say that trying to walk Lilly and push the stroller can be a bit difficult, but it was worth it. The movement puts little Char right to sleep, but I think she likes the fresh air. Ben and I ate lunch on the porch and I put her in her bouncer outside, which she seemed to enjoy greatly.
I meant to tell you all about our UAB visit before now, but the days seem to go by so fast. We went September 20th to Children’s Hospital, so that Charlotte could have a CAT scan to check the ventricle size. Ben and I packed up and headed to Birmingham on Monday morning. We stopped at my Grandparent’s house to eat lunch and let Charlotte meet more of the family. It was such a great time, and my sweet amazing grandmother had prepared things she knew I love: lady peas and a huge fruit salad. I have such awesome family. We then headed to the hospital. I, of course, was nervous as always, but God reminded me of the futility of my anxiety by providing us with a great report. The neurosurgeon informed us that the ventricles had indeed gone down and that all her incisions looked great. And she was up to 6lb 6oz already. The Great Physician has provided, and provided. Why do I worry when such a merciful and mighty God is in control? Our next visit to Children’s is Oct. 27 for an all day affair. I am going back to Birmingham before that (Oct. 8) to attend a seminar on Spina Bifida. I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes.
While I’m on the subject of hospitals and such, I’d like to inform everyone on Charlotte’s latex issues. Children with SB have such a high incidence of latex allergies that they are treated as if they have the allergy, whether we know or not. It’s often called latex precautions. Basically, we have to act like Charlotte is allergic even though we don’t know and keep things containing natural rubber latex (NRL) away from her. I thought latex was many in some hospital supplies but have found that it is in a lot of house hold products. Even things I would never guess, like newspaper print, gum, Band-Aids, pacifiers, and many toys. I have spent a fair amount of time researching items I have purchased or intended to purchase to make sure they do not contain latex. It can be difficult because often the packaging does not say, so I have had to call manufacturers. Like most allergies the first reaction is usually not as severe and often forms a rash. However, continuing exposure causes increasingly worse reactions. I wanted to make family and friends aware of this issue, so we can all try to keep these products away from her.
Now on to life at home…
I really can’t believe we have been home for two weeks and Charlotte is now 4 weeks old. Thursday she will be a month old!!! Well, I survived my mom leaving, though I still miss her desperately and call her all the time. Last week Charlotte and I had some rough moments, but I think we are both getting better at figuring each other out. Tuesday of last week she kept crying, and I was feeling like such a failure. It was one of those moments where she was crying, I was crying, and I was wishing she could just tell me what was the matter. But I finally got her settled down and after talking with my mom and my friend Ann I realized that those kinds of days are normal. Charlotte has bad days just like I do.
The nights have been a little longer as well. That first week with my mom, Charlotte was great. She never fussed going to bed and slept a solid four hours between feedings. I think she was still fatigued from her tough first weeks of life. Now she has bad nights of crying and sometimes only sleeps two hours between feedings. One night recently, I knew she was extremely tired, but every time I tried to put her down she would start crying. I proceeded to call my mom for her all knowing advice. My mom asked me if I had let Charlotte “cry it out”. I proceeded to say yes. She then asked me how long I had let her cry. I replied, “A little under a minute.” I know many of you moms are laughing right now at my definition of letting her cry it out! My mom told me I could let her go a bit longer than a minute and hooray, it worked. She cried and then went right to sleep. This doesn’t always work but on many occasions she just needs to cry for a minute or two before conking out.
The long nights can be pretty fatiguing. Today, I was so tempted to crawl back into bed and almost did…but then she started crying. Alas, I think that is just how it goes in motherhood. Some nights I think “how am I going to make it through?” And then I go to her crib and see my tiny little baby and think, “Well duh, I can do this, I mean look at how fabulous she is.” I’m still exhausted, but she is so cute looking at me with those massive eyes that the 2am diaper change doesn’t seem so bad. I am convinced that that is why God made babies so adorable: so their mom’s would think all those sleepless nights were worth it!!! And how can I complain? I prayed and prayed that she would be a good breast feeder and that she would start packing on the pounds…well ounces. So, if she wants to feed every two hours one night then I should be saying “thank you God” every time I hear here start to cry.
She was pretty tired Monday, because we had several visitors this past weekend. My brother Will and his girlfriend Nadia came Friday and spent the night. It was their first time to meet Charlotte. It was so much fun to have them. Charlotte even let me make it through most of dinner before demanding to be held. I knew Will would make a wonderful Uncle, and he is already so good with her. She loves faces, and I think Nadia’s was fun for her to see. Unlike her pale, blond mom, Nadia is tan with beautiful long, dark hair which seemed to fascinate Charlotte. They left way to soon Saturday morning but we are hoping they come again soon. Justin, Faith, and their daughter Sadie came by later Saturday. How great it was to visit with them, and it was wonderful to have a toddler in the house. It was funny because Sadie did not like her mom holding Charlotte. However, Faith is expecting, so she is hoping that the jealousy is not lasting. I loved seeing Sadie so active and verbal. I still can’t get over the fact that before I know it Charlotte will be there too.
Late Saturday afternoon my grandparents from Dalton came for a visit. After all the morning activities Charlotte slept like a rock in Grammie’s arms. It was wonderful to visit with them and introduce them to their first girl great-grandchild. (though they will have another one in November-Yeah Lia!) I feel so blessed to still have both sets of Grandparents and have them be a part of Charlotte’s life. With Sunday, came another round of visitors. Ben’s grandparents (MiMi and DaDa) and his Aunt Susan came to meet the newest addition to the Barber family. It was another fabulous visit. Charlotte seemed to love the company, and I definitely did. She even tried to stay awake for most of their visit. Every time Charlotte is with extended family, I realize how blessed our family is. We are surrounded by so much love and many, many, prayers. There are still some family members she has yet to meet, and I’m looking forward to more introductions.
You all have been so faithful to pray and encourage Ben and me. Thank you. I’d love your continued prayers for the three of us, but I’d also like to ask you to pray for some friends of ours. Michelle Clark passed away suddenly Sunday evening leaving behind a husband, two young sons, and much family who loved her dearly. She was a member of the Thompson family, all of whom I love dearly. I have cried often these past few days thinking about her family and the great sorrow that surrounds them now. My heart goes out to her sons and husband. I cannot begin to imagine the despair. I find myself asking “Why God?” She was so young, and she had children. I often don’t understand the path that God is leading us on, but I know He is sovereign and good in all things. I am trusting Him to provide for this family that I love. I ask that you pray for Michelle’s family to find peace when life does not make sense, to find comfort when despair is drowning them, to find hope when all seems dark, to feel God’s presence. You all have been such faithful prayer warriors for me, and I ask that you do the same for this family.