A couple of years ago, our life looked like this. Turo was running our farm, and managing two other farms in two different locations. He also held a desk-based job, and had to travel to the city several times a month to attend meetings. I, on the other hand, was homeschooling two kids, and exclusively breastfeeding an infant, all while working full-time for a small consulting group. I spend the day with the kids at home, while Turo is away for work. I spend evenings working at a different time zone, while Turo puts the kids to bed. We cook and clean and garden and do the laundry in between.
Those were tough times. We had no househelp, and we had to do every single thing ourselves. Until one afternoon twenty months ago, while I was scrubbing the floor, I saw my own blood staining the floor. How ironic. I was alone with the kids and had to wait (bleeding and nauseous) for Turo to come home before I could be brought to the emergency room of the hospital.
It was a near miscarriage. I was pregnant and didn’t know it. And we were living our lives like there was no tomorrow. While there was a very weak baby, fighting for life, inside my womb. I had to stop. We had not planned on another baby. But I was not planning on losing this one by continuing to live our life the way we had been.
I quit my job. We hired back our househelp. I took things slower. And I dedicated my entire time to taking care of my children like mothers are created to.
Several months later I gave birth to a baby girl. It was the best surprise and a wonderful blessing. We had three boys, and now we had a princess in our home. For the first time, our life felt complete. And it felt like I knew exactly where our life was headed from this point on.
Exactly a week after our princess was born, we had to take her back again to the hospital. Her laboratory results confirmed a urinary tract infection. It was the first time, in my ten years of being a parent, that any of my children was confined in a hospital. And it had to be our fragile one-week-old princess. My postpartum “baby blues” had never been bluer.
We spent the next few days in the hospital. And when we were finally discharged, we had to keep taking her back to the hospital twice a day for the next four days for her antibiotic shots. Oh my princess, it was so heartbreaking.
After her round of antibiotics was complete, her lab results still showed some signs of infection. And she had to take a second round of antibiotics. And then after this round, her laboratory results still didn’t look like she was completely clear of the infection. We had to take urinary samples every week, and then every month, until her fourth month. I had to eat a low sodium diet and drink plenty of fluids, to better hydrate her when she nurses.
On her six-month pediatric checkup, she was noticeably delayed in her motor skills. She was underweight and underheight. Her head circumference was larger than normal, and her eyes opened wide, as if there was swelling inside her head. We took her to the hospital for a cranial ultrasound. Her pedia was suspecting hydrocephalus, which was no surprise at all, as Uri was diagnosed with it when he was several months old. Thankfully, the results came back and she was normal, no hydrocephalus.
We then went on with our days. She was always a quiet little girl. She slept well through the night. She laughs adorably at her brothers and her brothers adored her. She had a tiny body, and a small appetite. She never got sick, though, but she was also never very active. She’s a princess, that’s why she’s so unlike our other boys, we always say.
On her eleventh month we took her back to her pediatrician. She was not yet sitting up, or even making an effort to try to sit up. Her neck control was weak, and she was wobbly when carried. Her doctor wanted to rule out seizures as the cause of delayed motor skills. She was scheduled for an electroencephalogram (EEG) to monitor brain activity. The results came out after a week, and it was normal. Thank God.
Still she was grossly delayed in terms of motor development. But at least there was nothing more to it than just that, developmental delay. We need to help her catch up and make up for the delayed development. We need to stimulate brain function. We talk to her, sing to her, read to her, play music to her.
We take her to places, let her explore the world around her using her senses. She needs physical therapy to improve muscle function. We let her swim at the tub several times a day. And thanks to summer, we can spend several weekends a month by the beach.
Our little princess will turn one in a couple of days. She is our fourth child, and you might think that we’ll have had all bases covered this time around. But each child is unique and special in his/her own way. Our meek little princess reminded us of just that. She surprises us and warms our hearts all at the same time. We love her. We so cherish the last 365 days of having her in our family. And we see her game face on and ready to confront another wonderful year of life.