Felicity is my hardest child to explain. She is so complex. She is sassy, but needy. She is feisty, but sensitive. She is so smart, but often so silent. She is wonderful!
Felicity was the only child we had trouble conceiving. It took 7 long months. Then, on Christmas day, I woke up early, took a pregnancy test, and got the positive reading I'd so wanted. Best Christmas present ever!
Felicity's was my hardest pregnancy. I was sick constantly for the first 17 weeks. I couldn't eat and lost a lot of weight. Once I started to feel better, I still had lots of bad days. It was sheer survival and looking back, I really should have asked for help. But at the time, I just thought her difficult pregnancy was God teaching me how to multi task and be a mother to two. It took all I had to get up, and change Logan's diaper. Then I'd grab him a sippy of milk and a sleeve of fig newtons for him to eat for breakfast, and take him back to bed with me. I'd put a movie on for him and lay down with my arm over his legs so that if he got up, I'd know. That took all of me. Needless to say, the days were long. By the time the sickness fully went away, the physical pains started, and there were many. She moved in me so frantically that I shared my fears with my midwife of her tying herself up in her cord. Of course, there's nothing you can do about that. She rocked and rolled in there so much that it HURT! Did you know a baby can kick you in your sternum? Lissy did. And it hurts! I'd be sitting in Bible study with my belly jiggling all over with her movements and my friend would just stare in disbelief.
Her due date came and went. My only late baby. Labor finally started on Labor day night, only after being admitted to the hospital because the placenta was tearing away from the wall of my uterus. We were happy labor started on its own as pitocin had been suggested. But as soon as the first contraction hit, Lissy's heart rate plummeted. Nurses flooded the room and hooked me up to all sorts of things and moved me this way and that. Lissy's heart rate still plummeted. The Dr. was trying to get me to agree to a C section when I felt her crowning. He got my midwife but told me he was going to use the vacuum on her to get her out a.s.a.p. I don't think so. I saw him setting it up and I pushed with and without my contractions. Out came Felicity, sunny side up, wrapped in her cord twice.... and I didn't even see her. They took her to the little table and started pumping her full of the oxygen she'd been deprived of. She was bone white as her body had been trying to keep as much blood as possible to her heart and not her legs and arms. But she pinked up quick and was in my arms not too long after. She was BEAUTIFUL!
Felicity was our only fussy baby. Borderline colicky. I felt I spent most days walking around with a crying babe in my arms or sling. For the first 7 months of her life, she cried a lot. I had a hard time bonding with her. I SOOOOO wanted to, but the stress of not being able to take away whatever it was that was making her cry so much, made bonding take a back seat. I remember others trying to take her and walk her, and still she'd cry. I remember aching. I needed the break, but I also needed to console her, even though I couldn't. I still wanted her in my arms. She had a hard time nursing, though not hard enough to give up. She just nursed A LOT, in short increments. She cried to nurse, cried while nursing, and cried after nursing. Felicity cried.
At 7 months, we felt like God reached down and handed us a more content baby overnight. She became happy and cried less. She and I finally were able to fully bond and it was a tight bond. A kind of "we did it! We overcame!" bond. From 7 to 24 months, she was the most amazing little angel. I cried when I weaned her and still regret not letting her wean herself. Live and learn. We rocked every night and we would sing together. But at 24 months, all went to crap. She became the most difficult child. She raged and threw fits and brought her Daddy and I to tears. I was pulling my hair out. I didn't know what to do! I prayed a lot. I prayed it was just a horrible case of the "VERY terrible twos" and that something wasn't wrong with her. All my energy was put in to keeping up with her. And it was tiring. All that bonding went out the window and I felt like I was constantly reaching for her, but she was never reachable. She was always distant.
She was also silent, unless screaming. She just never talked. She was smart though. She would "sing" me songs in perfect pitch even before she was 2 years old, but her words were just babbles. We were very concerned. Her fits grew, but her language did not. I longed to hear her say "Mama". We talked to her pediatrician about it and were told to wait until she was two and a half. At two and a half we took our still non verbal girl back. We were told to wait a few more months. A few months later....same. Tests were done and specialists were seen. My weeks revolved around appointments and observations. Emotionally, it was a nightmare as lots of ideas were thrown out, including autism. The final diagnosis was Low Muscle Tone. Basically, Felicity has good muscles and a good brain, but the wiring between them is lacking. Where you and I can talk without even thinking about it, Felicity has to concentrate to form ANY tiny sound, and often can't. The tongue is a huge muscle. Two years after weaning her, her fussiness while nursing made sense. The poor thing needed to nurse, but it was just so taxing on her. Hense the tears to nurse, while nursing, and after nursing. A lot made sense. Right before she turned 3, Felicity started receiving speech therapy and ocupational therapy.
I'd like to tell you how helpful that therapy has been. But due to insurance, poor Lissy has seen 3 therapists in one year, one of which was a 6 month run in the public school program because it was free. What a joke. Finally, we got her in with a wonderful therapist who adores Lissy, and Lissy adores her. Felicity was making great progress, that is until we were walking out the door to go see Felicity's beloved Heather one day when the office called. We could no longer go, not even that day. Insurance had decided that Lissy was not in need of speech therapy. The whole year I spent getting her evaluated by all the specialists, the diagnosis of low muscle tone, all the professionals saying Felicity had major speech needs and NEEDED to see a speech therapist till she was at least 6 but most likely 8, ALL those times I watched her try to interact with other kids at the park who ended up giving up and playing else where because they couldn't understand her, all my tears for her, all my FEARS for her.....and now insurance decides THEY don't think she needs it. I'm fighting with them currently and will NOT back down.
Last year, the very week she turned 3, I was told she may be autistic. I was so numb I can hardly remember her birthday. This year we have worked our butts off. I have been and continue to be my daughter's advocate, demanding she needs services. We have worked at home and celebrated every tiny milestone (today she said the F sound!). I have ached for her when she happily chats with another child who just stares at her, knowing somethings not right, and then turns and leaves her behind. I have rejoiced with her when she was fully included by sweet friends. Since turning 3, her fits have calmed and her raging is now usually totally under control. I think its directly linked with her verbal growth. The poor thing was so frustrated to not be able to communicate. She STILL gets frustrated. Her almost 2 year old brother will verbally pass her up soon. She has a LONG way to go. I have poured into her and really just tried to focus on her, especially these last few months. I am feeling that immense bond returning as she is letting me back in. She is still stubborn and feisty, but her stubbornness is what keeps her trying. She will NOT be left out!
Since I can hardly recall her 3rd birthday, I just wanted her 4th to be amazing. I wanted to celebrate her, Felicity, in the perfect way that God made her. I wanted to celebrate US, her and I, because I'm hers again. She's letting me back in. My husband and I spent the last 2 months focusing on creating for her, and it was amazing. Yes, she got more from us than normal, but you know what....it was deserved. We've all been through a lot and her little life has not been a sweet piece of cake, but its been amazing. And she's amazing. And what's happening NOW is amazing. And it is much to celebrate!
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
We dedicated this verse to Felicity before she was born.
Felicity, I love you tearfully.
You truly are perfectly from Him.
I am honored to be your mother.