Saturday, May 2, 2009

MMM

It wasn't long after that long day of testing that followup appointments were made. Jessica would need to see the physical therapist (PT) and the occupational therapist (OT) on a pretty regular basis. Our first priorities would be muscle strength and motivation. I was still in a state of denial and saw more what she could do than what she couldn't. I marveled at the way she would find me behind her by positioning her flower rattle that had a mirror on one side just so. I mean, that was pretty remarkable! She was making more sounds and had even said "hi".

One thing I should mention before I go to far - at 7 1/2 months I started to wean her from breast feeding. As many of you know, this can cause constipation and boy did it, big time. I knew she was having trouble but it was suggested to give her some prune juice (watered down). One night she awoke in agony. She was screaming in pain! I took off her diaper and it was like she was giving birth. I now had to massage the area and work her legs and finally was rewarded. I could not believe that a bowel movement could be this large and not cause permanent damage. Unfortunately, these kind of bouts did not go away but I learned you could use a Q-tip and Vaseline as a suppository to help the muscles work it out. Stimulation proved to be a very beneficial skill as well. Again the problems she experienced were due in part to poor muscle tone and it took years before she would be able to get through these bouts on her own.

Through her therapists, Koosh and I were given specific exercises to promote crawling and upper body strength. Floor exercises took on a whole new importance and we did them as much as we could. At bedtime I was ready even if Jess wasn't.

At bedtime, Jessica liked to be rocked. There were nights when I would literally fall asleep rocking her and would be awakened by her body doing this jerking motion. She was telling me that the rocking stopped and get going again. Would this baby ever sleep? I just seemed to be getting more exhausted and she never tired. During the day, however she could sleep forever! A friend suggested she had her days and nights mixed up. I would have to shorten her afternoon naps. I didn't have the energy! I realized that they were right so I would let her sleep for 2 hours in the afternoon. Oh my, she was grumpy! It was all I could do to wake her up and then I spent the rest of the day keeping her entertained, exercised and happy. Would I ever feel rested again? The answer to that was yes, after say, another 9 months!

Yup, I was going to have baby #2! How did I tell Koosh? Well, I went to pick him up from work the night I got the news and after he got in the car I gently told him that the diaphragm did not work. He looked at me with this blank look and then he got it. We had talked about having more children but had decided that for the time being, Jessica was quite the handful so we would take some time to make the final decision. We wanted to make sure Jess got the attention she needed. Now, here we were, with the decision already made. I wish I could say we were ecstatic but we had been digesting quite a bit of information on Jessica lately. We were happy, and we would do the best we could with what we had. Life would be good.

I had always wanted a lot of children. I never thought I would have a child with the challenges Jessica had and we had just begun. Fortunately, our family and friends were very supportive. Koosh would visit them with Jess and allow me to get caught up on sleep. Jess was always up for a ride in the car or a walk in her stroller. She always wanted to be on the move unless it was physical. She still had not mastered crawling, even sitting was more leaning.

I bought her this walker that would act as a bouncing chair. It had a very supportive back and you could lock the wheels if you wanted it to be stationary. I needn't have worried. Jess could barely move it. I, of course, blamed the chair. Something must be wrong with it. As for Jess, she didn't mind as long as she had toys to turn over in her hands she was happy. She also enjoyed the wind up swing...until it stopped.

So for the next 9 months, we all would sleep whenever we could. Take turns exercising and playing with Jessica in between doctor appointments for Jessica and I. At least I didn't have morning sickness this time! Even in utero, I felt this baby was different. Not only were her movements stronger, but there were times I felt sure she had invited a few friends over!

About a month before I was to deliver this new little wonder, I spoke to Koosh about what we would name the baby if it was a girl. Since we hadn't used the boys name the first time around it was still up for grabs but we hadn't thought of another girls name yet. We had taken my brother, Michael's advice about the rhythm of a name. It should be balanced in syllables. When I mentioned Jessica for our first born, he had suggested that since there was 3 syllables to Jessica, the middle name might sound better if it had only 1 syllable. That is how Lynn was chosen.

So here we were again, trying to find a good name. We just hadn't zeroed in on anything until one day when Koosh came home from work. He was very excited and he said he had thought of the right name if it was to be a girl. "I was just driving over this hill and I thought of it, how about Melissa May?" That name was the most beautiful name I had ever heard! What a ring to it! Her initials would be MMM how could that not be 'good'? From that point on, I hoped for a girl just so that we could use that name. Although my due date was to be on our 3rd anniversary, Melissa May came a week early on a hot summer day. She was born before the epidural took effect which meant I knew what muscles to push which meant a speedier recovery. She was beautiful. And we were ecstatic!

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