Babies Grow Up

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Abigail, only hours old

Our sweet, not so cuddly, newborn baby we brought home two years ago is growing. Her baby fat is melting away, her hair grows inches everyday I swear, and if Abigail would stand she would be almost 3 foot tall now! I see the changes everyday – a baby turning into a beautiful little girl.

She is learning so much and is becoming interested in her environment around her. She loves people and will interact with any adult she sees whether we are in a restaurant or checking out at the store. Her joyful little personality comes out day by day. She brightens up a room, and makes people smile in her own simple way.

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One year old Abigail. What a cutie patootie!!!

If Abigail was your typical two year old she would have be jumping around and climbing into everyting. She would be an adventurous, that kid who is into everything and we would be exhausted at the end of each day as we try to keep up with her. Abigail is fiercely independent and stubborn. She is adventurous and a little dare devil. She has no fear of getting hurt, falling or being in danger. She is our blonde headed wild child.

When I lay her down in her crib at night I see her length has taken over her crib. Yet, she finds a way to snuggle all the way to the bottom of her crib with her legs always at crazy angles jutting out away from her most nights. I know it is going to be time for a big girl bed soon, and that excites me and saddens me all at the same time. This baby is turning into a girl, and we have so much to learn about raising a child!

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Trying out the big girl swing in the park the other day. She is still so tiny in it.

My little girl will always be my baby. So often it is hard to see her growing up because she is still so dependent on us, but I am seeing her grow before my eyes. One day she will not be as reliant on me. One day she will feed herself or get herself dressed and I will be a proud mama who will treasure these moments, but for now I will watch this baby girl of mine grow into a lovely child who will one day shine her bright light for the world. Right now though she is my innocent, sweet little baby girl snuggled up in her footie pajamas just sleeping away in her crib. Oh may this little girl grow into a godly woman with a big servant’s heart.

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I love sleeping babies!

About Me

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For those who need to see hope in this world.

For those who want encouragement in parenting.

For those who want honesty about living with a child with special needs.

This blog offers a positive view on children with special needs; written for special needs moms, stay at home moms, and those who are interested in my daughter’s progress. If you love inspirational writings, adorable toddler stories, and a heart felt love for children than this is the blog for you! The posts on this site include stories of my daughter’s progress, things I have learned from being her mother, and life with a special needs toddler because she is the inspiration behind all I write. The journey with our daughter started when she was two months old. It has been an almost two year process of tests, therapy and tears and we still are not sure why causes our daughter’s developmentally delay. This blog tells our story of the day-to-day life as we discover how to love each other through the delay.

Welcome to our family! My name is Heather. My husband, Jordan and I were married February 1, 2014 and we had our beautiful daughter, Abigail in May 2015. My husband works hard providing for us at his retail job while I stay at home with our joyful little girl. She keeps me busy between occupational, physical, and speech therapy. We live in Atlanta, Georgia, and love spending time as a family. We are active in our local church and are Christians who love God and have an intimate relationship with Him. My prayer for this blog is that it would inspire you to love others more and encourage you in ways you could never imagine. Life is hard, and we are often dealt cards we were not expecting, but those hard, unexpected things are sometimes the greatest blessings. That is what Abigail is to my husband and I, a great blessing! Abigail gives us encounters everyday that we treasure with all our hearts.

So please, if this blog sounds like a good read, subscribe to my posts! Send me an e-mail with comments or questions, or find me on social media. You can find all the links on the left side of my home page. I want to tell our story and help others with theirs. Thank-you for stopping by, and hopefully we will talk to each other soon!

Our Journey with Food

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Last year I posted a blog about Abigail finishing a whole container of baby food. You can read that story here. It was an exciting day!! Our journey of food and eating has been quite an adventure. We are blessed that we never have had a feeding tube, or even a thought of needing one. But there was a time we were not sure how we were ever going to get Abigail to eat anything. Today she eats so well; even eating table foods.

Before we had Abigail I had already decided to breastfeed simply because it is more cost effective for us. Baby formula is expensive! I read everything I could about it,  attended classes and still decided I had no idea what I was in for. Thankfully Abigail knew what to do and she was amazing!! I’m a huge believer that fed is best for any baby. If you can breastfeed great, if not then formula is great too!! I am not a breastfeeding advocate. I was not a huge breastfeeding fan if I have to be honest, so I cannot write about how amazing it was and how it helped my baby. But it did keep her nourished for the first year of her life and for that I am thankful for my breastfeeding journey.

We tried introducing baby food at six months. It did not go over well. Abigail hated the texture. She hated the spoon. I tried making my own baby food. I tried all the flavors Gerber offers. She would eat about a fourth of the container all day long. This is when the food struggle began. I would cry because I knew she could not live off breastmilk forever, and I would not breastfeed forever. But we kept offering, kept trying every trick we could, and kept listening to what our therapists would tell us. The one thing Abigail did catch onto quickly was drinking from a straw. We could not get her to take a bottle to save her life, and she could not figure out sippy cups. I was at a loss how to get liquids into her mouth. But my mother-in-law suggested a straw and we have not looked back since. Abigail was drinking with a straw by nine months, and it is still the only thing she uses today.

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First time eating baby food. She did not eat any of it despite what the picture shows.

At a year we were still mainly breastfeeding and eating what little baby food we could get in her. Our pediatrician referred us to another doctor to get a swallow study done. They wanted to make sure nothing was obstructing her throat because she would also choke and gag a lot, even while drinking water. Around a year old we went to Athens Regional Hospital to do the swallow study. They put barium in her food and water and put her under X-rays to watch her food go down her throat. It was the weirdest thing to watch as a parent. But, as always, there was nothing wrong with her swallowing except for the fact that Abigail did not chew, she simply sucked on everything and then swallowed. So we still were not ready for solid foods.

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Trying sweet potatoes. She hated touching them, but at least eating them wasn’t too bad.

In just a year of working with our therapists, continuing to offer food even when Abigail refused or would choke on it, and simply allowing her to grow up a little more she has made huge improvements. She stopped breast feeding around 15 months!!! She began finishing whole containers of baby food, and she even started eating table food. Today she loves fruit and bread!! She takes after her mama there. She eats chicken, quesadillas, strawberries, Mac and cheese, and other things. Her diet is varied and she is not picky. No, she cannot keep up with a toddler her age but to see her eat table food now after where we were a year ago is so exciting. I would cry at night and throw pity parties about how I would always be a milk machine and nothing else. I was scared Abigail would be that kid who was still nursing at five years old. Jordan, as always, would tell me that is ridiculous and stop my pity parties with his indisputable reasoning. I needed him as I always will. But those fears were so silly, and I am thankful Abigail can eat real food now.

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We still have a ways to go. Abigail gets choked on water every other sip, she still refuses to feed herself, and she will not bite food to save her life. But these things can be helped and learned. To see her progress already encourages me that we can only get better from here. Our food journey has been a rollercoaster, but I am excited where we are today. And I am proud of my daughter!! And I am glad she likes food and has become a little piggy.

A Reflection on Motherhood

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Your day begins early as you prepare yourself and your family to start the day off right, or at least you try to start it off right but something is bound to get off track. You work hard all day whether it is at home or in an office, and then you have more work to do as the day winds down between picking up everyone’s messes or doing yet another load of laundry. The day is long, oh so long! But you are a mother and deep inside you know this is all worth it. These days will not be forever, and tomorrow will bring a whole lists of new things to do and worries to be had, so today you do your work to the best of your ability. Life is short and having children at home is even shorter, so today mother, treat this life as a blessing that will be short lived and enjoy every messy moment.

The role mothers take on is endless…

  • chef
  • fashion coordinator
  • secretary
  • taxi driver
  • photographer
  • daily planner
  • teacher
  • doctor
  • cuddler
  • discipliner
  • zoo rangler
  • lover
  • fighter
  • maid
  • librarian
  • chorus director

…and that’s not even all of the roles! We wear so many different hats, no wonder our mama brains are like scrambled eggs up there. But each of these roles means the world to our children and our family. They need us to be there through it all as they become the adults God has planned them to be. While it is a headache to be everything to everybody, the good thing is that we are not called to be anything but a child of God, and a mother to these precious children. So often we attach other titles and jobs to ourselves that the world tells us we have to do, but no where does God say we are called to be anything but a mother to these children. So let’s mother them the best we can, and go back to the simple truths of God’s Word and what He has called us to.

Emily and Laura from Risen Motherhood (you can follow them on Instagram @risenmotherhood. They also share a weekly podcast if you are into those!) shared a wonderful tidbit in their Instagram post today. She was asked, “What does the church need to give moms this Mother’s Day?” Her answer goes with exactly the point I am trying to make. She replied, “What moms really need to hear isn’t a burdensome statement about the hugeness of their calling, a heartfelt thanks that can sometimes fall on deaf ears due to guilt, or a list of ways they can do even better in motherhood…What the moms really need, if we are to give them the strength to run the race set before them, is a reminder of who they are and what they have in Christ.” Thanks Emily! What beautiful words and big Truths!! Moms need to be reminded that they are daughters of God himself and in Him they can find rest, hope, faith and love! As moms we must be so plugged into God that He is what makes us function and live. Our children need us to be so in love with God that they see Him through us! On this Mother’s Day let us remember who we are in Christ and what He offers freely to us.

Mothering is hard! Parenting is hard! But God has given us these children to raise to honor Him, so let us run our race faithfully. May you always be reminded that you are worthy and have a purpose in this life. As you change bed sheets and wipe dirty faces for the twentieth time that day may you remember that this to is God’s perfect plan. Motherhood was created by God to bless families from the beginning of the world. Without mothers children would not learn fully to love, care, and share emotionally with others. Mothers and women have specific roles that fathers and men cannot fill for God made us each unique. So mother your children as God has so given us the ability to. Mother them knowing that you are a loved and blessed child of the one true King. Mother them knowing that soon these children will be mothering and fathering children of their own.

Today may all mothers, grandmothers, and soon-to-be mothers all be blessed in a special way. May we always be thankful for the mothers in our own lives whether biological or not. Mothers are special gifts not to be taken for granted. And to all the mama’s out there – you can do this!!! Happy Mother’s Day!

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In honor of Mother’s Day here is a picture of when I became a Mommie!!

A Day in Abigail’s Life

I cannot believe we have a two year old! This time two years ago we were attempting to go to bed to prepare for our early induction time at the hospital. In honor of my little girl turning two tomorrow I wanted to write about Abigail, but I write enough so I thought I would change things up though and write from her perspective. So here is a day in the life of Abigail from her view of the world!

“I wake up in the morning when the light turns on in my room, and I like to just lay there and make noises. Hearing myself talking is so fun! I say ‘da-da’ a lot right now, over and over. ‘da, da, da, da, da, da’ is all you will hear me say for now, but I can make other noises if I really want to. Eventually my mommie comes into the room, and I know she is going to pick me up so I am so happy to see her. I usually laugh because she is so funny and tells me silly things like, “Good morning.” What’s a morning?

Mommie takes me downstairs and sits me in my chair. She lets me play in this thing that pulls out from the wall while she walks all over the room putting stuff in front of me. I just like pulling stuff out and dumping it all on the floor. The sounds the toys make as they hit the floor are funny, and I know Mommie will pick them up for me. I love her so much I even share my toys with Mommie too as she pops, what she calls, Cheerios into my mouth. They taste good! Then Mommie finally sits down beside me, but she closes the thing with all my toys and makes me eat food. At least I like the food she gives me and I am hungry because I haven’t ate for a looong time!

Then it’s back upstairs to my room again. Mommie always says we have to get ready whatever that means. Again she walks all over the room pulling things off shelves while I lay on the ground and play with my toys. I like making messes and handing Mommie things. I can even roll over and grab things I can’t reach. Mommie calls it getting my wiggles out and I have lots of wiggly time now. Then that lady makes me take my jammies off, and she yanks all this stuff over my head and my legs. I feel like I’m being thrown everywhere so I don’t help her very much. But then the worst part happens – she takes this pink thing and rips my hair out. I like my hair just the way it is, and I don’t like Mommie touching it so I try to protect it as much as I can. I think I beat Mommie because now she doesn’t make me wear all those silly bows and hair ties anymore. I like touching my hair, and those things are icky!

Sometimes I get to play with Mommie if she doesn’t take me to the car first. My favorite things to play with are my basket of toys. I love handing things to Mommie and then we take turns kissing all my toys. It always makes Mommie laugh. I also love it when Mommie tickles me. My back and my ribs are very tickly and she knows it too! I laugh and laugh at that lady when she tickles me. Then she makes me do exercises, but I don’t mind them too much. And some are even fun like when I have to put these colored things in the holes. Or when Mommie gets on tummy time with me. I don’t like it when she makes me get on all fours and makes me hold myself up. It takes a lot of work and I get tired so I try to fight Mommie and she’s strong but sometimes if I fight enough I can win! After we play and exercise I get to watch Mickey Mouse and eat a snack. I just like the music, and clapping along but Mommie is always talking to the tv like Mickey can hear her. She is so silly. I just ignore them and play with my toys while Mommie feeds me.

If Daddy is still at home I get to go wake him up and tell him I love him. I love it!! Mommie lays me in the bed by Daddy and I start telling him all about my day. Sometimes he groans and I’m not sure why, but he always turns around so I can touch his face and blow him kisses. And no matter how far he tries to move away from me I just follow him over because I have to be close to Daddy. They always seem impressed that I can move to him, but I like being close to him.

Then we always have somewhere to go. Mommie takes me outside and puts me in the car. She always locks me into this huge seat. I don’t like being constrained, but the seat is nice and I know Mommie is somewhere with me because she talks to me as we move. While we are going around I talk and talk to Mommie. When it is just Mommie in the car I love to scream and I can get really loud too, but Mommie screams back at me! She must know my language because she is really good at it, but a lot of times I can be louder and she gives up. We stop and Mommie gets me out to go get stuff from stores or we go to therapy.

There is so much to watch at therapy. While Mommie holds me I watch all the big people and little people. I love the big people like Mommie and Daddy, but the little people scare me. They are so fast and I am scared they will hurt me. But I get a lot of compliments and I love that! I love being the center of attention. Then my therapist comes to get me, and I don’t like leaving Mommie, but I know my therapists love me and we always have fun too even if they make me do hard things. They always bring me back to Mommie and say I am amazing, so that makes me like them even more!

Mommie tries to put me back in my bed for some reason, but most days I just lie there and talk to myself and try to get out of this cage she has stuck me in. Mommie always tells me to close my eyes and sleep, but I am not tired. Then she calls me a stinkpot when I giggle as she comes into my room. I don’t know why she leaves me when all I want to do is play. She comes and picks me up eventually, and I tell her I love her. I like hugging my mama and touching her hair. She plays with me all afternoon and we go for walks outside where I scream some more to see how loud I can be.

We eat dinner together, and Mommie and Daddy don’t always talk to me because they are too busy talking to each other so I let them know I am still around. I told you I like to be the center of attention, and I know how to get people’s attention. I am just too cute for my own good I guess, at least that’s what they say. Mommie gets me ready for bed, and there’s that pink thing trying to rip out my hair again. But at least at night I get to snuggle with Daddy! Mommie reads me a story and puts me in my bed. I try to stay up so I can play more, but for some reason my eyes won’t stay open and then I don’t remember much until the light turns back on in the morning.

A few of my favorite things: I love people’s faces and hair. People are so fun and interesting. I love when my family takes me out places so I can just look at people, and if I really like them I reach for a person so I can touch them. Laughing is fun and I am perfecting my laugh right now by trying out different ones. Daddy says I have a great evil laugh whatever that is, but I just like seeing what I can do. I love pulling things out of baskets and bags. Mommie says for a baby who can’t move I sure do make a mess, but I think she is okay with that. I love fruit and bread, and I eat it all day long! They always try to make me touch my food, but why pick it up when they can do all the work for me? I can clap and I love clapping when people sing songs or I hear a beat I really like. Mommie also calls me a daredevil because I like to be tossed and flipped and swung all around. She also calls me a mess a lot because I have a lot of personality in this tiny little body.

I am happy a lot and people always smile at me. I have lots of family that I see a lot and they love me too! People say I am spoiled, but I know I am just well-loved by many, many people. My family and therapist tell me I am smart and I can do anything I set my mind too. They have helped me learn to do a lot of things, and I like learning. I am very excited to keep learning and discovering new things!!! I may be tiny and a little different than the other little people I see, but I love my life and I am happy to be me!”

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Well there it is in the best of my ability to write from her perspective. Trust me, if this kid could talk she would be full of fun and personality. She makes life fun, and I am so thankful God blessed us with such a sweet, joyful blessing two years ago. We don’t deserve Abigail, but we are beyond thankful and proud of her. Having a child always changes your life, but Abigail has changed mine and Jordan’s for the better. We love our birthday girl and are excited to watch her grow as the days and years go by!

Our Journey

When we first find out we were pregnant I was very apprehensive. I was worried about being pregnant. I was very, very worried about labor and delivery. I do not handle pain very well. And I was worried about how to be a mom. I had never been around babies and toddlers, so I had no clue how to change a diaper or even give a baby a bottle.  However, I survived being pregnant even though by about week twelve I was ready for the Lord to take me. I was so weak from throwing up and not eating for about ten weeks, I figured I would die any day. But that blessed second trimester came and pregnancy became a blessing as we watched our little baby grow inside me. I somehow survived labor after pushing for three and a half hours and being one push away from a C-section. I was exhausted!! But thank you to modern medicine I experienced zero pain. Praise the Lord!!!

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Our little newborn.

Then I was holding a brand spanking new baby. I had no clue what to do, but I knew our lives had changed forever. I learned to breastfeed and change a diaper in the hospital. We had our first scare when Abigail was just hours old. The night nurse discovered sores all over her body. But no one could tell us what they were from. At a day old Abigail was already giving samples and blood for testing, but nothing came of it, and they actually trusted us to take this little one home. Since Jordan and I had no idea what newborns were like we just figured Abigail was normal. She was eating and gaining weight. She slept well and smiled around three days old at her daddy, of course. She even flipped herself over from her stomach to her back a couple times her first week home. We figured she would be a wonder baby. Abigail was a great baby and always has been. She ate and slept like a champ and rarely, if ever, cried. I still do not know what Abigail’s cry sounds like because we never hear it.

We went to her two-month check up and she was gaining weight perfectly. That is all I was concerned with since I was breastfeeding. The pediatrician did her check up and said she looked perfect except for her vision. We had not even noticed because we just figured all newborns had bad vision and weird focusing issues. Abigail looked up for her first 10-12 months of life. You could barely see her pupils she looked up so much. She never focused or tracked anything. This led us to Atlanta to an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist. The doctor told us that her eyes looked perfect but he was concerned that there was maybe an issue with her connection between her eyes and her brain, so he scheduled us to have an MRI when she was six months old. Jordan and I were new and naïve at this process at this point, so we were worried our little baby was blind. I even remember researching everything I could find about babies who were born blind. Best-case scenario we figured she would be that baby with little goggles, and those babies are adorable so we secretly were kind of excited about getting baby goggles.

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Looking back on her baby pictures I do not know how we did not see it. But this is her looking up, as she always did. This is what concerned the doctors.

However, in the meantime we went back for our four-month check up, and our pediatrician was again happy with her growth but there was another issue. She had very low muscle tone. At four months her head control was still similar to a newborn’s. Abigail did not gain full head control until recently. But she was diagnosed with hypertonia, or as they call it ‘floppy baby syndrome.’ So we found ourselves going to a neurologist to do more tests. The neurologist was puzzled by Abigail’s vision as well. But they wanted to do blood work to determine the cause of her hypertonia, called a hypertonia panel. We did multiple rounds of blood work to determine things like her vitamin levels. We did a few urine tests, and urine tests for a baby are no fun and gross! We also did an EEG to test for seizures. All these tests came out clear. Which is a praise, but we realized then that this might be a long journey. Our days of researching everything were done. I knew all we could do was wait for something to come through with an answer.

Thankfully, at this point of our journey we started occupational and physical therapy. Abigail was about five months old, and she could not do much of anything. She barely could sit up with support. She rarely played with toys or noticed anything in her environment. She could not focus or track anything with those crazy eyes. And she had zero protective instincts. If you went to ‘drop’ Abigail she never reacted or got scared. To remember all that, and then to see her today is truly a miracle. Therapy has been amazing for her!!

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Her first time in her Bumbo chair. She could barely sit in it for a minute or two without falling over to one side or another. Now we use this seat every day and her legs are so much longer!

The day for the MRI came, and we made our three hour trip to Children’s early in the morning. Abigail had to go on a fast and could not eat that morning. It was a long morning with a tired, hungry baby, but we made it. They took us into our room to put Abigail under so she could go do her test. It was hard for them to find her tiny vein to put her IV in, and I had to step out of the room. My baby who never cries was screaming and I could not handle it. Then they got her ready to be out under. They put the medicine in her IV and within a minute she was out. It was one of the hardest things we had to watch. They rolled her out and I remember Jordan and I crying in each others’ arms. It was a long day for us all but we all survived, and made it home safe and sound. Two days later they called with the results, saying nothing was wrong. This would become a normal for us.

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In her precious little hospital gown getting ready to go back for her MRI. December 2015, seven months old

Our one neurologist gave up on us saying they just were not sure what other tests to do for Abigail. They referred us to another neurologist at Children’s. So back to Children’s we went. The doctor at Children’s wanted us to do an EMG test to check her muscle function. It was the craziest test we have done. Jordan and I were in the room with the doctor, and Abigail was laying on the hospital bed. To do the test the doctor had to stick little needles in Abigail’s muscles and send shocks into her muscles to minister her reactions. The doctor was on one side placing the needles and turning on the machine. I was on the bed holding the probes in place and Jordan was on the other side trying to hold Abigail down. It was like playing twister with all three of our hands on every inch of Abigail, and if someone walked in it would have been a sight. But that test came back normal too. Her muscles worked perfectly!

We have gone to an orthopedic doctor recently and you can read our story about that appointment here. But again Abigail’s bone structure was great! The last test we are waiting for is her genetic test. We did her blood work for it back in November. They said the results could take up to six months to come in and it has been five, so maybe we will hear from them soon. We do not have our hopes hinging on this test though because the nature of genetics testing is that they don not always give any answers. It is only a 20% chance they will find anything, and if they do it will not really change anything that we are already doing.

It has been a long two-year journey for us, with lots of new experiences and lessons in patience and faith. We obviously have no answers as to why Abigail is the way she is. But we have lots of answers as to things she does not have. She is healthy and happy. She is a joy to be around and we are spoiled!! Everyone always asks us what is wrong with Abigail when we say she is behind or has special needs. We just do not have an answer, but even without a diagnoses that does not mean that we have no hope. A diagnoses will just put a name on what Abigail has, but it will not solve any thing. We will still continue to do all three therapies, and attend our doctor appointments. Yes, a diagnoses will help with getting grants and other help as time progresses, but Abigail is not defined by what is wrong with her. She is who she is because of what she can do, and her bubbly little personality God has given her.

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I miss her gummy smile!

I wrote a blog about being In the Midst of the Unknown, and we are still there today. The unknown is not a fun place to be. It feels as if we are walking a path to absolutely no where, but the view around us right now is good! While we do not know what tomorrow holds, we know that right now God has us here on this journey. It is tough in its own ways. We do not know what Abigail’s quality of life will be, or even what she is capable of. She has the potential to regress any day, and that scares me more than anything. She could be our child who never leaves home. She could be in a wheelchair in the next year or so. We simply do not know. It is the not knowing that is the hardest. I want to make plans. I want to grow our family. I want to know what the next ten years will look like, but we cannot even predict the next ten weeks.

This journey of the unknown has stretched my faith and my patience to the maximum. I never planned to have a special needs baby, no one does. But here we are diving into the special needs community headfirst. It is a life I never thought about. But it is a life that is so rewarding, and blesses me everyday. My daughter is a blessing, and she is perfect in every way. Yes, she is a little different and highly unusual in so many ways, but she is a joy and a treasure. A lot of times she will do something and we will be like, “oh, that is so Abigail.” Like she just learned to blow kisses, but she does it all her way and it is precious. I think that will be the way her life is, doing things in her own unique way. But I am so glad God gave Abigail to us to raise and love on. It is been a journey loving this girl, but I would not change a moment of it!!

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My Little Tortoise

I love recording memories during this time. Especially when Abigail is changing almost overnight! I have photo albums, an app, journals, and baby books (and this blog of course) that I use to record this time in our lives. It might seem like overkill, and I know if a second child comes along all that might not be possible to keep up with. Hopefully my poor second child will not be forgotten and left out of baby memories, at least I am going to try to do my best when the time comes. It is wonderful to go back and look at what was happening a year or two ago, and see where we are today. This time two years ago I was about 38 weeks pregnant, and ready to meet our little girl. How time flies!!

But as I sat filling out Abigail’s baby book last night in preparation for her second birthday, I came across blanks everywhere in the ‘Firsts’ section of the book. When was the first time your baby sat up? When was the first time your baby crawled? When did your baby take their first steps? When did your baby first hold their sippy cup? All blank. But, oddly it brought a smile to my face. I just wanted to ditch the baby book and create a whole new baby book unique for Abigail. The questions would read more like, ‘What brings a smile to your face when you see Abigail? What is she good at? What are some of Abigail’s skills?’

Abigail has the ability to do so much more now than she ever could! In just the last few weeks our little girl has learned so many new things. She is responding to commands. She can now lift her leg, blow kisses, clap, and lift her head when you ask her. It is exciting to be able to communicate with Abigail and know she is understanding what you are saying. She is also blowing tummy time out of the water! This baby used to hate, and I mean cry when ever you even attempted to place her on her tummy, tummy time. She could tolerate about three minutes and then she was done. She would lay her head down in defeat because she just did not have the strength to do it any longer. Today, she laughs and smiles and plays while on her tummy, and she never complains or lays her head down even after 10 or 15 minutes!!! Her physical therapist is even trying to teach her how to army crawl in hopes of giving her some mobility soon! It gives me hope for her future.

I believe Abigail will be able to talk, roll around and sit some day. It might be tomorrow or it might be 4 years from now but she shows she has the potential to do these things. Her trunk and arms are getting stronger each and every day. She is getting louder as she babbles to us. In the car I feel like sometimes I need earplugs with her constant squealing. She is rolling from side to side and flipping over from her back to her stomach and visa versa when she decides she wants to. I know we have the potential to have a roller soon and that excites me!!! My baby could be independently mobile!! Honestly, I would just love for her to be able to sit on her own. Then she could play so much easier and we could do so much more with her. We just have to get Abigail some abs!

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It is a s-l-o-w process. We have been working on tummy time since day 1. We have been working on prop sitting for almost 18 months. And we have been working on talking and babbling for about a year now. It has been a long two years of waiting to see what exactly this little girl is capable of, and it is amazing to know we still do not know. She has so much potential in her tiny little body. But that is what keeps me going – the potential for change, for improvement, for independence. To imagine Abigail one day being able to communicate with us or being able to move herself around brings tears to my eyes. I know this day might still be a long ways coming. I mean she has been able to prop sit for over a year now and not once shown any desire to even attempt to sit on her own. Did I mention she is also a little stubborn and independent? If anyone asks, she got it from her daddy. Unless Abigail wants to do something, she will not do it. Trying to get that child into her positions to exercise her is a trip. For a baby who seems to have no muscle tone, she is STRONG, and she will fight you with all she has to not be put into a certain position. But this is also good because at least she has muscles to fight with!

Abigail reminds me of the tortoise in the “Tortoise and the Hare” story. All the other toddlers her age are running laps around her right now, literally. But Abigail is not concerned with them. She is marching steadily on in her very, very slow speed. Still gaining ground everyday, but you wonder if she will ever get to the finish line. Right now it does not look like it most days. But I just think of the end of the story. It is the tortoise that wins the race. I do not say that to say that all the hares will lose, but maybe the tortoise had something going for him. He enjoyed every leg of the journey. He was not rushed or hindered by anyone else. He did not try to keep up with his neighbor. He was on his own journey, loving every minute of it and honestly he probably did not think he would even win himself. Maybe, as always, my little tortoise will teach me something yet. This life is not about how fast you get to the end. We will all get there one way or the other. But life is the journey. Am I enjoying each day? Am I living each day to the fullest? Am I doing my best in everything God has called me to? Abigail may be my little tortoise, but maybe that tortoise will be a winner yet!!!

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The Perfect Mom

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I am not perfect. In fact most days I am not even that good. I spend more time on my phone and on social media than I would like. I get impatient with Abigail. I brush off her whines to be played with or held so I can finish that one load of laundry that just has to be done. I am selfish with my desires and time. Often at the end of the day I can see the moments I should have done things differently or had a better attitude or reaction to something that happened earlier in the day.

However, despite my imperfections I love being a mom. God blessed me with my daughter and she is my responsibility to raise, and I am thankful for this even on the hard days. Raising children is not easy. They need a lot of things and attention especially when they are young. I know the teenage years come with its own list of demands and worries as every new stage of childhood does, but right now I am in the infant, dependency stage. To think that God gave you children to raise is a huge honor and one not to be taken lightly. So often we forget the big picture as we struggle through the daily grind of dirt, feeding, and playing. We forget that we only have these little people in our lives for a short period of time before they grow up and leave our houses to build lives of their own. Babies do not keep. Babies become adults out in the world who have an impact for the good or for the worse. We all want our kids to be world changers and lights in a dark world, but are we modeling that in our homes everyday with our children now?

Motherhood is a blessing. Those little arms that reach around you at just the perfect time make your whole day better. Watching your children learn and discovery as their personalities bloom in front of you is a treasure in and of itself. Knowing that this little child will soon be replaced with a man or woman making their own decisions, makes you want to store every possible memory of them you can. Yes, days can be long between the complaining, whining, cleaning, and hunting for that lost shoe. But God gave us children to enjoy, to nurture, and to teach and He trusts us with that precious child each and every day. Motherhood not only shapes the child, but it transforms you too as you learn from those precious little lives about child-like faith, dependence, and brings you face to face with your own selfish desires. God uses motherhood to mold us as we mold our children after God.

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Children are a blessing. I still remember the first day we went to listen to Abigail’s heartbeat at the OBGYN’s office. We were about 8 weeks pregnant. I had already been experiencing night sickness for about 3 weeks, but that tiny whoosing on the monitor made everything just stop for a moment. I wish that they could give every mom a recording of that precious sound. It is the sound of life. Children bring life into everything they touch. They bring joy and laughter and fun. The way they see things is astounding, and makes you realize how much the world influences you daily. Children find more joy and laughter in the simple things of life. They would rather play in the giant cardboard box than the new toy they just received. Children make life seem so simple, and they can teach us so much.

I know I am not a perfect mom, and I know I never will be. Mistakes happen, reactions will come out too fast, and time will be mismanaged. However, I want my kids to know that I was the best mother I could be. I want to be their mom that they love. I want them to know that they are loved and that we are so proud of them. I want them to know that the love God has for them trumps my love 100 fold. I want them to be children, and let innocence reign for as long as possible. I want them to feel safe in my arms, and know I will be there to support and encourage them all day, every day. I want my children to laugh and love. I want them to be different than the world, and shine in the darkness. I want them to know and understand the Truth and know God’s Word. I want my children to love one another and love others. I want them to not be afraid to be who God created them to be.

Today, I pray, not to be a perfect mom, but to be the mom Abigail needs. I pray that you will be the parent your child needs. Let us remember the big picture, that these children will not be children forever. God gives us these little lives only for a short time to raise, and then we send them out. But they are not alone! Our God who loves our children so much more than we ever could is with them every step of the way. Let us remind our children of that daily, and then remind ourselves of that even more. May your season of motherhood be blessed!

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