That plans are good for airline reservations and home renovations but not always for children and what matters most in life. Seven months ago I had a clear plan for our new life as a soon to be family of 4 and how I wanted things for our new baby. I had chosen a midwife instead of a doctor so I could labor at home as long as possible, only spending a few hours at the hospital before returning home with our new little girl. I hadn’t even washed bottles or purchased formula as in my mind breast feeding was the only option. Our crazy boxer dog had just returned from training ready to embrace another child. Three nights prior to Ellie’s birth our dog Millie could be heard barking in the backyard, not abnormal for her, but this was a menacing bark followed by a loud shriek. She came racing back into the house quickly filling our entire downstairs with the intense odour of a skunk. The smell became engrained in the walls of our house. I spent the next day filling the house with bowls of vinegar and candles. Re-washing baby blankets and sheets, cleaning couches and floors so our new little girl didn’t come home to a place that would quickly make her regret she had made the journey. At my 29 week pregnancy appointment, Ellie was in a breach position so we had an appointment scheduled for a doctor to attempt to flip her into the correct position. The morning of the appointment we awoke to the sound of water dripping, dripping into large pools of water. A leak in the form of a flood on every floor of our house. Covering baby swings and beds and bouncy chairs in water from our bathroom. As we raced to the appointment at the hospital we left a house covered in towels and buckets that still sort of smelled like a skunk. The flip was successful and the decision was made to induce labor so she would not return to a breach position. So there I lay, confined to a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, as my midwives transferred care to the on call obstetrician. Plans were not working out, I began to fear what else could happen. Two days later I am returning home without my new beautiful baby girl who would stay in the NICU for two weeks. I sat crushed in her rocking chair missing her movement inside my tummy with no comfort in her touch. My arm still smelt like her from when I held her before I left and I pressed it against my nose inhaling the tiny pieces left of her scent. The next day it was confirmed that Ellie was born with a heart defect, breast feeding was proving to be too hard for her and her meals would need to be fortified with formula to add extra calories. My need for control, my lifelong desire to plan everything to perfection was slipping through my fingers. It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life, and I sat heartbroken in my daughter’s purple room wondering what could happen next. What happened next is that we moved through life and got to know our new and wonderful family of four. After putting Mya to bed each night, I raced to the hospital and held Ellie in the dark and quiet nighttime of the NICU. Without worrying about laundry or dishes or dinner I rocked Ellie for hours talking with another mother with a baby in the bed beside Ellie who has become a dear friend to me. I held Ellie’s sweet hand and made sure both my arms smelt like her before going home to sleep. Travis immediately asking to smell the hints of Ellie upon my return. And when the day arrived when we could bring her home I felt a deep happiness I have never felt before as we all sat together on our living room floor. An appreciative and blessed glow that has stayed with me even today. Now, the crazy dog is living with a family who can give her the time she needs. I never have been able to breast feed Ellie so I pumped for the first 5 months of her life. She is now exclusively on a special formula while a complication from her surgery heals. The other day I had planned on running errands with the girls, but Ellie awoke with a cold so instead Mya painted a beautiful painting for her father while Ellie and I cuddled on the couch and helped her decide what to draw. I should learn that life will just happen and we will handle things as they come. Things do not turn out as planned, but as Ellie has taught me, diversions have the ability to be just as perfect when you let them.
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