Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day

This is us a few weeks ago on our first camping adventure as a family of five. The only mishap was a small hole in my newish tennis shoes from a toasted marshmallow. This is us at our finest, all squished together with food in mouths and hands, dirty faces, unwashed hair, smelling of bug spray and sunscreen and sweat! We are happiest together on adventures. This is my life that I love. This is the man that made me a wife, that gave me these children. This is my husband and the father of my loves. I knew something was different about him when we met but I didn't know exactly what it was. I'm still not sure what it is about him that still gives me butterflies.

Ten years later, many moves, four states, a baby girl, a miscarriage, two baby boys. This is the man that I call mine. He pushes me to be the best me, the best mother, friend, nurse, teacher, student. He encourages me to reach for the stars, to soar through the skies. To embrace life at every turn. I loved him years ago, I love him still, each day I love him more.

My children are blessed to have him as their father. He's hands on. He's rough and tumble. He creates crazy games. He throws dance parties. He talks in silly voices. He tells them he loves them but more than telling them, you can feel it. The love he feels for his children is palpable in the air. You can feel it all around him, all around them, all around us. He shows them he loves their mother. This is the man who guides our family and lifts us up.

I have no doubt that Ryan will be our children's biggest supporter. He will be standing by their side through life, cheering them on, encouraging them to try something new, to take the next big adventure. He will be there for them during good times and not so good times, just as he has been for me. He will lift them up when they are down, lift them higher when they are high. His positive energy is a rarity these days. He will be Bella's first love and he show her how a man should treat her.

Happy Father's Day my love!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Karma at it's finest

I'm not sure that is the appropriate title for this post but it is what it is for a reason. I was recently told that maybe Bella's fingers didn't develop due to "bad karma" or something I did or didn't do in my past. I held back wanting to slap the person in the face (with a chair) and instead left them with a website with more information. It's hard to refrain sometimes but I gave myself a pat on the back for educating them instead of spending the night in jail away from my family.

Let me share that education a bit here. There's nothing I DID or did NOT do during my pregnancy to cause this. Trust me, I researched more than I care to admit. I talked to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon... okay but I didn't talk to one, I talked to multiple. We did see one during my pregnancy and after Bella was born. I talked to a pediatric plastic surgeon. I saw our pediatrician. I asked on multiple limb difference boards... I spent HOURS upon HOURS researching. What if *I* caused this? I was assured and reassured that there was nothing I did or didn't do to cause this. Could it have been the chips and homemade salsa I survived on for 2 weeks straight? Nope they said, it wasn't.

Bella has a condition called symbrachydactyly and the cause is officially unknown. While that sucks when you are a parent trying to figure out what on earth happened. It's also reassuring that there is a community or a family of other parents willing to help you and be there for you. They've "been there, done that" if you will. It is believed that it is caused during 4-6 weeks of pregnancy due to an interruption in blood flow. Many people don't even know they are pregnant at this stage in the game! In our cause, we knew at 4 weeks. We had been trying to get pregnant for some time, so we found out right away. By the way, finding out at 4 weeks means that your pregnancy feels like it goes on for a century.

She doesn't have amniotic band syndrome. Although early on, some doctors stated that she did... Maybe because they couldn't pronounce symbrachydactyly or write it :) If you do a quick google search you can learn the difference in the two. ABS usually effects other parts of the body as well as a limb. We were lucky that she was a perfectly healthy baby girl with 5 fingers missing, nothing short of perfection in our eyes.

As a I mentioned earlier the community that surrounds you, a google and Facebook search lead me to boards and discussions. It lead me to Camp No Limits, Born Just Right and The Lucky Fin Project. It surrounded us with parents that were there for us and supportive. They answered my crazy questions at 1am. They listened to me voice my concerns and assured me that everything would be fine. They were right.

Five 1/2 years later, things are better than fine, things are great. Our girl is not only surviving, she's thriving. She's doing incredible. She's reading books, she's tying shoes, she buttons clothes, she zippers her coat, she even makes her own sandwiches... now only if she could learn to pick up her room :) I want you all to know that I'm here for other families as well. Reach out to me! I'll answer you, I promise. Find me on Facebook, message me, I'll do my best to help you.

CAMP NO LIMITS all booked!

This picture was taken just last weekend while we were camping. Bella and I were walking around the camp ground just the girls. Dirty from...