Today is Ellen's 16th birthday. I sit here reflecting on that day and the months prior to that day.
August 27, 1994.
Ellen's story is long. I will tell some of it.
Ellen was one of those surprise babies that we Mom's have sometimes! I was 40 yrs old. I had 5 children, my twins were going on 5 yrs. old. I felt satisfied. I was rather surprised I felt that way because I wasn't sure if I would ever not long for another child. So when I realised I was pregnant, I had mixed emotions. I hated that I wasn't completely thrilled. With my other pregnancies, I wanted to tell everybody that I was expecting again.....this time I was hesitant. I remember the day I went to my Doc to be sure, I saw him in the hallway before he came in the room. He knew why I was there, looked at me and said "Really?" It wasn't that he thought it was terrible. It was just a surprise to everyone!
I won't even go into the circumstances during my pregnancy....that's another story. I will just say that Dale lost his job early that year due to a down turned economy. That has a familiar ring to it doesn't it! He works in the construction business which feels it pretty quickly. It was a very rough time. That's all I'm saying....
My pregnancy went great. I was thrilled to know it was just 1 baby this time.....I was very concerned that it could be 2 again. Having two babies is fine once.....but twice? You know what you are in for if it happens again!
I went into labor 4 days early. My sister Jean and Dale took me to the Doc and he sent me to the hospital. Jean has a much better memory about all this than I do. I just know that labor was long, it hurt like mad when they would check how far along I was, Ellen was showing signs of stress during labor pains, the Doc suggested an epidural sometime as night was approaching (I went in the hospital in the morning, I think), I resisted at first because I never had trouble having a baby.....good grief, I gave birth to 5, but gave in. Labor lasted all night. It was getting close to shift change again when it was decided to go ahead with a C-section. Things happened fast and I was soon in the OR and we were having a baby. My very brave hubby watched as they opened me up and delivered a little girl named Ellen Corinn. I don't know the time, just know it was morning after 7. I know the Doc doing the surgery was talking about OJ Simpson! How's that for a memory!! After Ellen was born I was able to see her briefly then they whisked her off to the NICU...she had stopped breathing. I forgot to say that the cord was wrapped around her neck 3 times which was preventing her from being born naturally. A nurse said that it was good we did the section or we wouldn't be bringing a baby home with us. I have tears as I remember that!
Ellen started out as a very sleepy baby. I couldn't imagine life without her. She was the darling of our family. As time went by, I had questions about her development. She seemed slow. I mentioned it to the Doc. we were seeing at the time and he just said that all children develop differently. Geez, I knew that. I had 6 of them! By the time Ellen was approaching her second birthday, I started voicing my concerns to others in our family. They were noticing too and I was encouraged to take her to a pediatrician. We always just used our family Doc for our kids and didn't have a clue who to choose. Believe me, the Lord led me to the right practice and the right Doc in that practice! Dr. Bonnie Zehr sat and listened to me as I expressed all my concerns. I felt so heard, finally! She set us up with early intervention. Ellen had some testing to find where her challenges were. We placed her in a wonderful program with therapy. All this did not happen without some heart rendering moments for me. This was my baby.....I was sending her off to be away from me....in a van.....to a classroom with strangers....God, why is she like this....was it because I resisted having the section earlier during her birth....would she have been ok??
Ellen had lots of testing. I will never forget the day when a Doc told me it had nothing to do with the cord being wrapped around her neck. I accepted that but it still took some time for me to really believe there was nothing I could have changed. I think a lot of Mom's with special needs kids go thorough that.
Ellen grew. She eventually started talking although it was hard to understand her. That was a huge frustration for her. She went from a very sleepy baby to an extremely active toddler. Way over the top active. She was diagnosed with ADHD. Living with her was challenging. I had to think about everything to keep her safe. She would use anything to get into everything. We put up gates in the house and tried to keep one room safe for Ellen. We had to put up taller gates as she grew. I won't go into all the things she figured out which nearly sent me over the edge. When Ellen was 4 our daughter Marcy was in a very serious accident. Life would never be the same again for her. I was her care giver till she could get strong enough to do it by herself. We had to renovate our home to accommodate Marcy's needs. Ellen's extreme activity during this time was about sending me to the brink of insanity. Ellen had to go to the Doc for some reason over this time. Her Doc had known about Marcy's accident. She saw I was at the end of my rope and suggested that it may be time to put Ellen on meds to help control her activity. She had always said it was too soon prior to that. I must have looked a mess cause I didn't even ask for them! (but I did tell her if it wasn't Ellen that was going to go on something, it was going to be me. I meant it!) Oh what a difference for Ellen! For the first time ever she was able to sit on my lap and have me read to her. She would pick up a pencil and scribble on a paper. We were soon able to take down the gates. We didn't fear for her safety when outside. Life was still a challenge but soooo much better!
Ellen has experienced surgery on her eyes twice, tubes in her ears, back surgery and surgery on her right foot. Life is not a piece of cake for her. But she is an absolute delight! She prefers a regular routine, doesn't like new situations although she adjusts very quickly to them. She hates going to the dentist and stresses every time although it's never as bad as she expects it to be! She continues to learn. She has been blessed with wonderful classrooms with wonderful teachers. She is learning to be independent in life, as much as she will be able. Her supporters have high hopes for her. I try really hard not to be a Mother Hen...there are times that I don't think I can stand it for her to be too independent....I need to be her protector....the world can be ugly! Sigh......I let go cause it's what is best for Ellen.
Happy Birthday to our beautiful Ellen. Sweet 16!
Ellen holding her niece, Paityn
Ready for her first IU Prom
Mom wrapped something in a lot of newspaper!
Ellen plays Challenger Baseball
Ellen loves NASCAR
Jeff Gordan is her man!