She'll melt every heart she meets...
Ella Sabine Casten, born on June 10, 2010.
Ava and Henry were c-sections. According to our doctor, our third baby was to be c-section as well. We might've had a chance at a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian) with Henry, but a VBAC2 (Vaginal Birth After 2 Cesarians) with this one was not going to happen according to our doctor.
Lindsay signed up for pre-natal yoga. She had always desired to give birth naturally but accepted what had been told to her; as did I. Life went on. During yoga, Lindsay learned that a VBAC2 was possible and that she was a prime candidate for it. We talked. There was about 3+ months left in the pregnancy. We researched. We talked some more--to each other, family members, friends and strangers. We decided to go for it. We almost changed doctors to do so, but our doctor ended up supporting us (at least two of the four in the practice did). We hired a doula, Carrie. We prepared. We took a class taught by Carrie; The Bradley Method~we prayed, we practiced, we held on tight.
Lindsay went into labor on June 10th in the wee hours of the morning...some 14 hours later Ella Sabine Casten was born; without any medications for Lindsay, she was born...brought into this world through the strength and love of her parents. Our 3rd child. Her middle name is her late grandmother's (from the Casten side) name.
Ella is the sweetest girl you'll ever meet. She has a tiny voice that gently pierces your heart and lets the floodgates of love open wide. She'll rest her head on your shoulder to show her love for you and she'll place her face to yours to receive a kiss. She'll laugh when you turn her upside down and tickle her soft neck, and flap her arms in utter excitement over being alive.
Ella, from the moment of labor, has shown Lindsay and I the miracle of birth as God intended it to be~~all natural. She came to us on her terms, on her agenda, when she was ready.
God's intention. What might that be?
Right after Ella was born, the hospital's pediatrician did the routine check-up with Ella. She reported to us that she suspected Down's Syndrome.
We had Ella tested by a geneticist--the longest two weeks of our lives. All the while we were taking care of her we would try to see what the pediatrician saw; sometimes we saw "it", sometimes we didn't.
Test results...negative. No Down's Syndrome~~at least not according to the cells that were tested. You see...they can't test all of them, there's too many. So they sample random cells and hope they get it right. They advised us to watch her as she grows and if there are any delays or anything that does not seem right, to go get it checked out.
There was something. Something that did not seem right.
Ella has yet to crawl. In fact, she has yet to use her legs in any functional way. She cannot bear any weight, cannot purposefully move them to help her move.
We have seen regression. She was, at one point, able to stand holding on to something for 30+ seconds...not any more.
Her hands shake. Tremble and tremor is more like it. Think of Parkinson's Disease and you'll get what I mean. We see the shaking increase in frequency and duration, as well as in severity.
Ella is in physical therapy. Her current diagnosis is hypotonia of the legs, so the PT is working on strengthening them. Not too much going on there.
We have her one-year appt. next week. We will get a CT Scan and/or MRI.
We have to know what God has intended for our little "Squishy" (a nickname we gave her right from the start before we knew anything--she was just such a 'squishy' little baby!)
As I write this she sleeps. Each time I put her down for a nap I cover her legs with a blanket her Grandma Gibson made. It lies on her legs, wrapped around them with the love it was made with, and when I return to get her from her mid-day slumber, the folds in the blanket are as they were when I left.
Lindsay and I talk. We research. We pray.
Ella loves to dance. She'll shake her upper body, shoulders moving forward and head bobbing to the rhythm she hears. She smiles, she laughs, she plays. She cries, she whines, she drops her head in frustration. She is all she is right now...a lovable, gorgeous, pretty girl.
We know that Ella will fulfill all that she and God have intended for her life.
We are here for her.