Happy October!

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. To me it marks the beginning of my favorite holidays and the baking and decorating that come with them! A little over 2 years ago another reason to love October was added to my list. As most of you know, in June 2015 I was blessed with my beautiful daughter. Ellana was born with Down Syndrome and October is the month we celebrate that!

I started using my Instagram, and soon after created this blog, so that people could see our experience raising a child with Down Syndrome. I share the joys, the hard times, the surprises, and the setbacks. Jalin and I could not be happier that she chose us to be her parents. She’s a spunky, goofy, and sweet as anything. And here’s the thing, she’s absolutely full of life. There is not one second that we would have considered not having Ellana because of the unknowns that surround Down Syndrome. She has been our sunshine since day one. Through the darkest, scariest times I could tell she was just happy to be here with us.

There have been surgeries, appointments with specialists, and therapies. She can’t run yet and sometimes she still falls when she walks. Communicating is tricky as she can only say and sign a few words. But I think she’s thriving. She’s happy. She loves to play. She loves her sister. She loves to be outside and when the wind blows through her open window in the car. She loves tickle fights and a game of chase. She loves Tangled, Brave, and Moana. The list of things she loves goes on and on. And you just can’t tell me that her quality of life is any less because maybe she can’t run yet or can’t talk in sentences.

So we celebrate her this month, and all people with Down Syndrome! I’ll be honest, it’s a journey that may be harder than others. But I’ll also tell you that I’ve seen people with Down Syndrome accomplish some amazing things! I know that the future holds something exciting for Ellana, so for now we press on into the unknown. She’s one strong little girl and she is going to do great things. I’m sharing a little video of her life so far. I really just want to share some hope and encouragement to anyone who may have a sweet little one with Down Syndrome. Let me know if you guys are interested in having me share more on Ellana and Down Syndrome!

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Mira Cait – 4 Months Old

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This babe turned 4 months old yesterday! As you can tell she did not want anything to do with the banana we offered her. I think she felt a little betrayed that I’d give her something so icky. Mama’s milk is all she’s interested in at this point! Oh, and munchin’ on any and all fingers including her own.

She’s not a huge fan of tummy time. She’ll tolerate it for about 2 seconds before she starts to cry. We’re still working on rolling over, which she did for the first time yesterday!

She really enjoys when her sister is near her playing with toys. Most of the time she’ll give me a good 3 hour nap during her sister’s 2 1/2 hour nap. Saves my sanity every time!

Her absolute favorite places to be are my lap, my hip, or me wearing her in our sling. She has her Dad convinced she doesn’t like him. Jalin’s just a bit overdramamtic. He’s just used to Ellana being a daddy’s girl since day 1 and Mira just may be a Mama’s girl. Or maybe she just knows I’m the milk lady and what else does a babe need?

About 3 weeks ago I realized she had a birth mark on her left cheek! Totally thought it was just the way a shadow would fall on her face. It’s the cutest thing!

I’m just over here wishing time would slow down just a wee bit. Especially with the holidays coming up, those months are just going to fly by!

 

 

 

 

Preparing for Preschool

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We took Ellana to the park this morning to play before it got too hot. She played on the slide with her daddy and he pushed her in the swing. Sitting there watching them my mind went back to her monthly therapy evaluation last week. During the appointment we began the discussion of what happens after this year. At the age of 3 Ellana will begin recieving therapy services through the school system. Yes, this is a year away but to me it’s just around the corner. And my mind couldn’t stop racing!

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I thought about what I would do while she is gone and how much I’ll miss her. I wondered what her favorite activities will be and about the friends she’ll make. And then some of the harder questions came to mind as I watched my sweet girl. Will she be able to communicate by then? Will she be more mobile? What do I need to help her learn before next year? Now her therapies happen at home and I’m able to participate. The thought of her being in the care of a stranger made me nervous. It still does.

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I know how she communicates now and what her little sounds mean. I know how to help her when she gets frustrated or sad. I know what she needs. I’M her mama. And the thought of putting my sweet baby in the hands of someone who doesn’t know her, no matter how qualified they may be, scares me. Because what if they don’t understand and she can’t explain? So many things can go wrong and I’m not sure I ever won’t be anxious.

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I talked with her therapists about what would be happening this next year. In August, Ellana will have her annual evaluation to go over her service plan. Then in December she will have another evaluation that will be sent over to the school system to be reviewed before our meetings in March. These meetings will help everyone determine the best services  for Ellana once she attended preschool August 2018. I’m hopeful these meetings will bring some peace to my heart. I’m definitely the person that over thinks and over complicates everything. Even more so when it comes to my babies.

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A small part of me just wants to hold my baby and keep her here with me. I’m scared of the unknowns and what if this happens or that happens. But the other part of me wants her to learn and grow and become this amazing little person. So for now we just work as hard as we can and see what this next year brings us! I’m sure I’m not the only mama who feels this way. And to you I say, we are strong and our babies are strong. Things will fall into place and everything will be okay.

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I feel like this this is a little backwards as I haven’t talked about Ellana’s therapies before, but this was on my heart. If anyone is interested let me know and I can do a few posts on Ellana’s journey with therapy so far!

 

 

Mira Cait

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And just like that, my sweet Mira is 1 month old. She is definitely a mama’s girl. Is almost always being held and enjoys being in a sling. She loves watching her sister and being smothered with kisses from her. Ellana is a fantastic big sister. She has already helped me with diaper changes and putting lotion on after bath time. Watching my two babies grow this last month has made my heart so full. And since we’ve had our girl for a month already I thought it would be fun to share her birth story with you!

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April 13th started out like any other day. No sign that I’d be meeting my baby later that night. We got up and went to get donuts for breakfast. Spent time hanging out with Ellana who took her first steps that day! Around 12pm I started to feel some cramps. I didn’t want to get my hopes up so I left it alone. When 1pm came and the crampy feeling was still there, we started to time them.

Between 4pm and 5pm the contractions were 3-4 min apart but were not very intense, so I waited another hour before going to the hospital. At 6pm we decided to go to the hospital just to see what was going on. It was about 7:15pm once we had dropped Ellana off at my in laws house, arrived at the hospital, and admitted to triage. To my surprise I was only 3cm dilated. The nurse told me to try walking around and come back in a hour and they would check me again. That was quite exhausting. Walking is the last thing I wanted to be doing while I was already uncomfortable. After the hour was up I was 4cm and the midwife decided to go ahead and break my water. This was not something I had experienced with Ellana. With her my water broke as she was born. So I was a little nervous because I knew that contractions usually intensify after your water breaks. And sure enough that’s what happened.

It was mainly just a lot of back pain and the nurse recommended I try the tub. I was in there for about an hour but it didn’t seem to help with any pain. Next I tried bouncing on the birthing ball for a few minutes but that didn’t seem to help either. At this point I could tell I was close to delivering because I started to feel sick to my stomach and threw up. I asked them to check me and I was 8cm. Despite my mom’s efforts to massage my back this whole time, the pain kept getting worse. I’m pretty sure I just about squeezed both of Jalin’s hands off.  I decided to try nitrous oxides I see if it would take the edge of my back pain. This was a frustrating point for me because I had wanted so badly to go completely natural but the pain in my back was so intense it was hard to focus. When they brought the nitrous oxide, I went to put the mask to my face and all I could smell was plastic and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. And that was worse for me than any of the pain and I knew I absolutely didn’t want an epidural. So I did my best to control my breathing and just kept telling myself that it would be over so soon.

I don’t think I was checked again after 8cm but I just felt like I needed to start pushing and the midwife said I could if I wanted. I decided that being on all fours put less pressure on my back and that seemed to help. And the pain from the contractions seemed less intense once I started pushing. It was very obvious that Mira was a much bigger baby than Ellana had been. It took 4 pushes just to get her shoulders out! At 11:59 pm, half an hour after I started pushing, Mira Cait was born! 8lbs 8 oz of pure sweetness. She had swallowed a little bit of fluid but they were able to get it out in the room. Mira  was healthy, happy, and chunky and Jalin and I were completely overjoyed with our new baby girl.

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10 Things About Me

Hello Everyone!

I know there is a convenient little About Page you can click on to learn a tad about my family, but I just wanted to share a bit more about myself. So, here is a fun post for you, 10 Things About Me!

1. I chose the the name of my blog knowing I wanted to use my soon-to-be last name, Fuller. It took a bit and was probably the 2nd hardest part of starting this blog. With the help of my wonderful mother, and in spite of my horrible case of pregnancy brain, A Life Made Fuller was born. It fit perfectly as my life has been made so full by Jalin and Ellana.

2. Jalin and I met in highschool. I was 15 and he was 17. We only dated a few months in highschool but fell in love again 5 years later and here we are. It’s so interesting to me the way things all work out in life.

3. We’re raising our family in the center of the Land of Enchantment. Right under the Sandia Mountains and surrounded by the (sometimes) beautiful desert. Jalin is very adamant about staying here so I’m determined this year to really explore and appreciate this wonderful state.

4. We were blessed with our Ellana on June 10th, 2015. It was the best day of our lives. Tiny girl was only 6lbs. 1oz and 19in. And we are expecting our second daughter, Mira, at the end of March!

5. Our daughter, Ellana, has Down Syndrome. We received what I’ll refer to as a partial diagnosis at the very first ultrasound I had, at about 12 weeks, due to a few things they found on the scan. They urged me to get an ammnio but I didn’t see the need to risk that. It was a very stressful pregnancy with a lot of ultrasounds and monitoring. Not to mention the ever changing list of things they found on every scan. It was definitely not the picture perfect pregnancy I had imagined. I was so thankful the day Ellana was born. I looked at my sweet girl and held her close, I knew instantly she had Down Syndrome. And she was absolutely perfect.

6. I became a mom when I was 20 and I can honestly say I don’t regret it one bit. Since I was a little girl the one thing that has never changed is the fact that I wanted to be a mother. And as I got older I could never find a career that fit me. The thought of spending years in school for something I wasn’t passionate about seemed to be such a waste. Though Ellana was quite the surprise, I can’t imagine doing a thing different.

7. Yep, we are going to be the parent’s of 2 little girls under 2 years old! Twice the mess. Twice the personality. Twice the work. I’m gonna be one tired mama! But I think it will be so worth it. I loved being so close to my siblings growing up. My brother and I are 15 months apart, and my sister and I are 3 years apart. The memories I have of us are ones I treasure and I hope I will see that bond and those memories being made between my children.

8. I had a really difficult time breastfeeding Ellana. I was only able to feed her for 6 months before I completely lost my supply. That was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to accept as a mother. I knew these things happen and I knew there was formula but in my mind I couldn’t deny the fact that breast milk was better for her. It was heartbreaking as I saw the toll that the formula took on her little body. The tummy troubles that caused her pain, I can’t even tell you how many times I cried with her. with the arrival of Mira only a month away I’m definitely doing the research to correct the mistakes I made. If any of you have tips on breastfeeding please please PLEASE share them in the comments below. I will be so grateful to you!

9. I’m not one for big serious resolutions. Especially after becoming a mom. I’ve already aquired mom brain and I just can’t plan for anything. However, I’m all about fun things and projects! My biggest New Years Resolution is to learn how to sew. I don’t think there is anything cuter than a little homemade dress! And not to mention two babes in matching homemade dresses! So I’m hoping this lovely spring weather we are getting will kick my booty into creative mode this month!

10. I created this page in the summer but have yet to post on it until today. I’ve been struggling for months to come up with the “perfect” about page and the “perfect” first post. I finally had to decide that perfect was impossible for me and to just post the next thing that came to my mind and go from there!

So there you have it! A very random 10 Things About Me. My big hope for this blog is to reach out to moms. To share advice, laughs, experiences, and support. Because let’s be honest, being a mom is tough and we could all use it. 2nd to my own mama, reading blogs helped me so much when I became a mother. I’m so excited to contribute to a wonderful community dedicated to helping moms on their journies through motherhood.