Thursday, January 26, 2012


I don't know about you, but I need time and distance before I can write about traumatic events that have occurred in my life. My eldest daughter is 13 years old, and still, I'm not yet ready to write her birth story. The first tenuous month of her life was the most stressful . . . most spiritual . . . most profound time . . . (see? I'm not able to express myself on this subject.) I wish I were talking about the miracle of birth and the anxieties of parenthood that every new mother goes through, but my first baby's arrival into this world involved a long and winding walk through the valley of the shadow of death. She was born full-term, but a series of complications quickly caused her health to spiral out-of-control.

She was pumped full of several medications that we were warned would most likely cause serious side effects. Should she survive, we were told to expect hearing loss and stunted growth. Shortly after she turned 4 years old, I was convinced that she was partially deaf. In a panic, I made an appointment for a full range of testing. Turns out, she suffers only from "selective hearing loss." She heard me just fine when I called—she just chose to ignore me. The disorder persists to this day. The louder I yell, the worse her hearing gets.

I've had to make peace with the fact that due to her scary start in life, my eldest daughter's height potential has been negatively affected. I have been accused of pride regarding my own height. When my back isn't out, I stand 5'10. I remember reading several years ago that the average height for American women is 5'5, so I was relieved to see that, while my daughter would never be tall like me or her younger sisters (all three who sit among the 90th percentile on height charts), she had reached the 5'5 mark by her 12th birthday. Except she didn't stop growing. She's up to 5'7 now, and one of the tallest girls on her junior high volleyball team.

She can pretend all she wants that she doesn't hear me,
but I still call her Shorty.

Dinner last night: pecan-encrusted chicken, tortellini

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Exactly three years ago:


Katherine said...

How awful to have to go through something like that. But it seems that everyone made it through without too much damage or loss of height.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I can see why it would be hard to ever emotionally recover from something so scary as that. I'm thrilled to hear she's doing so well! I'm tall, but it looks like two of my boys are going to be small - at least if what the charts predict is correct.

Unknown said...

I can SO relate. When my now-20-year-old was born he had all sorts of complications that put him in the special care nursery on antibiotics with possibly dangerous side effects. One, of course, was hearing loss. So I got his hearing tested ALL THE TIME. Every time he didn't respond to something I said I rushed him in to be tested. Finally, after years of humoring me, my pediatrician pulled me aside and said, "He's ignoring you. It's all okay." But even two decades later I can still think back on those first months of his life and the flood of emotions is overwhelming. No, I don't think I could write that birth story, either.

LisaDay said...

But it lessens a bit. While we still grab the stethescope once in a while, we don't do it every time he is sick. Glad to see your daughter, like our son, beat the odds.


Karen M. Peterson said...

My brother was born 7 weeks premature and the doctors told my mom he would always be a bit of a runt and potentially slow.

He's 6'3 and an actual, literal, tested genius.

Claudya Martinez said...

That is a very intense way to start a life. She seems to be thriving.