Saturday, September 29, 2012

Reflections on Zeeki's First Year of Life

Gotta say, I've been working on this post for the past week and a half! Maybe today I'll get it published ;)
Our gorgeous Zeeki boy,
Your first year of life has been wonderful but it has also had incredible challenges.
Nothing Yah couldn't help us overcome and certainly nothing like a life-threatening illness but I would be lying if I said it had all been smooth sailing.
Knowing how quickly memories fade, I wanted to take a quick second to document in words and pictures, reflections on the first year of your life.
We love you so much little man and are so thankful that Yah sent you to us!
Here goes!
{At your ultrasound....we had prayed already that you would grow well in my womb, that you would be born into a room full of joy and that you would live a life that was pleasing to Yah in relationship with Him in Yeshua!}

{Other than terrible sciatica, the pregnancy went smoothly...}
{...and you were, in fact, born into a room full of love, joy and great peace. I love this shot Mell captured of you holding onto Daddy's finger! You were born at 41+ weeks.}
{Hazel's (our midwife) best advice to me immediately post-birth was to let you feed in your own time. After 4 bouts of nipple vasospasm, I had been hopeful about a positive breastfeeding experience this time round...and we got it! Yay! Praise to YHVH! I really believe that not forcing you on gave us both the best start. There were also natural remedies that I tried leading up to the birth and I think these helped too. Thanks again Hazel for your stellar advice!}
{In the first two weeks, you slept alot and we loved having you close. I carried you in the Close/Caboo Carrier from Day 2. And you fell asleep as soon as I put you in.}
{We soaked up the gorgeousness of your tiny fingers and toes and that cute little button nose. By two weeks, we had started EC (elimination communication) with you and you were learning the aural cues and going over the toilet.}
{I had every intention to keep you in cloth. This yellow MCN was one I made for you during pregnancy. You stayed in cloth for about a month.}
{From about 3 weeks, we saw this face. You seemed to be distressed most of the time for most of the day. It was awful and I was beside myself. I had 4 other kids at home who's needs needed to be taken care of, I was sleep deprived and you just continued to scream and not sleep. I remember one day when Dad had gone to work. You screamed from 5.30am until 7.30pm with only one forty minute sleep in there. Despite my best efforts to rock, feed or cuddle you to sleep, nothing seemed to work. This was the first time that this had happened. I mean, we'd had other babies who had needed help falling off to sleep but they still at least slept. You on the other hand were so distressed that it was like you couldn't sleep! I bumped into our beautiful friend Elissa L in the plaza one day who gave me some (glycerite) tinctures to help; camomille and catnip. They did seem to take the edge off for a bit but it was still a really hard time. Your screaming seemed to send Liji, Zippi and Brett (all who have sensory processing issues) over the edge. As a mother, my heart ached because I couldn't take away this constant state of pain you were in. I tried though mate, really I did! It seemed like it was colic and silent reflux together. I tried you on Infacol and that seemed to help the colic while we tried Zantac for the reflux for about a month before deciding that wasn't for you. }
{You hated travelling in the car - even short trips to town (less than 5 minutes away) were completely stressful for everyone! With our other kids, I popped them in the car to settle them but with you, it seemed the only 'thing' that would settle you was me carrying you!!! This made travelling anywhere almost impossible. A twenty minute trip of you screaming hysterically was almost all that we could bear. It wasn't your fault of course, but it was so challenging because we still had to go places and yet when we did and you would scream, Liji and Zippi would also meltdown. When you were 7 weeks old, I took you to Terrigal with me for my annual mother's group girls week away. It is a 2.5 hour trip each way. It took me (and Jo) 6 hours each way to get there because you screamed almost the whole way there and back. I cried many times because no matter what I tried, you hated the car. You hated being held by anyone other than me. It was only me you wanted.}

{There were of course many happy when we saw your first gorgeous smile at 4 weeks.}

{For some of the family photo session we had with our Mell Mallin, you were quite calm...}

{ Mell was able to get some lovely relaxed shots...}

{...but then, it got too much for you. Even from that early on it was like you were trying to tell me that you didn't like a lot of stimulation. It was kind of all or nothing with you for quite some time.}
{We attended our first baby-wearing picnic as a family which was lovely...}
{...afterall, we'd carried you on and off since you were just over 24 hours old. Dad enjoyed carrying you in the Caboo.}
{...and when you reached around 4 months, you really seemed to be most comfortable in the Ergo.}

{And man was I glad of it on this particular day. At 7 weeks, I took you away with me for my annual mother's group weekend break. I took my friend Jo with me. It normally takes me 2.5 hours to drive there. This time it took me 6 hours each way. You hated it. You screamed almost the whole way up and the whole way back. It was really hard hearing you scream like that because it was so intense and sounded like you were going to have a heart-attack. I'm not exaggerating! Jo couldn't believe it either. When we got there, however, you were as content as anything! Loved being in the Ergo walking along the beach, slept beautifully and was content. Sigh. Looking back, those times of you screaming for hours on end was not a once off. Many of our days would be like this and the only thing I could do was hold you and let you cry in my arms, feeding you and loving you through all the tears and screams.}

{The big kids all loved adoring you and helping me as much as they could with you. Liji and Zippi both struggled with your screaming (because of their own sensory challenges) but they all loved on you every day}.

{Celebrating with you in the tent for Feast of Tabernacles- 2011.}

{You loved looking at Daddy but would very rarely go to him. This was hard for dad who has always been SO hands on with our kids. He knew you loved him and that it wasn't your fault, but you wouldn't settle with him until about 11 months of age}.

{Such a GORGEOUS little boy with bright eyes taking in all that the world around you comprised of!}

{You enjoyed seeing Zephie Melon! There's only 8 weeks (i think!) between you little men.}

{Sleeping in your cot. You had to be wrapped and rocked to sleep in exactly the same way for each sleep and only I could do it...even when my back went and I was in agnoy, you still knew if it wasn't me and would just not settle at all - and we tried! As soon as I just did our little wrap, feed and rock, you'd go off. In the mornings you slept for a big 3 hour chunk. This meant I could take Zippi to playgroup while Dad stayed with the big kids or I could homeschool them then. You were (still are!) incredibly noise sensitive. So schooling was tricky because often you would hear the kids having fun and would wake again. You just seem to be a very sensitive little soul in so many different ways. That's not a bad thing but it definitely was a challenge when it came to noise and trying to not wake you! At 12 months you are better at sleeping through noise now but every now and then....}
{Your first beach trip -to Bonnyvale beach- when you were 4 months old. You didn't cry too much. You seemed to like the water for a while and then you had had enough! lol}
{I love this photo of you. We'd stopped at the lake at Wang and you looked straight up at the lens with those gorgeous eyes and that little smile. You're 3.5 months old here.}

{This photo was taken on the day that we went to the new house to get the keys! 3.5 months here too. You travelled out there and back (3 hours each way) silently which was one of the ONLY car trips we had where you seemed settled and quiet.}

{First attempt at solids. You had been taking food literally out of my hand since you were 4 months old. I thought we could hold you off a little for your tummy's sake (since it already seemed quite sensitive) and one day, I put some avocado in a mesh pouch Mans and Pam had given you and you put the thing straight to you mouth and went to town on it gumming it to death! You loved it! You were the only baby I've had who didn't pull a first on their first solids try! It was definitely the right time for you! Bananas followed not long after and they are still your favoruite! You didn't try egg until just after 12 months. Wheat doesn't seem to agree with you at all so we're steering clear of that.}
{I bought this stationary bouncer from a local garage sale site. You really liked twisting and turning and bouncing in this! It lasted you from about 4-10 months of age.}

{You began to look like you wanted to crawl around 7 months. You had great head control from such an early age but in the end you didn't crawl until we came back from Fiji when you were 10 months old. Once you began to crawl, well there was no stopping you! And man, it was almost overnight that your predominant temperament changed. I say predominant because I there are still some days where you have a lot of anxiety, get incredibly frustrated and go to pieces if i even go to the loo but that's definitely not happening all the time now like it was before}.
{At 9 months of age, you took your first plane trip over to Fiji! We had the best two weeks of our lives there and for the most part, you screamed or seemed very upset. It was really hard but wonderful. You went to my mum for some of the trip but other than that, I nursed you, carried you and rocked you. To get you to sleep when we were on the farm, I had to put you in the car and try and let you drop off in your car seat. Even when I wore you in the carriers you struggled to settle. Up until this age whether in Australia or in Fiji, even if I was sitting next to you on the floor, you would scream and scream until you were in my lap. It was like you felt unsafe!
It was probably more clear then, when Dad got Dengue Fever in Fiji and I thought might die (seriously he was THAT sick) that I realised that if I also got sick, we'd be stuffed since you just could not settle with anyone else. If I needed to go into hospital or had been sick like dad had, you would have been beside yourself and I'm not just talking from a breastfeeding point of view!
When we got back one of the workers who works with Zip enquired about our trip and how you had coped. When I expressed my concerns that you would scream in crowds, seemed incredibly overwhelmed often, would be upset and unsettled unless wrapped and rocked in a certain way, etc...she said it might be worth working on helping you form healthy attachments with someone else. We had a beautiful woman, Jane, come each weeks for about 2 months. She would stay for about 2 hours and play with you. You formed a great rapport with her and once we got back from Fiji and you started crawling, you did seem happier. We began noticing though how rigid your body was when you were stressed out and how much you would scream when I started to talk to someone else.
These things concern us because
1. you seem so upset and nobody wants to see their child that upset day after day 
2. We've seen this before. Twice.
3. Your anxiety levels and forming healthy attachments are something we want to help you with before they become a huge issue.
4.We love you and want you to be as relaxed and content as possible!}

{You started sitting up on the 3rd April at 7 months.}

{You still loved the Ergo and would go on my back but you seemed to be frustrated that you couldn't see as much after a very short time so we found that sometimes you enjoyed being in the pram more.}

{Breastfeeding you (without the pain associated Nipple Vasospasm that I'd experienced 4 other times!!!!) has been WONDERFUL!  I've loved it and so have you. You started biting me as you got teeth but that was short lived. I found attaching you in the quiet and sometimes having to rock you while I fed helped you focus on feeding. At night, you just wake up, and I attach you and you drift off back to sleep as you feed. No getting up and 'pacing the floorboards' with you! Well, not often anyway ;) Every now and then I have but that's usually when you are in pain from something; cutting a tooth, tummy pain, earache. Other than that, each night you go to sleep and feed when you need to. At 12 months you would be in bed at the same time as the other kids usually (7.30pm), then you would feed to sleep. I transfer you into the cot (since you could roll or crawl off a bed now!) and you stayed asleep until about 11pm. Then I go in with you for the rest of the night and you wake and feed on and off as I said until we wake between 6.30 and 7.30am.}

{At 12 months...
You speak A LOT and communicate with us by signing for breastmilk and for eating. You wave goodbye, say 'ta ta' when someone is leaving the house, you narrow your eyes and hit the floor (or your hands on your head) when you are angry with someone, you mimic all the time - you make a triangle with your fingers, you watched me unplug a laminator cord then dragged the whole device back to the wall and tried to plug it back in yourself, you look at the door when we ask where Alayne is and when we say, "where's my boy?" in the same voice and tone that she uses, your eyes light up and you look at the door (where she always comes and goes from because you know we are talking about her!) you point A LOT, you seem very coordinated with your eye-hand movements, you say mum and dad and try to say all the kids' names at different times. You are amazing, incredibly alert and are most content when outside. You love your food and join us for meals from your highchair. You hold hands and mimic the 'grace' we say together. }
I wanted this to be a fairly accurate account of my memories of your first year.
As I said at the top of this post, it was an incredibly hard and intense year and I think I am seeing that you are definitely an incredibly beautiful and intense little man.
I wonder what the years ahead hold for you mate.
No matter what, we will be there to support you, to encourage and edify you, to help and guide you, to nurture and believe in you, to pray for and with you and above all to love you.
Thank you for being you.
Yah si teaching me so much through you.
Love you always our beautiful cheeky Zeeki x


Michelle @This is not what I signed up for said...

What an amazing account of Zeekis first year. Lusi, your love for him, your desire to see him grow well and get the best help he can is fantastic. Your acceotance of him just how is is is heartwarming. Your acceptance of whatever may come is inspiring. xxxxx

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful account of Zeeki and who he is. From reading your blog all year, I would not have known the heartache you have been through battling all those bouts of screaming. You're a very strong women and he is lucky to have such a beautiful family and home to be a part of.

Julie said...

Man! I didn't know that your year was so rough. That's got to be incredibly hard. I'm finding that some of mine have mine have sensory issues, too. I didn't know anything about them until the last year. I was taught growing up that these types of things were just parenting problems, but boy was that a bunch of nonsense. I'm thankful for the wisdom and knowledge that YHVH has given us. May your family be blessed as you persevere in righteousness, my friend. And thanks for sharing your life with us all <3


Lusi2 said...

Thanks guys. I guess in reflection, that the intensity of Zeeki's personality has been one of the reasons I haven't blogged as much this past year. It has been hard to find time. But I'm also glad that most of the time we've been able to enjoy who he is even when it has been hard. Thanks again for your loving comments.
Lus x

Leah-in-the-Kia said...

Hey Lusi, I was wondering if you could post about your gluten free journey, what you eat, why you eat it etc. my Fallon is showing signs of gluten intolerance and I need advise big time! Our dr suggested lactose free diet. Thanks!!!! From leah

Cindy said...

*snap*!!! Lusi you have just described ALL of my children's first year of life...I knew there was a reason I was attracted to Zeeki yesterday...he is so much like them...I apparently screamed non-stop for the first 6 months of my life too. The introduction of food was the only respite...driving is still awful, Both Lucas and Isobel get car sick and have since they were the car they would scream till I was a hysterical mess! I totally understand...I was a danger driving because it was so distressing...I used to have to stop to cry because I just couldn't cope anymore and the only way to settle them was to BF. I wonder if it was something in our breastmilk? I carried the kids for years in slings, it was the only way to quiet them. I fed them in the sling when out as it was the only way to stop their agitation. Lucas was especially bad, to the point that I took him to a paed to have him checked out and he had a narrow urethra which made him scream blue murder whenever he went to the was awful, heartwrenching...he did eventually grow out of that...can't remember when but it was possibly around the 6 month or before mark? Maybe Zeeki had that too? I have some slings here, somewhere ;p that you can carry a toddler on your hip and front...will that hurt your back? I have a bad back and found these to be better as my shoulder took the weight. In the end I decided that they all had dreadful colic/heartburn...I know i had it badly throughout both Lucas and Isobel's pregnancy and I get it now, though I do not remember having heartburn before children. Paul used to put the kids up on his shoulder and bounce on the ball of his toes to keep them quiet and happy. Do your children like to be held upside down? Mine it...I found if I held them upside down (sounds awful but they love it, still do, they all sit upside down on the lounge if they can and I used to do it as a child too)they settled...Lucas would eventually sleep on the breast but as I told you yesterday, they all fought sleep, they bucked and bucked and bucked while getting to sleep...I thought all kids did that because that's what mine all did?? Do they? Must check that out...but it's draining and Paul would just have to take them because by the end of the day I was full up of touch....could not cope with the constantness of it. I had bouncer that hangs from the doorway and I put them in it from very early as they wanted to move...the frustration was unbelievable...Lucas sat up a 8.5 weeks and started to swim after me a 3 months. My kids from the get go, Lucas especially have wanted to move or be held...sitting still is overwhelmingly frustrating for them. Cindy.


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