our baby is going to be 12 on Friday. she's almost a teenager, even though she's acted like one for the past few months. I don't know what I'll do when she gets too old to hang out with us but it will make me very sad. it's so hard to see her growing up, but it's a joy at the same time.
I became pregnant with Casey when I was 24. her father and I had been living together for about four months and had only dated for a month before moving in together. he was a few years older than me, divorced, with no kids. he was in Sales. a girl I waited tables with introduced us. he was a friend of her husband. she had a big crush on him and didn't mind telling everyone how she wished she had met him before she met her husband.
our first date was on Valentine's Day, which was just a coincidence, and we moved in together in March. after a few months we decided to have a baby. it only took me one month to get pregnant. two days before I found out, my grandfather died. I was devastated, he was such an important person to me growing up. it makes me sad to think that he never met her. he would have loved her so much, everyone does.
we were living in Colorado at the time but the rest of my family was living in Ohio. we thought it would be nice to live near them so we packed up all our stuff, rented a U-haul and headed east. Chris stayed behind to finish up some stuff at work so I was in charge of finding an apartment and moving us into it.
things were going pretty smoothly, except that Chris was becoming more of a jerk than I had noticed before. we couldn't seem to agree on anything without an argument, especially if it involved money. I think the stress of moving and the stress at home was affecting my health because I woke up one morning with stomach pains and spotting. a trip to the emergency room made matters worse when the on-call doctor told me that I was "threatening abortion" and needed to stay in bed until the pains and bleeding stopped. those were possibly the scariest words anyone has ever said to me.
since we didn't have health insurance, I was going to a clinic at the health department for prenatal stuff so I didn't get to see my real doctor until a few days after that. the nurse at the health department was so upset when I told her what had happened and what the ER doctor said. she reassured me that things like that sometimes happened and that there was no reason to think that I was going to lose the baby. my doctor confirmed this and said that everything looked fine. such a relief.
the rest of the pregnancy went smoothly, except for the little car accident I had a couple of months before my due date. everything turned out fine but it was very upsetting. I had to spend the night in the hospital just to make sure there were no problems but it was worth it to hear that the baby was okay. the other two children also got the chicken pox right around that time too so I had them at home for two weeks while they recovered. in spite of the extra care they needed, I was happy to have them there before the baby came.
labor and delivery were no problem. hell, it was my third time, it should be easy by then! Casey was born at 4:59 pm on April 15th. she was perfect, and had a head full of dark, straight hair. we got to check out the next day, which was exactly what I wanted. I got enough of hospitals when Stephen was born.
Chris didn't really take any time off from work once we got home so it was just me and the kids most of the time. I didn't mind. we were getting along less and less those days. but the new baby was such a joy. she was so sweet and so good and we all just loved her so much. I decided to breast feed her, which was awesome. I didn't do that with the other two, with Stephen it was because he was sick for so long, with Hannah I had to go back to work as soon as I could. but this time, I had the luxury of staying home and I was able to dedicate all my time to the kids, which I did.
when Casey was about seven months old, her doctor noticed that she had stopped gaining weight, a condition she called "failure to thrive." normally at seven months an infant should have at least doubled her birth weight. Casey was 7lbs. 5oz. when she was born and about 12lbs. at seven months. she stayed at that weight for about three months. we took her for test after test after test to try to find out what was causing this. at one point, her doctor thought that she might have Cystic Fibrosis but test results came back negative, thankfully. actually, all her test results came back negative but she was still not gaining weight.
when all the tests were run and nothing was found, her doctor decided that we should just focus on getting her to gain weight. the quickest way to do that was to tube feed her at night while she slept. the process involved filling an IV bag with PediaSure and connecting that to a tube that was inserted in her nose and fed down her throat to her stomach. a nurse came to our house and taught me how to do it. it was terrible. she never stopped fighting it and I didn't blame her at all. I had to put her through it for about three months. every night. until she showed enough weight gain to give us hope that she would continue to gain weight after we stopped the tube feedings.
she was still small for her age, but not so small that it was a danger to her health. the lack of nutrients during those months when she didn't gain weight did affect her when she got a little older. her bones were more fragile than they should have been. she broke her arm when she was three. her baby teeth weren't really very strong so she got cavities a lot. a lot of her motor functions weren't as advanced as other kids. luckily she recovered from all of that and is as healthy as most other kids her age, which makes everything that we went through completely worth it.
she was always such a sweet little girl. she loved to sing, all the time, and would make up little songs when there was no music playing. she used to say she wanted to be a singer when she grew up. then she decided she wanted to be a star. she had (and still has) a way of wrapping people around her little finger and always got whatever she wanted. she definitely was (and still is) a drama queen. she could cry on command and make it believable at age two. she adored her brother and sister and they adored her. everyone did actually. she was so happy and outgoing and tiny and cute, you couldn't help but love her.
it broke my heart to tell her that her dad and I were getting a divorce. up until that day I think she had a pretty normal childhood. but she took it well, all three kids did. a lot of her friends had already gone through the same thing so I think that made it easier for her to handle. it was probably harder on her when he moved to Utah a couple of years ago. before he moved she would see him about every day, now she only sees him during the summer and on christmas break. but that was his selfish decision and there was nothing that we could do except make the best of it. she's good at that though...seeing the positive when things don't go the way we planned them. I don't know where she got that from.
she's such a great kid. so giving and loyal and generous and funny and weird and sweet and loving and smart and clever and inventive and creative. I am so lucky to have her in my life and so proud to be her mom.