Tag Archives: new parents

Brass Tacks

When you boil it down, there is a ton of information about parenting; breast feeding, diapering, scheduling, milestones, sleep patterns, bathing tips, birthday party ideas… these things rule the Mommy World on the internet.  But where is the information for a child who is not average? You know… the child who is above average, but below in height? Where is the information for children with dwarfism? And if you can’t find anything more than general information about dwarfism, let’s make the search easier, and pin point what we’re looking for: achondroplasia.

There are a ton of “facts”, and “the genetic workings” are explained in detail, but the deeper details, multitude of growth and development charts, information on specific spinal development, and what toys, carriers and car seats work best. Where is that information?

Well, it’s not there.

It’s not in Parenting, Parents, American Baby, Family Circle, Disney Family, OR at your geneticist’s office.  It’s not that I’m angry, I’m just confused and deterred. Who do you ask if the doctors don’t know?

I love nice people as much as the next gal, but when I want answers, I want answers. I  don’t necessarily care if a doctor is nice when there is no information in hand. It’s not a hard concept- I want to know all there is to know about everything there is to know ,so that Dave and I can raise Addie in the best way possible for her and her needs, while not forgetting our own. We are good parents doing a lot of research, spending time and energy on excavating information that a working doctor does not have time to seek. Except, the one doctor I hoped would know enough to answer questions I had without reading an article she presented to me weeks ago.

I am wholly aware that I need to be Addie’s best advocate, but is there anyone out there who will help me?

The most helpful information I got from the geneticist: Addie’s measurements. For which I provided the growth charts to be plotted upon.
…And provided the accurate reading of said charts- as the assistant, a pediatric specialist, seemed unable to read the caption under the chart stating which lines were for Achondroplastics and which were for AH children.

And so, I guess I’m really just relieved that I did a ton of research so that I could tell the doctor what she was missing, and so I knew what questions I need to delve into further with the right people. But, who are the right people?

I’m hoping to find some answers in Delaware… insurance pending. Insurance; I believe that would be a whole other blog!

On a happy note: HAPPY THREE MONTHS TO THIS BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL!!


Thank you, one million times over, to the wonderful parents I’ve connected with who have given me more than advice- they have shared all of their medical knowledge with me- making disappointment easier to handle.  When I can’t find the exact answer I need, I know I can gain  a wealth of medical information from moms and dads who have walked the line before me.  Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing with me and helping me navigate my way as a new mom!

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Painful

A lesbian and an alcoholic walk onto a stage set…

Sounds like the start to a terrible, demeaning joke.
It is. But no one was joking about homosexuality, or being a drunk.

I hate to focus on the negative, as that is precisely what I’m trying  to overcome, but when I see this kind of train wreck, it’s hard to look away. It’s even harder to explain. There are “educated” people out there who believe themselves so righteous that they can mock another human’s right to live a normal (see: average) existence, job skills, sexuality, abilities and height based on their [alleged] phobia?

Build a bridge, ladies… then jump off. Please. For the sake of man kind, both tall and small.
Aren’t there enough self-fulfilling prophesies out there? Are there not enough people on talk shows that already hate themselves- so much so that they target others?

I find the best comedians, the ones with real talent, are the ones that can bring you to tears not making fun of a specific group of people. Rosie, you’re gay. Yay! for you. Chelsea, you’re a drunk. Yay! for you. Let me offer you both  a medal of honor. Both women have their differences out in the public eye because they chose to share. Addie and thousands of other little people never have the option to hide their difference if they want to. Walking into a room and choosing who to let in on an intimate detail of their life is not something they will decide upon, yet people choose to  mock.

Dwarfism awareness is being adopted by states, albeit rather slowly, and yet there are still such nasty people. It’s wrong to mock the gay community- I agree, wholeheartedly. And alcoholics should be nurtured to gain control of their disease, although if self-loathing jokes are what helps for now, good luck. No one can make an addict go to rehab. Does the community consisting of little people, their parents, friends, relatives and peers not deserve the same respect? Live and let live.

Let me tell you a secret, ladies. Addie, and all the other little people you so fear, can in fact get jobs; the first female president with dwarfism was just born, you see on April 17, 2012.

And thus, I have seen this video.  I actually viewed it for the first time the day Addie was diagnosed, sitting in my chair-converted-bed at Hasboro, holding my sick little girl and wondering what this unrelated, lifelong diagnosis had in store for her. Being a new parent is challenging. Having a sick baby is hard. Being in the hospital with a sick child is painful. Having your whole world (ultimately, your child’s world) change in a day, while in the hospital with a sick child is mind boggling.

Perhaps spreading this video is promoting its evil, but my true intentions are to show people who have similar feelings how ridiculous they sound coming out of the  mouth of others. There is a slew of videos lashing out at Oprah’s network for airing this, as well as to Rosie and Chelsea Handler- please search them, and heed their words: this video is ignorant, does not and will not ever describe little people and will not be tolerated anymore.

Concluding my rage and sadness, I watch Addie’s breath come in and out and her back rises and falls. Her chest puffing out into mine as she sleeps on me. She’s not your average  baby-she’s so much more, and I am blessed to have her. I breathe in as I gently kiss the top of her head, smelling her freshly washed hair, smile and breathe out.

Being surrounded by so many good people and a new community of friends- I feel sorry for people like Rosie and Chelsea. Not for being gay. Not for being drunk. Stupid. I’m so sorry they’re stupid.

And, for some inspiration, strength and a good education, check out this amazing 10-year old, Alex!

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I Knew Before You Told Me

From the moment she was born, I knew she was different. Adelaide Eileen was born at only 18 inches, with my button nose and crooked pinkies. What she was born without was what caught my eye.

27 years ago I came flying into this world with a shock of dark hair, flailing all 21 inches of my body in a fury weighing just shy of 5 1/2 pounds.  During the 3 hours I pushed with Addie, I remember seeing her dark hair, feeling her head and then seeing her little body.  She looked just like me, but, to be honest, squat. I held my little ball of baby, loving all over her and sharing with no one.

I wanted to ask the doctors a million questions- I was shocked the next day when her pediatrician measured her at 18 inches.
I knew before I asked.  I knew she was my genetic miracle. Our little package of jumbled up genes that was perfectly delivered to us.

A daughter holds her mother’s hand for a while and her heart forever.

I was so tired, but I couldn’t stop staring. She was the most beautiful human I’d ever seen.
Watching her grow, or not, led me to think something was up- but you only think to ask the doctors a question if you think there is something wrong. In my heart of hearts I knew there was nothing wrong, just different about my little Addie. Then I read all about it. Her head was big. I was so scared. Could she have hydrocephalus? I researched all I could. I took Addie to her 2 month appointment and mentioned it to the nurse doing her measurements. She inferred that it was something she was going to mention anyway, due to her head circumference growing, and my heart sank.  I wanted to hear “don’t worry about it.” But, as you know from my first post, we ended up leaving that appointment with a script for a ultrasound of her head and x-rays of her long bones.

I took her home, undressed her and examined every inch. I saw her inner thighs and how small her hands were. The non-existent bridge of her nose. The way her legs bowed out. I saw her face, with those shining, deep violet eyes staring up at me. And she’s perfect.

After her diagnosis, Dave and I told a few people. Looking for initial reactions- a way to gauge our responses to people and learn what kind of reactions we would be fielding. And, as if getting unexpected news wasn’t confusing enough, the other shoe dropped.
People said they were sorry. Dave and I found ourselves trying to stop people from saying the wrong thing. Did we tell the wrong close friends? Was it something we said?

Nothing is wrong with her. Why are you sorry? We’re not.
It’s not unfortunate. We’re beyond fortunate to have  be chosen by this baby girl.

I knew she was the most beautiful girl from the moment she was born. She is loved to the core- and being so small, that’s a lot of love per inch!

I knew before they told me. I knew she was going to be the best thing to ever happen to me. I knew it. And I love every little bit.

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Corporate America. There’s Hope.

I was disappointed.  Using a baby carrier was amazing to me. I was a baby wearing mama. Holding my little girl to me while I did everything from the dishes to walking the puppy, felt so pure and natural to me. I love the Bjorn which has more support, but the organic look and feel of the K’Tan was just what I wanted, and I was lucky enough to have a friend who purchased it for me!  I used it once, but Addie was so scrunched in it, I decided to wait to use it for a few weeks; then we learned she was an achon baby, and my little miracle could not use a carrier.

Scrunched Addie (see above)

No carrier.

I walked into the small local shop where I got the K’Tan. I explained that for medical reasons Addie would not be able to use it, and that it was clean, had all the pieces, it was in the box and had the instructions and warranty card.  The woman behind the desk glanced at me, her eyes darted to Addie, then to a piece of paper, where she was writing a note. “Your name and number. “ *** “I’ll ask the owner and call you later, but I already know the answer is ‘no’. We don’t take anything back that’s been out of the box.”  I was confused, as the carrier is clean, and there is one in the store, on display- out of the box, that they will sell. I assured the woman that I just wanted store credit, but she seemed to be distracted, so I wheeled the stroller in a k-turn motion and walked out.

I left the shop feeling dejected.  I would have loved to shop in this store again- support a local business. I was sure that the owner would call, or understand, but a message, “Hi Chelley, this is Xxxxx from Xxx XxXx, I spoke with the owner and we can’t take it back. Sorry. Bye.” Short, not sweet and not helpful. Instead of helping a local mom at an already difficult time, the almighty dollar takes the cake.  Instead of spending a few hundred there over the next few years, they made $74 on one sale. One time and one time only.  What a disappointment.  I would wanted a call from the owner (this truly is a small business)- to perhaps speak with her.  In a small state, like Rhode Island, all the business you can get includes everyone, right?

Please know that I am married to a small business owner. The business is my husband’s passion: music. Often times he has had to turn people away from full-fledged returns in favor of store credit, but he always takes the time to discuss issues with his customers- and speaks to them personally. To be told, “no”, was a lot to take, especially because the woman I had spoken to was so sharp with me and didn’t seem to hear what I was saying. I love the carrier, but medically I can’t use it. Isn’t the human condition a benefit here? The rules can be changed. Exceptions can be made. But, you have to listen.

And not I have to make the request that  no one give Addie gifts from small shops… clearly they cannot bend to be helpful to a new mom who is in apparent distress. As people serving people, looking up to see your customers, instead of down at your phone/keyboard/notepad, would go a long way. Sometimes you just want to know you were heard before a decision is passed down.

At the end of this debacle, I posted the carrier on line for a fraction of the price… and my big sister saved the day. A new mommy herself, she posted on Facebook and asked around, finding a buyer!

Sadly, however, this was just one of the few items that I was told “no” to on behalf of Addie.

Which brings me to Babies R’ Us in Warwick, RI.  I originally loved the idea of registering at only small shops, but knew we would need far reaching locations due to my family being all over the east coast (and some on the west, too!)- so BRU it was! I’ve been so happy with their assistance in returns and exchanges since the baby showers, and for this alone I was so grateful.

The Baby Einstein Bouncer was awesome! I remember seeing it and wanting it immediately; colors, lights, music and a ton of tactile activities. I was sure Addie would love it as much as I would.  Alas, this was not to be so.  Not a big deal to return, right? Wrong!!!

The box that the bouncer came in was cumbersome, so we took the inside boxes out of it and tossed the main packaging into recycling months ago; a small blessing that we never put it together. Driving to the store with Dave, he was convinced they would not take it back, while I was plotting my steps from pleading with the manager to writing corporate. We loaded our returns into a cart, including the pieces of the bouncer.

As we stood in line, I was already frustrated. Why do I have to explain things, why can’t “due to a medical condition” just be enough? I walked up to the counter with my cart full of stuff and explained, “I’d like to return some toys. I’m sorry I don’t have the main box for the bouncer, but it’s never been put together.” Michaela smiled at me and asked if we had been registered there. I felt the need to continue, “I really love the bouncer, but for medical reasons Addie can’t use it.” She glanced up from typing in my information and warmly smiled again. “No problem”, she said. While making small talk and commenting on how adorable Addie is and how she hopes she is OK, the sales associate scanned my registry info, found the bouncer, scanned the rest of my stuff, swiped a merchandise return card, handed it and the receipt to me and wished me a nice day.

I walked over to Dave, who was feeding Addie her favorite [and only food], Mommy Milk, and wanted to cry. I was so pent up, convinced that the world was against me. That, already, there were issues that would hinder Addie, but Babies R’ Us proved me wrong. A corporation caring about its customers, though I’m sure not always the case, has brought some light to the sadness I feel having to return toys that are not good for our beautiful little girl.

We got this beautiful elephant, a mirror, finger puppets, 2 books and an impression kit for Addie’s hands and feet with the credit. I think these will be great to help Addie’s development for touch and vision. I’m so excited to play with her new toys and help her develop at her own pace in a fun way!

Knowing that I shouldn’t give up on the world lending a hand is a good feeling- especially because this is just the beginning of a long road.

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Community

I belong to a New Mom’s Group with RI New Moms. All of our babies are in the 0-3 month range. All of our babies are learning to coo, watching their fists and balling them up into their mouths, tracking things with their eyes and growing up faster than we’d like. All of our babies are the same, yet different, and I’m so glad Addie’s different was so lovingly embraced.

I tried to tell everyone in the group about her hospital stay and how we learned of her diagnosis in an unorthodox way.  I wanted to make eye contact, but I couldn’t stop looking at her. I was preparing for people’s faces to drop, to see wide eyes, hear a gasp that inadvertently made its way past someone’s lips. But that never came. Smiles, head nods, and looks of compassion not pity, were all around me. Addie would be loved by these women, just as she was loved by myself.

Communities seems to be fleeting in some cases. Friends we make at one intersection of life sometimes fail to crossover as we grow, change and, ultimately become who we never thought we would be: our parents (HA!). But, I need people. I need a community of men, women and children who can tell me I’m doing the right thing for Addie.  You can never know exactly what your child is going through in life; kids get meaner by the year, after all. However, I will never be able to tell my sweet baby girl that I know how she feels because I’ve been there, too. I can taste the bitterness in my mouth, feeling like the angst-y adolescent I was over a decade ago. I want to tell those kids off and push them to the ground. I want to lose control. I want to make people who have yet to exist, hurt for reasons yet to manifest.

And so, I wait.

I watch her little chest rise and fall. I tear up every time she smiles in her sleep. I have done this since she was born. I’m boarder-line stalking my child.  I cannot help it.

I mentioned to Dave, multiple times, about how I am so shocked that she is here. One minute she was in me and I felt her move, and with each new happening (a flutter, a kick, hiccups), I felt like now this is real, but now she is here. She is lying next to me in her pink bassinet and she is real. She is real and really amazing. And she is mine. She is ours.

I suppose never having carried a life, Dave can’t totally understand my feelings, but he loves his “little bit” and I love my “bugga-boo”. We, collectively, have about 300 songs for her, stemming from the multitude of names she has, ranging from Addie-Boombaladdie to Battle-aide (when she’s battling sleep) and so many more.

When it all gets too much, and I need someone, I reach for my cell phone and email someone. Some I’ve just met in one of the many communities I’m coming to form as the cohesive guild I need for me, while some I’ve known for years and have stood the test of time.

The outreach has been unexpected. People who know people. Friends who have friends. Getting an email from someone who knows someone, or is someone who is a little person- reaching out to me, making themselves available and knowing that I just don’t know what to expect. I want to do what is best for Addie- always. I want her to have the experience she deserves in life and every opportunity afforded to her peers- whether they are large or small, short or tall. Just perusing Facebook pages and other blogs, I see happy families, college-bound students, sporting events, vacations, boyfriends, girlfriends, and happy hours.

And I am at ease.

There is a community who will help us raise Addie- it takes a village, after all. She will be loved by many, and feared by some.

But aren’t we all?

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Motor Skills

I fear that some of Addie’s motor skills will be behind… because that is what I’ve read, I’ve researched and what I’ve been told.

This was June 19th, age 9weeks 1day.  She may, at some point fall behind… til then: she’s kicking tail in the milestones department!

I’ve got a million fears about how she may not be average until she’s a bit older, and I’m going to celebrate, because I’m right- currently, she’s advanced. She has amazing head control and is rolling herself over daily, although not consistently. With everything I may want to cry about in the future, I’m here to applaud the now.

Roll, Addie, roll!

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‘A’ is for Adelaide and Achondroplasia

I’m not sure where to begin. I could go back to camping.  That amazing 2-days my husband, Dave and I spent in Maine, creating our beautiful daughter.  It wasn’t really romantic, but it got our minds off of the previous 6-week troublesome time, which began with an early pregnancy miscarriage- often referred to as a chemical pregnancy.  In the weeks following, when the cramping eased, and the doctor reminded me that we could try again right away, we knew we needed a weekend away.  With our handsome puppy at doggie daycare, we took off to Wells, Maine.

It was a beautiful weekend.  And we made Addie.

A few weeks after we got back, I got a faint line and after watching the timer flash for 3 minutes “PREGNANT” popped up on the digital screen.  Excited, but scared to repeat the past, I tried to hide my findings from my husband; but, a few hours after he went to work, I texted a picture of the test to him.

***

Hearing her heartbeat was the most beautiful music ever created.  Rapid and deep, hearing her life beginning in me was one of the best days of my life, and over the following months, I took the tests, ate well, gaining only 26 pounds, and was then blessed with a beautiful, but long, delivery at 38 weeks, 5 days.

A clear-lunged Adelaide Eileen came into the world April 17, 2012 at 10:32am at 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 18 inches long.

18 inches is in the 5th percentile for height in a newborn.

At Addie’s one month check up, her head was in the 75th percentile, weight 10-25th percentile and height still in the 5th.

At two months, her head was in the 90th percentile, weight 25th percentile, and her height had dropped below 5th.

I cried.

We left the doctors’ office with an appointment for a fontanelle ultrasound to check for Hydrocephalus and another for x-rays of her long bones.  At 5’7 and my husband standing 5’9, I was unsure how we had such a short baby, but her head was our main concern.  Along with the appointment at the radiologist’s office, Addie left the office with thighs sore with vaccine shots.  Later that night, June 19, 2012,  a fever of 101.5 struck, and was just the beginning.

***

At 7pm, June 21st, we arrived at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI. Addie presented with a mild-grade fever, lethargy and a lack of appetite. She endured hours of IVs, needle pricks, blood draws, a CT scan and four, yes four, unsuccessful attempts at a lumbar puncture.  Without the spinal cord fluid needed to run a meningitis test, Addie was started on broad spectrum antibiotics for the night.

A tentatively negative read was done of her CT, for everything, including Hydrocephalus- a concern due to the rapid growth of her head. Although this brought relief, there was another test we knew needed to be done for her general heath (an x-ray of her long bones), and there was the issue of what was making her ill at the present moment.

***

A call from our pediatrician to the attending physician in the hospital prompted the bones of her body to be x-rayed, specifically the long bones in her arms (upper) and legs (thigh), pelvis, spine and skull, which took all of 10 minutes and we were wheeled back to our room.

A geneticist came to do some measurements. I felt hot and sick. There were tears forming, but, as a mother, I had known Addie was too short for her age. We discussed nothing specific, only mentioning that there could be a genetic anomaly, and that’s why she was called in to look at the x-rays. As the doctor left the room to read the x-rays herself, I held my knees to my chest and practiced breathing.

When she returned, I was cleaning out my breast pump pieces in scalding water. She pulled a chair up to talk. I stayed at the sink, burning my hands in the water. When she didn’t continue her diatribe, I knew the x-rays had shown something. I finished washing the bottles and made small talk. If I never heard what she had to say then she had never said anything. Right?

“After reviewing the x-rays with the best radiologist in Rhode Island, we have both confirmed the diagnosis of Achondroplasia,” Doctor.
“What’s that mean?” Dave.
“Dwarfism,” I said. Blankly staring at something that wasn’t there.

Achondroplasia 

There’s been a lot of discussion over the years about the proper way to refer to someone with dwarfism. Many people who have the condition prefer the term “little person” or “person of short stature.” For some, “dwarf” is acceptable. For most, “midget” definitely is not.
But here’s an idea everyone can agree on: Why not simply call a person with dwarfism by his or her name?
Being of short stature is only one of the characteristics that make a little person who he or she is. If you’re the parent or loved one of a little person, you know this to be true.
But here are some facts that other people may not realize about dwarfism and those who have it.

Dwarfism:

  • is characterized by short stature. Technically, that means an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches or under, according to the advocacy group Little People of America (LPA).
  • can be caused by any one of more than 300 conditions, most of which are genetic. The most common type, accounting for 70% of all cases of short stature, is called achondroplasia.
  • can and most often does occur in families where both parents are of average height. In fact, 4 out of 5 of children with achondroplasia are born to average-size parents.

Dwarfism isn’t:

  • an intellectual disability. A person who has dwarfism is typically of normal intelligence.
  • a disease that requires a “cure.” Most people with one of these conditions live long, fulfilling lives.
  • a reason to assume someone is incapable. Little people go to school, go to work, marry, and raise children, just like their average-size peers.

What Causes Short Stature?

  • More than 300 well-described conditions are known to cause short stature in a child. Most are caused by a spontaneous genetic change (mutation) in the egg or sperm cells prior to conception. Others are caused by genetic changes inherited from one or both parents.
  • Similarly, depending on the type of condition causing the short stature, it is possible for two average-size parents to have a child with short stature, and is also possible for parents who are little people to have an average-size child.
  • What prompts a gene to mutate is not yet clearly understood. The change is seemingly random and unpreventable, and can occur in any pregnancy. If parents have some form of dwarfism themselves, the odds are much greater that their children will also be little people. A genetic counselor can help determine the likelihood of passing on the condition in these cases.
  • Dwarfism has other causes, including metabolic or hormonal disorders in infancy or childhood. Chromosomal abnormalities, pituitary gland disorders (which influence growth and metabolism), absorptive problems (when the body can’t absorb nutrients adequately), and kidney disease can all lead to short stature if a child fails to grow at a normal rate.

By far, the most common skeletal dysplasia is achondroplasia, a short-limb dysplasia that occurs in about 1 of every 15,000 to 40,000 babies born of all races and ethnicities. It can be caused by a spontaneous mutation in a gene called FGFR3, or a child can inherit a change in this gene from a parent who also has achondroplasia.

People with achondroplasia have a relatively long trunk and shortened upper parts of their arms and legs. They may share other features as well, such as a larger head with a prominent forehead, a flattened bridge of the nose, shortened hands and fingers, and reduced muscle tone. The average adult height for someone with achondroplasia is a little over 4 feet.

Diagnosis

Some types of dwarfism can be identified through prenatal testing if a doctor suspects a particular condition and tests for it. But most cases are not identified until after the child is born. In those instances, the doctor makes a diagnosis based on the child’s appearance, failure to grow, and X-rays of the bones. Depending on the type of dwarfism the child has, diagnosis often can be made almost immediately after birth.
Once a diagnosis is made, there is no “treatment” for most of the conditions that lead to short stature. Hormonal or metabolic problems may be treated with hormone injections or special diets to spark a child’s growth, but skeletal dysplasias cannot be “cured.”
People with these types of dwarfism can, however, get medical care for some of the health complications associated with their short stature.
Some forms of dwarfism also involve issues in other body systems — such as vision or hearing — and require careful monitoring.

Possible Complications and Treatments

Short stature is the one quality all people with dwarfism have in common. After that, each of the many conditions that cause dwarfism has its own set of characteristics and possible complications.
Fortunately, many of these complications are treatable, so that people of short stature can lead healthy, active lives.
For example, a small percentage of babies with achondroplasia may experience hydrocephalus (excess fluid around the brain). They may also have a greater risk of developing apnea — a temporary stop in breathing during sleep — because of abnormally small or misshapen anatomy or, more likely, because of airway obstruction by the adenoids or the tonsils. Occasionally, a part of the brain or spinal cord is compressed. With close monitoring by doctors, however, these potentially serious problems can be detected early and surgically corrected.

As a child with dwarfism grows, other issues may also become apparent, including:

  • delayed development of some motor skills, such as sitting up and walking
  • a greater susceptibility to ear infections and hearing loss
  • breathing problems caused by small chests
  • weight problems
  • curvature of the spine (scoliosis, kyphosis, and/or lordosis)
  • bowed legs
  • trouble with joint flexibility and early arthritis
  • lower back pain or leg numbness
  • crowding of teeth in the jaw

Proper medical care can alleviate many of these problems. For example, surgery often can bring relief from the pain of joints that wear out under the stress of bearing weight differently with limited flexibility.
Surgery also can be used to improve some of the leg, hip, and spine problems people with short stature sometimes face.
Nonsurgical options may help, too — for instance, excessive weight can worsen many orthopedic problems, so a nutritionist might help develop a healthy plan for shedding extra pounds. And doctors or physical therapists can recommend ways to increase physical activity without putting extra stress on the bones and joints.

 

The information runs far and is quite plentiful.  In the United States, approximately 10,000 individuals are estimated to have achondroplasia. Achondroplasia affects about 1 in every 40,000 children. However, this number varies, depending on the source. Eighty percent of all little people have achondroplasia. Approximately 150,000 persons have achondroplasia worldwide. The worldwide population of little people is approximately 190,000.

And there, my dear readers, are the facts.

Please don’t say you’re sorry. Nothing to be sorry about. She is beautiful and we are blessed. She’s a bit small for her age. That’s all.  Mention of a TLC tv show hardly seems appropriate, after all, is social media the best judgment or indicator for life’s actuality? Asking if there is anything you can do doesn’t make much sense either, as she is a normal little girl in every way but height.

People don’t know what to say- I’ve already encountered that. But if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, if you don’t know what to say, say nothing.

Adelaide Eileen. The prettiest girl in the whole wide world. <3

But with all this talk, I can’t say that I’m not scared, or angry, or confused, or hurt. I can say I’m so happy, blessed and in love. Little people live normal life expectancies and can do anything they want.  It’s not a disease. She does not need to be cured.

She cannot ever do gymnastics.  If I said this didn’t hurt me, I would be a liar.  I was a gymnast, and some of my fondest memories are swinging my long and lean body around the bars, sleep over camp and long drives to state meets. She cannot participate in other little girls’ gymnastics parties. But, she can swim- and I’m looking forward to mommy & me swim lessons like it’s Christmas day!

And here I am. I’m angry.  I’m really angry. I’m so ashamed of myself for, potentially, making life harder for her.  I am, in my mind, at fault. I want to help her be the strong girl I know she is, but how can I do that when I’m falling apart on the inside? I’m angry this will impact her. I’m angry other children won’t get it. I’m angry that people in her family, at least not everyone, will understand and respect and be “ok” with her stature. I’m angry people may point, laugh, call her names, misunderstand her, and hurt her. I’m angry, damn it. I really am.  Perhaps some of my fears are masked by this anger, which I’ve always been so quick to feel, but for now I’ll call it a pure emotion and hope it unfolds well.

As I watch her sleep in her hospital bed (crib), she looks like the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. She has my little nose and crooked pinkies, and Dave’s ears and lips.  She is an angel. She’s a perfect combination of the man I will love forever and myself. Maybe she’s not your ideal baby- but she’s certainly my ideal: happy, healthy, with dimples, bright blue eyes, 10 fingers and toes, sweet baby coos, and a sigh that ends with her collapsing on my chest.

In truth, as I write, she is getting better from whatever brought us here in the first place; No fever, less lethargic and eating much better. But she is still here. I am battling with her being sick and getting a lifelong diagnosis that I’m not sure the right way to process.  I am dealing with the good news of no hydrocephalus and the shock of knowing my daughter will be physically different from other children. I am scared of my reaction to other parents, when they tell me of milestones their children are crossing, as Addie’s motor skills may be slightly behind because she cannot learn to sit by propping. I am wondering what life will bring to her and how I can make sure she has the best one possible- as any parent does for their child.

Over the past few days I have tried to take all the information thrown our way in stride, and remember that some questions will remain unanswered until she reaches a certain age and the universe reveals its mysterious ways.  I’ve contemplated if I had known she would be a little person before she was born, would I feel differently… no.  I wish I had had the time before she was born to process, as it is hard to shed tears when I’m looking at her beautiful face; but I will let my emotions take their course, rely on the love Dave and I share and the information at hand to be the best parents we can be.

And so, I conclude.

‘A’ is for Adelaide and Achondroplasia.

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