It turned out that I had a clotting disorder which required high doses of folic acid to compensate for my own body's tendency to turn my blood into sludge instead of well thinned fluid. I started the folic acid immediately. However, by my first ultrasound at a mere eight weeks, the doctors already identified placental insufficiency and intrauterine growth retardation. I didn't even know they HAD growth averages on fetuses that gestation yet we were immediately pegged in a high risk category and put under the care of a perinatalogist. My blood pressure and sugar were perfect, which were the only two common causes of what the doctors were seeing, but it would take most of the preganncy before the perinatalogist finally conceded that the only thing that could have caused L's IUGR was my clotting disorder and the only reason she could conclude that L was not lost but survived was from the fast response of getting me on high dose folic acid and baby aspirin when my primary doctor called to tell me I had the clotting disorder. Even so, I spent the entire pregnancy with L being told that once we hit 28 weeks, in any week that L failed to grow and thrive, she would come out immediately. She spent most of the pregnancy hoovering around the 5th percentile in size but sometimes jumped as high as 9th percentile, never bigger. After 26 weeks, we alternated full biophysical profiles and weight checks every single week until she was born. She as tiny but so long as she passed her tests and continued to gain weight, they left her inside of me.
At 34 weeks, something amazing happened. She jumped all the way to 12th percentile in size. Two weeks later, she hit 35th at 36 weeks. By 38 weeks, she as into normal size and they were predicting she would be around six pounds when she was born. She was born on her due date, the only one of my babies to do so. She was seven pounds and thirteen ounces at birth.
If anything, L's entry into this world would foreshadow her precense in our lives. She is the most adored and cherished little girl I have ever seen. She was saying words by six months and I was in denail until my sister heard her speaking. My sister is one of those pediatricians who don't believe in the myth that babies can talk that young. Mine had six words she was using consistently and correctly. She was speaking two to three word phrases by nine monhs and full sentences by eleven months. She was walking by nine months. By 18 months, her oldest brother had taught her how to dribble and pass a soccer ball. I always said that L hit the ground running to catch up because she was always afraid all of her BIG siblings would leave her behind if she didn't. She never seemed to understand that those siblings who refused to let me hold her, refused to let me choose her clothes or her cloth diapers had NO intention of leaving her behind. They were too busy hold her close so she could keep up.
L has always been the boss of the family. Even now, what she says her siblings follow. When Micah was alive, they were both convinced that L was the big sister and he was the little brother. When we went on Micah's Wish trip to DisneyWorld, the two of them rode the Carousel at Give Kids the World at least a half a dozen times every day. Every time, L would tell Micah what animal he was to sit on and he would comply. Micah wouldn't let anyone tell him what to do in his life....except for L. For years, she refused to speak to anyone she didn't identify as a "friend." I made the mistake of convinced her to let her first doctor care for her by telling her that Dr Wailey was her fwiend. We moved away from that beloved doctor three years ago and she still won't allow the new doctors to mess with her because they are NOT her beloved doctor and her friend.
She was an odd little bird then, as she is now. If she considers you a friend, she has no seperation anxiety and is the most heartwarming confidant. If she doesn't consider you a friend, wild horses will not convince her to allow you near her. She can be the sweetest friend but also has the fiercest temper. If she gets angry, her head and body spin like the child in the Exorcist while she jumps up and down and shrieks like a teradactyl. Her most memorable temper tantrum was one Thanksgiving when I got lost trying to cross Atlanta and drove six hours around the city before I could get home. She and Micah spent every minute of those six hours screaming and shrieking at each other, calling each other an asshole and tattling to mommy on the other one. Heaven knows where either of them even heard the word in the first place but once they started that day, there was nothing on heaven and earth that could convince either of them to stop. Mom and five siblings were completely traumatized by the pair of them by the time we got home. I literally just sat down and cried.
L is very girly girl. She likes dresses and princesses and pink. She adores My Little Pony and ballerinas. Somehow she's amassed half a dozen Bitty Babies but thus far is considered to little to get a real American Girl. Don't ask how she has half a dozen Bitty Babies. It's too many. All of my other children each own one Bitty Baby (yes, even the boys). Her Daddy and her siblings spoil this one like crazy.
As much as she does have a temper and a stubborn streak, most of the time she is a darling. She is sweet and friendly. She loves to cuddle. SHe is gentle and comforting to both little ones and special needs children. She loves to learn and learns things quickly. Academically she is highly advanced. She identifies herself as a GRITS even though we now live in New England. (GRITS = Girls Raised in the South) I sent her to preschool when we moved here because I wanted her to have something outside of the death watch for herself. I had never sent a child to formal preschool as a long-term homeschooler before. She thrived there and was adored by everyone. It was the right choice for her. After Micah died, I sent her to kindergarten as well this year. However, kindergarten is all day here. While her bus came after 8am, her siblings were waking her up when they got up at 6am. She wasn't getting home until 4:30 on the bus. She reached a point where all she could do at home as cry and cry and cry. She didn't hate school. She loved it. Yet, she was beyond exhausted with the schedule. She was not being challenged acadeically. The school psychologist saw her gifts with special needs children and placed her in the classroom where they were integrating all of the special needs kids to help them integrate. I understood her reasoning but it left L academically bored. Between the academic boredom and the physical exhaustion, L reminded me that for all of her maturity, and she is truly one of the most mature little girls I've ever seen, she was still just a very little girl. I brought her back to homeschooling.
I love watching this little girl grow. I watch her stonewall her art therapist every week and refuse to talk about Micah and I know that if his heart lives on in anyway, it is this sister who has lost her soulmate and grieves silently, not letting us touch her pain yet. I worry about her when she blocks it off, but I know that Micah was truly loved by this little girl. She is the best of all of us in all of her beauty and all her frailty. I used to fear we would spoil her rotten but all that ever comes is that she thrives and grows more beautiful by all the love we all give her. I could tell her siblings to stop making her the Princess of the family but they wouldn't listen to me anyway.