Thursday, June 28, 2012

Here, Now, and the Hopeful Future

Elvie is sitting on Jarod's lap on the bed right now as I type, supervising the goings-on in our hotel room.  She doesn't like to be unaware of where any of us are.  If she cannot see us all, she fusses.  She likes it when we talk to her, and she makes a kissing noise back when we kiss her nose or lips.  She loves her pacifier and her lamb blanket and her big sister.  She gets held most of the time, even when she is sleeping.  We do our best to make sure she waits for nothing.  She's spent the last four-and-a-half months waiting for her needs to be met; we don't think she should have to wait anymore.  The only time we've heard a full-on cry is when we indulged Zinashi and put her briefly in the bathtub for sister bath time.  We will not do that again for a long time.

In addition to being a very good baby who is not a fan of baths, Elvie is also likely suffering from marasmus.  The first night I took off her shirt, I fought hard not to cry, as I saw her ribs in stark detail, just beneath her skin.  We knew she was too small, but we had no idea how bad it was.  The next day, when she vomited all the formula we'd given her, erasing the day's caloric progress, I changed her clothes again and couldn't hold the sobs in.  All this time she has been in group care, her whole entire life, she has been losing body fat.  All this time, she has been in line with many other babies to have her needs met, when she really needs to have her needs attended to all the time.  All this time, we were in the US, convinced that getting on a plane to go to her immediately was not the right decision.  And maybe it still wouldn't be, but it's hard to look at our baby's ribs beneath her thin skin and think anything other than that we should have been here sooner.

She is a fighter, and we believe that she will recover and do beautifully in time.  She has been eating like a champion, and we have started giving her higher calorie formula as well as vitamins.  She has been cleared by the doctor as healthy enough to fly, so we will.  We are now considering coming home early to have more resources for meeting her needs.  Zinashi's family is scheduled to be in Addis this weekend, and we are hoping to have Elvie's visa by Monday.  If we can get a flight that will still allow us the family seating we need to make the trip manageable, then we will come home earlier than planned.  If we cannot, we will depart July 6, as scheduled, and get home on the 7th.  We need to have Elvie's visa in hand before we can officially make a decision, so we are working on that.

We so appreciate everyone's lovely comments on our post introducing Elvie.  You are all gems, truly.  With you standing by our (virtual) side, we know we can get this baby home and get her the care she needs.  Thank you so much for being here for our family.

19 comments:

  1. Here are some virtual calories and prayers coming Elvie's way. May you be in the States soon!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm thinking good thoughts for your family. Good luck, stay calm. You can totally do this. We're all rooting for you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, mama! I hope you guys can come home soon. Though your baby girl is finally much more care than she has! I love that she wants to keep up with all of you. Sweet bonding.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Praying for Elvie. May she absorb all the love and calories her caring family has for her.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a special thing that Elvie is experiencing all three of you loving her! Praying for all of you...

    ReplyDelete
  6. She has you now and will flourish. don't beat yourselves up about not coming earlier, you have done all that you can and will do everything you can to support her. thinking of you all xxx

    ReplyDelete
  7. thinking of you. my heart breaks... o dear God

    ReplyDelete
  8. Praying for you every day and night. Now Elvie has someone to fight for her and she will blossom. Blessings to all of you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, Mary. Another heartbreakingly beautiful post. The three of you are pouring so much love and care into sweet Elvie. I am confident that she will blossom and flourish under your care. Dad and I can't wait to meet this special little lady.

    Love you,
    Mom/Banana

    ReplyDelete
  10. So happy that Elvie has you to take care of her. And I love this picture of the three. Elvie looks like she's been with you all from day one...totally comfortable and happy. Checking all the time for updates and good news and improvements in her health.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your writing is so good - I cry every time (at work). :)
    I was just wondering earlier this week if Elvie's medically cleared to fly so far to go home; glad to see that she is, and that you are getting to spend all the time with her like you did with Z. Happy that you're comfortable seeing Zinashi's family - I bet when she is older she will realize how big that is.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love the idea of Elvie not needing to wait for her needs to be met anymore! It sounds like she has fit right into your family! I hope the meeting with Zinashi's family goes well and that you all get home safely!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The look on everyone's face is priceless!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh hun, I know that pain. Has anyone talked about emergency nutrition? Yosi needed F100 emergency formula when he was recovering from protein energy malnutrition, and it was insanely difficult to get in Addis. Two official sources - state hospital only if baby admitted (was not recommended in '09) and UNICEF, who were not able to get it together and get it for my son. We got some anyway. I did find this link with recipes, but it should be cleared by a doctor. I have no idea if Elvie needs, but just in case...
    http://motherchildnutrition.org/malnutrition-management/info/feeding-formulas-f75-f100.html

    Email me if you want more info and I can check my emails from when Yosi was sick. Barbaloot67 at gmail.com. Good luck!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Can't find an email address here at all, but our little one did have marasmus (although at age 2.5). He was put on a high protein formula (probably the one mentioned above) and they had to feed him a very small amount every 15 minutes for the first week+ or his body could not process the nutrition. He was in care for 2 years after this diagnosis and they were still feeding him a higher protein diet, more frequently and around the clock (waking him up to get more calories in him)when we brought him home a month ago. He is 4.5 now, growing, the size of a 2.5 year old with lots of catching up to do (not just nutritionally).
    The WHO has special nutrition guidelines for what/how a child with marasmus should be fed (this is what his care center followed), but since there are other types of severe malnutrition (ie. kwashiokors) it would be good to make sure of the diagnosis before you move forward with anything. WHO's guidelines: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/severemalnutrition/guide_inpatient_text.pdf

    Please feel free to email me as we're learning as we go. followingthewayhome(at)gmail(dot)com.

    So glad she has been cleared as well enough to travel. Blessings to you all-

    ReplyDelete
  16. She's beautiful! And the four of you are perfect together. Congratulations!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Melanie Martin-HullJuly 1, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Mary, one of my sons had heart problems and has always been very underweight. Besides the high calorie formula when he was an infant, he also got put on polycose. We added it to his formula and all of his baby food once he started solids. I don't know if it is right for your precious little girl, but it may be something to look into. It is an easy way to get even more calories and is easily digested.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your family is so beautiful. I can't imagine how you must have felt holding Elvie and I know that you've felt her pain because you have so much love in you for both your girls. I hope that she is able to start getting better soon, and that you'll be happy at home as a family of four as soon as you want to be.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...