Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Remarkable Girl

elvie from the side

It turns out that Elvie is an exceptionally good baby.  She has preferences, but she's not persnickety, at least not when she is feeling well.  She will let us know if something hurts, but otherwise she's a pretty happy camper most of the time.  She likes to smile at everyone and thinks the noises I can make with my mouth are funny.  I made her laugh once by bouncing her higher than usual, but I haven't been able to do it since.  It will come.  She's just finding her voice.

We will be here at the hospital until the 27th.  We'd hoped to go home sooner, but Elvie had a UTI for a very long time, and the bacteria that caused it are not easy ones to treat.  There was talk of switching her from IV antibiotics to an oral one, but it was only fully effective for three of the bacteria, and somewhat effective for the fourth.  She had an MRI to determine how her urological organs were functioning and where everything was placed (which was unclear due to her birth defect), and there are some concerns about being able to clear the infection with the lesser antibiotic given her particular anatomy.  To be on the safe side, the medical team decided to keep her on IV antibiotics.

That's where the complications come in that keep her in the hospital.  She's so tiny, and her veins are so bent from the malnourishment, that PICC line placement has failed, so an IV is the only way to administer the medication.  IVs only last two to five days, so we can't go home and just have home health care come to administer the medication.  She needs to be here to have her IV lines monitored and replaced.

I'll admit that I was terribly disappointed to learn that she'd have to stay that long.  While we have worked out a schedule that works for us, it is not sustainable for the long term, and one more week seems pretty long term at this sleepless point.  To make it work, Jarod is going to take some extra time here with Elvie this weekend so that I can both get a break and spend some more time with Zinashi.  That will give me the energy--both mental and physical--to make it through the last week.

People keep saying how amazing we are, and I appreciate the compliments, but I want to take a moment to say that we really are just regular people who are doing what we have to do for our children.  I know that not everyone would enter into a situation like we've entered into with Elvie in regards to her birth defect, but this part, the immediate hospitalization part, was not part of what we anticipated at all.  The reports we got from Ethiopia indicated slow growth but said she was otherwise healthy.  To be honest, we were shocked to find out how sick and frail she was.  But just like other parents whose children are faced with unexpected challenges, we are rising to the challenge and doing everything we can to make sure she gets better.  It's just what we do as parents, and I don't think there's anything about us that makes us extraordinary in that regard.  We're just doing this because Elvie needs it, and we love her so very much.

And finally, I must give credit to Elvie.  I know this may sound dramatic, but in talking to the medical staff here, it turns out it wasn't just my overprotective mothering kicking in when I saw those ribs the first night and was terrified.  She very well could have died before we got to Ethiopia.  Bottom line.  But I believe that what kept her going is that she wants to live.  She wants to thrive.  She hung in there until we could get to her, and for that reason alone (though there are so many more), she is remarkable.

We are so very, very blessed and lucky to have this baby in our lives.


  1. Oh. Tears again. I wish I could do something but instead I'm counting on the unseeable effect of love and support.

  2. So many people sending you love and energy to hold you up while you hold her up.

  3. "It's just what we do as parents, and I don't think there's anything about us that makes us extraordinary in that regard. We're just doing this because Elvie needs it, and we love her so very much."

    Yes, yes, and yes. YES. You keep up this incredible fight, mama. We're rooting for all of you.

  4. Ugh, bummer about having to stay in the hospital. I was hoping Elvie would get discharged this week. Glad though, that there's a solid course of action for getting her better!

  5. You must be so exhausted. Good for you to take the weekend to rest so you can make it through the home stretch. I'm sure that very soon you'll be right where you expected to be, dealing with exactly what you expected to deal with for Elvie's health, and the memory of this scary hospital stay at the beginning that got Elvie back in good health will be just that--a memory.

  6. Just found your blog for the first time. Wow, what a story. What a little fighter. Keep it up Elvie!

  7. Still thinking and praying for Elvie and all of you. Miss the updates on Zinashi. Hope she is hanging in there as well. You are all incredible!! Sending love and thoughts of strength and healing! Eileen


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