Monday, June 20, 2016


I know I know...I've been slacking in updates and it's been far too long, I still have yet to write about our incredible Make A Wish trip and stay at Give Kids the World and I promise I will totally get to that in the next post.

  Recently I overheard a child (who is a family member and knows Naysa) tell an adult (that said child had never met before) that Naysa's brain is "messed up"  then proceeded to ask me "when her brain will be fixed."
I get it. I do. Explaining disabilities or any differences to a child in ways they will understand is hard. You want to do it so they actually comprehend without overwhelming them with complicated reasons and big words.

  But, here's the thing...if you want your child to not only understand but to LOVE and ACCEPT others who differ from themselves, telling them my daughter's brain is "messed up" is NOT the way to do that. Trust me, I have explained Naysa to little kids her whole life. At the playground when an excited little girl sees her in the stroller and asks why she doesn't talk to a birthday party when all the other kids are running around, playing and one sweet soul tries to include her then realizes she's different and asks questions. Kids are naturally curious. They are also naturally loving, gentle, forgiving and inclusive. What YOU as the parent, caregiver, grandparent, etc say and model is what they will form their views from and base they opinions around.

A few things to say instead:
"You know, her brain is just a little different. Everyone's brains are different, that's what makes our world so neat!"
"Sometimes, when babies are growing in their mommy's bellies, something happens to make them different. No one really knows why"

Depending on the child's age, you should know an appropriate response. But for the love of GOD, please don't EVER tell a kid anyone is "messed up" and needs fixing. Do not put a negative or bad association of disability and different in their minds. Unique, Diverse...Special....let's go with those undertones, yeah?

 It completely and utterly breaks my heart when I see a curious kid look at Nay and a parent quickly shuffles them away or tells them to stop staring. A better response would be "Do you want to say hi to the little girl?" Please don't shame your children for their curiosity. Teach them, be a positive role model. If your kid wants to ask me questions, please let them...I've had 5 years now of experience answering them and kids are so accepting if given the chance.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cycling Through

 The Cycle.
 I've written of it before, but for those who are new or may not remember...I'll enlighten you.

 This cycle comes out of no where, it's crushing and awful. Sometimes I just have to write and have a good cry, sometimes it lasts for days, weeks or turns into depression. Maybe it's because I haven't dealt with the emotional turmoil Naysa's strokes truly caused me, maybe it's just a normal part of this life. Since her 5th birthday (March 22) I've felt an overwhelming sadness. I am so used to pushing it back and trying to just be grateful that she's here, which I absolutely am... but I still mourn. She is not where I thought or hoped she would be with therapy or progression from her strokes at this age, I am grieving again in this cycle...of the daughter I just don't have.
 It would be dishonest of me to say I'm not envious of my friends with healthy little girls. They will have tea parties and play dolls, go on manicure dates, talk and have conversations... I will never have that. And you know what? It just sucks sometimes. Part of me had hoped Rowan was a girl so I could experience these things, I can't explain the horrible guilt I felt for feeling slightly sad when Ben announced he was a boy.

 I have an internal struggle of feeling like just giving up, like what's the point in pushing her. All of the therapy, the's not getting her anywhere and it's just frustrating me. But on the flip side, I KNOW she is capable of learning and gaining new skills, she loves a challenge. When I decided to carry her to term ignoring the pressures from doctors to terminate I decided to give her every chance in the world, to fight for her, to advocate and make that life long commitment to helping her knowing full well she would likely not be able to help herself.

She's 5 now...F I V E! That's a great triumph in itself of a girl who wasn't expected to live but a few hours. I am proud and humbled of who she is, what she's endured...Why can't I just be happy with that?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Overdue Musings

It's been a while, yeah? I'll break this up into sections and try to keep it (fairly) short

Naysa Diane:

   This girl has been coming on leaps and bounds lately, not sure what's gotten into her but I'm definitely not going to question it! She has been making new sounds, grabbing and holding new objects and so much more interactive. HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) is in the works and hopefully starting as soon as next week! I am so excited to see what this does for her along with increased therapy (PT, OT, Speech.)
   We have been trying to get nursing since we moved here, though I'm still not sure how I feel about having someone who is NOT our Joan hanging around. I'll probably go through a few before I find a good fit like we did before we found her. Really hoping this gets set up before the baby arrives!
   As the holiday season quickly approaches, I find myself growing more anxious about her health. It seems the hospital is always unavoidable around this time and I can't remember the last winter without a PICU stay. Hormones of course have my irrational fears in overdrive. Most recently, I can't shake the "what if" of this pregnancy as what if we unexpectedly got pregnant because something IS going to happen with Nay and having a new baby to focus attention away from that will be helpful and healing..? That's crazy, right? Yes.... totally. Still, I hold her a little a longer and look into her eyes a little deeper because you just never know, especially with our cele babies. Today is a gift and tomorrow is never promised, isn't that the saying? It's not something I dwell on but when it randomly crosses my mind my heart immediately drops to my stomach and I don't much care for that feeling! I've upped both her and Ryld's vitamins, so fingers crossed we can avoid all that this year, maybe a few trips to the chiropractor for all of us too.


   I am SO excited I am able to VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 cesarean) with this pregnancy! I get a lot of confusion about my level of excitement because all anyone associates childbirth with is pain. Yes, I understand it will be painful, but let me explain.
  Birth is something extraordinary that only women are capable of. It is empowering and exciting to realize what your body is capable of. Cesarean birth is birth, absolutely. It is major surgery that is extremely painful for weeks to heal from while trying to take care of a newborn and in my case, two other littles. It is a scary, sterile procedure where you have absolutely zero control on how you bring your baby into the world. They give you a spinal, strap you to table and cut you's uncomfortable and I HATE feeling so drugged and tired when my baby is finally placed in my arms for the first time.
   I've never experienced labor, the intensity and excitement knowing with each contraction your baby is closer to being here. I want this. I can do this. It's hard to explain unless you've been through it, but I cannot wait to take my body back, to birth this baby naturally, to heal. C-sections are traumatizing, whether you realize it at the time or not. It's not the natural way of things and at least for me, you feel like a failure as a woman. So, that is why I look forward to the pain and wonder of a VBAC. I am aware of the risks, the numbers, statistics, etc and I absolutely would not consider it if it were more dangerous than a repeat cesarean. Support it or not, that's your choice but do not come to me with your worries and negativity please! I have been and will be working my ass off to ensure the highest chance of a successful VBAC :)

I hope you're all doing well! I am enjoying this no Facebook thing and not sure I will even get back on to be honest... if you haven't yet signed up for email updates and pictures and want to follow this link! You can also still keep up with pictures on Instagram (Ashlyn_Page)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Naysa and her face.

    As most of you know, Naysa has had some behavioral issues since her strokes in December 2013. Right after her strokes she couldn't move very well... unless it was to beat herself on the face. Over the past year and a half she's been much better about it as long as she has the security of her weighted blanket or wrist weights with her lap pad. Lately she has been rubbing her nose raw, not so much punching her nose like she was before but rubbing it to the point she bleeds either from the rawness of her skin or she gives herself a bloody nose.

    Last night, she bit her tongue pretty bad and we were worried about her choking on blood in the night since she just kept moving her tongue around and bit it again. Ben stayed up until about 2 to keep an eye on her and not long after I heard the alarm from the Sami and sat up to check her to make sure she didn't get out of her swaddle to hit herself or choking. I was up every hour, if not every half. I finally fell into a semi deep sleep and was jolted awake by the alarm, I lean over to check on her and there she is, with BOTH arms out...

Which brings us to this morning.

Her face and arms were COVERED in blood! I got her in the tub and ended up having to use the Nosefrida to get some blood cots out her nose!! :(

I'm really, honestly surprised she hasn't broken it yet and I'm not waiting until she does. On that note, if anyone has suggestions on how to keep her safe at night, I'm more than open to options. Swaddling doesn't work, arm braces don't work and wrapping her up in her weighted blanket doesn't work.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Faith in humanity, restored.

 It's been way too long since I've written and I have SO much cover so forgive me if I ramble and I lose you, I think you'll be able to circle back ;)

    Since I last posted in February I suppose it makes the most sense to start from there, yes?
       It was a rough one. Naysa was at an all time high of frustration as she began recovering more from the strokes, realizing something happened and not understand why she couldn't do the things she once did. She took this frustration out on herself by punching, and I mean PUNCHING her nose. She was doing this before but this particular month was a bad one. So much so that we were forced to obtain a prescription of versed to calm her (and y'all know how we feel about big pharma) so you know things were bad if we went for it. This month was mainly spent trying to find ways to protect her, soothe her and get her on the fast track to recovery. LOTS of appointments and it hasn't slowed down.

     Birthday month! Our little bug turned THREE! I wish I would have known then what I do now. The nights I cried myself to sleep wondering if I would still have a daughter the next morning, the days I begged God and made bargains with Him to just let us have a good life with her. Don't get me wrong, we've been through some shit and that fierce little bug has been to hell and back but she is HERE! She fights every day, never showing signs of giving up and bringing joy into the lives of everyone who knows her. She's pretty wonderful, but I'm biased ;) March was also family cruise month!! We traveled to Miami to meet my parents, my brother and his betrothed, three of my four grandparents and Ben's grandparents. It was so great to see everyone and have them finally meet Ryld! Naysa looooved sitting out on the deck, listening to the waves crash against the ship and the warm tropical breeze through her hair. I hope one day we can take her on another cruise, she was so happy and content for the most part (we were there during spring break so she did not appreciate the loud party goers) she even slept through the night multiple nights (HUGE for her) thanks to the gentle rocking of the ship.

  We had a great time with an extended visit from my seester, Regina and niece Ada. Ben was gone a few weeks so they flew out to spend time with us, Dustin (Ben's brother, Regina's husband) surprised us all when he flew out for a few days as well! It was so good to have family around again so soon after our cruise. I cannot WAIT to move back to the East Coast and have that support again. You have no idea how wonderful and soothing it was to know I could run to the store at night if they were in bed with peace of mind that they are cared for and loved while I was away. I have so very few people I would be totally at ease leaving them with out here, especially with how Nay can be sometimes and the particular way we parent.

 I cannot believe this month is coming to an end! We had a nice visit with Mimi and Papa this month and those never last as long any of us would like. Naysa has gained back majority of her pre-stroke ability and her head/trunk control is wonderful! PT and OT are in full swing (though I'm still not a fan and prefer ABM) She is going to acupuncture weekly which has been a huge help and I am looking into Osteopathy. She got her pediatric stroller (Kimba Neo) today and the most amazing thing of all....a brand new, beautiful wheelchair accessible van was so very generously given to us by an anonymous donor. Ben's Master Chief has been so wonderful in being the middle man where communication is concerned to keep this incredible man anonymous. This gift is something we would only dream of. We'd huddle over the lap top and admire some accessible vans, talking about what we could and would do if we had one, the trips we could take as a family (including dogs!) and how much happier Nay would be without the constant transfer from car seat to stroller. The list of reasons we needed this goes on and on. I'm still in shock, I went to check the mail earlier and there it was...the Tardis (yes, I named it! Don't judge ;p) on MY driveway! This constant reminder that there IS still good in the world, that people still care about people. There were so many people involved in this grand gesture and I want to thank you all, I wish you truly knew what you've given us and I wish I had the words to explain. Thank you <3

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I'm not better than you.

  I hear this a lot as a special needs parent and if you have a child with extra needs, you know what I'm talking about.
    "I don't know how you do it, I don't think I could." "You're so strong" "God chose you to be his/her mama."
 Always said by well meaning people with good intentions but, it always has the opposite effect on me.
  I'm not by nature a patient person and three years ago, I wouldn't have considered myself a strong person. Not to say I couldn't handle a difficult situation should the occasion arise, but I wouldn't classify myself as strong or brave. It took a lot of learning and a lot of breakdowns to become who I am since we received the Encephalocele diagnosis. I've told doctors where to shove it, fired nurses without guilt and automatically switch to mama bear bitch mode when that first foot crosses the hospital threshold. I'm not superwoman or special, strong or brave. I'm a mom. Plain and simple. I get frustrated and have to step outside and take a deep breath, just like you do. We all want what's best for our kids and if you were put in my situation, I don't think you would give it a second thought to do the things I do.
  When Ben and I decided to carry Naysa to term, no matter what the outcome, we had no idea what life would be like should she survive and honestly we didn't care. We didn't think about all of the extra care, IEPs, hospital stays, etc...we just wanted our baby. I had no idea I wouldn't be able to vacuum unless my almost three year old is swaddled or someone else is home to make sure she doesn't get upset and hit herself, but that's how it is. We've adapted. We've learned what pisses her off and what makes her happy, though she is very temperamental at times and sometimes things backfire. It's just parenthood, intensified. It's our normal. I guess on the outside looking in I can see how different our lives are compared to those with typical children (aside from surgeries, 5 different specialists and extended hospitals stays) but I'm not better than you. Don't compare yourself or our lives and think it's not something you could do, that you wouldn't be mom enough to handle it, I assure would be. It would take practice and learning but you could, you WOULD because your kids depend on you, no matter what their ability. Speaking of Naysa....she's up from a nap and Ry is pulling my hair. Time to get back to the reality of the Page zoo ;)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Starting Over

  I've come to the realization that in times of high stress I tend to channel Scarlet O'Hara. Fiddle Dee Dee, I'll think about it tomorrow. And you know what? It works for me. I know eventually I will have to face the reality of the situation at hand, but in those first few weeks when the wound is fresh and everyone else is falling apart I do pretty well in keeping it together. Every once in a while those repressed thoughts and feelings find their way in but I quickly shake them off and continue about my day. I have to be strong my girl, she's one hell of a fighter and I can't let her see me sweat. I can't think about how much I miss her laugh, her smile or how excited she got when it was meal/snack time. I can't think about how we will have to start completely over with therapy to gain back the amazing trunk/head control she had, the rolling, the verge of army crawling, the sitting...all that hard work, the blood, sweat and tears it took us to get her to that point...gone. I want my Nay Nay back. I absolutely hate seeing her just laying around, she was so active and silly. She's a shell of herself right now and I hate not knowing how long/if ever we will get her back to the Nay she was before. Benjamin said it best when we were talking "She could get up and start walking for all I care, I just want HER." I 1000% agree. Before we got smiles and reassurance our girl was still in there, she was improving physically but mentally was taking some time. I can't even begin to explain to you how disheartening it is to see your once glowing, playful, silly, smiley, wiggle worm of a toddler laying expressionless and still for hours that turn into days, days into weeks. Until we learned she had suffered several strokes in her cerebellum, we were just lost. We didn't understand what was taking her so long to wake up. She would just lay there...even when the nurses put IVs in or pulled tape off her skin, things that would usually take three of them to do, she didn't flinch, didn't grimace....just...nothing. But, like I said...I can't think about that. Fiddle Dee Dee!

   I can't thank you enough for the tremendous amount of love and support we've received this month. The sweet messages, words of encouragement, help with the baby, generous gifts...all of it has made this a little easier to stomach. We are in a whole new world of special needs parenting and have a lot to learn with the g-tube care, rehabilitation and finding our new normal. We've got a long road to recovery filled with appointments and therapy and even longer one to acceptance and healing. We are starting over.