Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ellie - Wednesday

It's 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday and I've almost had Ellie an entire day. And, of that time period, poor baby girl has slept no more than 3 hours of it -- and that was in small doses.

I don't know what it is because there is so much it could be: new faces and environment, over-stimulation, teething, cold, ear infection, sadness at leaving her "home".

She has a low grade fever now (99) but has felt hot for some time. I'd been giving her infant Tylenol to help with what I thought was teething. She's sneezing, sounds congested (this just came on) and is fussy. She'll be sleeping fine and then waking up crying in a fit. She has eaten more, finally. I've managed to get 2-four ounce bottles down in the last 6 hours and she doesn't seem to fight it as much now. She's also had about 1/4 container of bananas. She's got loosey-goosey diarrhea too. So, those of you who are in the medical field, leave some comments on what I should do to try to help her out. When she's awake, 95% of the time she is happy and smiling.

She loves her Eddie*Bauer travel bed with the toy bar and pulls on the toys, kicks her legs and is almost rolling over. She can roll from her back to her side in no time flat. Her leg strength isn't great, but with all the kicking she's doing, I am certain her muscles will develop quickly.

This was all written this morning and as the day has progressed, we have continued to struggle with sleep issues. She has taken one one hour nap today and is now, after an hour long struggle for her, asleep. I suspect during our last incidence that we are seeing a severe form of grief playing out in her. It is quite unusual. As she gets sleepy, she starts to shake her head no. Then she starts to whine, wipe her eyes and play with her fingers (self-soothing). Tonight, however, as she was lying in her bed, she shook her head back and forth so many times I thought she wasn't going to quit. Mind you, she is in a semi-asleep state at this point and is obviously upset and agitated. Her breathing is rapid as well. When I pick her up, she begins to arch her back and whine and fuss harder. Finally, I cradled her and continued to call her given name and she would occasionally open her eyes, smile and go back to whining, arching her back, furrowing her eyebrows and crying. This went on for at least an hour. Jennifer and I were beside ourselves about what to do, but I truly got a sense that she is grieving. I don't know how she went to sleep in the orphanage, other than maybe just falling asleep by soothing herself with her fingers.

Children should not have to experience this.

We are hopeful that this last episode was a turning point for her and that, exhausted as she must be, she will finally sleep. She has had less than 5 hours of sleep in the last 28.

Pray for us, please. We are all very, very tired. A shower would be nice too. *smile* I know it is a process she has to work through and I am just so sad that she has to endure this pain.


Monica said...

Oh Maria I'm so sad that Ellie has to go thru that too. I'm so thankful that you are sharing your experience though. I was very seriously thinking (far ahead!) that I might be able to handle the 2nd trip alone but your words so far are making me rethink that silly idea!

You sound like you are doing everythingthat you can to ease Ellie's transition. I'm wondering how detailed the info the orphanage gave you was regarding what they were feeding her/how much/when and also if they told you much about how much time she was spending outside? Maybe she needs more fresh air? Or isn't used to being outside so much?

Praying it gets easier hour by hour for all of you!

Hilary Marquis said...

My heart just breaks for Ellie, and for you. Tim said that Anara didn't want to be held to go to sleep, but that she wanted him near. So, he started laying her in her crib and laying on the bed next to it where she could see and hear him. She'd go right to sleep. When she got home, we laid on the living room floor with her until she fell asleep then we could transfer her to her crib. We will keep praying for Ellie's peace, and for yours as it is so hard to watch your child hurting and sad.

Hugs & Blessings,

Shannon said...

Maria - Ellie is just as beautiful as ever! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and photos with all of us!

It sounds like a lot of normal, natural grieving going on there. During E's transition last year, we experienced all of the things you are describing. He was happiest in the pack n play rubbing his head back and forth and dragging his fingers along the netting, and sucking his thumb. He couldn't stand to be held for more than five minutes at a time those first few days. He cried a lot and so hard sometimes that he would gag and vomit. He had explosive diarrhea for many weeks and wasn't really interested in eating either. We kept things really low key and quiet and just kind of followed his lead. By the time we travelled home he was beginning to like being held and given kisses and his appetite picked up.

You're doing everything right - meeting her basic needs and treating her for physical discomfort she may be having. It's hard because we so desperately want to hug and kiss them and feel their love in return. The truth is, though, they need time to learn to love us and not view us as an untrustworthy stranger that took them from the only home they knew into a completely foreign and scary world.

This is a very hard time, but remember that children are quite resilient and you will help her get through this.

Hang in there - things will definitely get better!

janiece said...

Maria, it sounds like she is grieving and adjusting. Her whole life has changed and she just doesn't know what's going on. She probably is teething too and that's just making it harder on her. I would just try to keep up on the fluids, wash your hands often (just in case!) and try not to let her get overstimulated. Email me privately if you need more help or info. or whatever.

janiece said...

One other thought, since you mention the arching of her back--is she having reflux? Here we treat with medication. One non-medicated thing we do is try to keep children upright for 30-45 minutes after eating and then when they sleep-carseat, head of bed elevated, anything to help with that reflux.

Mom to 2 Angels said...

AP did not like being held either those first few days. She did like me wearing her, though, and would go right to sleep if I walked around with her in the Snugli. I vaguely remember her shaking her head back and forth, too. I thinks that self stimulation, kind of like when rocking back and forth in older kiddos. It sounds like she is adjusting and getting used to everything. I can't believe all the big smiles! I think she'll have you figured out in no time :) Both of mine have had really bad diarrhea for almost a month when I picked them up but neither tested positive for any parasites. I think that's just another way their little bodies deal with the stress and changes. You are doing a great job!!! Keep the pictures coming!

April Taylor said...

Oh Maria, I know EXACTLY how you and Jennifer feel. Noah was so sick our first night we called the consulate, the baby house and anyone else we could think of for help. The consulate was SPECTACULARLY helpful, and my sister and I were both grateful we were American citizens with a global diplomatic presence, and not from, say, Luxemburg, which does not have a consulate in Bishkek.

Anyway, it sounds like you have definately identified what she is going through. If I had to guess, I would say it was a combo of teething and grieving, maybe with a headcold thrown in for good measure, poor baby. Poor you! And your poor friend who must just want to make evrything OK for you.

Have you tried any of the natural remedies we chatted about? Feel free to e-mail me if you have questions about them. The homeopathic ones can be given fairly frequently.

You are constantly in my thoughts, and please let me know if I can help in any way. I have dear friend in Almaty if you need any help there.

xoxo April Taylor

Kelli said...

Poor baby and poor mommy. It has to be so hard to see your daughter grieving. I will keep you all in my prayers.

LaLa said...

I am so sorry she is grieving but it is a good sign that she is able to attach so I know you will work through this. I hope you all get some sleep : )

Julie W said...

All I can offer is maybe rice cereal. (Part of the BRAT diet for the diarrhea).

IrisH said...

I am so sorry you ALL are having a hard time. I have no words of wisdom, but I hope it is a comfort to know that all of your friends here are praying for you and we hope you can feel the love from home.

Take care and hang in there! Love ya!


Corinne said...

Praying you and Ellie can both get some sleep and Ellie can get through this transition period quickly!Hang in there.

The Stahnke's said...

Your sound just like I did when we got our son. A few suggestions. We found that we were over stimulating Andrew. These children are not use to so much holding, and sometimes they react by crying and getting fussy. Our son also didn't want me to rock him to sleep. Even though that is what I dreamed of doing for so long. I believe you are staying at the Silk Road again, and what we did was put Andrew in his crib in the room off the bedroom to sleep, and he did much better the second night when we did that. In fact he slept all night with no issues. The first night I had the crib by our bed and he woak up every hour. I also found it was easy for him to take naps and fall asleep when I put him in the carrier that was strapped to me. and I would just walk the halls and eventually he would fall asleep. We did tons of walking in the halls, you may even see where the carpet is worn at the Silk Road on the second floor. Also the children do sooth themself a lot with there hands. Our son would always stare and play with his fingers. He would also suck on two of his fingers all the time, which now I know was a sign of stress for him. We would encourage him by putting toys in his hands, so he could learn to do other things. It also sounds like the loose diapers could be a parasite. Just always have extra clothes, diapers, a changing pad, and tons of baby wipes wherever you go. We would go through 4 to 5 outfits a day sometimes. I was always in the bathroom washing things out. Another thing our son loved was to just be in his diaper. We would call it naked time, and it would just thrill him to move around on the bed without so many layers on. Mind you we got him in January. They usually layer them severa times just to be inside.

Everything you are feeling is normal, and as much as you love her you may also have to give both of you time to bond. That doesn't happen over night, but just hang in there.

I also know about kids feeling sick. Our son had a 101 temperature when we got him and I think he had phemonia. He had a hard time breathing, and we were scared out of our minds. They were giving him injections in his leg for being sick, and they didn't even want us taking him. They prescribed 5 different medications, which I gave him none of them. Our Dr. from home luckily thought to call us in an antibiotic for him before we left. It saved his life. By day 3 he was a new kid. I think a lot of the kids get sick often, so just keep doing what you are, and I'm sure she will kick whatever it is soon.

Our son was also teething. He was chewing on everything he could and he was drooling all the time. However, because they don't get the vitamins that they need for so long it is hard for those teeth to come in. It took several months after we got home to see any teeth, so that may be a long time coming. Hopefully not. Do you have any orajel to put on her gums, that sometimes helps?

Each day gets better and easier. I think it is so hard because you dream of your first days with your child to be perfect, and most of the time they are far from that, because of all the adjustments.

She is a princess though!

Anonymous said...

Praying for you very hard, Maria! I wouldn't even have a clue as to advice to give! Love to Ellie!

Margaret and Tom said...

Hey Maria, it sounds like many have already said this, but Milana did the EXACT same things. The hands and the head rubbing...We figured out after a few days she did not want us to hold her or touch her when she was trying to go to sleep...don't worry she will get used to it, Milana loves to be held now...but it will take Ellie some time to get used to, and yes, it was very sad for me, especially realizing why she did the hand and head stuff to self comfort herself. Milana was also just getting sick when we picked her up, she had a horrible cough by day 2...which made sleep even harder...and she wanted to eat like clockwork every 3 hours, so Tom and I did not get much rest at all, and were both exhausted for the rest of the trip (ok, maybe the beds were not the most comfortable either :) we won't blame it all on Milana)... Oh I wish I could just talk with you right now, it sounds sooo familiar! Take care and rest while you can, you will need it! HOpe she is feeling better :) today!

Jeanne said...

Maria, you have already gotten some excellent advice here. She does sound overstimulated to me, not to mention grieving and teething. Don't worry about how much she is eating if she is taking some fluids and still has moist mouth and eyes. In between doses of Tylenol, try the Hyland's. It helped my son's nervous system calm down a lot. Camilla would be good, too. The important thing is that you are there for her during her tough time, and that will be the basis of your bonding.

Jennifer G. said...

Hi Maria,

Sorry you are having to face these issues during what you want to be such a joyful time. But thankfully you are there to provide such loving care and comfort.

A couple thoughts: Crank up the shower to create a steamy bathroom and sit in there with Ellie for about 10- to 15-minute stretches to help with her congestion and stuffiness (especially if you don't have a humidifier). Or just let the shower run very hot and steam up your whole hotel room on occasion (assuming you can do this).

When Emmerson had a bad cold, I also elevated her slightly during sleep so she could breathe easier by putting a towel or two under her crib mattress. The only problem with this is that she managed to roll herself to the end of the crib, which scared the cr*p out of me.

Our pediatrician told me that if her breathing became labored, that was the point to become more concerned. Also, for diarrhea, you can dilute the formula a little, so she is getting more water/fluids and less food, which can aggravate her digestive tract. You could also try giving just a couple ounces of plain water (but not so much that it replaces her formula entirely).

Good luck. You'll get through this. Babies are resilient, and you've done this before with Josh! Take care.

Jennifer G.

E said...

I have no advice on the transition, but I am a medical person. Has anyone checked her ears? Lots of kiddos I see with diarrhea and fussiness have ear infections. They also refuse to eat because it hurts to suck. Many kids when they are teething get ear infections. I am praying for you and I hope things improve very soon!

Jes said...

I am sad too. Hopefully you can get some rest and a shower!


imtina said...

I second the idea of rice cereal in her bottle (just a tiny bit) and having her ears checked out. Otherwise, you are handling it perfectly.

Isabel did the hands thing for a long time and she also liked it if she was in the pack n play while I was sitting right there next to her.

Also, try to remember that since she is grieving right now, that means that she is able to attach and she WILL attach to you and your family too. It is healthy that she is grieving, though so so hard for you to watch her go through that.

I'm thinking about you so much! I really wish I could be there too...


Mayme said...


I feel your pain. Emma did all the self soothing things and it's heartbreaking to watch. It will get better. It sounds like everyone has given you very sound advice. Hang in there and try to rest when she does. I know that you are stretched to your limit and I remember it well.

Praying for you guys,