Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Firstborn

When I was pregnant with Lana, I never kept a journal or anything like that. When she was born, I didn't write down the dates that she first smiled or when she started walking. I thought briefly about starting a blog back then to let family and friends back in Australia know how we were doing - but there was nothing "different" about us then. Bernard and I had already been married for three years, so having children was a natural progression. People get married and have babies all the time, and I figured there wasn't anything interesting enough about us having a baby that would make people (other than our immediate family) want to read about it. 

Even now, when I blog, 95% of the time I'm talking about Maddy and her medical issues, or my thoughts on the social issues that she will face, or my thoughts/feelings throughout a kind of pregnancy that most women will never experience - the kind that no one thinks they will have to go through, and everyone hopes that they won't have to go through. 

I don't blog about Maddy because she is my entire life - I blog about Maddy because she is "different" to the norm. I am aware that most people know next to nothing about the kinds of issues that she is facing and will face during her lifetime - and I hope that me writing about them will help other people to be able to relate to her, or that it will be able to help other people who are going through similar struggles. 

All that said, I wanted to talk about Lana for a bit. I blogged about her before in this post - and that seems like such an eternity ago now! At this age, they grow up so fast. The first year of their lives seems to be mostly physical development - and once they start walking, they start learning so so soooo fast that it's hard to keep track of! There was a time when I could count the number of words that Lana could say - now, I wouldn't even know how to estimate. It'd probably be 500 or so - with more new words every single day. 

Lana's still a ray of sunshine in our lives - she sings nearly 24 hours a day, all kinds of songs - from The Wiggles, to nursery rhymes, to songs that they sing on Playschool - even a few church songs. Then she makes up songs, or changes the words of them. Instead of singing "I will worship, I will worship, worship Jesus", I've heard her sing "Macaroni, Macaroni, Macaroni Jesus", or "I will worship, I will worship, worship (fill in random person's name here)". Instead of "Celebrate this happy day, Celebrate let me hear you say", she sometimes sings "Watermelon this happy day, Watermelon let me hear you say". I don't know the rationale behind everything that she sings, but it always makes me smile to hear her cheerful little voice singing at the top of her lungs. 

When I'm pumping (which is six times a day, for 15-20 min each time, so quite a lot if you add it all up!!), Lana loves to jump on our bed and we'll sing together, both of us belting out "THAT'S ELMO'S WORLD!!!" Then when I'm finished pumping, she'll scramble to try and grab the pump and sit in my spot so that she can "pump" too. 

I think Lana's pretty smart - although I know I'm probably a bit biased. But at only 23 months, she knows her alphabet and can recognise at least 5-10 of the letters, she can count to 10 and count some objects one by one (although she often will either miss some, or count others twice), she knows most of her colours and shapes, and she talks in full sentences already using words like "I", "me", "you" instead of always saying "Lana", "Mummy" or "Daddy". And most of that, she's been doing for months already (although the pronouns is a more recent development).

I know that having Maddy in the hospital has been difficult on Lana too. The hardest thing for her is that I'm leaving her every day so I can go to the hospital. There are days where she says to me "No hospital today Mummy, Mummy come to the park!!" - that's the kind of thing that we used to do in the afternoons before Maddy was born. She knows that Maddy is her sister and she knows that Maddy is in the hospital. We've talked about how Maddy is going to come home to live with us, but I think it might still be a bit of a shock to the system at first - I know that Lana will adjust to it though...

I know that there are going to be things that will be difficult for Lana because of Maddy's condition. Already, people always ask me how Maddy is doing. A bit less frequently is how Bernard and I are doing, and least of all is how Lana is doing. It can't be easy being a sibling of a child with special needs - and I don't want Lana to ever feel like she is less important, or that her needs are less important than her sister's. And just because I don't write about her as much as I write about Maddy doesn't mean that I don't care about her as much.

I wrote in March that I was glad that she was already in our lives before our difficult pregnancy - and I am so glad that she can still make us smile and help our lives at home these days to be filled with joy and laughter. I think that the whole NICU journey would be a much darker time without her around to have fun with at home. Our home these days is still a happy place, filled with more smiles and laughter than stress and tears - thanks to Lana. 

I'm so blessed because of our first born. I love you, Lana Joy!!


  1. *sends big hugs to the Lana Bear and her mummy*

  2. Oh, We love dear Lana very much as well.

    Jingyu and Shayne

  3. Nanny and Grandad love you too Lana Joy. We love your big smile and your giggles and Nanny especially loves to sing with you.

    Mummy and Daddy and doing an amazing job of raising two beautiful daughters. We are very proud of you both. I am so thankful that we can see you on skype and talk to you all.

    Nicole keep looking to the Lord He is our strength and its His joy that keeps us smiling through all the difficulties. I know it is not an easy road right now but God is walking this road with you.

    Treasure every moment both with Lana and also with Maddy. Thank you for sharing each moment with us.

    Lots of love Nanny and Grandad.