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A Very Special Birthday

Sunday was my little Xander's 8th birthday.
It is so hard to believe that he is 8. Just yesterday,
I was going into the doctors office for a stress test
because I was feeling no movement from my little
baby. The nurses hooked me up to the fetal monitor
and I was in labor with fairly regular contractions.
Xander had already engaged and that was why I was feeling
no movements.
Not only that, I was already dilated at a 6 at the doctors office.
They sent me straight to the hospital so that I could be induced.
Of course I took my sweet time. I remember going home with Larry
and packing my bags. We then dropped Savannah off at Mamaw's house
where Aunt Trisha was babysitting. Mamaw was in Baltimore with little
Larry at the time. And we picked Aunt Lynette up to drop her
off at her swim practice. We literally took it slow
because I did not want an epidural (oops) based on my
last experience so I thought the more I moved around, the better
off I would be. Silly me.
We checked into a room at the hospital just before 7.
My doctor was going skiing that weekend so of
course he induced me. He was the doc on call that night.
I remember going from absolutely no pain and
regular contractions to very
lots of pain and hard contractions.
It's funny because at the time, we were watching Friends
and Rachel was having an ultrasound to see what she was having.
Yes, everything in my world evolves around TV or Music.
Just after friends went off at 8:30 PM, I absolutely broke
down and told the doc I was done. I needed that epidural now.
Of course it was too late. By 8:50, Xander was here.
He was my 3rd child, but he was the first one I got to hold
immediately after being born. Savannah had a meconium scare and
Larry had to be taken immediately to NICU, so Xander
was a real treat for me. And he was huge! I remember telling
Larry & the doc I was thankful that he was so big because people
kept telling me it looked like I was carrying twins.
I think some people forget I am only 5 feet tall so there is not
much room for the baby to go.
Anyways, Xander weighed a hefty 8lbs 13.5 ounces.
He was by far our biggest baby.
And he was a whopping 22 inches long.

After the nurse did her stuff, Larry went over to study
our new baby to make sure all was well. I saw him talking to the
nurse and then having the doctor over.
At that moment I knew something was wrong but
was in such denial. Really. After Savannah and
her epilepsy, and little Larry and his
exstrophy, would I really be tested again?

Xander was born with severe bilateral clubbed feet.
Now little Larry also had clubbed feet, but his were so mild
and the least of our worries. Xander's feet were extreme.

Of course Larry & I were absolutely heartbroken and cried
that entire first night. I think even our doctor felt
great sympathy and pain. And honestly, he was in shock
because he never once caught it in ultrasound.
Anyways, we later learned that you have a 1 in 1000 chance
for clubbed feet but a 1 in 42 chance if there
is a brother with the same deformity. It is
more common among boys than girls.

So knowing what we knew with little Larry, we knew
it was imperative to start casting within the
first 2 weeks of birth. So we go up to Children's in Columbus
& stay with Brysha overnight just days after
Xander's birth.
The doc at children's twisted Xander's foot forward like
normal and preceded to cast them.
Being a mommy, I ask about the pain
and he went on to tell us Xander would feel very little
pain but I could give him tylenol regularly for the
discomfort. Pain, discomfort. Aren't they the same?
On the 3 hour trip back to Ashland, I think Xander cried
2.5 hours of them. It was difficult.
Larry had gone off to work and I was home to comfort him.
Xander literally cried nonstop till later that night when
Larry and I gave up and took the casts off.
Xander was just in immense pain and we could not bear to
hear him cry anymore.
Larry's father came over and gave him a Priesthood
blessing and we thought we would just start over
tomorrow. So the next day, Larry is talking to
a coworker whose father is a Shriner and
Lexington has a Shriner's hospital that specializes
in orthopedic medicine.
So he sponsored us and we made a 2 hour trip to Lexington.
Of course the doctor there feel Xander will
require extensive work because of the severity of his
clubbing. But they have a method
of casting that they use there and feel it will
be beneficial to Xander's recovery.
So for the next 4 months, we use the Ponseti Method.
That is where the doctor massages and manipulate
the child's feet just enough to stretch out a different muscle.
They then cast the entire leg into that position.
A week later, I would come back and they would do the procedure again.
During that week, Xander's tendons and ligaments would soften into the
new position.
We did this from late January till early April.
And I forgot to mention that during the week of recasting,
it took Xander at least 3 days to get used to the
new position. So he cried actively for those first 3 days each
new week. I rarely got a break from him.
I also forgot to mention that he would have nothing to do with his daddy.
And that lasted for over a year.

Once they had moved Xander's feet as much as they could,
He had to have a tenotomy. That is where they
surgically clipped his heels
to further lengthen his muscles to get his feet where they needed
to be before he started wearing braces.
The above picture is of him being
taken back to the OR.

So, for a good 4 to 6 weeks, this is what
my little man's feet looked like.
We were on the homestretch to normal feet
and I was on a brief break from
weekly 4 hour roundtrips to Lexington.

The big day finally came in April where
I would finally be able to see my boy's feet again
after nearly 4 months of weekly casting.

Isn't medicine amazing? Xander's feet looked so good,
even the doctor was shocked with how responsive he
was to the Ponseti Method and the tenotomy.

These are the weapons, I mean shoes he came home
with. I called them weapons because he slept between Larry
& I for 14 months. When he rolled over, those shoes would
whack Larry in the back or arm.
Uncle Jason liked to call them his skates.
Try going through the medal detector with those bad boys.
We did that once going to Aunt Mary's wedding.
Security took us off to the side with the hand held

Here was Xander's little
foot after sometime in the shoes.
It was such a treat for me to get to hold them
and touch them skin to skin.
You forget how special that is till you can't do it.

So for those of you who know Xander,
it is hard to believe that he was such an unhappy baby
for that entire first year.
Because now, Xander is that child who can brighten
any room with his radiant smile.
The above picture is one of my favorite.
For Savannah's 4th birthday, we had a DORA party.
The boys (yes, that is little Larry next to him) have their
explorer gear on.

Xander was always a very
affectionate child too.
Here he is trying to give big brother a kiss.

Just before Xander's first birthday, we had the
wonderful opportunity to fly to Hawaii for
Benny's graduation. Jason & Sheba let us stay in
their apartment. The entire trip cost us around $500.
We got amazing tickets for about $250 roundtrip.
That was $250 for 2 people, not each. So we jumped on that
trip with Aunt Trisha & Uncle Ben.
Because Xander was still nursing, he got to tag along.
Although I did tell Mamaw that it would have been
a wonderful time to wean him and leave him with her.
She disagreed because at that time, Xander still hated everyone
that was not his Mommy.

Here is how Larry & I saw our family for a long time.
We thought these three kiddos were it for us.
Each one had brought something new to the
family. And each one was definitely special in
their own little way.

These were the Three Amigos. Three under the
age of three. What were we thinking?

Onto Xander. He is msichievous, playful,

daring, adventurous,

and most of all he is loving and caring
and just always smiling.
And did I mention he is mine.

Ruby, Ethan, & Denzil.
It was suppose to be a picture of Ethan &
Denzil but when Ruby sees the camera, she has to join in.

Xander's big day.
Xander is holding up 3 fingers for 3 times.

Xander had chosen every little detail for his big day.
And did I mention he wanted to be different from Larry
& Savannah. So for Xander's baptism, he had Daddy Baptize him
and Papaw confirm him. That is how Xander wanted it so
that is how we did it.

Goofing off before the big moment.

Xander had a wonderful baptism with lots in
attendance. His Daddy had to go through the Baptism
3 times which thrilled Xander to death. He asks how many can
say they were baptized 3 times?
Thank you to everyone who came and supported our
son in his very special day.
We all truly felt loved.

Sorry for the very long post.
Some more random pictures.
Ruby fell in love with Gator. Sorry Ruby my dear,
this baby factory is closed for business, but you can
enjoy all your little cousins.

Honestly, how did we go from above
to below? They really do grow up fast.
Xander chose a pirate themed party so I made him a
lopsided volcano cake. It looks horrendous but it sure did taste

Little Miss Emalene cleaning her hands.

Ruby carrying the crickets. Yum.
She called them her babies.

Xander, holding his new pet,
a golden tree frog.
He named it Goldie.

Here is Goldie in its new habitat.


Good blog entry! Fun party theme! I enjoyed reading your memories! I remember seeing him as a baby with those braces on! Amazing what know looking back all you guys have experienced!!! (: I too can say I had 3 kids under three once - CRAZINESS!!! (: Glad not to be there now!

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