Monday, September 14, 2009

Birthday Girl

Today is Bella's birthday. Nine years old! We lived outside of Cleveland when I had her. My OB suggested I come into the hospital to deliver her the night of one of my last appointments. He didn't think I'd make it to the hospital if I went into labor at home. No need in having a child named, "Grand Caravan Stagliano," eh?

Bella was breach. We did an in utero inversion - flipped her using brute force. I regret that. I think we injured her. I sure do. She's not the same as her sisters. Her "autism" is not the same.

My Mom jumped on a plane, as usual. Her cab driver to the airport got a flat! My sister in law came over to watch Mia and Gianna, who were four and five years old. I used the same birth doula who'd helped me deliver Mia. No drugs. Bella was born in about 3 hours. She was much bigger than her sisters - almost a pound! Who knew a few ounces could make such a difference.

At the end, my OB yelled at me, "GET THIS BABY OUT!" I was struggling and frankly, by the third, the pain was fiercer than ever and I was just so damn tired from being Mom to Mia and Gianna. They'd just been diagnosed with autism ten months before and I'd started an intense in home therapy program.

They say every baby is born into a different family. Too true for Bella. Five months after her birth, Mia started having Grand Mal seizures - and I pretty much ignored Bella while panicking over Mia's health.

She's a beautiful girl, Bella. Perhaps my prettiest child, and Mia and Gianna are no slouches in the looks department. She's eager to engage you - her eyes pull you in.

Mark and I have never heard Bella speak - she's said a few words, has a couple she can repeat. But imagine nine years and you've never heard your child's voice. It stings. Can't lie. It sure does sting.

Happy birthday, Miss Bella Michelle Stagliano. I'd like to wrap up recovery for you, honey. Speech first. I'm still working on it. I won't give up.



Niksmom said...

Wishing beautiful Bella a happy birthday.

Anonymous said...

I remember my oldest child flipped the last two weeks and was completely breech. My OB told me at the time that a c-section was required as he would never flip a child. Too dangerous he told me. I remember not wanting a c-section but looking back I am glad he was cautious and made this call.

She really is beautiful. I am curious if she uses an aug. device?

Kim Rossi Stagliano said...

I didn't want the C-section because I had two girls with autism at home. I didn't think I could carfe for them properly after surgery and I had no help. My Mom was 600 miles away. That was my rationale at the time. My OB had another doc in his practice do the version - he was the most experienced. It took THREE TRIES - and her leg kept getting stuck on my pelvis. It was more painful than delivery - I swear. And a med school class was watching... Nice.

We just did an assistive tech review - she uses PECS and books - working toward a device.

Thanks, NiksMom too.

Anonymous said...

The I-Touch technology with that special application is supposed to be really great and convenient. This might be really good for her.

Don't get me started on mainstream doctors. I have no faith or trust in them anymore unfortunately!

Kathy said...


Just got my tissues! It breaks my heart you don't hear Bella's beautiful voice more. I pray you find the piece to her puzzle ... so much the rest of us take for granted. Hearing our children's voices ... you put life in perspective for me today.

drama mama said...

Happy Birthday, darling girl.

Kim Rossi Stagliano said...

Thank - Kathy, somewhere there's a grieving Mom whose child has died, or a Mom in a wheelchair with a full disability much more severe than Bella. I also need a dose of perpective sometimes - it's human, I guess, to wish your child was "better" though that's not the right word of course. Yeah, I want Bella to be a typical kid - for HER - not for me. Although I'd love to know what it's like to be a regular mom. And I don't mean one who poops every day.

pixiemama said...

Happy birthday, beautiful girl.

Mama? Come on over to my site. My friend sent me a message I think you might need to hear.


Reesha said...

Ooooh, sweet girl! What a beautiful picture.
I will keep Bella in my prayers and best wishes.

Judith U. said...

Happy Birthday Beautiful Bella. You and your mom inspire me.

Richard Levangie said...

I don't know how you do it, Kim.

Happy Birthday to lovely Bella!

Amy said...

Happy Birthday to one gorgeous girl. God often places it on my heart and in my thoughts to pray for you guys - all of you. Special prayers will be lifted today for sweet Bella.

K Fuller said...

I do not believe that God does this to us. I believe man does this to us.
Having said that, I don't think your girls could be in a better place.
I have to believe when I get up every morning that today will be the day that the world will wake up and acknowledge that we are doing something wrong for our kids.
Happy Happy Birthday to your baby, and also to you. You and your family are an inspiration to all of us who fight Autism everyday. We all want to have our kids do what typical kids are doing. Mine should be driving, and filled with angst over the girl next to him in class. Not perseverating on the strings and hammers in the grand piano on YouTube.
Celebrate!! I know that you do.

Kim Rossi Stagliano said...

I agree, Karen. God would not try to enhance me or make me a "better" person on the backs of my children. No way. No how. If so, he's a real asshole.... (Do you hear thunder?)

Anonymous said...

HA! I DID hear thunder, right as I read that, Kim. We seem to be having one of those weird morning thunder storms here.

I wish every blessing for your darling Bella.

Amanda said...

Happy birthday Miss B!

Laura said...

Beautiful, Kim. Bella is so beautiful and special and I hope you hear her voice VERY SOON!

I second guess Hutton's birth all the time. But the thing I know I did wrong was to let him be vaccinated the morning after his tumultuous birth.

Gabs said...


hopefaithbelieve said...

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Bella. Keep fighting the good fight.

Bridgett said...

She is beautiful....her eyes are captivating.

I hope she had a wonderful birthday.

tina said...

God Bless Bella! And you too, Kim.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Oh sweet girl. I love Bella. She is a darling child.

Happy Birthday.

P.S. I had always regretted not flipping Riley in utero. I thought her birth might have gone better if we had. She was at a weird angle and couldn't get out. We had a hell of a time and then a c-section. I guess you just never know.

Anonymous said...

happy birthday to your beautiful girl!

Have you ever tried introducing sign language with her? A lot of the patients and cliets I'm around twenty four/seven, are nonverbal, and we've had some that started regaining some verbal language after introducing sign. It's a miracle to watch.

One boy I will never forget, 11 years of age, not a word spoken, profound autism, who just drooled most of the time as he oh so violently rocked through about 9 wheelchairs already(he cannot walk without assistance). He used a communication device, but only with hand over hand direction. We then tried sign language, like what the hay, it was like his world opened up. After 2 years, this boy can now sign up to 30 signs on his own, and is less violent. To an ordinary person, that isn't much success, but to people like us to watch these children day after day see no results no matter what, then this, is like a miracle!

I strongly recommend it to parents.