Welcome, Lena Bambina

May 15, 2012

Post image for Welcome, Lena Bambina

Everything moved so fast, spun us, and now it’s all out of order in my head, like these changing, de-changing, and re-changing seasons we’ve been watching out the window these past three months. We had a breech baby girl, a fitting start to a beautifully bass-ackwards kind of 2012.

We found out she was head-up at 38 weeks. After trying to turn her myself for a few days (headstands on the couch, giant headphones strapped to my belly), I let the pros have a go at it. But they couldn’t un-breech her either–and for a very good reason, as it turned out. The the cord was wrapped around her neck.

The c-section wasn’t what I’d wanted, but… who cares. Our Lena made it here safely. She was born February 23rd at 7 pounds, 6 ounces, 20 and 1/4 inches. A full head of red hair topped her perfect, pudgy, pink face. The picture of health.


When the pediatrician first examined her in the hospital, he found that sometimes, her hip “knocked,” partially dislocating. So at his recommendation we took her to see an orthopedist, wishfully thinking it was just to rule out trouble. But Doc’s hunch was right: Lena’s socket had not formed correctly around the head of her femur. She had hip dysplasia.

As skeletal abnormalities go, it’s the best possible kind. When you catch it early, you can take advantage of the brief window in which the bones are still forming. Two days after we brought Lena home from the hospital, she was fitted with something called a Pavlik harness. The specialist bound her in thick strips of Velcro and told us never to take it off, not even for bathing. She wore it for six. Long. Weeks.

Lena adjusted quickly. We eventually caught up. Nursing, bathing, changing, everything was so difficult, especially the first few days. We yearned to cuddle her and feel her skin. To not have access to your newborn’s itty bitty toes is a special kind of torture.

But, again, who cares. The treatment worked. It saved her from walking with a limp and developing painful arthritis in her thirties. It cured her–completely painlessly. We’ll always be grateful for that.

Even now, more than a month after she was unharnessed, I am trying to make up for lost time, snuggling her as I type with one hand. I am so sad to be going back to work this week, but the good news is she’s not going straight into daycare. Dylan will be full-time daddying all summer while he’s on break from teaching–he cannot wait. Lena is healed, and I am healed, and now, all we have to do is raise her in this beautiful home where we’ve been been building a nest for her for years.

Since I got pregnant, Mr. DIY Mess has been unstoppable. While I was busy gestating, he was nestating. In the past year, he’s turned this…

… into this:

And this…

… into this:

And this (second floor kitchen, from our home’s former life as an apartment building)…

… into this (walk-in closet with laundry!!!):

And this… (Dylan’s studio–creative mind at work, here!)

… into this!

(Don’t worry; he’s set up shop in the spare bedroom for now, and eventually, he’ll have the whole third floor.)

My man is superhuman, it’s true. What a lucky girl Lena is to have a dad like him.

I’ll probably be even worse about updating my blog now that we are embarking on the mother of all DIY projects. Lena is ours again, itty bitty toes and all, and right now that’s more than enough for us. We are head over heels and bass-ackwards, loopy in love with this girl.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet Gibson May 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

What a beautiful home filled with love and great taste!!! I’m proud of you for taking on each challenge with the birth with joy in your heart.

P.J. June 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Congratulations! She’s such a cutie!!!

After reading your post that the baby was breach, I kept checking your blog every few days to see if you’d posted anything about her birth. When I still didn’t see any updates, I hoped & prayed you were just too busy taking care of a newborn to blog. Today I remembered to check again & am soooooo relieved to learn I was right!

I had an emergency C-section with our daughter, who refused to drop or be induced even at full term. Since my first delivery was totally natural (9.5+ lb. son) & I’d taught childbirth classes, at first I felt like a failure. After a couple of days I decided it didn’t matter how she was born, just that she was healthy! Our LANA is a redhead, too! Enjoy your sweet baby girl, ’cause they grow up WAY too fast!

P.J. June 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I was so excited about the baby I forgot to say—I love the latest work on your house, too!

Elaine @ Bless This DIY Mess June 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Thank you so much for the kind words, PJ. And SO sorry I left you hanging all those months! Glad to hear all turned out well for your LANA (looooove the name, of course!). All the best from my gingers to yours.

Kate H. July 14, 2012 at 4:51 am

Oh, Elaine, I’d missed the part about the wrapped cord. The very idea makes me shudder. Thank God the C-section went well.

The house looks even better in person. Godspeed on tackling the 3rd floor– though of course the little redheaded project comes first.

Stuff and Nonsense August 29, 2012 at 11:50 am

i was perusing the directory
on Pittsburgh Bloggers
and clicked your link

your new little one
is as sweet as can be
and thank heaven above
that her problem
was easily fixed

our eldest
had curved feet
and had to be fitted with
hip to toe casts
for months to correct it

isn’t medical stuff amazing?

your hubs has been busy
turning your rooms
into something lovely

adore the vintage style bath
and the nursery especially

nice to ‘meet’ you!


Elaine @ Bless This DIY Mess August 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Lovely to e-meet you too, Alison! Looking forward to clicking around your blog. If the Dutch babies are any indication, I’m in for a treat! [Drool!] Wishing you and the fam a lovely holiday weekend. –Elaine

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