Sunday, August 29, 2010


I know, I know. I haven't been very good at posting lately. I promise to update soon with everything that has been going on. Until then, here is a little video that a friend sent to me. I thought it deserved a spot on the blog.

By the way, Aiden is now going around singing his own version of "Swagger Wagon", and needless to say, I've now adopted the name for our mini-van.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Professional Family

So I realized shortly after my last post that I unintentionally left it as a cliffhanger. Sorry for the confusion. After Maddie's echocardiogram we met with the doctor and she told us that the flap in Maddie's heart had closed, there is no longer a hole and that her heart looked perfect. She does, however, have a small murmur, just like her Mama and big brother, but it's nothing to worry about. And, this morning, I heard back from the Down syndrome clinic that Maddie's thyroid levels are normal. Yay!!

In other big news, we traded our car in for a minivan. That's right, we are now the proud owners of a 2007 Chrysler Town and Country. Grant couldn't be happier about having a minivan. I, on the other hand, am still adjusting to my new "Soccer Mom" role. I mean a minivan is serious stuff. There's no joking around. We're now a Professional Family, this is what I do for a living. And, I can't really be the young, hip, Mama I want to be while sporting a minivan, no matter how many times those Toyota Sienna commercials try to tell me otherwise. I think I may be taking this harder than I did turning 30.

Don't get me wrong, I like the minivan; there is a LOT more room, so I can tote my double stroller and have room for groceries, it has heated, leather seats, the doors open at the touch of a button, there's a built in navigation system and DVD player with wireless headphones so we don't have to hear Cars playing for the millionth time on long road trips, and all the seats fold nicely into compartments within the van itself. It's made for the Professional Family, to have every possible extra thing you could need to make it easier to schlep kids to and from places. I just wasn't ready to be a Professional Family yet, and didn't see the minivan coming anytime in the near future, but here we are.

Recently, Aiden's been demanding a little more attention than normal. I think he's feeling a little neglected because we've been so busy lately. What he needed was a little time all to himself with one of us. Unfortunately for me, Grant usually gets to be the one to do this with him since Maddie still needs me so much. Oh, what I wouldn't give for a little one-on-one time with my Buddy! But, I was SO happy that Grant was able to take him out today to play in the grass by the Cathedral. Plus, it gave Maddie and I a little one-on-one time, too.

He came back covered in dirt, and clearly had a great time with his Daddy! I can't wait for a Mommy/Buddy day. Hopefully soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to Cardiology and a Thyroid Test

Maddie had a follow-up appointment with the cardiologist today. We had to go back in February because she had some blueing around her lips, hands, and feet. After Maddie's first echocardiogram, the doctor told us she was 99% positive that she had a flap in her heart that was supposed to close after birth and that hers hadn't done that yet. She also told us that most of the time the flap fuses shut on its own, and other times it doesn't. Apparently, there are adults walking around without the flap fused shut. She wanted us to come back when Maddie was 6 months old so that they could take another look and double check that it wasn't a hole in her heart.

I was pretty positive, going in, that nothing was wrong. Since her first appointment, she has not had any of the blueing around her mouth, hands, or feet. She also has not been having any other symptoms that have lead me to worry. We have been so lucky this far that her heart has not had any issues. For those of you who don't know, heart issues are common in children with Down syndrome, and many have to undergo surgery at a young age.

While I was at the Children's Hospital last week getting Maddie's blood drawn for her Thyroid test, I noticed a sign for The Sibling Center. Apparently you can drop off siblings ages 3-11 at the playroom for up to 2 hours while a patient is being seen. I wish I had known about this service earlier. Last time we took Aiden with us and it was extremely stressful trying to keep him entertained during the appointment. This time it was wonderful! He felt like he was getting to go do something special while Maddie had her appointment, and he didn't have to sit quietly while we talked to the doctor. Even though the appointment was longer than the 2 hour playroom time limit, it made him much more cooperative to come back and sit for the remaining few minutes.

As for Maddie, she did an amazing job! She ate during the first part of the appointment and then fell asleep during most of the echocardiogram. If there were a room in the hospital that she were going to sleep in, this would have to be the first choice. The lights are low and calming, it's warm, and Sesame Street was quietly playing in the background. During the part where Maddie was awake, she patiently stayed still and smiled so the technician could get all the pictures of her heart she needed to. She is such a good baby!

As for the thyroid test, she did just as well during this appointment as she did with her Cardiology appointment. I was afraid that she would cry as they stuck her with the needle, but she just smiled at the technician the whole time. Even the technician was surprised. She told me that usually they are the most disliked people at the hospital. Due to her constipation issues, there is a higher chance of that coming back positive. However, I feel extremely confident that her thyroid is easily manageable, but we won't know the results for a couple more days.

Here are just a few fun (and grainy... sorry) pictures of Aiden being a great helper this week. He sure does love his baby sister! And I think she's pretty in love with him, too!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

6 Months Old

Maddie just turned 6 months old. I can't believe how quickly the first half of her first year has gone. 6 months ago as I prepared for Madelyn's birth, it never crossed my mind all the things that I would have to prepare myself for after her birth. I knew that she would be different from Aiden, after all, she was going to be her own little person. But, I was not prepared for the surprise I got. I'm not even sure I would have been prepared had I known then what I know now. It's been a roller coster of a journey with high and low points. It's amazing to me how different things are now, and how well we have melded together as a family. I never would have thought 6 months ago that I would have reached a point of peace with Maddie's Down syndrome diagnosis. But, really, it's not that big of a deal anymore. So I have a few extra appointments a week with her. So she doesn't do things at the same pace as other kids. So I have to go to the Children's Hospital a little more frequently. It's not as devastating as I thought it would be. And, just sayin', the new Children's Hospital is really nice. I'm lucky they moved right before Maddie was born, the old one was nothing to write home, or rather blog, about.

It turns out that as a parent you are always going to worry about your children, whether they have Down syndrome or not. And there are absolutely no guarantees that your children will always be ok. You hope for the best and try not to think about the worst. And, when you hear one of the worst sentences you think could ever be uttered, you change your view point. Down syndrome is not the worst thing to ever happen to our family. It's one of the best. It has brought us closer as a family, Grant and I closer as a couple, made us more sensitive to the needs of others, and opened our eyes to a whole new community of people. People with hearts as big as an ocean. People that I feel a sense of camaraderie, admiration, and belonging to before I even meet them. It's an amazing feeling.

It's not always easy, for instance when I think about the night she was born, I still have the intense feeling of all the air being sucked out of the room. And, even though I know it's going to happen, I can't help but be a little jealous when a friend's baby hits a milestone before Maddie, or hold my breath before a doctor's appointment waiting for the other shoe to drop, because chances are it will. But it only takes looking into Maddie's beautiful, big, blue, eyes to know that things will be ok, just as I did on the night she was born. She is still the baby I fell in love with while I was pregnant, and still my little baby girl. She fills me so completely with a love that I never knew I would be able to feel. It's like I've been waiting for her and her brother my whole life and now I feel complete.

So, with turning 6 months old, comes the 6 month well-baby check-up. We timed her appointment with Aiden's 3 year old appointment so that we didn't have to go back twice. Maddie weighed in at 12 pounds even, 24 inches tall and in the less than 3rd percentile on the height and weight chart. Other than being teeny tiny, everything checked out! She did have to get some vaccines, and they caused her to have a small fever the next day, but it wasn't a big deal. Aiden did just as well as Maddie and is in the 10th percentile for his height and weight. What can I say, we just have small children!

In other news, Maddie had her Developmental Therapist session this week and has hit all of her developmental milestones that we set out as goals for her. Which means, it's time to re-eveluate her and set some new goals. I remember when we started all of the therapy with Maddie thinking that it was going to take forever for her be able to perform some of the tasks, but here we are, and she's just moving right along!

I can't wait to see what amazing things happen in the next 6 months! It has been such an amazing ride so far, I know it will only get better from here! Happy half birthday sweet baby girl, I love you!