Friday, June 20, 2014

Baby Christina at 10 months

Baby Christina is nearly 10 months old and she is doing very well and she keeps surprising us with her milestone achievements.

We feel so blessed (and maybe some luck, but I attribute luck to God anyway, so it is still blessed) that Christina has been so healthy. Granted she's had her issues, but no major bacteria or viruses! Wait, so formula-fed babies can have a healthy immune system?! (I'm mostly just being sassy, I am actually pro-breastfeeding, where it is possible.) But I digress. When Christina was born, Brian and I both had trouble answering certain types of questions about Christina. For instance, when people would ask "Is she healthy?" or "How is she doing?" These questions seem so relative. Because in some ways, she is as healthy as a horse. But in other regards, nearly every body system in her little body was made wrong but does in fact function well enough. And when people ask how she's doing, well, she's happy and not in pain, so that is good, right? Does she do typical things most 10 months are doing? Well, no. Does she seem to care? Well, that's a no. So she seems fine to us!

James is easily her favorite! At least when it comes to entertainment purposes. They both really love each other and James will spend hours a day playing and wrestling her. At first I was worried at how wild and rough he was with her, but when you hear her cackle laughing it's hard to argue that she doesn't love it! I am her favorite when she wants comfort or cuddling. And she has warmed up to Brian, inasmuch as she doesn't cry anymore when left with him!

She does her own version of crawling. She can go surprisingly quickly from point A to point B. She does move her legs one at a time forward as she scoots her head forward without lifting it. She will rest and lift her head momentarily, but her lifting is up off the ground, not like up looking around. She also loves the yoga position downward dog, but uses her head to balance and not her arms! She is a determined little thing!

She still doesn't eat anything orally and is solely fed through her g-tube. But I am hopeful that she will at some point eat by mouth since she loves things in and around her mouth. We just started to brush her four little teeth and she lets me brush her teeth for over half an hour. She loves the taste of a little bit of toothpaste and the feeling of the toothbrush. So things like that make us hopeful that she will learn to have food in her mouth again and learn how to swallow again.

My mom came to town to visit and she thought we were not seeing all of her brilliance and potential (said with some jest) but I argue we are just realists! So we went out and got her some toys. One that she has seemed to enjoy and engage with a little is a play mat with music and toys that dangle. She also has a light toy that is basically a big box that lights up when you push a button. She just recently started to enjoy that toy. She intentionally pushes the button, but we are still undecided if she understands the cause and effect of this toy. If she can figure that out she could be entertained by a whole range of toys!

And she really was smiling in these pictures!

So far she mostly goes by sissy or baby Christina or baby sister. When baby sister number two comes in the fall this might get confusing and we may have to nail down some more distinctive nicknames! And speaking of baby tres, she's really in there!

Friday, June 6, 2014

A legacy of maternal strength

I hope to be able to leave a legacy of maternal strength to my daughters. We are very happy to announce that we are pregnant with a baby girl due this fall! We can hardly contain our happiness to be having a healthy baby. But with this joy also comes some apprehension because, like me, she is also a carrier.

For Brian and me, choosing when to have children has been both the most wonderful as well as the most terrifying experiences. As many of our friends and family know, I have a chromosomal balanced translocation. There is a lot of genetic jargon to explain what a balanced translocation is but most simply put it means that when I have children there is a 50/50 chance at conception of having a severally handicapped child. Brian and I both knew that we wanted to have children but with my condition the when and how can be quite complicated. We have made all of our procreative decisions very seriously and prayerfully. I am thankful to have had my parents to look to as examples and support in our tough circumstances. And most importantly to have a wonderful husband to love me and listen to my endless chatter and nervousness about this issue.

We have been dying to announce that we are expecting for several weeks but we wanted to wait until we knew more about the baby. Concealing the pregnancy grew ever difficult because it seemed my body knew just what to do the third time around! I am 18 weeks along, and besides lots of fatigue, the pregnancy has been very smooth sailing!