Monday, December 21, 2009

notes from the infirmary

Sick kids. Again.

Matt and I started to forego presents for one another years ago, but this year I really, really want just one thing - healthy kids!

It started with Parker last Tuesday, a pretty bad cough and runny nose. We kept him home from preK on Thursday and Friday. By Wednesday night Macy had it, by Thursday Holden had it and by Friday Dawson and Emerson were right there too. Holden fared the worst and for a while we thought about taking him to the ER and facing the possibility of spending another holiday with a child in the hospital.

He slept all day Friday and Saturday - literally, we had not seen his eyes in that long - but finally Sunday morning he opened them and was looking around, very miserable and unsmiling but still alert for once. His congestion is nearly gone now and he took his first full 5 oz bottle of breastmilk just a few hours ago. Emerson is sounding better and Dawson is still battling an awful dry cough but it seems to be running its course.

We're thinking it was most likely RSV since neither Matt, I nor Cade got it and it got progressively worse with younger age.

I am so tired of sickness, especially around holidays. Last Christmas was spent cleaning throw-up off new toys LOL, so hopefully this will clear soon and it will be out of the way by Friday.

It's after midnight, the kids are all asleep (for now) and the house is a complete disaster. Ah, motherhood. ^_^

Thursday, December 17, 2009

first smiles

Monday, December 14, 2009


Just a bit late in posting, but Happy 2nd Birthday to our beautiful Dawson!

It seems forever ago that he was being born in our bedroom, tumbling into my hands and bringing a whole new world with him. I can hardly remember the feelings that overtook me when I first felt certain he had Down syndrome... though I admit as he gets older there are times I feel that again; times when he is frustrated pushing his little walking toys around because he can't get his feet to obey him, times when he is so congested we can only wonder how he can still be so cheerful - in those times I have to fight back tears pouring out from the mommy bear inside me that wants to drag that chromosome out of his body, kick it around a bit and put it out with the garbage. I always felt he had such a reason to be here, great lessons to teach, but more frequently these days I feel selfish for him and wonder why he should have to work so hard to give such a great gift to others.

But in the end he is much more than a living map for finding the meaning of life - he is Dawson, just my Dawson, and he is perfect.

It seems right to close this post with some words written in his baby journal when he was 3 months old. They are still so true! ^_^

I am so grateful that we found one another. You have made me realize what true, unconditional love is and have made everything in my life so much richer.

I envy you, Dawson. You change the world and bring happiness to people just by being you. What an incredible power you have. Use it wisely my sweet boy. You are going to have such a beautiful life!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

blessings, birthdays and bugs

November come and gone - and geesh, what a month! Time for some updates!

We celebrated the 3rd birthday of our spunky little princess, Macy, on the 12th! I can still remember that desperate longing for our lucky #3 to be our first daughter and the disbelieving joy at finding out it was! :) She continues to take advantage of that royal role and work on her bossing skills. ^_^

What was supposed to be another happy and uneventful Thanksgiving turned into a bittersweet stressful time as our little Dawson spent that day in the hospital. He'd been fighting with a cold for over a week and fevers around 102 for a few days. We took him to the doctor Tuesday night, fearing H1N1, and got a prescription for Tamiflu. Then very suddenly late Wednesday night he woke up with a fever approaching 106, vomiting a little blood and staring at the ceiling blankly, not responding to his name. Matt rushed him to the ER while I stayed home and worried, imagined worst case scenarios, cried and tried very hard not to imagine life without him, the feeling of the earth falling out beneath me and the anchor of this little boy letting me go to be set adrift. Matt did his best to keep me updated from the ER; it was a long, sleepless night. In the end the test for H1N1 came back negative and his bloodwork looked normal - he ended up being diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia and spending 2 days in the hospital.

Matt and I switched every 4 to 6 hours at the hospital and I couldn't help thinking how Emerson spent a month in a hospital around the world with the same diagnosis without a mommy or daddy to hold vigil at her side. Dawson was a trooper but clearly wanted to get home - he was cruising around his little jail cell and getting bored with the toys we brought. His fever stayed down, his lungs stabilized and he was released on Saturday. When I asked him, "Bye-bye home?" he started clapping happily and before we left he was waving to the IV machine saying bye-bye LOL. He's been doing great since, other than some pesky diarrhea from the antibiotic he just finished.

Thanksgiving wasn't Thanksgiving without him (and Matt, who took mealtime duty) but in the end we had the best thing for which to be thankful! He was home in time to enjoy his joint birthday party with Macy on that Sunday - his birthday is coming up soon but for now we have 6 kids ages 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 LOL!

Our little Dawson is doing great, he is cruising everywhere and walks around behind his push cars all by himself - independent walking is SO close! :) He is still gaining lots of words and has the best sense of humor. He loves to play on the couch, rolling around and working those muscles LOL, and a couple weeks ago he fell off - not too hard and he didn't cry but I rushed over and he lay there on his back looking up at me very seriously and said, "And down." Hehe what a cutie! He understands "fast" and "slow" now and will sing and rock with you to Row, Row Your Boat both fast and slow - I'll have to get a video sometime, it's so adorable.

Emerson had the same cold which she has made through unscathed other than a terribly runny nose combined with her dry skin to create an awful bleeding spot at one nostril. She is doing well overall - despite her sometimes major feeding issues, she is up to about 19 1/2 lbs. She is still eating baby food, but she now accepts it with crushed up cheerios or crackers mixed in - an absolutely huge leap for a child who a few months ago would scream for an hour if she had even the tiniest crumb put on her tongue. She is slowly getting desensitized to texture and I am feeling a renewed hope that we might get her eating some table foods by her 3rd birthday. She has even started lateralizing her tongue and making some rudimentary chewing motions while eating. She's drinking much better with a straw now and gets all of her fluids that way.

She has a very cute greeting that sounds like "hi," sometimes waves bye-bye and sometimes signs "more." She understands a lot more than she expresses - especially NO! LOL She is still grinding her teeth, sometimes really badly, and she is still hitting things into her head/hitting her head into things - the other day she hit her face into the metal railing at the top of our stairs and gave herself a little black eye. The only positive thing was that she cried. She usually seems to be oblivious to even the worst bumps. We have to swaddle her very tightly at night or she will wake herself by thrashing, kicking and hitting her head. She's now discovered that even when we take toys away and move her from walls she has the floor - she will sit with her legs spread and bang her head repeatedly into the floor.

Despite all that, when she is engaged she is really engaged - she makes good eye contact, tracks everyone and laughs and smiles and she'll crawl into the noisiest room to be part of the action. She's pulling to stand a lot and we will likely be getting her orthotics to help with how she stands on the absolute sides of her feet.

Somedays are really tough with her - days where I feel certain she is just a head bang away from a dual diagnosis of Autism on DS and I don't know how in the world I will deal with this - and other days are good days, ones where I marvel at how much she has changed and feel determined not to give up on a good challenge. With all the chaos of the past two months I am a bit behind on our 6 month post-placement report. Sometimes I am not sure what I will say, sometimes I am writing two reports in my mind - the one I will send and the one I really want to write... but wow, 6 months.

Our other kiddos are all doing great, including the Cutest Baby Ever - he is closing in on 13 lbs and starting to smile. Ah, how time flies. Other than some fussiness at night he is a pretty easy-going guy and Matt and I are constantly trying to wrestle him out of each others arms LOL. We're not taking away the possibility of another baby or two in a few years depending on our circumstances - yes, Holden is THAT cute! :)

Enjoy the pics, there are a ton more to come hopefully soon! ^_^