Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Year To Remember

Christmas has come and gone…I hope all of you had a blessed Christmas! 2010 has been the best ( and most eventful) year of my life. God gave me the most precious gift, ever; we are so blessed to have Austin. 2010 has also had its share of challenges. The term “Down syndrome” once frightened me and I tried desperately to block it out of my mind. I wasn’t sure that I was capable of raising a child with special needs. I spent a lot of time asking God, “why me?” I’m thankful those doubts no longer consume my thoughts. God has given me this amazing strength and I wish I had the words to describe it. I was scared because I knew very little about Down syndrome when we received the diagnosis. It actually fascinates me that Austin has such an incredibly rare form of Down syndrome. I know that’s probably hard for anyone else to understand, but it just reminds he was no accident. He was meant to be…just the way he is. When our Genetic Doctor (who has over 30 years experience) told us he couldn’t recall the last time he saw a case of Down syndrome like Austin’s, I just knew that was God’s way of telling me, “I told you so! I told you he’ll do great things. I told you he was special.” From that moment on, my doubts greatly diminished.
"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life."
-1 Samuel 1:27-28
Austin had a great 1st Christmas! I’m pretty sure he was more interested in tearing the wrapping paper and playing with the bows. I think I was more excited to “test out” his news toys than he was.

Want to see Austin’s BEST present? (Thank you, Nana)

Oh yeah. Check out this bad boy!

I’ve always found it interesting how they try to give these devices a sugar coated name such as: “bulb” or “Nasal Aspirator.” My husband even came home with an electric Nasal Aspirator when Austin was 3 months old because we were desperate. They all do the same thing…suck out snot. Why not call it what it is? A SNOT SUCKER. That’s exactly what this handy device is called. It’s been recommended by countless moms. I was desperate because Austin has had awful nasal congestion for weeks! The regular bulb irritates his little nasal passages like crazy and it has about a 50/50 success rate to begin with. The Snot Sucker aka “Nosefrida” is truly a brilliant invention that works well and doesn’t irritate the nasal passages. Also, Austin doesn’t seem to be as bothered by the snot sucker. It’s made in Sweden and they definitely know what they’re doing! I’m pretty sure the entire neighborhood could hear Austin's screams each time I pulled out that evil “bulb.” I’m happy to say he doesn’t scream when we use the snot sucker. Best of all, it works! It just might be Best $15.00 you’ll ever spend on Just don’t forget to purchase the filters( no worries, they’re cheap.) I don’t usually review baby items on my blog because let’s be honest, you may not have my glorious experience and vice versa. However, this particular item is far too awesome for me not to tell you about!
Yes, he's STANDING! So...the storage ottoman isn't just for his toys.

Austin turned 10 months old last Friday. I know I say this every month, but where has the time gone? I need to begin planning his 1st birthday…because those 2 months will surely fly by. Austin went to the doctor yesterday because I was concerned about his nasal congestion and feared he may have another ear infection. Thank God his ears looked great, but Dr. C did start him on a prescription nasal spray. We used it today and both Ryan and I noticed a difference. We’re praying it continues to give him relief! He weighed a whopping 18 pounds and 13 ounces at the doctor yesterday. He has a mere 3 pounds until he reaches the weight limit of his infant car seat. Looks like we’ll be in the market for a convertible car seat in a few weeks. This is yet another reminder that my baby is growing too fast.

May the new year bring each of you many blessings. I’ll be back to update in 2011!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I wish I had something interesting to write about, but life has been rather low key lately. Austin is recovering well from his surgery. We had a little scare last week because his catheter tube fell out on its own on Wednesday morning. I remember the recovery nurse telling me, “Worst case scenario, the tube falls out.” Naturally, I freaked out. I had the hospital page the on call Pediatric Urologist. However, she never called me back. I’m telling you, I have the worst luck with Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. I’ve never been a fan, but that’s an entirely different subject. Anyway, I called the hospital back for a second time and the on call doctor called me back around 5 that morning. Austin hadn’t urinated all night, which was highly unusual. The doctor suggested putting him in the bath tub and sure enough, that did the trick. She said it was okay that the tube fell out on its own because it had been 5 days. I assume the recovery nurse meant it would be bad if the tube fell out early on in recovery. We didn’t have to go to our appointment on Friday to remove the catheter since the tube fell out early.

Austin and I enjoyed our time with Nana. He definitely loves his Nana!  We were really sad to see her go back home. However, well see her and Papa again in a few weeks!!

We finished up our Christmas shopping on Saturday. Austin’s gifts sat in front of the tree until we wrapped them last night. I suppose this will be one of the few years that we can do that. I cannot wait until he’s old enough to understand the magic of Christmas. I also look forward to taking him each year to pick an “angel” to purchase gifts for off of the angel tree. I want Austin to know that Christmas isn’t about what you get, but rather, what you give. We don’t have a money tree in our back yard or anything, but Austin is fortunate enough to have presents under the tree. He’ll never know what it’s like to go without. Sadly, there are children that don’t have any gifts to open on Christmas day. It really puts things into perspective when you think about it.

If I don’t update before…have a Merry Christmas, everyone.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

He’ll Change The World With His Smile

We received the rest of our photos(all 85 of them!) from the photo shoot last month and were completely blown away. Our photographer captured more than just Austin in the physical sense. She captured his beautiful, sweet soul.

He makes my heart feel so good.

I'm certain that God gave Austin to us for several reasons...he's going to do things that some claim he'll never do. How do I know this? Because he already has and is. And he does it to show others that having Down syndrome doesn't mean his life isn't worth living. There isn't high or low functioning...Austin has strengths and weaknesses, just like all of you. He smiles when he's happy and loves to laugh. He also screams when he's mad and cries tears when he's sad. No, he's not always happy because he has Down syndrome. He expresses a variety of different emotions and feelings on a daily basis. Yes, he and his friends whom have an extra chromosome too, are different. God doesn’t love us based on our outward appearance. He doesn’t love us any less based on our sins and he is always willing to forgive. He loves us because he knows where our heart is. That’s what matters to God.

Imagine how beautiful it would be if everyone looked past the outward appearance of Down syndrome? The beauty of their heart and soul would introduce you to a love like no other. Perhaps then you would see and feel what we do when we look at our children.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mission Complete

I’m very happy to report that Austin’s surgery to correct hypospadias is complete. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 on Friday morning. Austin was all smiles for the staff and they, of course, fell in love with him. We can’t take him any where without someone wanting to “take him home.” I always tell them they’ll want to give him back when he wakes up at 5 in the morning.

Austin and his MiMi (Ryan's mom)...who was a HUGE help!

The anesthesiologist came to talk to me before the surgery and asked a lot of questions. She explained to me that it usually takes children with Down syndrome longer to wake up from anesthesia. I replied, “he might surprise you.” Of course, I think my child is amazing. I guess certain statements bother me because I feel like Austin’s being put into a “group.” All children are different. This statement is true for children with Down syndrome too. They aren’t all the same. Guess what? Austin DID surprise the anesthesiologist. He was awake before he made it to recovery.

And he's off to the operating room.
As they wheeled Austin off to surgery, he insisted on being on his tummy. This cute little trait earned him a nick name. The staff ended up calling him “Superman” for the remainder of our stay. There were no tears when they wheeled him off…he was quite distracted and happy. Thank God! Dr. B said Austin did great with the surgery and anesthesia. We were able to go home around 12:30.

After surgery...he still wanted to be on his tummy and do "push ups."

We didn’t know what to expect, but by the grace of God…Austin doesn’t seem to be in pain. He was even able to visit Santa Claus on Saturday morning!

Austin's first visit with Santa

I still cancelled all of his activities(therapy, Mommy and Me class, etc.) for this week. He has a tube in place that will be removed on Friday, so he can’t be too wild until it’s out. Speaking of Mommy and me,  we had our first class last Wednesday. It was so much fun! Austin loved interacting, singing and playing with the other children…whom happen to have an extra chromosome like him.

Watch this...I can fly!
Austin’s Nana is flying in to visit us later this week and we’re so excited! Hopefully I’ll have tons of pictures to share from her visit. Christmas is right around the corner and we love spending time with family…I’ll be sure to update soon with lots of pictures from Nana’s visit.

My two "window watchers", Austin and his dog, Cagle.


Friday, December 3, 2010

A Busy Week

It’s been quite an eventful week. In the past 72 hours we’ve visited the Ear, Nose and Throat(ENT) doctor and the Pediatric Optometrist. The ENT doctor recommended tubes for Austin’s ears and removal of his adenoids. I trust his recommendation and feel Austin will benefit greatly. The surgery will have to wait until 2011 because we have to get through his urology surgery next week. Sadly, he’ll have to suffer with deep nasal congestion until then. Austin wakes up numerous times during the night because he cannot breathe. We have to endure the daunting task of using the saline and attempting to suction his nose, which is an all too familiar event.

On occasion, Austin’s right eye moves rapidly left to right. We visited the Pediatric Optometrist and he determined that Austin’s eyes look “great.” However, he ordered an MRI "just to be safe." What is the eye doctor looking for? Well, nothing specific. He basically wants to rule out anything serious. I feel good about this. Unfortunately, Austin will have to go under anesthesia for the MRI because he (obviously) cannot remain still during the procedure.
Tubes and adenoid removal is not what I would consider “major” surgery. The fact that Austin will have to go under anesthesia(again) greatly bothers me. Also, if he has the MRI before he’s 1...he will have been under anesthesia 4 times before his 1st birthday. Yes, it’s stressful. Yes, I get scared. Dwelling on it won’t solve anything. My faith has taught me that we should never doubt God’s love for us. He is in control and he always uses this for the good of those whom love him. Faith is trust and I choose to trust in the Lord with all my heart.

"God is faithful," Paul tells us. "He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear"
-1 Corinthians 10:13.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful"
- Hebrews 10:23
Therapy went well on Thursday. Austin continues to make progress and we’re so proud. At the same time, there are delays. Apparently, he should be past the “swim” and “fly” (see picture above) movements when he’s on his tummy. What do you know? Ryan and I think it’s adorable. He’s been doing it for about a month or so. I still think it’s cute. As far as delays go, I've come to the following conclusion: So what if Austin doesn't walk until he's 18 months or 2 years old? Once he takes off he probably won't want much to do with me, so I'll hold on to my baby and cherish our time together before he takes off.

Before I had Austin, I had all these plans for my future children. “I’m going to teach them this, they will read that, we will work on that…“ After all, I majored in Early Childhood Education. I have several tricks up my sleeve when it comes to teaching. I loved making learning “fun” for my students. Just as I was feeling so confident that my teaching abilities would come into play with my own child….BAM! None of that matters anymore. I never thought I’d be learning sign language in order to teach my own child how to sign. I never thought I’d be researching toys for children with special needs. I’m learning new things every day. I feel like I’m a student again. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Motherhood definitely isn't what I thought it would be. It's different, but IT’S BETTER than anything I could‘ve ever imagined. We have a different kind of perfect around here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving has come and gone…now it’s my favorite time of year! We had a fabulous Thanksgiving and were blessed to be able to spend it with family and friends whom are like family. The road trip to Kerrville is long, but so worth it. I always have the intention of taking tons of pictures of Austin with my parents and family friends, but some how I never have quite enough time. Austin has yet ANOTHER ear infection, which is sad and frustrating at the same time. My poor baby. Of course, it happened while we were out of town.
Austin turned 9 months old on Wednesday. He continues to amaze me every day. He’s doing so many new things…like TALKING. Yes, talking!! He said “Mama” 3 times while we were on our trip. I’m not sure if he can comprehend that I’m “Mama” yet, but I’ll take it! He’s really playing with his voice these days and it’s so cute. I’ll post a video when he’s in the mood to talk. Hopefully it won’t be at 4 in the morning, because as of lately he’s been talking to us non-stop at 4 A.M. He’s still a good eater and he LOVES his solids. He eats all sorts of baby food, but I still have to “sneak” the veggies in with fruit. He LOVES chicken, turkey and beef baby food. Table food is a work in progress. We’ve tried puffs, dry cereal and part of a biscuit. He doesn’t yet understand how to chew and swallow, but he’ll get there. He’s happy with his Stage 2 and 3 baby food for now. He still has no teeth, but exhibits every single symptom and sign of teething(and has for MONTHS!)

We have a busy week ahead, so I’m going to bring this to an end. I’ll leave you with Pictures.

Thanksgiving Day

Checking out the "cooler" weather with Daddy.

Austin with his (and our) friends L & L. We had so much fun visiting these sweet ladies.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Austin...working out and doing a baby push up.

Blowing his infamous spit bubbles.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gobble Gobble

Here are "sneak peaks" of my beautiful baby boy from our amazingly talented photographer.

Happy Thanksgiving!