Doctor, doctor give me the news

Hannah’s birthday was sandwiched between three doctors appointments.

Friday afternoon she had her first non-BAER hearing test, which ended up being a total bust. There was someone sitting in the room with us to monitor Hannah’s facial reactions to the sounds but Hannah was more interested in that woman than she was to any of the noises. After the test, the audiologist confirmed that there’s still fluid in both of Hannah’s ear. Once again she referred us to the ENT and said the end result will be tubes if the fluid doesn’t clear up. We also had to make a quick stop at the lab for blood tests. The phlebotomist surprised me by finding a vein quickly and not making Hannah cry to hard, then he was in such a rush to get us out of the room that he left the rubber tourniquet tucked into Hannah’s sleeve and almost forgot to tape the gauze on her arm.

Monday night after work Hannah had her big 12 month pediatrician checkup. I made sure to take lots of notes because I knew I wouldn’t remember everything. Here are some of the highlights:

Length 28 3/4”

Weight 18 lb 6 oz

Head circumference 17 1/2”

The main topic was Hannah’s eating and weight gain plateau. I take full responsibility for the delay in getting Hannah to eat thicker foods because it was too scary watching her gag over a puff or piece of mushy bread. Our pediatrician wants to transition Hannah to 3 meals and 2 snacks a day and have her off formula and bottles by 15 months. We’ll start giving her whole milk in a sippy cup and try foods like pastina, eggs, and fruits/veggies steamed at home. The Dr. even suggested mixing olive oil and butter into the food to increase her calorie intake.

The fun part of the focus on eating will be getting Hannah to feed herself. Since she’s completely against holding her own bottle I thought it would be hard to get her interested in holding the spoon. Turns out she loves to feed herself…then throw the spoon on the floor and cheer for herself. We’re also supposed to put food on the highchair tray and let Hannah play with it, with the goal of some of it ending up in her mouth.

Tuesday morning was another follow up with the ENT. Hannah’s ear infection cleared up but could possibly be the reason for the fluid in her ears. Thankfully she said we can give Hannah through the Spring to see if the fluid disappears before making the decision for tubes.


Hannah’s Birthday Party Recap

Hannah’s party was one of the most fun days of my life. Our house was full of friends and family who have supported us over the last year and given Hannah endless, unconditional love. The “Winter Wonderland” theme felt out of place with 50* temperatures outside but the decorations reminded me of the freezing temps on the day Hannah was born.

The birthday girl took a long nap in the morning and woke up right before the party started in a great mood. Hannah didn’t mind the silly hat I bought for her, being passed around between guests, or the hours of attention. I was expecting her to cry out of shock when everyone sang “Happy Birthday” but she actually seemed to like it. There wasn’t any cake smashing because Hannah was wary of the little confection – she wasn’t interested in the cake part and got an immediate sugar rush from the frosting. It was her first taste of real food, besides French bread and pizza crust, so I’m sure her taste buds were overloaded.

Hannah was completely spoiled with gifts from everyone. We might need to turn the spare bedroom/office into a toy store for the kid. She also received some of the cutest clothes. I thought baby clothes were adorable but 1 year clothes might take the top spot.

The party started to wind down and most of the guests headed home. Unfortunately my parents head to head back to New Jersey because my dad had an early flight the next morning but a group of friends and Pete’s family stayed for an impromptu after party. Drinks were flowing, leftover lunch became dinner, and I was filled with pure joy. Pete said the day reminded him of our wedding – great food, our favorite people, and a touch of sadness when it was over.

A huge thank you to my sister-in-law, Sara, for taking pictures during the party!

Hannah’s All Grown Up

Hannah’s on the verge of turning the big o-n-e and every day she looks more and more like a little girl. It’s like she totally skipped the toddler scene and went straight to being an opinionated 6 year old. The other night I was stroking her head, putting her crazy bangs back in place and she pushed my hand away. When I tried to bring it back up to her forehead she grabbed my hand, pushed it to my leg, and held it there. She was exasperated and I was clearly embarrassing her in front of her stuffed animals.

Last weekend, her final weekend as a baby, was full of big girl activities. It started with her very first professional haircut and style. Hannah sat on my lap during my whole appointment and was treated to a quick trim and pigtails by my friend Ali. I see years worth of Mommy/Daughter salon dates in our future and was thrilled that Hannah was patient and content even though her lunch time was quickly approaching. I’m sure it helped that she got plenty of attention from Ali and the other women there.


The next day, sporting her new ‘do, Hannah went to the mall with her friends. That’s right, Hannah cruised the mall without parental chaperones. A few of Hannah’s daycare teachers had been expressing interest in taking Hannah to the mall and we finally arranged something for Sunday. I didn’t expect to want to cry when I  handed Hannah over and said goodbye. Alyssa and Makayla watch Hannah 40 hours a week but I still felt the need to ask them not to drop our baby or let her get kidnapped. Thankfully Pete and I received some pictures from the girls which we immediately shared with the grandparents. It was a big step for me and Pete because it was the first time Hannah’s been without a family member out in the real world.


It’s been a crazy year and tomorrow we finally get to celebrate this little one who’s growing up way too fast.

Our Baby is Almost 1

I’ve been thinking a lot lately thanks to Hannah’s rapidly approaching first birthday and the thinking is stirring up those crazy emotions from last year. It’s all stuff that I don’t want to talk about because when I talk about it I cry and I don’t want to shed any more tears for 2015.

This time last year we had no idea what was coming. While we were busy folding tiny clothes and anticipating more snow, Hannah was resting up to make her debut and change our lives forever. Some days it feels like the year flew by. I grasp on to the details of those first weeks with Hannah, trying to hold on to them like a kite being sucked into a tornado. I try to remember the faces she’d make when nursing, the warmth of her tiny hand on my chest when she napped in my arms, and the adorable sigh she’d make after sneezing. Other days the details are remarkably clear. I can still hear Hannah’s cries when we drove her home from the hospital and the sound of her heavy breathing during tummy time. I can see the look in her eyes the first time she made real eye contact with me.

I’ve been thinking about the day, shortly after the miscarriage, that I sat in my car sobbing and praying. I begged God for a healthy baby and in exchange I would gladly suffer through a miserable pregnancy. I would have gone through Hell for another chance to be a mom. I’ve been thinking about when people asked me if we wanted a boy or girl I’d say “It doesn’t matter as long as he or she is healthy.” Now I cringe at the term “healthy baby,” I know that real Hell is watching your child suffer, and I know better than to barter with God.

I’ve been thinking about Hannah’s perfect, beautiful birth. How “trying to push” turned into real pushing and twenty minutes later I had our daughter on my chest. And twenty minutes after that our world was shaken. I wish I could go back to that day with the knowledge and peace that I have now. I wish I could go back and enjoy every second, give my whole self to Hannah, instead of being scared. I wish I could relive those moments of doubt without wondering if she was or wasn’t doing something because of Down syndrome.

A year ago I never thought we’d end up here. I never thought having a child would change our lives quite like this. Hannah’s extra chromosome has added more to our lives. More doctors and appointments. More uncertainty and unfamiliarity. More awareness and compassion. More amazement and beauty. Hannah introduced us to a whole new life, a new community, and taught our family more than we ever anticipated learning in a year.

Hannah made me a mother that I did not expect to be. She made me tougher, yet more empathetic. She showed me that we can do hard things. I wish she knew what a strong girl she is and how amazing her little body is. I wish she knew how proud we are of her. I wish Hannah knew how extraordinary she is.