Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We dressed Olivia as a bunny for Halloween and went outside for a Fall Photo Session. Daddy was photographer.

Note from Olivia: Daddy and Mommy got the idea to dress me up as a bunny, because my pediatric endocrinologist had an "Anne Geddes baby in bunny costume" photo in his office. So not only do I have to take medicine everyday, but I had to get all dressed up in a bunny costume due to our trip to see the doctor at Devos. But I am a good sport! I did not mind the costume too much! I did not smile! But I did not cry or complain either. Sometimes babies just have to humor parents!

Mommy and Olivia had so much fun!

Looking at Mommy:

Olivia and her first pumpkin:
Inside getting dressed:
Are you sure this is such a great idea?
Oh dear me!
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Growing Bigger!

Olivia GREW since last week. We put her on the baby scale today and she weighed 15 lbs 11 oz. That is a 14 oz gain since last week! That is her biggest gain thus far. So then we decided to measure her, because she looks longer to us, but actually looks thinner in the face, legs and torso and waist. She grew one inch! She is now 25 inches!
This puts her at about 50% for weight and 25% for height. One would expect a person with Down syndrome to be shorter and weigh more for their height. Sometimes babies with Ds can weigh less. But since she is staying healthy she is keeping a good weight. She eats well. She usually eats about 30 oz. When we first brought her home from the NICU, she was eating only and ounce or two at a time consistently, But was eating 8 to 10 times a day! Now she eats 4 times a day!

The next 4 working days are full. Olivia has Speech therapy, Physical therapy, Social Worker visit and Pediatrician. She keeps our calendar full!

The bracelet was a baby gift from Aunt Jen and Family. When Olivia received it, the bracelet looked HUGE! Now it fits quite nicely! Olivia is our Little Miracle! She just is not as super tiny as she was 6 months ago. That is progress!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

These are some photos to compare!

Just thought I would offer some points of comparison. Photos taken while in the NICU to photos taken the other day! My how far we have come!

Olivia was born weighing 4 lbs 3 oz
Today she weighed in at 14 lbs 13.5 oz

She was 17 1/4 inches at birth
Now she is about 24 inches

Down syndrome IQ Statistic

This is a really interesting statistic. Since the time when parents starting raising their babies with Ds at home, instead of institutionalizing them, and providing them with early stimulation and intervention the average IQ in the Down syndrome population has gone up 20 points. If your not familiar with IQ scales 20 points in enormous!! It moves you up an entire category- like from severely impaired to mildly impaired.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Adoption Updated

We have been asked how the adoption process is coming along. Wonderfully is the answer! We are in the home stretch! We have one more supervisory home visit by the social worker, and we have been told by her that everything is just a formality now. Depending on the judge, we could have everything legally finalized as soon as November 17 or the December 26 date may hold true. The social worker is pushing for November 17 or shortly afterwards. This date would be 6 months from when we brought Olivia home from the hospital. The December 26 date is 6 months from when Olivia was officially placed with us for adoption and no longer considered our foster child, but is now considered a child placed for adoption. This is all per state requirements for adoption. Every domestic adoptive family in our state has to jump through the same hoops. Needless to say, there will be much to celebrate in our family when the adoption is finalized and our sweet Olivia can share our last name!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Early Intervention ready

St Joe Michigan!!!! Yay!!! The beach!! Cannot wait to ride the new carousel!!!!
Studying!! These one picture per page books from Beyond Play are her favorite books these days. Well, the truth is that if she can have someone read Five Little Ducks then that is her favorite book to have read to her. But she loves to look at these picture books independently.
Friday Mommy went to the Early Childhood Development Center to put in place Olivia's Early Intervention Plan. I think they call this either an IEP (Individual Education Program) or at this point in her life it may more accurately be referred to as an IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan).

Olivia will have PT (Physical Therapy) every other week. The areas to work on the most at this point are her head and neck control and developing strength in her torso/ trunk. Her body used to be a "wet noodle". Now it is a partially cooked noodle. Al dente! But maybe a bit firmer! She is most definitely gaining in strength everyday. We are teaching her to pull her hands in up by her chest when she wants to get UP from her crib. She is catching on and will pull her hands in and smile big smiles! So pleased with herself! And probably mimicking Mommy and Daddy's proud smiles back!

Olivia will have ST (speech therapy) once a month. The OT (occupational therapist) is on a more limited need schedule as Olivia is doing nicely in her Fine Motor skills. There will be a monthly phone call from the OT in the least. Olivia is doing nicely in her cognitive development and therefore does not currently qualify for Special Education and thus the Special Ed Infant Toddler Teacher will not be providing services. Good thing Mommy has the background in Montessori Education, because for now, Mommy is homeschooling this special needs infant!

October is National Down syndrome Awareness Month. I hope that by reading our BLOG you are learning bits and pieces about Down syndrome. Olivia is a very healthy baby with Ds. Not all parents are so lucky. 50% of kids with Ds have some sort of heart defect. Other kids have digestive issues and are on feeding tubes. There are other health issues too! Some kids can be very very sick. Olivia's only health issues are hypothyroidism and allergies. But those are easy to deal with in comparison to what some kids have. We marvel at her everyday and thank God that she was born!!!! 9 out of 10 women with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome will choose to abort their baby. This birthmother received pressure to abort Olivia. The thought truly sickens me. A world without Olivia fills my eyes with tears! I hold her all the more closely and the thought occurs to me: What if Jesus had Down syndrome!?!? Surely Mary and Joseph would have felt just as blessed and surely He could still have been the Son of God and surely He would have still suffered and died to save us! Personally, I think that a grave injustice is done to women when they are encouraged to abort a baby with Down syndrome. They are having so much joy stolen from their lives. (or the lives of an adoptive family)

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. I will have to write a little about the Ups and Downs of Adoption. We surely have a thing to say about that! It is nice to be on the Up Side of Adoption now!

Monday, October 12, 2009


This is what we are seeing so much of these days! Smiles! It took a long time in coming, and is all the more wonderful for the waiting! Thanks Emily for pointing out this photo of note! It really does capture the mood of the day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lots of Smiles

Lately Olivia has taken to smiling! Seems to be her favorite thing to do. The next favorite thing is laughing. It is so wonderful to see this!!!! The first three months of her life there was really no social interactions. Then at 3 months the smiles started. But they were small and few and far between. Things have really changed for the better! It is great!

The pediatric endocrinologist called to say that Olivia's thyroid numbers look good and to continue at the same dose of medicine. Recheck will be in January. At this time we will head back up to see the doctor. I guess Olivia's sleepiness and low endurance are more of a Down syndrome thing than a thyroid thing at this point. I hear that babies with Ds tend to be more sleepy, but then look out! They can be typical toddlers who would rather not take a nap. Sounds like fun! :-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Freshman Ten

We weighed Olivia today and she has gained 10 pounds since she was born 5 months ago!
She now weighs 14 lbs. 3 oz.
That is a gain of about an ounce a day since she was born.

Friday, October 2, 2009

P is for Penguin

Fair Indigo had this adorable organic cotton shirt on sale this summer.
How could I resist!