Monday, May 24, 2010

Complete Fulfillment

After a week of doctors appointments, emotional roller coasters, dance banquets and illnesses! Finally the weekend came.

Nana, Steve, Giz and the twins made their way to our house Friday night, provide the kiddos with some play time.

Ava and Stephen are definitely brother and sister! It was awesome to see the sibling rivalry at only a year old. Survival of the fittest, eh.

They even attempted to take their cousin down, but Ethan was able to throw a few punches as well!

Ethan was exhausted by the end of the night and slept beautifully throughout the night.

Honestly, it is hard to see any (ok -many) major delays between Ethan and his cousins. They are a little over 3 months older than Ethan, but Ethan is just as involved and loud as they are. The only difference is that he cannot crawl or pull himself to a stand yet. He does pivot around to get to what he wants and rolls to his destination. The kid is very motivated and, I must say, pretty bright.

I was reading a post from a mother who asked other parents how they coped emotionally with their child’s delays. –deep breath. You know, we are entitled to feel however we want. Sadness, joy, disappointment. And that mother in not wrong in any way for how she might feel or has ever felt. Sometimes we cannot control our feelings. But at this very moment, I am not disappointed, I am not sad, I don’t dwell on my son being different or delayed. I just don’t.

I feel that I can function better by just accepting for what it is. There are delays to be expected. I just don’t have the time to allow myself to get to that mind frame. Again – other parents are not WRONG. I am not better than them in any way.

But for us, this is the way to go. This is what works for us, for me. Just accepting Ethan evey day, for who he is. And the more positive I am , the better I am able to function and provide more support for him. Sometimes I attribute Ethan’s “success” to our attitudes. We just don’t let anything get in our ways, we love that little bogger and we treat him just the same way we treat our other children (MAYBE just a few more hugs and kisses).

Prayer, prayer is good as well. From the beginning, I always asked God for strength and courage. When I was pregnant, I knew (or so I felt) that I could not ask him to NOT give me a son with DS. If this was He wanted for me, who was I to say that that is not what I wanted, to refuse His gift. Ultimately , it is in His hands. God has a plan for us all. All I could have asked for is for Him to provide me with the strength and the courage to accept it, and now it is the strength and courage to raise this child.

And everyday , I feel stronger and everyday I feel more able to to this.

And even when the delays become more apparent, I will turn to Him again. And I will be able to do it. I will do it!

There is nothing stopping me.

This little boy has brought me SO much happiness. And there is no giving up.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Signing "milk"

He was tired, but somewhat signing "milk", at 9 months

and might as well share this video from a few days ago..poor little man, sometimes he thinks he can do more than what he actually can... for instance getting from sitting position to his tummy... resulted in falling on his face! Besides that, he is too cute to not share!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ds Clinic

We just returned from our first visit to the Ds clinic here at Texas Children’s Hospital.

AND –they have confirmed what we thought all along….

That he is so stinky cute! Of course he is so stinky cute! He reeks of cuteness!!!

As well as that he developing very well. Specially verbally, they were rather impressed. Ethan left everyone oh-ahhing over his great abilities.

Overall, the visit was great. I must have had the biggest grin on my face and hopefully the Dr didn’t take that as cockiness! But darn, it felt great to hear all the raves and compliments for all of our hard work. It felt extra good to be his mother.

At the same time, I feel like all I am doing is being his mother.

All I am doing is playing with my son, stimulating him and LOVING him.

Ds or no Ds, my Ethan is a STAR!

He is absolutely beautiful, full so much joy and love just seeps out of his pores! I love that little marshmallow!

His measurements, btw, where 28.1 inches long and weigh in at 24lbs.

They were also rather impressed at the fact that he drinks from a sippy cup. But that is not fair to say, since they were impressed pretty much with every one of his accomplishments.

He showed off his screaming skills, his babbling skills, rolling, pivoting, grabbing skills, and all other skills in between.

Do you know, he started to lift his bum of the ground when on the ground on his tummy, trying to get on all fours! I didn’t see that coming (for today that is), but that boy was prepared to impress the doctors as well as his mama!

Well, God bless my little angel! I love him more than I could ever say.
I thank God for all the strength he has given me to care for His angel. I thank God for giving me the strength to move from my grieving stage, long long long ago.

Life has always been wonderful with my daughters, but everyday has been extra beautiful since this amazing little man has entered our hearts.

Much Love!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

To milk or not to MILK!

Myself! -that is!

I've been exclusively pumping for -well 9 months! Ethan turns 9 months later this week!
I cannot believe its been nine months. It seems like just yesterday this little blessing was born. These have been the most beautiful, most selfless, most loving months of my life.

I've enjoyed every day with my older daughters, but Ethan has taught us so much, about ourselves.

I am just so tired of pumping. Since 6 months, I've been telling myself that I would quit "that" month, but it has been incredibly difficult to quit. Ethan doesn't nurse at all anymore. He would take too long to nurse and with 2 other children, a husband, a full time job and laundry every day, nursing was just out of the question. We just moved right over to pumping into a bottle. 100% breast milk.

I am tired of this pump! I cannot bare the sight of this ...of this THING!!!!

Ahh, I long for the day where I can sleep in, the night I can go straight to bed and not have to pump!

I've cut back to 4 pumps a day, and you would think that I wouldn't have enough milk for him for a day, but nope... this cow is not drying up!!! ha!

My goal is to be down to 2 pumps by the end of this month. (see I cant just completely quit!)

I guess I just have to take it one day at a time. Besides that has been my life motto since Ethan was born - "one day at a time".

Which is the best advice I can ever give anyone. And you truly have to live it, to experience it...

(Because only little monkeys sleep like this!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our Story...Ethan's story

I’ve told this story plenty of times. I love to share my, our, story. How something that seemed so sad and horrible has turned out to be so delightful and rewarding.

Late 2008, we decided that we would take the plunge and try for our 3rd and final child. I thought that we were done. Two little girls, seemed perfect for me. Santiago always wanted a lot of kids. After much persuasion and thought I caved. We tried in October, but I was off a day from ovulation. Still I hoped somehow it worked. I waiting anxiously for Nov to be able to test. I felt tired and hungry all the time. I was for sure it somehow worked… but it didn’t! We would now have to wait for early December to try. And boy did we try when the time came!

I tested early the week of that m period was due, nothing. I tested again 2 days later, just hoping I would be pregnant. It was the day before Christmas Eve, and yes, there was a faint line! Christmas Eve, I took another test! This time the line was not so faint!!! I tried to keep the excitement in and really wanted to wait till Christmas to tell Santiago. But I could not hold it in! I just had to tell him. We were both delighted and thrilled, yet we decided to not tell the family yet.

At our 1st appt, at approximately 8/9 weeks we learned there was some internal bleeding. We didn’t really know why. I was told to take it easy, no caffeine, no sex, no harsh exercising to hopefully prevent the placenta from breaking away from the uterus.
I prayed and prayed, “Dear Lord, please let me have this baby”.

After 12 weeks, we were told everything was ok. And we were then free to tell the family!

At about 17 weeks we went in for an ultrasound and the maternal blood screening. I don’t know why I checked to have been tested, not like I thought I was at any risk for having a child “deformed” (talk about being ignorant back then), heck I was 27 and I was healthy. Nor like I would ever opt for an abortion either. Funny though, how I felt this uneasiness as I checked the box to be screened, it was sign, now that I think about it.

That same day we were told, it was a boy. And I cried. I never cried with any of my other children but there was always an instant connection with this baby for some reason.

Doctor said, I wont call you unless something comes up, but look at you, you are young and healthy.. and for some nagging reason, I said “ ok, but I read there are many false positives anyways”
I was already researching this stuff for whatever reason. IT was as if something kept telling me to prepare myself.

The following week when I missed a call from the doctor, my heart stopped. Why on earth did she call, I wondered. Of course she called at 4:20, and I didn’t see her message until 4:30, when their offices were closed!
I was forced to wait till the next day! To make things worse, she was out all morning delivering a baby. I didn’t get to hear from her until late that afternoon.

I was at my desk, at work.. when she finally was able to contact me. She said, “do you have time to talk, or can you call me back when you can sit down and talk” …”yeah, sure, I can talk right now”

The next minutes, where heartbreaking. My heart had never felt so heavy before, I’ve lost my grandfathers, my grandmother, I’ve lost uncles.. I’ve lost my own brother. But my heart never hurt the way it did that moment.

She said there was an echogenic bowel in the baby’s intestines. Most of the time that meant the baby had down syndrome.

But it could just be nothing, right! I cried to the doctor. She said yes. She gave me the # to a specialist to set up an appointment with.
Hot tears streamed down my eyes. I tried to compose myself enough to make it to the restroom, where I leaned against the wall and slowly slipped onto the floor. Holding my stomach, holding my son.

NO, no, no… that is all I thought. NOoooooo. This is not suppose to happen. But of course it is happening, everything BAD HAPPENS TO ME!!! I didn’t really curse God, nor did I question God, why me. I just thought NO, but of course me!

I called later that week to see if the blood work results where in. I figured, this blood work was probably a better indicator than this silly ultrasound. Well there went a call I shortly regretted.

1 out of 39 (if I remember correctly) chances that my son could have Ds. Wonderful.

Still, I thought, it is all wrong. We went in for a more detailed ultrasound.
Everything looks fine, said the technician and the doctor. Yes, there is an echogenic bowel, but that could be because the baby swallowed blood since I did have some bleeding in the beginning. I gave myself reasons to make myself feel better.

Looking back, I believe the doctors knew all along. I know remember the tech walking out talking to the doctor before she came in to examine me herself. The doctor looking at the ultrasound with a look, yet not saying anything negative.
I also remember at about 36 weeks, my stomach was measuring about a week or so smaller so I went in for another ultrasound. I remember paying attention to the measurements as she measured the baby.. the baby stomach came in about 37 weeks.. his head and arms seemed to come in at about the same week as well.. but his femurs… they seemed to be behind.. I said to myself, well this baby must have a big belly and head!
It was there the whole time!!!

I even dreamt my son had Ds.

Fast forward to the hospital at my scheduled c-section.
I was incredibly nervous. .Not for the procedure itself, but I was scared about the what if’s… what if he does have Ds. What on earth will I do.
Ethan was pulled out. Immediately I knew something was wrong. It was his beautiful kitten like cry.. but the way his arms seemed. Then again, he just came out of me, after being squished in there for 9 moths! But he wasn’t throwing punches and fighting the world off! He just held them close to his sides. He wasn’t floppy per say. Of course I couldn’t see my Santiago’s expression with that silly surgical masks on his face! All I could see was his eyes. I kept asking him, “is there something wrong, what is wrong with him..” he would shake no, but I couldn’t see his expression. He had no idea! But something in me sensed something. But after seeing that beautiful little face, I knew he was perfect. I kissed him as they took him away. I was then wheeled into a recovery room. I was told that the baby would be brought to me within 20-30 minutes..but 20-30 minutes passed! Where is my baby boy, I want to hold this beautiful being.

Hr or so went by, in came in this cold female doctor (pediatrician on duty, we still had not chosen one)… “Did you have a normal pregnancy?… it appears that the baby has Ds…”

I was so calm, maybe it was all the meds. I said yes, I was told that the baby might have Ds, so am not completely shocked. But boy, was I shocked.

Santiago was in denial.. no, he doesn’t have anything. He is perfect.

We didn’t have many visitors that day. Which was fine. I don’t think we were fine. Grandma and Grandpa came to see Ethan… Grandpa said a few things about his eyes, how they looked like “Chinese” eyes… We weren’t ready to tell the word about the speculation.

It was a rough night emotionally and mentally. There were a lot of uncertainties at the moment. A lot of fear. I remember holding my son and crying. This just couldnt be, but as I examined him myself, I knew it was true. He did have Ds.

Once we were home, I cried a lot those 1st few days, Santiago was pretty strong. At least I thought, I had no idea what he was going through inside. I did most of my crying when I was by myself, I didn’t want him to feed of my weakness. And I didn’t want him to not love his son.

I had many horrible (and I mean HORRIBLE) thoughts. I loved my son immensely, but horrid thoughts would over take me sometimes. Yet I knew that I had to do something and that I had to get through this somehow. I prayed.
Finally, after almost a week, I posted my experience with other parents of children with Ds. They welcomed me into this beautiful journey, they welcomed me into this ever so loving family.
That day, I knew everything would be ok. That day I knew that I COULD DO THIS.

Ever since, slowly those feelings of fear went away. I learned that I couldn’t dwell on the future and what could or will happen. I guess the future would have to wait till I got there, I learned that I had to take it one day at time. Besides who can predict the future anyways. Even if I planned out my children’s life in my head, I almost certain that things would and will turn out differently.
So here we are,,, taking it one day at a time. I healed one day at a time, and now I become stronger one day at a time. I become a more powerful mother, a more powerful advocate and a more compassionate and understanding human being.

I am beyond in love with this little boy. He posses the most beautiful brown almond shaped eyes and the most heart warming smile. Through him, I see God. Through him, I see the good in people, through him, I can see the universe.

I am ready for the future.. I say to the future…”bring it on”.
I am so definitely sure I can take it. I will never back down, I will never stop fighting, not for my children, not for Ethan.


Welcome to the world of blogging! For me that is!
I always find myself with so much to say, that at the end of the night, I go to sleep with all of my thoughts and nobody to share them with. Not because I don’t have anyone to ramble to, but who could really listen to my ramblings for hours! (plus, every time I ramble, people tend to cry! I guess my feelings get deep sometimes.) Let’s face it, I am woman… I know how to ramble… look I am doing it right now!

I have a lot of thoughts and feeling about life, my son, motherhood, and life in general. Blogging seems like the perfect outlet. A journal for the world to read. Maybe someone out there can benefit from my ramblings.

I am 28, and mother of 3 wonderfully wonderful (I heard that on Ellen this morning! CLEVER) children. Gabriela (who will soon be 9 this June), Andrea (5) and Ethan, born August 21, 2009.
Gabriela is such a pleaser, works hard to please me. Andrea is my wild child, with a great big heart. Ethan, well let’s just say that all of my children are blessings, but Ethan, he is bonus! He is the cherry on top of my ice cream, the icing on my cake, he is the CAKE! He is my genetically enhanced child, born with an extra chromosome, T21 or Down syndrome as some of you might know it as. And because he has an extra chromosome in every cell of his body, I guess it is safe to say that I LOVE him just a tad extra.
I have a husband, Santiago (35yrs old) married 3 years, together for 7 years. Our love, well it was complicated, but now, it is beautiful. It is especially beautiful when two people can share the same views and values in life. It brings the heart closer to each other and bonds the souls together. Though we’ve had our complicated times, I am blessed to have Santiago as my husband. I like to think that God allowed these complicated times to test our trust and faith in one another, to make us stronger as He prepared us for the arrival of our son. Our lives are so far from ordinary, yet so ordinary.
Just like Ethan, deemed to be so far from perfect by society, yet far more perfect than anyone could ever strive to be.
So imperfect that he is perfect.

We enjoy the outdoors, not so much sitting outside our house, but camping that is! We love nature. Being at the beach, lake, river. Any body of water. Bike riding as a family has become a new passion. Specially after Gabby learned to ride without her training wheels! Yes, almost 9 years old and we just removed the training wheels in March! But she is such a pro now! Thanks to daddy for not giving up on her. Honestly, I didn’t have the patience for teaching her. Some things are better left to the other parent I say!
We are hoping to do a lot of camping this summer, but only time will tell.

Well I am looking forward to RAMBLING!