Friday, May 18, 2012

First Hurdle (thankfully small!!)

I have a daycare child who tells me at least once a day around here that Sam is "scrawny".  I say, "no, he's perfect...isn't he cute?"  She just giggles and runs off to play with the others.  This went on for a couple weeks, until last Friday when I took a good look at him and realized he is scrawny!  You can see his little ribs sticking out, and feel his kneecaps, see his ankles.  There's not a baby roll to be found on this baby!  Last Friday, I hopped on my home scale to see where he was at with his weight.  And according to my scale, he wasn't even ten pounds yet.  Then on Sunday, a woman at my church who happens to be a public health nurse and who happened to have her scale in her car, offered to get an accurate weight on him.  According to that scale, he was 9lb 8oz.  That might seem like a good sized baby at 6 weeks, but keep in mind he was 8lb 14oz at birth, and 8lb 13oz at his two week checkup.  That meant he'd only gained 11 ounces in four weeks.  Now, I'm not a pediatrician or a nurse, but even I know that doesn't sound right.

First thing Monday morning, I called our pediatrician, and sure enough, he wasn't satisfied with Sam's growth.  So we scheduled an appointment for Wednesday afternoon.  A quick trip to the scale revealed that Sam is 9lb 12oz and 22 3/4 inches long.  He would be in the 75th percentile for height, but only the 40th for weight.  That's not extremely concerning, but we would like to see those numbers a little closer together and more in proportion to each other.  We talked about what could be causing his low weight gain, and while we ruled out spitting up more than taking in or something blocking the absorption of nutrients, it ended up coming down to calories in versus calories out.  Sam is ALWAYS on the move.  He's the wiggliest little man I've ever seen!  With that, and the big job of growing, my doctor wants me to feed him 1/2 breastmilk and 1/2 formula for now to see if that helps.  (Phew - no big deal!)

But of course, with this new adventure we're on, I'm more aware of people around me and certainly this trip to the doctor couldn't just be routine.

When we arrived at the clinic and finished all the check-in stuff, I sat down in the waiting room.  As usual, I left Sam in his infant carrier to make it easier when the nurse calls his name.  I sat his carrier down in front of me and started talking to him.  I could see that there were two people straight across from me, so I glanced up to give them a friendly smile and guess what?!  Sure enough, the lady on the right had those oh so familiar almond shaped eyes I've grown to love.  I smiled at her and then smiled at her friend next to her.  Suddenly, I couldn't get Sam out of his carrier fast enough.  I wanted to hold him, show him off - I wanted him to look at her and say "I'm just like you!"

I sat him on my lap so he was somewhat facing them.  I talked to him, and tickled his chin to try and get him to smile.  Instead, he puked down his shoulder and onto my arm, trickled down the chair and landed in a small puddle on the floor.  There goes my magical Down syndrome moment!  The lady on the left laughed and made a comment about the joys of motherhood.

Soon after I got us cleaned up, the nurse called Sam's name. (they call him Samuel, which just sounds so dignified!)  After his appointment, of course the two ladies were long gone.  I had to wait, because I had an appointment as well for my postpartum checkup.  I sat in the very chair that only moments earlier sat a woman who had lived her entire life with that extra magical chromosome.  I hope she saw Sam, and I hope in some small way she felt blessed to see a new life, a life like hers, sitting before her.

I only had a few minutes before the nurses called me back for my appointment, but in those few moments I realized something.  I realized that for the first few weeks after Sam was born, I was scared to show him off - I was scared of people's reactions, scared of what they would say or think, or even of what they wouldn't say.  I found myself not uncovering him when we were out and about, I'd leave him snug inside his carrier and covered in blankets.  If and when I did reveal him to people, I felt the urge to blurt out "he has Down syndrome".  It's not that I was ashamed, I can't really explain what I felt in those moments.  I didn't want people to have any reaction other than a "normal" reaction to a new baby.     And I think I convinced myself that if I just told people right away, they would know to say something kind and positive and not react negatively at all.

But yesterday, when I couldn't get Sam out of the carrier fast enough, I realized that my days of not wanting to share him with the world were officially over!  These past few weeks, I've been so proud to show him off, and I no longer feel the need tell people he has Downs.  It doesn't matter, and I know that now.

Grandma got him to smile....again!
I have to share also that Sam is smiling now!  It's so exciting to see his personality develop just like any other baby would.  He's so darn cute when he grins!  I try and try to get him to smile for me, but my attempts have been pretty futile.  So I play smart, and head to grandma's with camera in tow, because for some reason, my mom can coax a smile out of him on command!  How could you not fall in love with a face like this!!

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