Saturday, June 16, 2012

levi's heart

last monday we went to st. louis children's hospital for an ultrasound of levi's heart. with our family history, my ob recommended we do this with sam and levi both.

we went in march of 2011 with sam, and it snowed for half of our trip there. the ultrasound was done, and everything was normal and fine.

this time, it stormed terribly, pouring down rain, from about the caseyville exit to busch stadium, which makes for a hectic entrance into the city. people were pulled over to wait it out.

we got to children's in time for the appointment, checked in, and waited for our ultrasound. these ultrasounds aren't fun ultrasounds. you don't get photos, you don't get to look at the baby except for his or her heart and blood flow, and they last 45 minutes to an hour, which is a long time for a fat pregnant lady to lay still on her back.

this time it took longer than last time, but for a while, i attributed that to it being a different person doing the ultrasound. then he sent us into a little conference room with a diagram of a heart to wait for the doctor.

about this time, i started totally freaking out. "justin, they didn't do this last time," i said about six times.

the doctor came in and told us that levi's heart is mostly normal, and for now, i will still be delivering in southern illinois.

he told us that levi's tricuspid valve doesn't close all the way. this can be normal to a point, but his is past normal. the doctor called it mild to moderate. because it doesn't close, the blood that is pumped through it can leak back into the chamber it came from.

in addition to this, the right ventricle, which the tricuspid valve leads to, is borderline enlarged.

a diagram of a heart, with the tricuspid valve and right ventricle labeled.

he told us that if it stays the same or gets better as he grows, levi will live a normal life and be able to do normal things.

if it gets worse, he didn't say what would happen, but the inference was that levi might be born in st. louis, possibly needing extra monitoring and procedures. for exactly what reason and what procedures, we don't know yet, but i think he wanted to wait to see if anything changes before going into the added stress and explanation.

he said we would come back for another ultrasound in four to six weeks. ours is scheduled just about three and a half weeks from now.

of course, we are praying that it will stay the same or get better. we debated telling the world wide web, but we have a lot of friends who are willing and happy to pray the same with us, so i am writing this blog so that you know what we need right now.

please pray that his heart grows normally and by our next appointment, everything is fine. i know that God can heal him with or without medical intervention, but we are really hoping it doesn't take medical intervention.

i will keep you posted as we know more, but for now, please be praying with us for our little boy and his heart.

Monday, June 4, 2012

almost 11 months

sam is just almost 11 months old now. he is absolutely wonderful and we love him so much. being off on break, i feel like i am really getting to know his schedule and his quirks and his personality better than ever - that, and he's developing his schedule and quirks and personality more than ever.

i'm trying to just think of all of the things he DOES, all of the things he SAYS.

he crawls fast, everywhere. he can get into the kitchen faster than you can run there and put up the baby gate. today he sneaked in there while i was gone and his dad was occupied with homework (one more week of intersession class) and played in the dog's water bowl. he also got into the water bowl yesterday. he splashed and giggled so much that i couldn't even get mad (after all, it IS a bowl of water on the floor, and he IS a baby). that, and the look on justin's face of complete shock and possibly disgust (because it's DOG water) had me laughing for 20 minutes.

he loves (LOVES) his dog. calvin was our furry consolation for infertility. he was the little dog to take care of when it seemed like we would never have any little babies around here. now, calvin is a pet to me and justin, but to sam, he is most definitely his dog brother. i would say that sam loves calvin more than anyone or anything in the world. he crawls after him, tackles him with baby hugs, and kisses him, which is fairly disgusting when you think about the things dogs do in their daily lives. he is sam's best friend.

sam also has a relatively new found love of "reading." we read to sam enough for him to know how to turn the pages and to look across them, sometimes touching them like we touch the words as we read them to him. he has a big picture book that he loves to look at by himself, sitting in the floor. he knows how to get his books out of the bookshelf (which used to contain a greek and hebrew dictionary, a new testament in english and greek, and various other of his dad's books that were moved because of this new knowledge, and instead is filled with board books and sam's big picture story bible). he also loves to scoot the books across the floor as he crawls. i don't understand it, but it seems to bring him great joy.

he also learned to throw. it's not good, but it's just about as good as i can do. he uses his right hand more for this. he throws small toys (we are working on just throwing balls, but sometimes you practice throwing with a 10-month-old with whatever he has just to see if he will do it), balls, and he throws pieces of cereal to calvin when he is supposed to be eating it instead. this prompts another new development: a very silly, closed-mouth giggle. he cracks up at calvin crunching on the kix or cheerios like it's a comedy routine. he bounces and dances when he gets excited, when he hears music he likes (yes, he picks and chooses what he will dance to), or both. he is just generally a happy kid.

he is also pretty stubborn. he can say just about anything he wants to say...but only when he wants to say it. he says "hello" pretty reliably: it's how you can tell when you're loading the dishwasher that he has found and is now playing with your phone in the living room. "hello, hello, hello." at least if he is saying "hello," he is not covering the phone in slobber. he will also repeat "i love you," though it is more of "a wuh woo," which is still pretty good for a kid his age. he did this first for my mom, and she won't let me forget it, ha.

sometimes he just repeats things once or twice, and then won't say them again. on the way home last weekend, he and i were talking about the moon, which he kept calling "ball" (another of his favorite things to say, along with "book"). i said, "you see the moon? it's up there." he said, "up there." we were looking at a book last week with elmo on the cover. i said, "can you say 'elmo?'" he said, "elmo."

of course, he has a greeting for his dog friend. every time he sees calvin for the "first time" (waking up from a nap or in the morning, coming home from somewhere), he says, "heyyyyyy." sometimes he accidentally calls calvin "kitty," which he gets to play with (read: chase into hiding) at his grandma tracy's house.

he is SO. MUCH. FUN. he is, like every kid, exhausting and trying, as he tries to get teeth in (he only has two!), tries to learn to climb and walk, needs to take a nap and won't go to sleep, or throws a fit because he can't chew on his "hello toy" or because we stop to pray before eating and darnit he just wants to EAT. but he is wonderful. he isn't perfect, but none of us are. we love him in a way we never knew we could love.