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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jumble

That's a fun word. Sounds made-up. But that's the perfect word for this post. I've got limited time and lots of thoughts. It's gonna end up a big jumble!

Thought 1:

My Cover and Profile pics on Facebook needed changing. I wanted to highlight Max, but also let people know it's actually me they are looking for. Here's what I chose:

I like Max's smile in this one, and I don't have a double chin!

Thought 2:

Pregnancy is making my brain soft. My ability to concentrate has evaporated. I have a backlog of essays to read, boxes to unpack, Christmas cards to address, Christmas presents to buy, emails to delete, friends to greet, and posts to write that could keep me busy until the cows come home (which, for some reason, means a really long time).

Thought 3:

I'm experiencing two conflicting pregnancy-related phenomena. The first is the desire to nest, which is very timely considering we recently moved. The other is related to Thought 2. Hormones are making my brain soft, so after I have spent the day wrangling teenagers, writing and performing engaging lessons, and attempting to spend quality time with the beautiful boy you see up there, I am seemingly paralyzed. Sometimes it's fatigue, but most of the time it is an in ability to organize my thoughts into a coherent plan. Frustrating.

Thought 4:

I don't like being a working mom. Don't misunderstand me. I like being a teacher. What I would prefer would be to stay home and care for my child(ren). Not that I would LOVE that instead. It's more that I wouldn't feel this work-related stress everyday, have to drive 35 miles to work at 5:30 am, and feel like I had a little more time for Max.

Thought 5:

Sometimes I don't feel motivated to post anything here at My Boy Max. I usually have to stay up late to do it, and then that impacts my ability to drive 35 miles at 5:30 am the next day. And then Sean had his annual Christmas party on Saturday night, and several people told me that they love to read the blog. One of the guys even got tears in his eyes as he talked about watching the video of Max turning his walker. I was really moved. That's why I wanted to make sure I posted something this week, even if it is a jumble.

Thought 6:

I've gotten a bunch of test results back. First, it seems that I had fifth disease as a child (bloodwork shows old antibodies) so there is no danger of my little baby becoming infected. Phew! Second, the final results of the sequential screening came back and are as follows: neural tube defect = 1/10,000 (awesome), trisomy 18 = 1/10,000+ (really awesome), Down syndrome = 1/600 (really good). I feel relieved by those numbers, but when compared to 1/10,000, the 1/600 isn't quite as impressive. I've got a level 2 ultrasound scheduled in three weeks, so I'll get even more information then, but I'm leaving the possibility of an amniocentesis open. I like information, so if I continue to question the results, regardless of how good they appear to be, I may go for it. That way I can either put my concerns to rest, or prepare for what will be coming.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Plateaus

That's a funny-looking word in its plural form. I'm not sure I've ever seen it that way. It almost looks wrong. Perhaps it's one of those silly words whose plural ends in the letter i, like octopi.  Probably not. 

I'm not talking literal plateaus, here. Not those raised, flat landmasses you can find out west, or in Australia. I'm talking about those plateaus we encounter as we learn. I see them often among my students. They progress so nicely, and then they just level off for a while. It can be frustrating because no amount of effort seems to help, until one day it does. 

Children do this too. I imagine it seems pronounced in children with Down syndrome (and probably those with other types of delays) because the plateaus last longer. Max's most significant recent plateau has been walking.

I (naively) had my heart set on Max walking by his birthday. This summer his improvement was lightening fast. And then I went back to work, and he went stagnant. His interest in walking waned. His ability to take several independent steps atrophied. I was discouraged, especially knowing that as my pregnancy progressed, carrying a 30-lb toddler would become more and more difficult. I started to imagine the types of super-hero moves I'd have to learn to get a non-walking toddler that has decided to go boneless, and a newborn, across a busy parking lot, or up the stairs, or even just around the playground. As you can imagine, they all involve giant, rock-hard biceps and a midriff to rival Wonder Woman's. 

And then, last Thursday, this happened (captured on my cell phone): 

video

Max's walker has fixed wheels so that as users begin to walk they don't lose their balance if it turns from side to side. As you can see, the walker needs to be picked up in order to turn, which until Thursday, was always our job (or that of our feet when we got lazy). I'd never seen him turn it on his own before. 

Max's signing has also blossomed in the last few days. Today I saw him imitate Rachel on Signing Times as she signed "imagination." He did it twice. Then he signed "No!" right back to me when I scolded him for throwing his plate. Nice job, buddy. I'm so proud!

Quick pregnancy update:

Yesterday I felt the baby move for the first time. Since that first flutter, I've been feeling movement several times every hour since. This is a feisty one!

And most importantly, I had my second blood test today checking for changes in the antibodies against parvovirus B19 (fifth disease). Any change in numbers would indicate a current infection and kick-off a series of tests and observations to see if the baby is infected. (See previous post for more details.) I expect to have results by Friday. Thanks for all of your support and well-wishes. You have helped me remain calm and collected, which in turn has reduced my stress level. I'm feeling confident that everything is fine.