Thursday, May 31, 2012

Therapy Boyfriend

Don't hate. Geri's got herself a boyfriend at her OT. William is close in age to Geri. He's non-verbal, but using an assistive board to communicate. He wandered onto the trampoline with Geri a few weeks ago, and now they have a jumping date every Thursday morning. He wandered onto the tramp and into her heart. <3
video

Geri's come so far in her OT and Feeding Therapy, I'm just super pleased. The folks at Memorial Peds Rehab have been great, and Ms. Jeanine is awesome. Here's a few more therapy snippets to enjoy.
On the swing with Miss J!

Ball Pit!!!!
Now that ball pit is truly a big deal... the last time she got in the ball pit at therapy, she wasn't happy about it. This time, she let herself be buried up to the chin in the balls and was playing with them and pleased as punch. It's great for her sensory system, her core strength, and just a nice development in her general resilience. 
video


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Tornado!! and The EUA!!! and The Girls are Sharing a ROOM!!!!!!!

Oh man, I feel like I have a whole lot of catching up to do... Sorry folks, I've been lax lately. This might be a long post.

We just returned from a very fun trip to Kansas to visit my darling hubby's family. It was a fantastic trip, with only one small glitch... the tornado we nearly drove right into on the way out. I wish I were joking. We were leaving the Golden Corral in Hays (chocolate wonderfall... don't judge me!) and there was a storm brewing. It had been raining cats and dogs while we were eating dinner, but the rain had let up just as we were leaving. Once we were outside we noticed the crazy, bubbly clouds all over and the SUPER tall thunderheads. I nervously asked Nick if this was a tornado storm and he said no. I grew up in Rhode Island, so I figure he's the resident tornado expert. We hop in the car and get back on eastbound I-70. Almost as soon as we are back on the highway, the sun sets and the storm gets wild. The lightening was flashing so constantly that it looked like the sky had a bad fuse. The rain was falling in buckets. Nick said something about how you don't worry when it rains like that, you worry when it suddenly stops. Of course, that's when the rain up and stops. I'm looking out the passenger window, oohing and aaahing over the power and majesty of this amazing storm, when the lightening flashes and I see a effing tornado. It's about 2 miles from the highway, south of us. "Oh my God," I yell, "That's a tornado!!!" "No it's not!" says Nick. The lightening flashes again and he says "Keep an eye on it!" and floors it. That's the point where my pucker factor went to about ten bazillion. At this point, Nick is going 90 down the highway while I'm peering out the passenger window, watching this tornado whenever the lightening flashes and waiting anxiously when it gets dark again. The tornado falls behind us. When it's completely out of sight, Nick slows back down to the speed limit and turns on the weather report on the radio. Turns out that there were two tornados in Russell and one in LaCross and we happened to drive right the hell past one of them!! If we had left the restaurant even five minutes later, we would have been in deep trouble. Like, leave the car and lay in a ditch and pray sort of trouble. Did I mention I'm from Rhode Island??? We don't even believe in tornados, damnit!!! (okay, we do... and we even had one a few years back... but this is not something we Rhodies have experience with.)

Needless to say, on the drive home I was about as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs!

So that's the tornado. Did I mention I saw one? Yeah, it was intense. Anywho...

As a mom, I have come to believe that much of parenting is a matter of coercion, leverage and momentum. This trip brought us square into the beauty of momentum. Sleeping arrangements during the trip were pretty haphazard. The first night, we tried to make it work in the living room of my in-laws' place but that was no bueno because it required mom, dad and Geri to all share a bed. A queen sized bed. A queen sized hide-a-bed. I'm a finicky sleeper... having a child rubbing her toes up and down my shins while I'm trying to sleep is a personal hell. Night two, we moved upstairs to the attic guest room. Geri got her own twin sized hide-a-bed next to the queen sized regular bed and Mera had her Pack N Play at the foot of the bed. It worked for Saturday and Sunday night. When it was time to head home I told Nick "Let's try to move Geri into the girls' room when we get home." "Shouldn't we let her get back into the routine and get comfortable before changing things on her?" he asked. No!! See, if we brought her home and settled her back in with mom and dad and then suddenly picked a random date in the future to change the setup, she'd balk at it. It would be a change from her routine. But she was already out of her routine, and tolerating it quite nicely. Why make our job harder by putting her back into a routine we know we want to change?? Let's build on the momentum of this situation (sleeping in a new arrangement) to transition her to the eventual goal. As soon as we got home on Monday night, I ran into the house and dragged Geri's bed to the girls' room and set it up. We got the girls ready and put them to bed in their room. They both slept through the night! Last night we did it again with the same great results. We're still working on fine tuning the routine, but it seems to be working out!! Hooray!!

Momentum is, by the way, how we also got TJ off the pacifier. On a trip to RI we forgot to pack some me-me's (his word for it) so he couldn't have them. He did fine! "Sorry darling, we forgot them at home!" "Ok, goodnight." End of story. So when we got home, the first thing I did was run in the house and throw all of the pacifiers in the trash before he could lay eyes on them! After that, no more me-me. I tell you, momentum is a huge helper in raising kids...

At long last (I swear, we're in the end zone... stay with me) the results of today's Exam Under Anesthesia (EUA). Dr. B reports that Geri's pressures are 17 in the right eye and 16 in the left!! That's a normal, healthy pressure!! It looks like the surgery on the right eye is a victory - fluid is moving and no scarring has developed to block it! The left eye looks about the same, but a bit more time is needed before calling it a done deal. Still, it's great news. Her left eye has gone down a bit in size, but not much. The right eye is holding steady. Dr. B says her eyes will stay this size, but her new glasses will minimize the appearance of it and so will growing. As her head gets bigger, her eyes won't look as large. We also got the prescription for her glasses!!!! I'm going to get it filled tomorrow. We're all pretty excited about this, because it should make a huge difference for her. We talked a bit about the possibility of cornea transplants, but the plan for now is to wait until August and re-evaluate. We also want to bring a cornea specialist into the discussion to hear his take on whether it will be worth the risk. And she does't need another eye appointment until August!! And an office visit, at that!! This will be the longest stretch yet without an EUA for her. It's sort of a big deal to me.

All in all, an eventful week or so. Lots of positive new stuff. I'll have some neato mosquito pics to share as soon as I get off my duff and load them to the computer. In the meantime, enjoy the father-daughter totem pole.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meh

I've been putting off writing about this, but I will confirm that TJ is in Guam with his bio-dad now. There isn't a sad enough frowny emoticon for this situation. He left on Sunday morning, but the last time we saw him was when he went with his stepmom to the hotel on Saturday night.

I can honestly say that I spent Sunday in a sort of low-grade depression. It was very hard to engage in anything and I felt like just curling up in bed and being hurt. I felt an empty sort of numbness and everything made me miss him like hell. Monday morning I started to feel a bit more alive, but I would say that I'm still not truly myself.

What's worse, though, is that it seems to be deeply impacting Geri. Since he left, she's been having nightmares and tonight she had a crying fit at bedtime. We think she realizes he's gone and perhaps this is far too reminiscent of adoption for her. In her experience she probably saw it several times that someone comes and takes a kid and they are gone forever. In her own experience, we came and took her out of the orphanage (only environment she ever knew) and she hasn't gone back. I don't think she's necessarily worried that TJ won't ever come back... I think she's worried that she might be next. Will someone come for her?

It appears we have to be more active and intentional in explaining to her what is happening. Tonight, during her crying fit, Nick held her hand and told her "TJ will be back soon" and she immediately calmed down a lot. Now I just have to figure out how to talk about biological dad versus Nick. Not in terms of a cage match, but in explaining how her family is structured. What terminology should I use? For moms, there's the "mommy" and "tummy mommy" approach. I could call TJ's bio dad his "biological dad", but what do I call Nick? TJ calls him Nick but the girls call him daddy or papa. Sometimes TJ calls him dad, he does it more often all the time. So in talking to Geri, do I talk about how she has a "bio dad" and "daddy" and TJ has a "bio dad" and "daddy", but TJ goes to visit his "bio dad" and she doesn't see hers anymore? It sounds ok, except we are hesitant to call Nick "daddy" as relates to TJ because his bio dad is still around. We don't want to push a specific name and we let TJ decide. Sigh. It feels like a complicated topic simply because of labeling all the players!

Development Day!

I'm a day late... sorry.

TJ finally figured out how to swing on the swingset without a push! Woot!! That doesn't mean I get to stop doing underdogs, though. I'm not totally off the hook.

Geri can point to 8 body parts. She can identify her head, nose, ear, toes, tummy, elbow, back and knees.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One of the MANY Pains of Being Blended

On Sunday, my big boy leaves for his summer visit with his bio-dad. On Friday, his stepmom arrives to pick him up. She'll hang with us a bit, and on Saturday we'll all head up to the science museum in Denver. After dinner we will say goodbye to him there, because they have to leave from Denver airport very early the next morning so they will be getting a hotel in the city the night before.

He'll be six in August, and he becomes more and more aware of these separations all the time. He realizes that he will miss things that we are doing. He realizes that he will miss us. He knows how long it is and he is becoming truly aware of time and it's passage. This is not the first trip where we have seen the impending separation affecting him, but it's the first time he has expressed it so clearly and viscerally.

My ex and I have a very effective co-parenting relationship, for the record. TJ's pain in this situation doesn't come from any guilt trips, or being put in the middle, or being pulled between us. In fact, his sadness highlights an underlying truth of divorce - it's hard on your kids no matter how nice you are about it. No matter how happy your new family is, no matter how supportive and available you are, no matter how much love you pour into them. Divorce hurts kids, and it continues to do so in some way for their whole life. Even if they look back on their upbringing in great joy, there will always be a mingling loss of holidays with one parent and set of siblings missing, shuffling back and forth, not being able to have all the people you love in one spot like most kids do. How much worse, then, when the parents can't get along!

Before every trip I can see a huge difference in his behavior and outlook. I can see the stress affecting him for about three weeks before he leaves. He becomes more scattered, more touchy, and he acts up more. It pains me so much. This time he added a new twist... he spent about 45 minutes before bed, one evening, begging me not to make him go. Oh God, that was the hardest conversation I've ever had to date. I just wanted to say "Yes! Whatever you want to be happy. I won't do anything to make you so sad!" but I couldn't.

There are a lot of sucky parts to being in a blended family. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of great parts to my family, too. I would never trade my husband and my kids for anything. I love my life, there are just a lot of hard things I wish we could all skip over. Sigh. I just have to keep believing that God can heal my son's heart (and my own) and bring peace to his little mind.

So STINKIN' Sweet!!

I could rant about the latest saga of stupidity with my son's teacher, but I choose to focus on the positive instead. So I apologize to my facebook friends who might be hoping for all the sordid details in an angry blog.

I choose, instead, to tell you all about the awesome hug that Geri gave me today. It rocked. It brought tears to my eyes. I was just sitting on the floor and she was standing next to me but sort of behind me and she leaned against my back and wrapped her arms around me in a hug from behind that melted me to the core. It was such a spontaneous moment of sweetness that I teared up.

This is it. This is my child, for whom I longed and labored and waited in agony. She was so worth it!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday = Development Day!!

Something fun I want to start doing is taking some time to take stock of the kids' developments. Why not Tuesday? Why not, indeed.

When we brought her home, Geri was unable to balance independently at all. No walking, no standing, without assistance. She was quiet, nonverbal, and ghostly pale. She only ate mashed foods from a metal spoon. We couldn't touch her mouth at all. She was terrified of the car (Viviane can attest to this!) and of baths. Her motion sickness was so bad that the swings at the park made her puke. Her eye pressures were around 60 mmHg in each eye - triple the norm. She couldn't see much at all. She was scary skinny, with no meat on her bones. She wouldn't play at all, wouldn't explore toys. Her demeanor was withdrawn, isolated, scared and quiet.

6 months later, she is walking and standing independently. She can get up from sitting without any support. While standing, she can manipulate objects and items in air - even bulky or heavy ones. She can walk, independently, for long distances now and handle inclines. She's starting to jump, which is cute as all get-out. She has around 40 words and phrases, repeats everything, squeals when excited or happy. She babbles a lot these days. She's finally experimenting with solid foods and dry textures, and she can use a fork and plasticware and drink from a straw. She loves brushing her teeth. She loves to ride in the car with her window down and tolerates it fine for long distances. No more motion sickness - she'd stay on the swings all day if I let her! She loves the tub and splashing in the bath is a favorite. She even cooperates with washing and rinsing her hair! After two surgeries, her eye pressures are normal and her functional vision is notable improved. She's shot up almost two inches and gained around five pounds, all of which seems to be muscles. She has calves!!! She loves to explore the house and examine the toys, with pianos and music instruments being her favorites. She is bright, curious, funny, silly, and affectionate. She gives kisses to my arm. When I ask her for a kiss, she sticks out her forehead as if to say "sure, go right ahead and lay one on me!" She loves cuddles and hugs and seeks mommy and daddy for comfort. She's potty training, helping more with dressing and undressing, and sitting in her own booster at meals.



Oh, and she has a sweet tan.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Adoption Video

I apologize for the delay in haring this with our wonderful blog buddies... My bad!

I made a video about our adoption journey to our little love, and I hope you like it!


AnesthesioloJERK UPDATE

I wrote previously about our experience with a horrible anesthesiologist at Geri's dental appointment. A few people have since told me I should contact the hospital to complain. I wanted everyone to know that I have and I wanted you to know that I was VERY happy with how it was handled. Well, at least so far.

On Friday, one of the nurses from Saint Francis Medical Center called to see how Geri was doing and ask how our experience had been. I told her that the nursing staff was awesome, the dentist was great, but I had a terrible experience with the anesthesiologist. She was very concerned and told me she would pass it on to her supervisor.

The supervisor, Kelly, called me within about 45 minutes to find out what happened. I explained the whole situation and I could tell she took it very seriously. She agreed that his statements had been unacceptable, that his treatment of us had been bad and that something needed to be done. She was pretty awesome - I liked her a lot. At one point she said, "Wow, it's as if he was daring you to get mad at him!" and at another point she referred to him by an unflattering name I won't repeat. I didn't say it first! Turns out, she has a son who has a hearing impairment so she understands about how you have to fight for your child's care a lot of times. She was totally receptive when I explained the impact Geri's adoption has on her response to hospitals and awakening from anesthesia. Overall, I just got the very clear message that she understood, agreed with my concerns, and wanted to see something done about it.

She explained that she would pass my concerns to the doc who is in charge of managing all of the surgical doctors. She was writing it up as a formal complaint, and the doc supervisor will likely meet with the anesthesiologist to reprimand him. She asked me at one point "What would you like us to do, to make you feel better?" and I said "I don't want him fired or anything, and I honestly don't think talking to him will change his crummy attitude, but I want my complaint to go up the chain so that, if other parents have a problem it's known to his supervisors. I want this on the radar so that if he keeps acting like this with other parents then maybe someday it will cost him his hospital privileges. Oh, and if we ever have surgery at this hospital again I DON'T want him in the OR. I never want to see this guy again!"

She said that she would make sure my complaint went all the way up, she will be calling to follow up, and if I ever come in with Geri again and he turns up as her anesthesiologist I am to call her and she will fix it. She said no way would I ever be expected to have him as my daughter's anesthesiologist again. That made me feel good, because I'm sure we'll be doing sedated dental exams for a long time!

All in all, I'm happy to report that my complaint was taken seriously and I feel very good about how it's being handled. Good job, SFMC!! You rock, Kelly!

By the way, I will go on ahead and throw this guy's name out there. Dr. Rafael. He's an anesthesiologist in Colorado Springs and he sucks!!! I know this may not help much, since you don't really choose an anesthesiologist - they just get assigned to you, but I thought I'd get that out there. Who knows, maybe it will help someone in some way.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Snip!

No, the other one.

Geri's tongue tie is GONE!! Wooot!

Today was our lovely Geri's dental cleaning and exam under anesthesia. I've been looking forward to this, because homegirl had some serious deposits on her teeth, and we didn't know if she might have some serious cavities hiding under them. I was thinking perhaps her not wanting to chew was related to having pain in her teeth. I was eager to see all of this taken care of, really.

Well, in the run-up to this appointment her feeding therapist, Jeannine, asked me if she would be having her tongue tie snipped while she was under. I said "No, because we don't have the ENT on tap for it. We don't even have a referral yet!" We were both disappointed because it would have been nice to get it all taken care of at once, but Jeannine promised to get me the name of an ENT in town who doesn't throw a total hissy-fit about snipping a tongue tie. Seriously, a lot of them act like they are being asked to disarm a nuke while blindfolded and hanging by their toes.

Today we headed over to the surgery center WAY TOO DAMNED EARLY (bad Lauren, no 7:30 am surgeries!!!) and checked in while the sun rose (what the HELL was I thinking when I scheduled that time???) and we were soon hanging out in the pre-op room, waiting for the anesthesiologist and dentist to come talk to us.

The nurses were nice, but that anesthesiologist was an anesthesioloJERK. He was rude, informed me that he would give my daughter a nosebleed running the tube for the gas down her nose ("I always give them nosebleeds," he said, as if this were funny/acceptable), didn't want to hear anything I had to tell him about the propofol verses gas situation, and when I told him about her extreme anxiety on awakening he said "Well, I wake her and you can't be in the OR so she'll just have to be ok until you get there." And when I brought her into the OR for the gas he wouldn't let me hold her while he gave it. All four other surgeries I've held her and the doc gave her gas over my shoulder. He wouldn't have it, he made me lay her on the operating table still awake and try to hug her as best I could while he gassed her. She did okay, but he was such a jerk about it. When I asked why, he gave me this list of ways it was easier for him to do it this way. News flash, bucko... I don't care about making this easy for you. You're getting paid a lot of money to do this, so suck it up and deal. Want an easy job? Trade with the surgery receptionist. Seriously, there was no one even talking to her! She was just sitting around watching TV the whole time I was in the waiting room.

Not for nothing, I'll tolerate a jerk doctor if he's competent. I will choose a doc with the worst bedside manner who is great at what he does over a nice guy who's incompetent. I tell Nick, I don't care if he punches me in the face if he takes good care of my kid. Well, this guy was incompetent to boot. While Geri did not have the promised bloody nose, she was groggy beyond belief after this procedure. This is her fifth time being put under and I've NEVER taken her home so disoriented and tired. She slept for four hours when we got home! And she was scary pale and seemed woozy for the rest of the evening. Seriously, she's never had such a rough time after she came home. So he was a total @$$ AND bad at what he does. I sincerely hope the hospital calls me for feedback so I can SLAM him for being so rude and so selfish and so bad at his job.

Sigh. Sorry, I'm back.

So the wonderful dentist, who is a total sweetie, was walking me through the release forms and there was a laundry list of possible procedures I was authorizing. It was a lot, since we didn't know the condition of her teeth. While we were talking I jokingly asked "Wow, can you snip her tongue tie while you're in there, too?" She looks at me and says "Yeah, if you really want me to. I do it all the time." She wrote it on the "to-do" list and I signed it and that was it. That was the process of getting my daughter's tongue tie cut... by a dentist.

I think the moral of the story is "what the ENT won't do, run past the dentist." That and "punch the anesthesioloJERK in the teeth if you see him again."

Sigh. Sorry, I went there again, didn't I? My bad.

Really, on the whole it was a good experience. I can already see her experimenting with her new tongue mobility. The front of her tongue looks different, too. She seems to be in zero pain from it, too. I think it will make a difference for her and I'm so grateful to Dr. D'Addario for jumping in and making this so easy. And to top it all off, Geri didn't have a single cavity! No fillings at all! Just a cleaning and flouride treatment. Plus, someone from the office called to check on Geri and set up her follow-up and while we were on the phone I had a question I hadn't thought of after surgery. So the doc herself called me back a couple hours later with the answer! That's really caring for your patients, in my book. I'm taking all my kids to Rocky Mountain Pediatric Dentistry from now on. I'm not getting a kickback for saying this, but I think you should too! Seriously, they are just that awesome. Worth the drive, even though I live in OCC and they're in the Powers area.

Oh, and the food in the cafeteria at Saint Francis Medical Center is very good. Yummy biscuit and gravy for me, oh yeah! I <3 food that sticks to the inside of your arteries. I did notice, however, that Children's in Denver is a little more thoughtfully set up and laid out. Their patient tracking system lets you know, at a glance, where your kiddo is in the surgery process. They have the ability to call from the operating room to the front desk and update you, real time, on what's going on. They have a locker room for stashing your stuff while you go eat or hang out. They have a couple of nice little privacy rooms with comfy couches that have pillows and blankets for a nap. They just have some great amenities for families that SFMC doesn't because it's not the target audience.

Is it sad that I'm comparing and reviewing surgical clinics? I have waaaay too much experience at this. Even the nurses were saying things like "it's so nice to have a parent who knows the drill" and "wow, you're so calm about this" and "she's had HOW MANY surgeries?" After she got the gas the nurse walking me out said "Are you okay, mom?" and I laughed and said "Oh, I'm fine. I've seen this before. Honestly, this is the easiest one by far... I know she does fine with anesthesia and she's just getting a cleaning!" He seemed surprised.

This turned out to be a surprisingly good day. I was thinking it would be sort of a pain, and parts of it were (I swear... right in the teeth, if I see that guy again!) and I accidentally took the wrong car this morning so there was a last-minute kerfluffle about getting Mera taken care of and TJ to school and Nick to work, but it turned out great and I'm so excited to see what new progress miss thang makes with her newly released tongue!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Progress Update

I always say that you spend two years teaching your kids to walk and talk, and the next 16 trying to get them to sit still and be quiet.

Well, we've officially ruined Geri. She's up and walking. She's taken some pretty good first steps before, but I think every parent can attest to the huge difference between the first steps and truly mastering walking. It's the difference between playing "chopsticks" and Chopin. Those tentative first steps where your child picks a point and choppily gets to it, then clings for dear life are a far cry from watching your child let go and wander the house to whatever distant location they have in mind. And wander to a selected location, she does. Often it's one of the bathrooms, where she can entertain herself by turning on faucets and flushing the toilet. She prefers the back bedroom because I can't hear her flushing the toilet back there, so she gets away with it longer. She's a smart little cookie, this one. Clever girl.

Her stationary balance has also improved. She's able to stand upright without support and toss or throw large items. She loves throwing the hula hoop at "school" and the large balls at home. She will stand in one spot and manipulate objects with both hands, and that's pretty cool. She seems to enjoy it, because it gives her more opportunity to interact with the world around her.

Oh, and she's starting to jump! At her OT session on Thursday, she was sharing the trampoline with a cutie boy named William. She was in the harness and bungees (which give her a little extra balance so she can get a great freedom of movement) and he kept telling her (through his assisted communication board and therapist) "Jump more!" and she would gladly oblige. Every time she jumped, she would squeal with joy and William would laugh and "jump" on his hands and knees. They were having great fun together. Since that session, I've seen her attempting to jump at home, too.

Her feeding issues are starting to make progress, too. In addition to licking a scone, she has since gummed a pizza crust and licked a lollipop and licked poofs and such. She's doing very well at drinking from straws and her willingness to accept new or different flavors has been much more lately than in the past. She's also accepting forks, sporks and plasticware with ease. She occasionally tries to self-feed, too.

Her clinginess has improved somewhat as well. I can now leave the room, and I've actually left her with someone else for a few minutes one time. Woot! I see her exploring the house much more now, scooting or letting go and walking to pursue whatever interests her at that moment.

Some other random developments include... Sitting on my lap for FOUR stories!!! Exploring braille. Accepting hugs and kisses from her sister. Remembering places and locations. Letting me brush her hair. Using her rocking chair! Soothing with less effort.

Lots of progress, indeed!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gratitude

I've been wondering, for a while now, about abortion law in Bulgaria. I don't know if it's weird that I never asked about it, or looked into it, before. At the back of my mind, though, I've been curious about whether Geri's biological mother had the option of ending her pregnancy.

Abortion is, in fact, legal in Bulgaria. Up to 12 weeks gestation, no reason is necessary. A woman can just walk into a clinic and request one with no questions asked. From 12 to 20 weeks, abortions are available if the mother or baby has a disease that is threatening to either one's life. After 20 weeks, it is only permitted if the mother's life is in danger or the fetus is severely impaired. According to the UN, in a 2007 report(the year Geri was born), Bulgaria had one of the highest abortion rates in the world. Abortion was regarded as a form of birth control, and the cost of the abortion was in no way a problem. Many women reported that they chose an abortion because the cost of raising a child was considered more prohibitive.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude to Geri's biological mother. She could have easily aborted her pregnancy. She could have snuffed out our daughter's life when it began. I don't know what her reasons were, but I know that she gave our Geri a chance. She could have easily ended the whole thing, skipped the pregnancy and delivery, but she chose not to.

In a strange way, I feel bound to this woman somehow. She made the child that I raise, which makes us a sort of a team in this effort. I don't know if that sounds strange, but it gives me the sense of being connected to her. Now I feel connected to her by gratitude as well, and I know that her choice gave me our child. Thank you, M.,  from the bottom of my heart. You made the right choice, of that I am sure.



Sources:
Bulgaria - United Nations
Bulgaria Has One of the World's Highest Abortion Rates UN Report ...


Friday, May 4, 2012

Progress is Always Good

November, 2011 - Geri was highly orally defensive. She would only eat from a metal spoon. Her food could have very little texture. She would not allow us to touch her teeth or tongue or gums, and brushing was absolutely out. Dry, crunchy or hard foods could not be brought near her face or she would spaz out.

May 2012 - She loves brushing her teeth. I can easily touch her teeth, tongue and gums. She is experimenting with solid foods. Check it out!!!
video
 That's right, that's our girl mauling a pizza crust! The girl who wouldn't eat a plain, soft piece of bread 5 months ago is attacking baked good with a vengeance. Oh, and did I mention she is walking independently now? Yeah, that's our little miracle!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Growing up so Fast...

When I picked TJ up from school today, he informed me that he broke his tooth at lunch.

"What?!?! Let me see!" I cried out.

He's showing me the tooth and it looks perfectly fine, bottom right front tooth, nothing abnormal, nothing missing. He's telling me how he broke it biting into a piece of pizza at lunch.

"I bit down and broke it and now it wiggles, see?" he said.

My boy has his first loose tooth. Oh holy crap, my firstborn is losing a tooth. Getting an ADULT tooth. That's what those are called, those teeth that move in and push out the babies? ADULT teeth. Where does the time go?

He's bugging me about joining Boy Scouts. He got a stripe in karate and should test soon. He learned to climb a chain-link fence today. He's a great hitter when we play baseball in the yard. He can actually throw a ball to me for reals. When did he stop being a little boy and start being a boy boy?

Mera is growing up pretty quick, too. She's in the "me too" stage. No matter what you do, she has to say she does it too. "TJ is at school." "I go school, too?" "Mommy is on the potty." "I go on potty too!" "Daddy is playing soccer." "I play soccer too."

Tonight I asked her to draw a circle and she did. She tells me stories. She talks about things that happened in the past. She helps dress herself and wants to pick out her clothes. She puts on her own freaking sandals, for cripes' sake! She takes issue with being referred to as anything other than a big girl. "Are you a princess?" "NO! I a big girl."

How do they change so danged fast? How can time suddenly speed up when you have kids?

BEST Dr. Visit EVER

Today was Geri's 3 week checkup following the trubeculotomy on her left eye. We made a big effort to arrive early, as I have figured out that arriving about 30 minutes early means your appointment starts at it's scheduled time. On our way, we stopped off for a snack at Starbucks.

Backstory: Mera has been sick the last couple of days. Low-grade fever, and she puked ALL OVER me last night. Today her appetite was low and I wasn't about to push it, given her gastro-intestinal fireworks the evening before. So when she started asking for scones and applejuice, I was happy to oblige.

Now, if you've missed this tidbit of info from my previous posts, it is extremely relevant to know that Geri has so serious feeding issues. She does not chew food. She does not tolerate dry or crunchy or hard foods in her mouth. For a very long time she would only eat from a metal spoon. No forks. No plasticware. That's recently gotten a bit better, but progress in this area is slow. You'd be amazed at what she can eat, but the list of what she won't even touch is much longer.

Have I ever mentioned how stressful it is to have a child who doesn't eat normally? Yah, it's very stressful. Lots of rejected food, missed meals, careful planning to eat anywhere but home... Bringing back-up pudding cups of tapioca everywhere and a metal spoon. Not easy or fun.

So when we went through the 'Bucks to get a snack for sissy, I grabbed Geri a milk box and called it good. I was pleasantly surprised when Geri actually drank some of her milk while sitting in her car seat, and used the straw without complaint, and actually wanted to hold her drink and drink it while riding in the car. That's new. New is good.

So when we got to the eye doc and the tech was examining her, she ended up holding her sister's snack. It was a paper bag with a couple of the petite vanilla bean scones in it. I figured it would keep her entertained while the tech tried to get pressures, since she likes to take things out of bags and put them back in. Imagine my surprise when she pulled out one of the scones and started licking it!! She gummed that scone for probably five minutes, at least. She actually pulled at it with her front teeth, and when she got some crumbs in her mouth she didn't freak and she actually swallowed one little bit when it got soggy in her mouth!

This is enormous for her. Huge. I was about to cry in the doc's office. I could have done a freaking backflip, I was (and still am) so excited!

On top of that, she was super cooperative about all of the poking and prodding of the exam. The tech managed to get pressures on BOTH eyes (first ever), Dr. B got a good look at her retinas and a chance to look at her eyes with the lenses and get an idea of her prescription and our chances for correction. She was playing well with the toys and walking around and generally doing so well.

Wow. Then, at lunch, she ate her entire lunch from a metal fork. And last night, at dinner, she ate using my husband's fork as well. And when she tired of the fork at lunch, she switched to a plastic kiddie spork.

Progress in this area has been a long time coming, I must say. This part of her development has felt like a long, slow, uphill slog. We've been so spoiled by her progress in other areas that this one has felt like pulling teeth. Seeing progress was amazing. God is so GOOD!!!