Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Year in Numbers


P1020725January 2010

1: size of clothes that has been outgrown

6: pounds gained (by Piper, not me, lol…)

3: nights Luke and I survived in a hotel- with Piper

4: days I survived out-of-state.  Without Piper.

5: days spent in Florida for the NDSC

2: different surgeries

10: days spent in the hospital.  A huge improvement from last year’s 49…

27: new signs

30: visits to Children’s

4: number of new teeth (which is, by the way, twice as many as she had yesterday…)

5: Modes of transportation mastered by Piper: rolling, army crawling, crawling, cruising, and walking (mastered, if she’d put her arms down!)

364: Days I’m doomed to write “2010” on my checks and on the computer system for work.

7,214: number of pictures taken this year.  Yikes.

Countless kisses…

Innumerable smiles…

Immeasurable happiness.

Here’s to a less eventful, but equally fun, 2011!

Happy New Year!

December 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh my goodness- what’s happened???

So, we live in Colorado, right?  Usually people hear “Colorado” and “December” and infer that it should be cold.  And snowy.  And they would be right, usually.  Not so much this year.  This year, my kid was outside on December 29 in her little windbreaker jacket.  Riding bikes.  Not that I’m really complaining (although I’m totally excited that it’s been snowing all day today for the first time this season) because we got to go out and play! 

We played in Nana’s house on Christmas- once, Piper got distracted and turned around too far and about fell off the back.  So, Luke’s close in these pictures because I was hoping to stave off a Christmas season ER visit for a I-fell-off-my-bike-and-off-the-curb purpose.  She did great and never wobbled, so I think she can have some more independence next time.  Mommy paranoia, right???

Can someone please tell me what’s happened to my baby???









Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Baby Update and Q&A

I’ve gotten some questions from folks about this baby and pregnancy after Ds, so I thought I’d just knock it all out at once.  Some of this is rehashed, I think, so bear with me.  I just don’t want to leave a gap.  And, as always, feel free to ask anything else!

What did we do for prenatal testing this time?  I’ve said before that they do quote a higher chance of having a baby with Ds to women to have had a previous child with Down syndrome.  Geneticists don’t have any real evidence for this increase (there are theoretical ideas, but nothing that’s supported by the population), but it does give us the ability to get further testing, paid for by the insurance company.  So, this time around we chose to do the Nuchal Translucency screening, or subsequential screen, which is two blood tests combined with an ultrasound.  It has the most reliable results of any of the noninvasive procedures (it’s only outdone by amniosynthesis and CVS testing in accuracy), so it seemed like a good place for us to start.  I didn’t feel comfortable to not do ANY testing, just because I still, to this day, think that Piper only made it because we knew.  It certainly wouldn’t change anything, except how closely we were monitored for the rest of the pregnancy. 

How do pregnancies with a Down syndrome baby feel different?  If you think about it, the quad screen blood test measures for altered chemicals and hormones in the mother’s blood.  So, if those numbers are off, you feel off.  Quad screens can also detect things like spina bifida, Duodenal Atresia (which may have been why Piper’s numbers were a little more obvious, 1:277), and other indicators of fetal wellbeing.  The test, however, is NOT perfect, and can be thrown off by LOTS of factors (including maternal weight, a variation of gestational age of more than a couple days, the way the mother’s body is coping with the alterations, etc), which is why it’s a good screening test.  I hoped (and hoped and hoped and HOPED) that a lot of my problems with Piper were because of the Ds.  I can say that the morning sickness wasn’t as permeating as it was last time, but lasted just as long and was NOT fun (not  a big surprise, now, is it)?  Apparently some of the other things are just ME, and weren’t because of Piper, which bums me out a little, but whatchya gonna do, right?

Am I nervous this time around?  ABSOLUTELY.  I try not to let myself think about the possibility of another preemie (or how close we were to losing Piper), but sometimes you just can’t.  Now that we’ve seen the baby again (we did a Level II ultrasound last week with the perinatologist where they check EVERYTHING on the baby) and everything looks fine, I’m feeling A LOT better.  It’s been tough getting to this point, because, I guess, I was afraid to get too excited.  I think that after you go through a traumatic birth and see your little girl so sick, it really makes you realize how delicate things are, and how easy it is for something to go wrong.  And you’ve seen, even if not in your own child, how wrong things can go.

We are NOT supposed to have a higher risk of another preemie, because Piper came on her own accord and not because of preterm labor.  So that’s the statistic I hold on to.  And I understand that- rationally.  Emotionally, however, is another story.  To put everyone’s mind to ease (including my doctor), we’re being watched closely this time around, too.  We’re going to go in every two weeks until 30 weeks, when we’ll start NSTs once a week.  We don’t live particularly close to our doctor, but I’m more than willing to make all the trips if it means having less to worry about.

We are SO excited to have another little girl running around soon.  For one thing, at least we’ll be able to reuse Piper’s overwhelming wardrobe.  And we have every season in every size, so that’ll help, too.  Although I keep telling Luke that, just because we have clothes, it doesn’t preclude me from buy ANYTHING.  Just an FYI.

Besides- getting to do matching dress-up outfits?  YES, PLEASE!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Let’s be JOLLY!

I can’t believe that Christmas has come and gone, once again.

Somehow, it amazes me how quickly it passes- especially when the festivities last for several days.  We had so much fun (despite the fact that here, in the middle of Ski Country, USA, we had 40-degree weather; I think we were, quite possibly, the only place in the continental US without snow.  This is so, SO weird…)- Christmas Eve service with Luke’s family, Christmas breakfast, presents, and dinner with my family, day after Christmas with Luke’s WHOLE family (and believe me, that’s saying A LOT), and Luke’s birthday yesterday (yes, I blame his parents every. year.  Whoever has kids two days after Christmas should have their heads examined.  Did I mention his sister’s birthday is tomorrow???  Hopefully the in-laws know I’m joking- love you guys!).

I love Christmas time- mostly because it’s time that we all just get to BE.  Be together, be ourselves, be relaxed (except for maybe my mom who had to cook…).  And I absolutely loved getting to watch Piper this year- Christmas is going to become exponentially more fun watching the excitement through kiddie eyes.  She enjoyed the paper and ribbons, yes- but she also caught on pretty quickly that there were things UNDER the paper.  She’d find something she really liked, and play with it for a while.  A few times, I had to direct her back to opening presents, because her pile was getting a little out of control (yes, the kid made out.  Like a bandit.  Or a couple of bandits- I’m not quite sure which…).  She refused to take a nap that day (much to MY demise) and fell asleep on the way home at 5:15.  She slept until 8:45.  AM.  Yup- the excitement WORE HER OUT.

We had dinner at Luke’s parents’ house on Sunday where we got to see a lot of the family we haven’t seen for a while.  And even a few who hadn’t met Piper yet, so it was extra fun.  Thankfully (??) Piper remembered how to open presents, so it was old-hat by then.  She knew darn-good-and-well what she was doing, thankyouverymuch. 

And now, a random conglomerate of pictures for the weekend.

P1090200Playing before church on Friday.  There was a crowd, so she chose the moment to show off her walking/running skills.

Christmas Day:

DSCN0128Nana decided that Piper needed to try on the reindeer “hat” (Piper’s been very into “hats” lately).  She was excited at first, and then wasn’t so sure.  But we could distract her long enough for a few quick pictures.


DSCN0152Piper got a trike!  And she’s so so close to being able to touch the floor.  She figured out that she could offset herself on the seat to once side or the other to be able to touch to floor enough to push- I think that with a few weeks (and maybe a liiiittle bit of upward growth), she’ll have this thing down PAT!  SO cute!

DSCN0156She also got a Piper-sized kitchen (she’s not really tall enough to play at the toddler ones, lol) which she’s LOVING.  In fact, yesterday while we cooked dinner, she “cooked” on her own stove.  It came complete with some of my utensils (and apron) from the kitchen I had as a kid.

DSCN0160I just happened to get this picture, but this is how she greeted anything she was big enough to stand up to.  She analyzed the pictures very closely, like she was figuring out what she was supposed to do with it.  And if it had a picture of a baby on it, it was extra fun to look at.

…apparently carbo-loading on wrapping paper was an occasional necessity.

DSCN0164Woohoo!  I LOVE these things!

DSCN0212Every once in a while, I notice my mom doing things with Piper that I know, I KNOW, we NEVER would have gotten away with.  Ya know, things like crawling across the dinner table.  At least all the dishes were picked up.  (I’d put money on this being the only Christmas in Piper’s LIFE that’ll be warm enough to allow for shirtless eating at Christmas dinner.  I’m telling you- this weather is WEIRD).

DSCN0211She decided that our drinks looked pretty tasty, and she convinced her great grandma to help her out.  She was pushing her face on the glass so hard that she had a red smile for a long time after this.  So funny!

Unfortunately, I was too busy talking and I didn’t know where my camera was for a lot of Sunday, so I don’t have tons of pictures.  But…

DSCN0233Piper was very impressed with the football game on TV.  Which is weird, because neither Luke nor I are particularly big football fans.  Maybe it skips a generation (or two)??  This also made me glad that our television is significantly higher off the floor than this.  We may never get her unglued otherwise!

DSCN0227She, apparently, had some scintillating conversations with the nutcrackers.

DSCN0234And any day is more fun when you get to play with your socks AND a plastic spoon.  The kid got 843,176 toys for Christmas, and this is what she chooses to play with.  Go figure.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and could enjoy it as much as we did.  I’m always a little sad when Christmas is over, but now we get to look forward to Christmas next year with TWO little girls!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brother? Or Sister???

We get to find out on Wednesday if Piper is going to have  a baby brother or a baby sister.

I really can’t decide which I think it is, so it’ll be fun to see either way.  They say that pregnancies feel different based on the sex, but I’ve also heard that, since your hormones are off with a Ds pregnancy, it feels different just based on that.  So I don’t get much help there. 

We keep asking Piper which she thinks it is, and, frankly, her answers have been less than illuminating.  So, tonight, in a desperate attempt to get a more definitive answer, I robbed the paint chip aisle at Lowe’s.  Luke got mad at me as I snagged every pink and blue one I could find while the paint lady stood just a few feet away.  I felt naughty, but that’s besides the point (this was after I robbed the table full of boxes at Dick’s this afternoon, too- but I DID buy something there.  I just won’t admit that it was a whopping $3…).

So, without further ado, Piper’s answer!

P1090111(I was secretly saying “woohoo!!!” at this point.  Of course, this could not possibly be related to the fact that the kid chooses pink over ANYTHING 90% of the time…)

Luke We decided to do a “best two out of three”.  Here’s #2.

Tee hee.P1090124


But- then, out of nowhere, she hightails it to the blue side.  Mysterious choice?  The real choice?  I was beginning to think that maybe this was divine intervention of some sort.P1090115


But wait!  What’s that I see???brother

…I feel a conspiracy brewing…

For the record- neither Luke nor I really care if it’s a boy or girl- I just keep reminding Luke that, if it is a boy, it means I get to start shopping again.  I think he’s okay with that…

Friday, December 17, 2010

Best OT Session EVER

At least Becky and I had our fair share of laughs.

And Piper definitely enjoyed herself.

It was our “fun day of play before Christmas” session.  Becky brought, get this, frosting and pretzel sticks.  You know, for those fine motor activities. 

We put frosting on the end of the pretzel stick and made her stick her puffs on the end.  And then she could take the puff off to eat it.  Piper, being my child that always finds the path of least resistance (in other words, she’s stubborn), thought it would be far more efficient to forgo the pretzel (and puff) and use her fingers, but I digress.

We used spaghetti noodles and puffs for reverse “beading” (the best way I can describe it)- she holds onto the noodle, we thread a puff, and she has to take the puff off with the other hand.  Again, she did this several times and then realized it would be more convenient to break the noodles and spill the puff off the end.  Stinker.

By the end, she was vowing never to eat anything again unless it was covered in frosting.  She was also in desperate need of a bath.






Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Big girl. BIG food.

Big sisters are big kids.  Not babies.

To Piper, that means she should get her food big kid-style. 

Unfortunately, that desire is significantly hindered by an obvious lack of teeth.  Just don’t tell her that.



She usually gets strips (slightly easier to bite off), but occasionally she insists on The Big Food.  This is particularly humorous with giant chicken strips.  Too bad I forgot the camera that day, but suffice it to say that you can’t say my kid isn’t persistent…

She’s working hard to rectify the issue of non-existent chewing apparatuses by trying to cut SIX teeth at once. 

You can imagine the joy that’s being had at our house…

Monday, December 13, 2010

How long does it take…

…to not be startled to see your kid walking into the kitchen by herself?

I was making dinner tonight and Piper was quarantined to the living room (I was making stir-fry and didn’t want her to get splattered).  I looked up, and there’s this little teetering ball of mischief coming at me.

This wasn’t from right then, but did you know that it’s really fun to carry around a big giant balloon?  Must mean you’re really strong to carry something that big…

P1090088This was a balance-check- can you see the backward tilt?  She’s getting really good at catching herself before she falls.  My kid?  Not wanting to fall???  SHOCKING.

P1090087Dogs make the perfect obstacle course.  Tongues included, of course…

Piper’s walking pretty much everywhere.  Her distance isn’t fantastic (she can go about 12 feet), but if she’s standing at a surface, she’ll always take off walking and finish with crawling after she falls.  She hasn’t figured out how to get into standing on her own just yet; I have a feeling that once she figures that one out, she’ll really be on the go.

The downside to all this?  Bumps, bruises…

…and an ornery explosion. 

All in the name of therapeutic fun, right???

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I turn my back for ONE night…

They say that kids grow up too fast, but this is getting ridiculous.

Piper stayed the night at Nana’s for ONE night, and she’s driving

Xmas lites 3

Xmas lites 4

I don’t know whether to be more concerned about the fact that she’s driving, or the fact that she’s in a police car and trying to escape…

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Chocolate-stained shirt + sugar crash = BEST SNACK EVER.

Unfortunately, Piper ignored Nana as she imploringly asked Piper not to tell her father that they enjoyed a cup of ice cream.  At 4:30 in the afternoon…  <<ahem>>.  I do believe that the leftovers on her shirt are a dead giveaway.

And Nana, being the ever therapy-minded person she is, decided that Piper could work on her spoon-feeding skills. 

However, I, being the person who had Piper on my lap (in my white sweater, nonetheless) was slightly less enthused about the opportunity to practice our fine motor skills.

Can you guess who won???

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

MHDSA Christmas Party!

Saturday we got to celebrate the Christmas season in a room full of our chromosomally-enhanced little buddies. 

To say that we were surrounded by cute doesn’t even begin to describe the level of adorableness we had in store.  We had SO much fun watching all the little kids (although next year I think we’re going to try to score the closest-table-to-Santa seats- those people were GENIUS)!

We met several families that live REALLY close to us, which I’m super excited about.  Woohoo!

Piper posed in front of the tree, which was convenient because of all the “Aaawes” she got from the people around.  And we all know how well that works for my kid <<insert ughs and groans here>>. 


P1090025This is, for the record, her “Whowhat?  You think I’m cute???” face.  She has it perfected, I tell ya.

And then it was time for The Big Guy. 

He proved his maneuverability prowess when he went from the fish tank (we were at the aquarium, for the record, and he’s in a scuba suit- creepy?  Kinda…):P1090019 

…to the dining room in the time it took us to walk there.  Maybe he could teach me to do that- it’d sure come in handy some days…P1090015

It must mean that he was the real deal!

The whole day was worth it for the fun involved, granted.  But it was REALLY worth it when I got this in my email last night:

So, so perfect.