June 29, 2011

From Four to Five times Two

Announcing Oliver Micah Nelson!
Oliver arrived on May 14th 2011 making our family of four into five. He has only been here for 6 short weeks and we can not imagine life without him. He is such a blessing to all of us. the biggest news is that he is a healthy boy joining us at an amazing 10 pounds and 4 ounces. (: I can not tell you the countless times we prayed during this pregnancy for a healthy and strong child. The results: Oliver. He is so strong he has already rolled over from his tummy to his back. He is an answer to all of our many prayers. Thank you for praying along side of us.

I can not explain to you what a gift a healthy child is. Now that I have experienced the difference on either side. A healthy child is EASY not to mention a tremendous gift. The list is limited as to why he is crying: dirty diaper, tired, burp, I don't even know what else! Shortly after he was born Matt was watching the nurse clean him. I will never forget watching Matt look at Oliver's back and giving me the non verbal nod that all was well. There have been times, however, that both Matt and I have thought, "be careful for his shunt" or "carefully burp him so you don't hurt his scar" or try to change his diaper while he is sleeping and forgetting that he can actually feel his little legs. Each time this has happened has been an opportunity to thank our God. Each time in my sleep deprived state I smile and thank him for another healthy child. It is amazing how perspectives can change. I have also caught myself giving him physical therapy! I realize what I am doing as he kicks me away.

I have only ventured out to the grocery store with all three once. It is a challenge to get them in the store but after that we are set. The girls are loving having a brother. The first few weeks we had to address a little jealousy but now both girls always want to hold him and see him. Matt was home for the first week and helped me in so many ways. One example is that he gave the girls chores which has helped them both be more independent. This has been especially important for Whitney. I have been forced to look at things a little different to give her more independence because I can't always do it anymore and it has been great for her.

Whitney has had a few appointments over the last few weeks. She is looking great overall. her walking has not increased too much since winter. She unfortunately has developed knee contractures in the past 9 months or so. This basically means that her knees are slightly bent at all times. We do stretching and massage to try to loosen the tendon but have come to the point where she will need to get a night knee brace. We also had her fitted for her first wheelchair. I had been dreading this appointment for years and there I was. The appointment went very smooth and it was really not emotional just factual. I think having Oliver helps a bit. Now he is the one who needs the stroller and Whitney is a big girl. When I told Whitney about the appointment the day before I was shocked that she was the emotional one. We talked it through and the next morning she was excited to go and told me that she wanted a pink one. She has such a personality. I wish you all could meet her. The other day I referred to her walker as a him and she corrected me saying that it was a her. I wonder what she will call her wheelchair. . .

May 16th our dear Fiona went from four to five. I was praying that I would not be in the hospital on her birthday and I was able to be discharged the afternoon of her birthday. We had a small family of five birthday party for her. She was so excited to be the birthday girl. Five is so much fun. Fiona has always been a delightful child and continues to be so. She loves to memorize, sing, help, and wonder how I know so many things. (: She is headed off to kindergarten in the fall and is very excited about it. She does such a great job being a big sister. Sometimes she will teach Whitney a song with the wrong lyrics insisting that they are right. She will answer Whitney's questions with an answer such as, "that is just how God made it Whitney, THAT'S why". She just had her 5 year well child visit. Here are her stats:

Weight: 41.2 pounds (70th percentile)
Height: 45 1/4 inches (93rd percentile)
This year she grew 3 1/4 inches! Just amazing.

I will end with a conversation Whitney and I had last week:

Whitney: "Is my scar still there?"
Susan: "yes, but that is okay."
W: "That's good. When I go to heaven God will take it away."
S: "That's right, God will heal you."
W: "Will you help me run to Him?"
S: "I won't need to. You will be able to do it by yourself."
W: (Huge Whitney smile) "I will run to Him!"

April 6, 2011

Hip Hop

We went to see Whitney’s hip doctor today and had an x-ray. Her hips are now perfectly symmetrical to each other! This really is amazing if you look from where we have come and how this will benefit Whitney in the future in so many ways. I remember back to making those hard decisions with Matt as to if we should take the chance to have a surgery, months of a hip spica cast and hip bracing. Not to mention putting her behind with therapy, strengthening, standing, and walking several months all for a 50/50 chance. All that stress and extra work was well worth it! Our family of four has prayed many prayers for Whitney’s hip and we are so thankful that God has poured out His blessing on her and has indeed healed her in this way. Our concerns of future issues with her hips and potential scoliosis are now considerably diminished. We are so thankful.

Here is a little prayer Whitney prayed the other night that made me smile:

“Thank you for this food and drink
and for my baby, that it’s legs will work.
In Jesus name AMEN.”
(Amen is said with gusto.)

March 29, 2011

Whitney is 3

Yes, Whitney is now 3, as of January 7th! I am so far behind in updating you. I thought I would attempt to bring you up to speed. Her birthday was filled with My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, and little mouse figurines. She had a fantastic time with her family and we even brought cupcakes to her therapy school. It was quite exciting!
Here are her 3 year stats:

Weight: 33 1/2 lbs (75th percentile)
Height: 38 3/4 inches (85th percentile)
Head circumference: 46 1/2 cm (20th percentile)
They estimate that she will be about 5'8! Just so you know that is very short for our family. (: We will see!

The past 3 years we have had a physical therapist come to our home once a week. When a child turns three our state no longer provides this service but it changes to a school setting. After much conversation and meetings Matt and I decided to enroll her at one of the public school programs on Friday afternoons. She very much enjoys her class. The plan is to use this class setting to prepare her for a 'regular' classroom. All of the children in her class have different needs: fine motor, speech ect. However she is the only one with gross motor or physical needs. This will hopefully be a good piece in her transition to pre school and kindergarten. There is another 3 year old girl who likes to 'help' Whitney. It is very cute.

She is also continuing to attend the Conductive Learning Center 4 mornings a week. She is still loving it and slowly but surely making forward progress and gaining strength. Her stamina for walking is increasing and she is doing a great job with her walker.

Now that I am towards the tail end of my pregnancy I can not carry her as far as I used to and still use her stroller quite a bit. We are beginning conversations of the dreaded wheelchair which will more than likely be a reality this year. There does not seem to ever be a lack of decisions to be made.

Whitney has been blessed by the most enthusiastic attitude. People often comment on how positive Fiona is and we smile because we know Whitney is even more so. She LOVES her sister. Loves school, church, sunday school, BSF (Bible Study), and donuts. (: After church on Sunday she yells, "Yeah, sunday school!" Now that I think of it she often yells when she is excited which is frequent. Her positive attitude is a blessing in our home.

Today I had an interesting moment where at Fiona's swimming lessons someone asked me about Whitney and if she had swim lessons. So, I told her that Whitney has spina bifida and after seeing the confusion on her face I gave her a brief description of what it was, and telling her she goes to swimming at a rehabilitation hospital. She said, "oh, I am so sorry". The reason why this struck me was because I think for the first time I thought to myself, "why are you sorry"? i didn't' even think it though and was not sure how to respond so I didn't. It is awesome to see a shift in my thinking and how spina bifida has become so normal to our lives. I can't tell you how blessed we are by her and how often she blesses others.

Matt also had a birthday these past months. I would say that it was his best one but I am not sure he would agree with me. (: It was a blizzard that day and we literally could not leave the house until 9:00 that evening. So, the girls and I enjoyed having daddy home for the whole day!

Our pregnancy is going great. We are getting more and more excited to meet our little one. We are now down to 7 weeks! The girls are very excited and call the baby, Snap Dragon. (: We have caught on to the name as well and so that is the name until the real name is revealed.

January 11, 2011

20 week ultrasound update

Well, here we are in 2011 and I have much to update you on from the end of 2010. Matt and I went to our ultrasound at the same high risk office we were at with Whitney. It was kind of an odd feeling being in the same room with one of the same ultrasound tech we had with the previous pregnancy. This time there were many things different. First of all we were much more educated on 'reading' the ultrasound and there was not the same feelings apprehension. The ultrasound lasted a good hour. Matt and I were watching the monitor and we began the narration. "okay, there is the brain. . . I don't see any banana or lemon sign. . . thats good. . . The spine looks closed. . . The feet look good. . ." and so forth. I really wish I knew what the ultrasound tech was thinking. (: We knew the signs to look for in regards to spina bifida. The techs are not supposed to say much but she agreed with our assessments. We then met with the doctor and she affirmed our observations that all was looking great. We are SO thankful for this good report.

Following the appointment I realized that I felt relief. I did not notice that the anxiety was there until I saw that all was looking healthy. We have a new perspective on what a gift a healthy child is. We are so blessed.