Asher is now two months old and is such a blessing. He is definitely my easiest baby. I guess he has to be with two older sisters. He does have an atrial septal defect, which is a small hole in between the upper two chambers of his chart. He had an echocardiogram done the day after he was born and was thought to have 3 holes in his heart, so to only have one when we went back for his follow up is an improvement. I was assured it should not be causing any problems now, and may close. If it does not close on its own, it can most likely be repaired via a cardiac catheterization when he is a toddler. We are so happy that he should not have to have open heart surgery. He does have a few minor issues such as low tone in his neck muscles and problems feeding, which we are working on. Despite having relatively few medical problems, he has had TWENTY appointments since he was born. I cannot imagine how many he would have if he had a serious medical condition!!!
Last week, his physical therapist, whom I love, came over for a session. She had seen him about a month ago and instructed me to do some exercises to improve his neck muscles. Well, the strength in his neck has improved, and she agreed. I thought, "mission accomplished," but oh no. She thought he was "preferring" his right side, so I needed to make sure his head is turned to the left when he lays down. She also wants his arms and legs to come more to his midline, so I have to prop up his arms and legs with a pillow and rolled blankets or socks. Basically she does not want him to lay all sprawled out. She showed me a few additional exercises to do with him. I am also supposed to keep doing the initial exercises I have been doing for the past month. No big deal. After that, he had a swallowing study scheduled. Having two appointments in one day was a terrible idea. The speech therapist who was seeing him for feeding wanted to check to make sure he wasn't aspirating when he ate. She thought the test would probably be normal, but wanted to do it as a precaution. Well, the test showed that he aspirates thin liquids, it was inclusive when he uses a preemie bottle and he does fine with thickened liquids. She gave me the choice to either use the preemie bottle and also nurse him and see how he does or to use thickened milk. That sounds easy. The problem is that he is noisy and is noisier when he eats. So now I am supposed to decide by which method he is less noisy. That sounds easy, but is really hard to do! Plus, it takes him twice as long to eat using these methods, which I guess is the point, right? When I got home, I read the physical therapy progress note and noticed she wrote "as much as possible." To me, as much as possible means every waking moment except when he is eating or sleeping. Needless to say, I felt a little overwhelmed.
The next morning, as I was walking in the gym, holding him, and SLOWLY feeding him with the preemie bottle, I was trying to reflect on some positive things. I thought, well at least I have bought all of my kindergartener's school supplies and uniforms! Teachers, if you have a specific item on your list, I suggest you write in parentheses where it can be found. Her list request two writing tablets with 5/8 inch lines with 8 lines on each page. Surely Walmart, Target, Staples, Office Depot or Kmart carry these, right? No, no they don't. I finally gave up and bought her some with 7/8 inch lines. But then I imagined her teacher recognizing my child's work by her big lined paper and rolling her eyes up in her head and I decided to keep searching. I finally found them at a teacher supply store!
It seems like every time I start feeling sorry for myself, the Lord reminds me of my blessings. A few days ago we went to the Super Hero send off party at the library to celebrate the end of the summer reading program, because of course we couldn't miss that. I was standing in line waiting for them to get their prizes and I noticed this little girl who seemed to be choking. I was trying to dust the cobwebs off the part of my brain that remembered the PALS (pediatric acute life support) algorithms and was preparing to do chest compressions while singing to myself "Staying Alive" to make sure I performed the compressions at the correct rate (this is true, look it up). I yelled at her mom to ask if she was okay. Her mom said, "yes, she just has an airway condition." I felt very glad that my child was not having a near death experience in the library, and felt a little less overwhelmed by what he has going on.
We love him dearly, as do his sisters, almost too dearly. My three year old asked when he was a few days old, "why don't my fingers fit in his nose?" Good question.
Here is a picture of two of my super heroes. Does Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really count as a super hero? I am not sure, but I had to work with what I had. My baby superhero was dressed as superman and is missing from the picture because even superheroes need to sleep some times.