We sure missed seeing all our family for Thanksgiving, but what a blessing to have such good friends here in Kentucky!
On Thursday, our friend Sarah hosted us at their house for a beautiful dinner, featuring a gorgeous turkey and all the extras. SO good!
Today we got to go into Lex and have brisket (ah, Texas...) with the Sims family. I dropped my corn in the brisket sauce, and Morgan broke a snow globe. oops. In spite of the Strebeck girls' faux pas, it was a fun time for all.
We'll probably spend the rest of our break working on our various ongoing projects: Ryan is building a new part for Athan's crib, writing papers, and reading for school. I'm working on Christmas shopping, plus preparing to pack and clean before we leave for 6 weeks. The kids are working really hard on being kids, and so far so good...
It has been a while since our last update, I know. I wanted to start this blog with some blathering about semester's-end busyness and holiday prep. It would have been about half true. Mostly, I've been feeling a little heavy, but I couldn't articulate it well enough to try a blog. The weightiness of my grief and my gratitude seem, still, too much for words. In light of the depth of what I have been thinking and feeling, another post about PT progress (which remains really good) and VIPS visits (also good) refused to materialize when I would sit to write.
But I am emerging again out of that heavy place. So far, I feel like this is healthy - the way the sadness comes and goes like the tide. I do not wish to try to be sad when I'm not, nor try not to feel sad when I do. If I don't muster or deny, maybe I'm emotionally maturing. Maybe. Part of this effort to grow up comes with parenthood - Athan and Morgan need me to learn to model good things for them, including grieving and giving thanks. Often simultaneously. I hope I can do it.
As to the daily stuff: Athan continues to do really well with his physical therapy. We will be recruiting lots of our friends and family in Texas and New Mexico to help us do his "workouts" while we're there for Christmas. Morgan keeps bumping into a world that doesn't bend to her every wish, which keeps surprising her and making her mad. We're doing the best we can to help her navigate the hard work of being a toddler. I am doing what I can to get ready for our trip home for Christmas, and Ryan is diligently finishing his semester up - couple big projects to go.
We were playing in the floor last night, helping Athan work on rolling over. I helped him over onto his tummy, and he just popped his head up like he's been doing it for months! Way to go buddy! He held his head there for a minute or so, then rolled back over onto his back with no help. So exciting!
Laurie just left a while ago, and Athan did really well again today. He is really beginning to work hard at keeping his chin down when we do "baby sit-ups." He still has significant lag, but he is starting to work harder to overcome it.
I wish you all could meet Laurie. She is SO very good at her job. We are so thankful to have her in our home for any reason, and so glad she's working with our Athan.
We frequently are asked or hear about some recurring questions that we may not have addressed. I’ve been meaning to write this for some time, partly for you and partly for me. It always helps me think things through when I sit to write about it. Athan’s medical troubles are rooted in his genetics. As far as we know right now, none of the things that I did or did not do during pregnancy could have caused this. My prenatal care was good. The biggest challenge for me was hyperemesis again, which just means I was sick around the clock for months. However, this could not have caused Athan’s problems. None of the genetic testing has uncovered the source of his sickness. It may be a fluke - a one-in-a-million random genetic mutation. It may be something inherited from Ryan or myself. We don’t really know, and we may never know for sure. We do not regret having a home birth or using a midwife. I think both of my experiences of labor and delivery were better for me and baby to be at home, and choosing home birth was in no way responsible for Athan’s condition. We are attempting to walk forward while negotiating the tension between natural treatment and medicine (we are fortunate to have access to such wonderful care from both!), being as informed as possible about both as we make decisions. We still do not know what any of this will mean in regards to Athan’s quality of life. We have many, many questions about what his life will be like. At first, we were only looking forward a few minutes at a time. Then hours. Then days and weeks. Now I feel like we know what the next few months hold. When we are able to get more of a picture of what the years ahead may hold, I will try to write about it. We are also not sure whether we will choose to have more children or not. Further genetic testing may be able to tell us what chance we would have of any future children having the same troubles, which would inform our decision. We both are open to all of the possibilities. We may have 2 kids. Maybe more. Maybe more of our own, or maybe adopt. All are options we will explore over the next few years. Thanks to all who are praying us through this time and will walk with us through whatever the future holds.
Athan has outgrown his eat-every-3-hour schedule. :) He is now officially moved to a 4-hour schedule. If you've every had an infant in your house, you know how different the world is for all of us now. :)