Here is a developmental update on Liam. At his one year appointment he weighed 23 lbs. 3 oz. and 30.5 inches long! Our pediatrician is still using the typical developing child’s chart instead of a DS chart, because he is doing so well growth wise. For height he is in the 80th percentile and for weight he is in the 55th percentile! I’m so proud! He is such a big boy!! However his head circumference falls in the 5th percentile which is typical for DS. They checked his vision at his appointment too and it came back within normal range and they’ll recheck it every year to make sure… I’m so thankful for this result!!
Physical Therapy update – Liam will get on all fours and rock and make a tiny attempt to crawl, maybe 2 movements forward. He’ll move his hands forward and then usually either move to sitting or just fall on his belly;). He moves from laying on the floor to the sitting position really well! He often gets on his hands and knees and then up on his toes… it’s pretty cute! He loves to stand so right now we are working on cruising. He’s still a bit slow at it but will move his feet with a little guidance and will sometimes do it on his own. He also of course LOVES to bounce! His DS allows him super flexibility… I mean he can do the splits and lean all the way forward. So we have a little hip band that I put on him throughout the day that helps him keep his legs from sitting too far apart when he is playing; they are called at-a-bands. He does a good job playing on his knees but prefers to stand… and he can pull to stand from sitting or kneeling pretty well as long as he can get a good grip and I’m behind him to catch him in case he falls because he’s still a bit wobbly. He stands up in his crib now… as of two days ago and I think he’s pretty proud of himself. The first time I went in to get him and saw him standing he gave me a big smile and started bouncing;). For a while I was pretty emotional about him not crawling yet, but at this point I am thankful that he’s not getting into everything while I’m getting bigger and heavier these days!! I’m so proud of him and he’s so fun to watch just make his way around a room to get to his toys. He’s a pretty content happy little guy with his toys!
We are going to have a speech evaluation done on him in the beginning of January and hopefully begin speech therapy shortly after. He has just recently (the week he turned 1) started to become talkative and saying ba ba, blah, blah, da da, and some other consonant that I don’t think is in our alphabet;). It’s sure fun to listen to him now!! I have been using some sign language with him for a while and he understands a hand full of it. He knows what these signs mean – eat, juice, up, all done, and milk. He doesn’t do them back to me yet. The only one I think he does sign is momma… not completely sure, but I think so! He is also a good waver and knows when I wave to him and say ‘hi’ he usually waves back… so cute!!! He loves to wave and often gets carried away staring at his waving hand!
He also holds his own bottle now when he drinks! I’ve been working on it with him for a while now so it’s so good to watch him do it all by himself. He does need a little refocusing once in a while but for the most part he has it down as long as I’m holding him and he’s not too distracted;). He also drinks juice out of his sippy cup all by himself. It’s time to start weaning him from the bottle and onto a cup… we’ll see how that goes. I’ve tried a couple different kinds and he’s just not interested yet.
His gross motor skills are great and his fine motor skills are pretty good. His pincer grasp is still a work in progress… like he can’t quite grab a puff (if you have little kids you know what this is) off his tray yet with his pincer… but can every once in a while with the raking motion. If it’s something bigger like a banana or carrot he can handle that. He has such a great Early Intervention teacher who has been helping me work with him on his OT. Right now we are working on dropping a toy with purpose. He can pick them up well and bang two toys together and pull toys out of a container, but he won’t put them back in yet.
Oh and he is teething! He got his first tooth on December 10th and has been working on the second one that should pop through any day now. The one he has is on his lower left side, front tooth. It’s so cute and a bit crooked;). Because of this it’s been a rough last week and we are ready for daddy to come home. How come he’s gone when sleepless nights happen… interesting timing;)!
I can probably put down a whole lot more but it’s time for my nap… because it’s time for his;)! I live for his naps these days! Baby sister is going to be here before we know it!
Our good friend Sara Harper came over and captured some GREAT footage during Liam’s first birthday party. Enjoy this video!
…I gave birth to my first born, Liam Jeremiah Thiessen! He was born at 12:18pm and weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. When the nurse cleaned him off and handed him to me I had no idea what kind of prize I was just given. At that moment we had no idea he had Down syndrome. We were just admiring our perfect little baby boy! I just knew he was perfect for me. God’s chosen one to be my baby boy! He is entrusting me with Liam’s care and for that I am forever grateful to our creator for choosing me to be his momma!
Five hours later a pediatrician from our chosen clinic came with our labor and delivery nurse to give us an update on how Liam was doing. He sat beside me and told us that Liam was showing some characteristics of Down syndrome. Those characteristics included slanted eyes, extra skin on the back of his neck, one line through his left hand, and low muscle tone. He said he wasn’t a 100 percent sure but that a blood test would tell us if he had an extra 21st chromosome or not. A couple things went through my mind… I was in denial… “this couldn’t happen to me”… while at the same time thinking “he does have DS – this is what God chose me for.” It was a strange feeling. I believe God had prepared my heart for this news but it was still extremely hard to hear, mostly because I had no idea what that really meant. I had no idea the blessing I was given!
The pediatrician left the room and the nurse stayed behind and asked if she could pray with us!! What a gift she was to me that day! Not only did she do a fantastic job taking care of me throughout the birthing process but she wanted to pray over us after receiving this news. God sent her to us in that moment! Anyway, we did go through the process of grieving a loss of what we had expected. But it didn’t last very long as we got to know and love Liam for who he is! I believe God’s grace was poured out on us as we learned to love our little boy with DS. I think we are the lucky ones to have the chance to raise this precious boy. He is truly a gift and I can’t imagine him any different. He is so loving and happy and easy going. He is definitely much more of an observer than a mover. He’s pretty content to just sit and play with whatever is in front of him (which has come in handy lately;). He loves music and books and anything that makes noise when you bang on it;). Each stage of growth this past year has been my favorite… so I look forward to many more years as his momma!
God looks at Liam and sees him as his beautiful creation and so do I! We have chosen this life verse for him – Psalm 139:14 “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Or another translation I like is, “How you made me is amazing and wonderful!” God has already used him to touch lives… including my own… and taken us places and challenged us in ways we never dreamed of. I pray he continues to use his little life to touch others and point them to Jesus!
Happy FIRST Birthday Liam! I love you and am so blessed to call you mine!
If you are on Facebook most of you know the news by now. But if not, I am currently 3 and 1/2 months pregnant and due March 6th! This was a bit of a surprise for us, but we are excited and thanking God for another opportunity to help give life!! What a blessing! Liam has been such a good baby so I’m praying this next one will be too;)! I actually didn’t know I was pregnant until I was almost 10 weeks along. My breast milk supply was drying up and Liam just wasn’t interested in nursing anymore and I couldn’t figure out why (sorry if that was too much information)! Well, it turns out it was because I am pregnant. I was a bit sad to have to stop nursing Liam, because I had planned on nursing until he was 1 year old. But I didn’t really have a choice. During the first trimester I didn’t have any morning sickness but am experiencing fatigue like never before!! I don’t remember dealing with this when I was pregnant with Liam, but then again I wasn’t caring for an infant then either;). I’ll keep you updated as the pregnancy progresses.
Another update… Liam is now 9 months old!!! I just can’t believe it! This fall we are starting him in swimming lessons. It’s 30 minutes one-on-one with a lady who is a swim coach for the Special Olympics. Liam just loves the water so I’m thrilled to get this opportunity to work with her! We are also starting with a new Early Intervention teacher who will be coming once a week to help me work with Liam and make sure he is up-to-date with his development. She is wonderful – I am excited about her too!! His physical therapy will continue once a week this fall as well – we’ll be busy!
We finally got the results back from the sleep study that we had done on Liam. I had suspected that he may have sleep apnea so we had a study done at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital the end of July. The sleep doctor called me a couple weeks ago and confirmed my suspicions: he does in fact have sleep apnea. He told me it’s not severe but definitely significant and should be dealt with soon. In a matter of 6 hours (the length of his study) they noted 49 respiratory breaks: 26 were shallow breaths, and 8 were a stoppage of breath for a few seconds (not sure about the rest of the breaks). Liam’s normal oxygen saturation level is 96, which is great because it needs to be 92 or above. But because of his apnea it dropped as far down as 79 during the study. So our sleep doctor is sending us to an ENT doctor this week to discuss removing his tonsils and adenoids to help open up his airways and hopefully get rid of the apnea. Once again I’ll post more when I have more information. I’d appreciate your prayers!
Here is a cute picture of my little 9 month old! We go in for his 9 month check-up this week to see how tall he is and how much he weighs… I’m so curious! He is getting so tall… and he sure loves the exersaucer!
Liam has been doing really well with his physical therapy lately! He is starting to sit up for longer periods of time all by himself (he holds on to our hands and we help him up to a sitting position, and he stays there). It’s so cute! Besides being in his jumper as you may have seen in the previous post, he now loves to work on standing. He would much rather stand than sit – it’s pretty funny! I need to get a picture of him standing because he becomes so animated while standing. He holds on to our fingers and pushes up with his legs and stays holding on until he needs a break. In this picture Liam is sitting at a little tray that the physical therapist brought and he just loves it. He forgets he is sitting because he is so distracted by his toys! It’s been a big help.
The physical therapist also brought this little toy and he just recently became really interested in it. I think he finally figured out that when he pushes the buttons it makes noise and lights up. So he’s been sitting up really well with this toy! Check out his little mullet that’s forming… I think it’s already time for a hair cut! He’s too young for a party in the back;)!
Another toy he has recently started to figure out and enjoy is this little drum (of all things – thanks Derk!). It sings the ABC’s when you bang on it and he loves to hit it! Such a great distraction while he is working on sitting. And of course it makes Daddy proud too;). He doesn’t look too impressed here, but he really enjoys it, I promise!
So here he is! My big boy sitting up all by himself! Apparently children with Down Syndrome tend to have shorter limbs than typical kids. When learning to sit, the typical kid can support his weight with his hands resting on the floor. Liam has to learn to sit by resting his hands on his legs. However, he doesn’t really enjoy that part and just wants to take on the challenge of balancing, which is actually working out well for him.
This next picture is the position Liam likes to be in during tummy time! As my sister likes to say, he is my little “skydiver”! He does put his arms underneath him to support him, but it’s not his favorite position. It takes lots of good motivators to get him to pivot and use those arms. I’ve recently discovered that if I put him in the crawl position over my leg on the floor, and put the Baby Einstein video on my laptop on the floor in front of him, he will be so interested in the video that he won’t realize he’s putting weight on his arms. It’s worked great so far, and the physical therapist liked it!
All in all, Liam is doing really well and always impressing our physical therapist. So much so, that she suggested she move to only coming twice a month instead of once a week. So we’ll see. She’s been a big help. Liam has the rolling thing down, both directions, even with his brace on;)!! And he’s starting to tuck his knees under him like he’s about to crawl… we just need to get those arms ready too! I’ll keep you updated!
This video was taken on July 7th when Liam was 7 months old! He just loves to jump!! I have a number of pictures and updates to fill everyone in on. I’m home now for a few weeks and will have time to get some new posts up. So be on the look out!
My baby is already 6 months old!! I just can’t believe it! And he is growing like a weed. This last month I started him on solid foods, and by solid I mean pureed of course. Up to this point he has eaten single grain rice cereal, sweet potatoes, avocados and drinks prune/apple juice. He seems to be a good eater so far. His growth proves it. At his 6 month check-up he weighed in at 17lbs, 15oz. and is 27.63 inches long! Wow! On a typically developing baby’s growth chart he is in the 55th percentile for weight and 85th for height! On a Down syndrome growth chart he is off the charts in both height and weight!
He seems to be a pretty good sleeper at night. However, I do have some concerns with him getting enough deep sleep. When Jeremy and I attended the DSAMT conference in April they discussed the common sleep issues for people with Down syndrome. One of them being Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). I guess this occurs in around 45% of people with Down syndrome and can be the cause for many health concerns that are acquired as they age. Click here to learn more about OSA in Down syndrome. I think Liam has shown some signs of OSA because of some of the noises he makes while sleeping and how he sleeps with his neck bent back a lot of the time. I discussed my concerns with our pediatrician and he made an appointment for us to meet with a sleep specialist next week. We will then have a sleep study done on him sometime this summer to find out if he does have OSA. I’ll keep you posted.
On another note, I was thinking about all the places Liam has already been in the first 6 months of his life! He has been on 4 road trips and 1 plane ride. He’s been to GA, KY, OH, MT, MN (if you count the airport), and Ontario, Canada! We have been busy these last 6 months and it’s not about to slow down. Liam is a great traveler so we are taking advantage of that, along with Jeremy’s frequent flier miles, and going to spend some time with our families. It’s nice that he is free to fly for now!
Here is a picture of my big boy testing out the umbrella stroller. This will really come in handy for me in the airport next week! Doesn’t he make this stroller look small;)!?