Howdy, friends! I’ve been a little MIA lately and I’m finally in a place where I’m ready to share why! Our little family is growing by one in March 2019! We are so excited to share with everyone this very special news. Growing a family is not something I ever want to take for granted – life is so very precious at all stages!
Needless to say, I’ve not been feeling 100% this Summer so I took what time I had to rest, recover and relax. Isn’t that what Summer is about after all? Regan and I took a trip down to Dallas (and Houston!) and had the wonderful opportunity to attend the National Down Syndrome Congress. I went with high hopes, but honestly did not know what to expect. Friends, I was BLOWN AWAY. There are so many incredible resources for those of us in the Down syndrome / special needs community, and I got but a small taste of those. It’s my mission to always be one step ahead of the game in Regan’s life, specifically when referring to her educational rights and needs, her healthcare, and her overall development. My mom and sister went with me, and they were a great support system to attend conference talks and help me with Regan! It was a fun little girls’ trip, and I was SPENT by the end of it! It was a wonderful whirlwind of information and I’ll make it a priority to attend as many years as I can. If you are a parent or family member in the Down syndrome community OR if you work with those with Down syndrome in any capacity, I highly recommend looking into this conference. I was particularly impressed with the number of therapists, teachers and medical professionals who attended in addition to parents and siblings of those with Down syndrome. Raising a child with Down syndrome is a huge team effort, and it feels so great to be supported by those who will work with my child in the future.
Regan has been flourishing this Summer! Summer is such a great time for development, in my opinion. Even when you’re not in school, it feels like a more relaxed time when the days are long, and it seems there’s all the time in the world to play. Regan is still furniture cruising and bear crawling (no steps or free-standing yet), but we are working on it! She moved quickly from sitting (remember how LONG it took us to get to that milestone?), and then in the blink of an eye she was furniture cruising. She is at a little bit of a plateau but we are working on building strength and treasuring the time at this stage. Regan is in the middle of a BIG leap in personality and cognitive development. We’ve been doing sign language with her since she was about 6-9 months, and in a matter of a couple weeks she went from doing maybe two signs to almost 20! Although her speech is a little delayed at this point, it’s so great that she’s able to communicate her needs to us. Her receptive/understanding language is right on track for her age, so the sign language functions as a bridge until she’s able to start talking effectively. [It’s common for children with Down syndrome to have speech delays due to some cognitive delay, but also because of low muscle tone. The tongue and mouth muscles are the same as Regan’s other muscles in that they’re a little “looser” than a typical child, which makes it physically harder for her to talk]
I realized I haven’t given a tooth update since my trauma at the last dental appointment! Regan’s teeth are ALL coming in at the same time! There are almost no bare spots on her little gums, and her teeth take their time coming in. She has several molars, two top and two bottom teeth and the rest are not far behind. This has helped with her eating, although she’s always been a great eater (good genes in that area :D). We are STILL working on drinking from ANYTHING but a bottle and my friends, we have one strong-willed girl. She LOVES her bottle time and still refuses to hold her bottle or even really attempt to drink out of anything else. We are working on it and hopefully she is drinking from something other than a bottle before we go to Kindergarten. Any tips and tricks are greatly appreciated, and yes, I feel like I’ve tried everything. Mitch finally moved our cup cabinet for Regan because it was starting to bust at the seams with the number of different cups we’ve tried.
A brief pregnancy share for inquiring minds – we again did the NIPT screen, which is a non-invasive prenatal screen. It screens the mother’s and fetus’ DNA for chromosomal abnormalities. If you remember, this was how we discovered Regan’s bonus chromosome. Our results are in and this baby is considered “low risk” for a chromosomal abnormality, meaning there is less than 1:10,000 chance for a chromosomal difference. I have been asked if there will ever be a time where I’m told there is NO chance for a chromosomal difference, and I have to say this is when I know how much Regan has gifted me. There are very few times in life when we have any guarantees, and Regan has taught me so much about how there is beauty in the unexpected.
I have and have had a lot of emotion this pregnancy, and I plan on sharing more next week. I couldn’t wait to share the most exciting news, though, which is Baby Vowler due March 10, 2019! (We are not finding out the gender – so get your guesses in now!)