Sunday, March 17, 2013

Good (Amelia) News

Amelia's second post-surgery follow-up appointment was last Monday.

Height, weight, blood pressure, and EKG were first.  Her height and weight alone were good indicators of how well she has recovered.  In the four weeks since her last appointment, she grew an inch and gained two pounds, putting her at 3'10" (99th percentile) and 49 pounds (95th percentile)!  Additionally, her blood pressure was normal and her EKG results were great, with p-waves "all over the place," according to her cardiologist.

The examination part of the appointment followed the data-collection part.  Amelia's cardiologist said that her scar looked good, but that we will have to be careful to keep it covered up as the weather gets warmer and sunnier, so that it doesn't darken.  In addition to looking good, things sounded good, too: post-surgery, Amelia's cardiology team could still hear what they were calling a "flow murmur," but it couldn't be heard on Monday.  

After meeting with the cardiologist it was time for another echo -- always the longest part of an appointment!  Definitely Amelia's favorite part, though, because she gets to watch TV... So she got to watch The Bee Movie while the sonographer clicked away, capturing image after image of her heart.  He got some great pictures, including several showing the actual repair in her heart.  We got a print-out of one to take with us:

See that bright half-circle on the upper right?  That's the repair!

More good news after the cardiologist examined the pictures: The pressure gradient in Amelia's SVC (at a 3-4 in the hospital and then a 7 at her first follow-up) was down to a 2!  This could be due to two different things: (1) there isn't as much narrowing of the SVC as we thought there might be, or (2) additional veins have opened up to help with drainage and have taken over part of the function of the SVC.  Either way, it's a good thing!

Amelia's next follow-up appointment has been scheduled for June.  In the meantime, she has to be on iron for about two more months.  The doctors aren't worried about the anemia, since it was caused only by the surgery itself, and are expecting that everything will be normal by then.  The only other continued effect of the surgery?  Amelia has to be on prophylactic antibiotics before dentist's appointments.  No big deal!

The last line of the summary report from Amelia's appointment is particularly fitting, given her activity level as of late: "There are no restrictions or limitations."  Hoping that this statement is true for years to come!

And if this wasn't enough good news for one week, we got some more happy, Amelia-related news yesterday.  She won the (literal, Boston Public Schools) lottery and will be attending kindergarten at the excellent school two and a half blocks away from our house.

For those of you thinking, "well, obviously..." let me fill you in on the craziness that is (or WAS -- it will change next year) the school assignment system for BPS.

BPS is divided into three zones.  There are roughly thirty schools in our zone, some about a 45-minute bus ride away.  Additionally, everyone has a "walk zone" within their zone, which includes all schools within a mile radius of your house.  We have three walk zone schools.  Instead of just attending the school closest to them, kids in the BPS system are entered into a lottery to determine which school they will attend.  When assigning children to schools, half of the spots at a given school are reserved for kids within the walk zone (minus the spots taken by siblings of current students).  The other half of the spots can go to any child within the larger zone (although walk zone kids can be considered for these spots, as well).  

In January, you begin the registration process for your future-kindergartner, bringing numerous documents to prove that you live in Boston.  You also bring a list in which you have ranked the schools in your "zone," from first choice to last.  After the first round of registration closes, everyone's preferences are run through a computer system, and children are matched with schools.  If everyone just ranked the schools closest to them, it would be no big deal.  But because some schools are better than others, or have special/desired programs, it doesn't work that way.  And, of course, we happen to live near three really great elementary schools, so getting into them can be kind of competitive.

Anyway, we ranked only four schools in our zone: our three walk zone schools, and one near-ish to my office downtown. (We figured that if Amelia didn't get into one of those, we would put her into private school or move to the suburbs... I definitely wasn't going to put my five-year-old on a bus to Dorchester every morning!)  As luck would have it, we got our first choice: A wonderful school that is literally just two and a half blocks from our house.  So -- BIG sigh of relief around here!

Assignment letter and mailing back the confirmation of attendance!

And that was our week!  Hope that you all enjoyed something green this St. Patrick's Day.  I leave you with a photo of our three little leprechauns...

Only 1/16th Irish, but enjoying the holiday, anyway!

Monday, March 11, 2013

9 Months

I'm not really sure what day it happened, since she was born on May 30th and there WAS no February 30th (or even a February 29th this year), but Louisa is now NINE months old!

Passing the nine-month mark always feels significant to me.

Not because anything particularly important happens at three-quarters of a year, but because it's the point at which, once surpassed, my babies have been out longer than they were in; they've belonged to the world longer than they belonged to just me.  Pregnancy is amazing experience for so many reasons, but one of my favorite parts about it was the feeling that I belonged to an exclusive little club of just two: baby and me.  My babies went everywhere with me, doing whatever I did, and in return I got to feel every flip, every kick, every hiccup.  But now Louisa has reached the point, like her big sisters before her, where she has been her own individual being longer than she was a part of me.  With her first birthday just around the corner, it makes me nostalgic for the tiny baby that she was.  And for the days before she was born, when I didn't have to share her with anyone. 

But there's no going back, and I am exceptionally grateful that Louisa is the happy, healthy nine-month-old that she is! 

At her check-up on March 1, she weighed 21 pounds (up five pounds in three months and putting her in the 88th percentile) and measured 28.5 inches (the 81st percentile).  We also found out that she had her first ear infection, the only indication of which was some minor pulling at her ear the night before.  Since then, Louisa also has suffered through her first stomach bug, ferried home from preschool by Ramona.  She has been a remarkably cheerful baby throughout both, though, needing just a little extra cuddling.

At the doctor's office

In other developmental news, Louisa is now pulling up on everything: the coffee table, the sofa, the trunk, the bottom stair, the girls' shopping cart, Ramona's bed, the bar stools, our legs... You name it, she can use it for leverage!  She also is starting to cruise but falls down an awful lot, so I don't think that walking is in her immediate future. 

Playing with Ramona under the bar stools

Trying to figure out how to get up the stairs

How she greets us when we get her out of bed now -- can't resist that smile!

In addition to becoming more active, Louisa is also becoming much more interactive, and loves to play peek-a-boo and patty-cake, often initiating the games herself, covering up her eyes or clapping and waiting for someone to chime in with the words.  She also gives (slobbery, open-mouthed) kisses and hugs, and continues to enjoy waving.  To everyone.  Including random people on the street or in stores.  And she will now "dance" (wave her arms and kick her legs) and squeal when she hears a song that she likes, which cracks Amelia and Ramona up. 

She really is a fun baby, and we all have enjoyed the past nine months with her so much.  Hard to believe that in nine more months, she'll (probably) be walking and talking!

Smiling with her monkey at nine months

It's getting tight in the basket!

Happy three-quarters of a year, Louisa!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Month, Old Routine

Friday was Amelia's first day back to school.

Just three and a half weeks post surgery!  (The resiliency of kids is AMAZING.)

Amelia's scar, three weeks post-surgery.  Not bad, right?

She actually was cleared to go back a week and a half earlier, but the week before last was school vacation week in these parts, so we didn't have to decide whether or not to send her.  Instead, she and Ramona were both at home every day, enjoying their last week with Nonna (my mom) before she headed back to Colorado.

All kinds of fun with Nonna!

Then we contemplated sending her earlier last week, but ultimately decided Friday would be the ideal first day back: just one day before the weekend, plus only about half of her class attends on Fridays, making it a lower-key day.

Amelia back at school -- having a patriotic snack

Amelia's teachers said that she had a great day.  Everyone was happy to have her back, and she was thrilled to be there again.

So things are back to normal around here!  Amelia's next follow-up appointment is March 11.  We'll make sure to let you know how it goes.