On Monday, Alexis had her one-year wellness check-up with the pediatrician. She weighed in at 18 lbs even and is in the 10th percentile for weight. She's in the 35th percentile for height. And that's on the "typical" growth chart, not the d/s chart. Dr. Miller was very happy with how she is growing and it's time to transition her to whole milk. She's had some small amounts of it already without any problems, so hopefully it will be an easy transition. We talked for a while about how Alexis was developing, (she even gave me some sample eye drops to use on Nicholas for his allergy eyes, which have been much better this week) and 2 immunizations later, we were on our way home.
Today we had our first appointment at the Down syndrome clinic. We have seen the geneticist before, but this time was the actual clinic. I'm still trying to figure it all out, but it's one of the few days in the month where Alexis can go and be seen by all the specialties at one time, under one roof. I had been told to expect it to take 3 hours. They weren't kidding.
Now that we've done it once, I'll be better prepared for next time.
Alexis and I walked in right on time and entered a waiting room full of kids with Down syndrome. I'll admit, it felt a little strange. All these people who "get it". They've been where we are. I would smile at a toddler escaping her mom's grasp and try not to compare her to Alexis. She's 15 months old and walking. Wonder if Alexis will be doing that by then... An older boy getting mad at his mom when he had to stop playing the video games. Hope we don't have any significant behavior issues... Another child trying to communicate to his father, which I wasn't able to understand. I pray Alexis can communicate with ease... And this was all just 5 minutes in. We hadn't even been called back yet. 2 other observations: everyone with a younger child had brought their strollers. I had carried in Alexis, her carrier, and the diaper bag. Hmmmmm. And that mom over there has a suitcase. She opened it. It was full of snacks, toys, and activities. In the words of Jason, this wasn't her first rodeo.
The nurse weighed her and measured her. Nothing exciting. We were first seen by a speech therapist. With Alexis still so young, the best way to assess her is just by asking me questions. The questions were really hard to answer, like, "Does she respond to her name?" Well, I think so, but I can't be sure that she isn't just responding to our voice. She spent about 5 minutes asking a bunch of questions and then came to the conclusion that she was at a 6-9 month level for communicating and comprehension. But the way she was assessed, I'm not putting a lot of stock into this right now.
Dr. Escobar came in next and oooohed and ahhhhed over her as he always does. He was very impressed by the rate of her weight gain, but also wanted to slow it down. He charted her weight on the d/s growth chart and if it continues to progress at this rate, she could eventually be off the chart in the other direction. I asked what I could do to slow it down. No more candy bars or fried chicken for Alexis. Then I reminded Dr. E. that she's on 24 calorie formula, so we are to just make the regular formula while we transition to whole milk.
After we saw the doctor, the nurse told us to follow her to the pediatric audiology office. So I walked, lugging 18 pound Alexis, her one-ton carrier, and the brick-filled diaper bag. So this is why everyone had strollers! When we got to the waiting room of the audiology department, I recognized familiar faces from the waiting room of the clinic. Alexis had a hearing test about 3 months ago. She did a lot better this time, not that her hearing is improved, but developmentally she knows to look for the sounds she hears. They had us sit in a soundproof booth and Alexis would turn to hear where all the sounds were coming from. They also put little things in her ears to measure something or other in some other way. The audiologist was pleased. There was only one high-pitched sound that she wouldn't respond to. We could have requested to see the ENT, but the audiologist didn't feel it was necessary, so I passed. When we left audiology, more kids from the d/s clinic were waiting for their hearing screens. I'd recognized these people from 2 hours before and they were already calling Alexis by name. "Hi Alexis! How did it go, pretty girl?" It's an incredible community to be in.
Last stop: blood work. I get chills when I hear they are testing her for leukemia (among other things). Not that they think she has it, but it's something they always have to be on the lookout for. And this time I had to haul Alexis (who must have just put on 15 lbs with that last bottle I gave her) and the 2-ton carrier and the lead diaper bag back to the elevator, down to the second floor, through the tunnel, around the corner, through another tunnel, past outpatient, into the children's hospital...I need a chiropractor! And there were more of the kids from the clinic waiting there for their blood work. Hey guys! When the receptionist directed us to the lab, the ladies who were working there saw us coming and groaned out loud.
Uhhh, are you not happy to see us? The receptionist tried to smooth things over quickly. "They just always feel so bad when they have to draw blood from babies." Hmmmph. And actually they ended up being very nice, and got blood on the first try--not an easy feat with my baby who often gets called a "tough stick". Of course, the blood stopped flowing and they had to insert another needle. Good thing that they were good at their jobs and nice in the end, since they were off to a very unprofessional start.
Alexis screamed, wore herself out, and was out cold in her carrier before we got out of reception. So I hauled her back through the maze of corridors and headed home. We go back in 6 months. I'll have the stroller with me next time.