Thursday, November 29, 2012
Happy 2nd Birthday, Hannah!
Of course, at that time, we had no idea what our lives would be like. The preliminary diagnosis at that time was that she had Down Syndrome. Further test results that we received a couple of weeks later confirmed the initial diagnosis. Our lives were overflowing with fear and trepidation. We did not know what to expect.
Needless to say, we went through a myriad of emotions. The first couple of months were overwhelming. We had so much to learn. We had so many specialists that we needed to see.
It seemed so surreal. It seemed as though we were living in some king of dream world. Our reality had been turned completely upside-down. We knew our lives were going to change by finally having a little girl in the house. We just had no idea that our lives would change this much.
As time went on, we didn't need to see as many specialists. We had more knowledge of Down Syndrome. We had developed a network of people who either had people with Down Syndrome in their family or had worked with people with special needs. I'm thankful for our Pastor's wife who went out and purchased books about Down Syndrome, and read them, and encouraged us with what she was learning. What a blessing it was for these people who had offered us advice and words of encouragement.
Looking back, we have been blessed. Hannah has not had any serious health problems. Yes, she wears glasses, and for the most part, she does leave the glasses on her face. She had to have tubes put in her ears, which definitely made a difference in her hearing, as well as her overall balance. And she has braces that she wears to help strengthen her ankles. Other than this, she has had no other health problems. It definitely could have been much worse, and we are truly thankful that her health has been good.
While her development has been slower because of Down Syndrome, we could not be happier with the progress she has made this far. She is finally starting to let go of the furniture and starting to walk. While she does not make it across the room, she is getting better and going farther day by day. And hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, she'll be walking all over the house. Just think of how much fun she'll have tearing the decorations off of the Christmas tree.
Pam has been teaching her sign language. We have a couple of sign language videos for kids that she watches, and Pam reinforces those signs with her. Hannah has even been able to teach me a couple of signs. I now know how to say "please" and "thank you" in sign language. Granted. that's not very much, but it's a start.
She continues to see a couple of developmental therapists, and when the new year rolls around, she will be seeing a speech therapist. I am not able to be involved in this part of her life, as these therapy sessions usually happen in the morning while I am at work. But I do read the therapist's reports, and from what I can tell, they are pleased with her development so far. Of course, they continue to push Hannah to do more, so that she can continue to develop.
Needless to say, I am so very proud of Hannah and the progress that she has made so far in her short-lived life. Just because she has Down Syndrome does not mean that we have to sit back and resign ourselves to a hopeless future. I have every intention of helping Hannah reach her full potential as she continues to grow and mature.
She has been such a blessing to us. She is such a happy child (most of the time, except for when she is tired). At times, she is about the only one that is happy to see me come home from work. She is very playful, and she likes to play with all of her brothers. And they like to play with her. It's been a tremendous blessing to see how the boys get along with her.
Words can't truly express how proud I am of her and how much I love her. I find it so refreshing just to be able to pick her up and give her a hug. She is the only one of my kids that will allow me to do that any more (and yes, I still can pick up and hug all of my kids, should I choose to do so). I love to see her laugh. I love to see her try so hard to do new things. I love to see her show love to her brothers and to her mother. I love her to death.
So, Happy Birthday, Hannah! We love you so much!!!!!