Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Maria's heart

I had a bit of a rough night last night.  I stayed up a little too late trying to get paperwork together for Maria’s doctor’s appointment today.  Then I woke up in the wee hours of the morning startled from a bad dream.  I had a dream I was in Russia, picking up Maria.  My hubby wasn’t there with me, but my friend Kelly Dirkes* was.  We went to pick up Maria and were surprised to find her biological father there playing with her.  I started talking to him and he was acting very naturally as if he “knew” her.  I asked him how many times he had visited her and he said once before.  I really wanted to get more info from him about his background and especially wanted a photo of him.  We decided to wait until her biological mother arrived to get a photo of both of them or all of us or whatever.  While we were waiting for her, however, the “dad” said he had to go out for a minute and that he’d be back.  Shortly after, the “mom” arrived and she was very stoic and uninterested.  The “dad” never returned and I was so upset that I didn’t just snap a photo of him while he was there.  Then I woke up.

So frustrating!  Nothing in my dream was actually true.  Her parents refused her at the hospital and never visited her.  I think I daydream sometimes about what her parents might look like and so wish I had a photo of them.   

 Our dancing queen: signing "dance"

At our local DS Association Valentine's Dinner/Dance: Maria with her friend Grace

So despite my sleep-deprived state, I took Maria to the pediatric cardiologist today.  She was a little nervous like she normally is at doctor’s offices, saying in Russian that she’s scared.  The doctor did an ECG and an ultrasound.  Her heart was repaired when she was 8 months old.  I got tons of medical paperwork on gotcha day, but none of it was translated.  I was able to get some of it translated, but I never did understand exactly what condition she had nor what type of surgery she had. Finally the doctor was able to explain it to me! She had Atrioventricular Canal Defect (ACD) which he said is the most common congenital heart condition for kids with Down syndrome.  It is basically a large hole in the center of the heart.  From what he saw, he said it was a very successful surgery and it should continue to hold up over time.  Yay! We will have annual check-ups to make sure that this continues as she grows.

Maria 2 1/2 months after heart surgery

After the doctor we stopped to pick up some groceries.  Today was a rainy day, so Maria had on her Disney Princess light up boots and her hooded rain jacket.  As I started to get her out of her carseat, she was saying something to me in Russian that I didn’t recognize and was resisting getting out of the car.  I think she was wary of going out in the rain! I’m sure in the orphanage they did not go out in the rain and if they did, I’m sure they wore a snowsuit.  She was probably wondering why I didn’t even have a scarf for the poor girl.  So I promised her a cookie at the store. I figure she only deserved it after braving the doctor and the rain.  As soon as we entered, she started signing and asking me for “cheese”.  Such a smart little stinker! They have started putting out cheese samples at Trader Joe’s and she remembered from last week!  Then we went and tried the sample of the day, “falafels”.  She was still not satisfied and kept asking for a “cookie”.  So I started looking and found the perfect cookies: Lemon Heart Cookies.  After purchasing them, dodging cars in the parking lot and avoiding puddles, I got her securely fastened in the car and started to leave.  “Mama, cookie.” Oh yeah, I forgot!  This “little cookie” has the BEST memory and not just for food! She retains things I only teach her once. She is really surprising us every day.  (BTW- these cookies are SO good! They are like shortbread cookies and are light, crunchy, nutty and lemony-yum!)

  Two weeks ago, the school psychologist did an evaluation on Maria and modeled a vertical and horizontal line and asked her to copy what she had done.  Before then, all of her drawings had been circles.  Today, she recalled the horizontal/vertical lines and spontaneously began recreating them!

Our budding artist

*I’m pretty sure Kelly was in my dream, because I am thinking about her! She and her husband Kyle left today for their court trip.  Please say a prayer for them- I know how stressed and anxious I was before court! They are only about $5000 short of being fully funded and would be so blessed if you are interested in helping them bring Charlotte home

Best buddies, Charlotte and Maria entertaining the Dirkes in November

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