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Showing posts from October, 2012

Gnome Sweet Gnome

Let's be perfectly honest with each other; this blog has been a bit of a downer lately. It's also been pretty focused on Quinn, though for obvious reasons. That said, we do have 2-year-old who is mad cute and deserves a little love right now, especially since his Halloween costume is so rad. So without further ado, may I present to you, Atticus the Gnome:                              

Positive Vibes Needed

We went in for our fetal echocardiagram today, which was an important appointment to check the structure of Quinn's heart and see if he falls into the 47% of babies with Down syndrome with a congenital heart defect. All our ultrasounds looked good in this area, so we were relatively optimistic about the exam. Granted, every appointment seems to come with some semblance of bad news, so I was a nervous wreck going in. First, the good news: dude's heart is awesome. This was a huge relief and we couldn't have been happier. Of course, that happiness was short-lived, as we were right to expect the usual bad news. Turns out that Quinn has fluid build-up in his chest, also known as pleural effusion. There are a number of underlying causes, the most common of which is a heart defect. Since this was already ruled out, we're left to wonder if this is the result of a virus (remember the scary spots we found on his liver and stomach?), poor lymphatic drainage, or simply a manifest

John Franklin Stephens is a Badass

You've likely come across the public outcry regarding Ann Coulter's use of the word "retard" to describe President Obama. It was top news on CNN today and, given my new-found role as special needs advocate, I immediately informed myself on this recent injustice. This lack of class is nothing new from Coulter, who frequently uses terms like "raghead" and "tent monkey" to describe those of Middle Eastern descent and even said of 9/11 widows, "these self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them.  I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." Though while I was reading about this latest incident of foot-in-mouth, I found myself cursing Ann Coulter (pretty typical behavior, actually) and using words that I can only say inside my head to describe her. She is a vile woman and one I try to ignore based on her own hate-fill

Houston Update: our feelings, months later

You might remember my previous post regarding our first few months in Houston , where I shared with you the good, the bad, and the ugly of this giant metropolis. It was an honest reflection of our time here up to that point, but I feel like we’re far enough in to truly reevaluate our feelings about this city. Things we like: Last time I started my post with a list of the things we like about Houston. Rain, amenities, great food, proximity to family and cost of living were all celebrated, and still are. But I’d like to add a few more, as things are finally starting to look up a bit: -Access to the best medical care in the south : This is one of those things you hope you never have to worry about, but if and when you do, you have a whole new appreciation for top-notch facilities. Even as the bills are piling up, we already feel like we’re in the best place for Quinn’s care should he need any serious interventions at birth and beyond. Even services like Early Interven

I'm Feeling Lucky...

After watching Notre Dame's very close victory against Stanford today (we're not even going to discuss Texas' dismal performance against OU), we felt like celebrating the luck of the Irish with pancakes for dinner. The unconventional time for breakfast foods takes me back to my childhood, when my mom would make pancakes or french toast for dinner as a reward for making the honor roll or winning the big game. So I head into the kitchen with pumpkin pancakes on the brain. I will admit, I used a box mix. Don't judge. I'm pregnant and looking to do the least amount of work possible for my food lately. There were two columns of instructions on the box depending on if I wanted 6 or 12 pancakes. Honestly, I wanted somewhere in the middle. But for six pancakes I needed one egg, while twelve required two was quite the dilemma. How the hell do you come up with 1.5 eggs? Throw half of one out? It seemed wasteful, but in the end I figured it was less wasteful than t

What to Say to Parents Struggling with a Down Syndrome Diagnosis

I love this blog for a number of reasons. First, it allows me to release some of the tension and trouble I’ve been carrying around with the whirlwind of information, doctor’s appointments, and late-night online research sessions. My emotions bounce back and forth like a yo-yo and writing helps me feel grounded. But it’s not all selfish. I also enjoy sharing this journey with you all. It’s good to know that I don’t have to have these conversations a thousand times, that you’re all getting accurate and updated information directly from me instead of as hearsay from someone else, and that so many of you have read the posts and sent your thoughts and words of support our way. It feels as if we’re not going through it alone.  As the weeks tick by and we gain some perspective on Quinn’s diagnosis, I realize how difficult it is to be in your shoes. What do you say to someone who has just received life-altering news? How do you react? The answers aren’t simple, and I’ve actually spent


We went in for a follow-up ultrasound to check on Quinn’s heart and kidneys and to make sure there were no other red flags. While one of his kidneys is still dilated, his heart looks great, which is good news. The bad news is that they found white spots/calcifications on his stomach and liver. The doctor (not our OBGYN, but a specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine) said it could be a result of a viral infection, but told us it’s probably related to Down syndrome. Either way, she encouraged me to get tested for infection and dodged my questions about worse-case scenarios. She left us feeling  more than a little shaken up with her awkward bedside manner. We assumed she was hiding something from us and waiting for our regular OB/GYN to share the bad news with us. This was at the end of the day, so naturally our regular doctor would learn nothing about the appointment until today. Enter Dr. Google. After much research, I learned that these calcifications are not especially common in