Cedar is getting ready to turn 1, I can hardly believe that a whole year has passed by.
On our instagram page I began sharing the story of his birth and thought I would do the same here. Here I was in this picture just a year ago. Completely unaware of the turn my life would take or the surprise my beautiful boy would bring with him at birth.
We had no idea he was going to have Down Syndrome.
I had one scare during my pregnancy when an ultrasound tech thought our baby may have clubbed feet and she referred me to a level II ultrasound which showed no club feet, no heart issues, and nothing of concern. It was after that appointment that we continued with our plans for another homebirth under the care of a sweet midwife who was present at Cedar’s sibling’s birth too. (not our first rodeo as Cedar is our 6th baby). Cedar’s birth was by far the most extraordinary for many reasons. When my midwife came over for a routine prenatal check at 38 weeks we joked that he would keep baking for a few more weeks as my babies never like to come early (Cedar has a sibling who waited till almost 41 weeks!). We also chatted (to my relief) that it was awesome that he finally decided to relinquish his breech position in favor of the more favored head down presentation. Little did I know what was about to happen in a matter of hours…(to be continued).
This blog is more often than not dominated by the stories of so many of the beautiful children and families that I have had the privilege of crossing paths with, all as a result of just a little extra genetic material. It is amazing really that this whole family of others I didn’t even know existed until a diagnosis brought us all together. Time to time though I try to remember to pop in and share a bit about Cedar since not all of the blog readers follow us on Instagram or Facebook where I share daily pictures and antics of this sweet guy.
As for Cedar, he is doing so well in many areas, and taking his sweet time in others. In the past month we have increased our physical therapy to in-home appointments weekly. I love our therapist whose high voltage and super charged personality leave my little guy in awe most times. She is innovative and encouraging and really pushes Cedar to work towards some of the goals we have set for him.
What goals you ask? Sitting independently is our biggest goal at this point. I know it will come (because seriously have you ever seen a child with Down Syndrome that wasn’t able to sit independently? Me either) but Cedar is taking his sweet time about it because he is so busy smiling at his siblings and I, as well as the camera. This kid can seriously tell when I pull the camera out because he starts cheesing it up, I joke with him that his fans are waiting for more pictures so he has to smile, and he never leaves me hanging.
Cedar is eating well and likes just about everything I feed him, even the prunes that accompany most meals to ensure his regularity (our kiddos sometimes have trouble in this department). I make his baby food and have been playing with texture but he isn’t overly fond of too many chunks.
We recently had a check up with the cardiologist and at this point Cedar’s two holes (he has an ASD and PDA) are still present and require us to see cardiology every 6 months.
The area that Cedar is advancing in his speech and social interaction. He can say MaMa and knows who he is talking about and he said DaDa for the first time just today (Daddy was pretty excited). He makes other vowel and consonant babbles as well as noises we call his dinosaur noises as they crack us all up.
I have noticed that Cedar has an acutely keen emotional sense as he can pick up on happy and sad faces and immediately his face will mirror what he is seeing, if his brother is crying he is the first to look genuinely concerned.
So new things this month…
Cedar tried a slide for the first time (on his brother’s lap of course- he wasn’t a fan)
Cedar tried a floatie in our pool (he loved it)
Cedar got his 4th haircut since birth (yes you read that right- and his Instagram followers nearly threw a fit)
Cedar is trying to scoot (but face plants often)
Cedar really likes Bananas and Mangos (especially from a straw when its mom’s smoothie)
Cedar left the state of Ohio for the first time when we traveled for a funeral
Cedar joined other children in our area for a photo shoot and he will be featured in a calendar this year
Cedar loves to dance and hear music.
Life is better with you in it.
I have been told that I do not write enough about Cedar on this site, aptly named Cedar’s Story, so I am going to try to share some of the information and posts I put up on our other social media sites like our Facebook Page and our Instagram account. Those two places are where I share daily pictures and snippets of Cedar’s life but with all the requests, I figured he needed his very own corner here too.
Cedar has been working on feeding lately. There are some areas of development that he is directly on target with where my typical children were at his age, and others, like his gross motor skills (sitting, crawling, etc) where he is on his own time table. However, his feeding skills seem to be pretty much in line with my other children. He has been nursed since birth and though it was significantly more challenging than nursing my 5 other typical children had been, it has been so worth it. (you can read about one challenge here) I do believe that his nursing has helped him, at least in this area, with having better oral motor control than he may have had if I had been in the position to have to bottle feed him (for the record, this kid won’t take a bottle).
**DISCLAIMER** if you are reading this and some issue has prevented you from breast feeding your babe, just know that a well fed babe is by far the most important thing so please don’t be discouraged, this corner is just Cedar’s journey and is not meant as a “how to.”
One of the things that was a bit different for me with Cedar is that when it was time to start table foods, I usually do this around 6 months, Cedar was not quite able to steady himself in the highchair sitting position. His sitting required some rolled towels on either side of him to keep him from leaning or flopping to one side or the other. We also put some towels behind him because I found that when he was more reclined he was not as alert and into feeding as he needed to be.
Once we got the positioning right I found that he was unable to pick up the small foods (like puffs or small bits of soft food) like my other children had been. That’s when I began thinking of all the things in the refrigerator that I could feed him that he would be able to grasp, yet I wouldn’t fear him choking on. Bring on all the BIG things. Carrots, Celery and Cucumbers are favs. He doesn’t really “eat” much of them but, the items are big enough for him to grasp and he is rewarded by some taste differences as he masters getting the items to his mouth. (Ignore the funny conversation in the background, I do, afterall have 5 other kids)
The larger food items also allow big brothers to help with feeding, something they enjoy (with mom’s close watchful eye of course!)
His latest favorite food is now corn on the cob. He doesn’t actually get any of the kernels off (he is still toothless) but it is great that he can manuevuer it to his mouth and be rewarded by some sweet juice when he gums it long enough!
The self feeding is really just practice, I also make Cedar’s baby food (It is not hard like you would think) and he has been doing very well with eating. His favorites are butternut squash, sweet potatoes and any banana combo mom creates. I have noticed that since begining solids Cedar has had more problems in the diaper department so I have had to move very slowly (1 meal of homemade baby food a day) and everything either has a side of pureed prunes or we drink some prune juice from a straw with each meal. This has helped us regulate from dirty diapers only happening weekly to dirty diapers every 3-4 days. I have to watch this area very closely so he doesn’t get too backed up.
So, we began the whole self-feeding process at just shy of 7 months and have been working on it for the last several weeks. Over the course of these several weeks Cedar’s chair sitting has improved significantly and has made it so that he can focus more on the food that is on his tray than the necessity of keeping himself from falling to one side or the other while trying to sit. Cedar is almost 8 months now and just yesterday he mastered his latest skill that has this mom’s heart aflutter…he can straw drink. When I posted this video on Instagram I was flooded with questions of how I taught him this skill and I kind of chuckled because it was the same way that I taught all of my other children to straw drink, I believe it was my mom who first showed me how to teach my now 17 year old daughter how to drink from a straw when she was just a wee babe. So, here is Cedar demolishing my Strawberry-Mango-Banana smoothie that I really didn’t want to share. I will be doing a post on how to teach your little one to straw drink as well so all the other mamas can get in on this sage wisdom that came from my mom, and likely hers as well. You will be amazed at how easy it really is!
This blog is named Cedar’s Story because that’s what it is really, a story of how an unexpected two-word diagnosis, Down Syndrome, changed a family into advocates for something they knew nothing about.
But, along the way, it has also become the story of so many other families that are all walking their own path with a diagnosis of Down Syndrome.
Being that Cedar was the impetus for this story, in the beginning, I have dedicated a category that is just for him, Specifically Cedar. This is where you will find pictures of the little one behind this big idea of mine, you can watch him grow, and let him teach you, like he is teaching us, that Down Syndrome is not something to be afraid of.