A little Mia Q&A

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss (Happy belated birthday, Dr. Seuss!)

Mia is going to be four months old tomorrow. Kind of a lot has happened in the last four months. I thought I would do a little Q&A for people in case they are interested in how she’s doing – or how we’re doing. Some of these are questions I get asked a lot, and maybe a couple of things people might be afraid to ask.

Q: How is Mia doing?

A: There’s a lot behind this question, I think. Genuine interest as well as concern. I would have asked the same thing of a friend who had a child with Down syndrome. Part of me would have been just interested in the new baby, but the other part of me would just be so curious about what it’s like having a child with a trisomy disorder. Not to mention, it’s scary. I’d be concerned.

Here is the truthful, honest, brutal answer: She’s doing great. I really see very little difference between how Mia is right now at four months and what Fynn was like at the same age. Actually a few things are different. She smiles a lot more than Fynn ever did. She also coos more. Fynn was definitely not rolling over at three months.

She’s interested in her world. Touches, bats at, and grabs all of her toys. The rolling really started because there were toys out of her reach and she wanted to get them. Her favorite thing (like all babies) is looking at the faces of her family members. She watches Fynn like a hawk as he’s walking around the room. She responds to our voices and we “converse” which is very cute. I’ll talk and then she’ll coo back. She is very interested in her hands and how they work. She loves to sit up and stand on her feet (both with help, obviously).

There are probably things she should be doing that she’s not. You may notice that I get really excited about milestones. That is not because I think she’s an extra special baby or something (I totally think she’s extra special because I’m her mother), but I get excited because I was literally told that she might lie there like a dish rag and not respond to any of us for a long time. You know, worst case scenario stuff. I’m literally shocked every single day at how well she’s doing. Normal, to me, is shocking. It’s better than being disappointed, I guess.

Health-wise, all is well. Since coming home from the hospital, she has not been sick one single day. Aside from her heart murmur, she hasn’t had any problems.

Challenges will come, but at this point things are pretty typical around here.

Q: Are you worried about her missing or having delayed milestones?

A: Not really. I’m only concerned with how to help her achieve them. I’ve learned something about parenting with the first one. You know, no one gives you a prize when they meet milestones early or even on time. No lottery money, recognition, or special gift. Not a thing. Sad but true. For all of you new parents, you’ll discover this and be as disappointed as I was.

Seriously, though. What does it matter if she talks at 8 months or 4 years? As long as we work on it and figure out some way to communicate to alleviate her frustration, then I’ll be happy. Even if we can’t, we’ll deal with it. Once I figured out that there was no one I was competing against, it was pretty easy to get over this part.

I’m sure I’ll have that twinge of sadness when I hear another child conversing easily with their mother or walking at 12 months if Mia is not, but I’m no stranger to that feeling.

Q: What is therapy like?

A: Right now, Mia has occupational therapy once every other week at our home. With a four-month-old, there’s not a lot of “therapy” that happens during that time. Really, she is just being constantly assessed for delays and other issues. For example at our last appointment, I expressed concern over a head tilt that Mia is doing when she is sitting up. She will tilt her head to one side. Her therapist massaged her neck and looked for any issues that she felt required a visit to the doctor prior to her four-month appointment. She couldn’t find anything and suggested it was likely a muscle issue so she gave us some different exercises to do to build the muscles in her neck. We’ve been doing them and the problem is resolving itself.

We started putting Mia on her tummy to play the day she came home from the NICU. She’s on her tummy every time she is awake for quite some time. We try not to use “buckets” in the house – swings, baby seats, and car seats. We don’t have a swing in the apartment. She only sits in a baby seat when I need to eat, shower, or when Fynn is running around the house and I need to do dishes. This is not because we’re awesome parents; it’s because Mia is going to always have muscle issues. Buckets restrict a baby’s movement. While that’s not a big deal, typically, it would be a huge problem for Mia.

Basically, the OT plays with Mia for a half an hour and tells us what we need to work on. The key is that we work on it. So every day, I sit with Mia and play with her. That sounds obvious, but there are certain things I encourage her do so that she builds muscles and continues to build core strength and the foundation for crawling, sitting, and ultimately, standing and walking.

Later on, Mia will get a physical therapist as well as a speech therapist. There are also services beyond three years old, but I’m not worrying about that quite yet.

Q: Are you worried about her future?

A: Yep, absolutely. If I dwell on it, I could drive myself completely insane with worry. Just like if I constantly worried about the bad things that could happen to Fynn. There are days that are worse than others. When Nate travels, the nights home alone get very long. I start to think about the bad things that might happen to her as she gets older. I have to stay off the internet. None of it is helpful. Each and every situation is completely unique, just like every situation with any kid is unique. Plus, there are a lot of cruel people, as well as people who are unintentionally cruel. I’ve been trying harder to surround myself with positivity versus the negative stuff. Be realistic but not pessimistic. Not to mention that I trust that God is by our side on this one.

But here’s the thing – she’s only four months old. I’m just going to enjoy these days because “babies don’t keep.” Someday, God willing, both of my kids are going to be adults. With Fynn turning four in May, it is happening faster than I’d like. It’s important to prepare, but it’s also important to enjoy each and every stage of their lives. There are no do-overs with kids. I can’t make Mia this age ever again. Time will keep marching on as time does, and we’ll face whatever challenges come our way.

Thankfully we have a lot of loving and caring people surrounding us and her. That makes me worry much less.

Q: Will you do a Buddy Walk with Mia?

A: I’m really thinking about this. It happens in Waukesha around the time of Mia’s first birthday. I’ll keep everyone posted if we do one because you’re all invited.

That’s all for now. If you have any questions for me, please let me know. I’d be happy to answer them. Maybe I’ll do it in another blog post…that is if I have the answer.

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