Baby Lelan- 11 Months! 

My little angel, 

You are almost a year old! You are almost walking and talking. You are transforming into a little boy right in front of my eyes and it’s been a real treat to watch. I can’t tell you where this year went, but I can tell you for certain that your dad and I have grown exponentially, along with you. We’re a fully functioning family unit and better humans because of you. 

You’re the happiest child I’ve ever met. I hope you never change who you are. You have finally found your voice. You let us know when something doesn’t suit you. You grunt and whine when you don’t get your way. You laugh heartily and babble constantly. You sing. You coo. You are just the coolest baby ever! Yet for a baby, you’re extremely reasonable at times. I find myself talking to you like an adult and you listen. When you work yourself up into a tizzy, I let you cry until you feel better and count to 3 and most of the time you stop crying. Sometimes, you are not ready to calm down and that’s okay too. The crying never bothers me because it’s not an everyday thing. I will always encourage you to express yourself. But, at the same time I want to help you learn to control your emotions, a lesson I didn’t learn until much later in life. 

You love to bounce, my little Tigger! Whether on your knees or holding on to something, lately that’s all you’ve been doing. You also love kicking a soccer ball. You get hysterical when we play with you and the sound of your laughter fills the entire house! You walk with a walker. You live musical toys. You’re always banging on things and creating beats. I wonder if you’ll be a drummer, like your papa? You are still really into books! We read to you every day and you have been responding amaziny! You know the words to all the books we read. You even know all the gestures and sounds. You’ve been mimicking everything we say, lately…  

We’ve transitioned you to 1 nap and it’s been working out great. You sleep through the night and take a 2hr nap in the middle of the day usually between 11-1pm. You eat 3 solid meals a day and we’re working on weaning you off formula. You insist on feeding yourself! You used to eat with your hands but since last week you’ve been trying with a spoon. You’re not a picky eater but if you don’t like something, it definitely ends up on the floor. We’re working on not throwing things but you can be stubborn sometimes. 

In a couple of weeks, on mother’s day, we will be celebrating your 1st birthday with all of our family. I can’t wait to see the look on your face when you see your cousins. It’s going to be so much fun, my love! You’ve brought so much joy into my life and every day I am so proud to be your mommy! 

Love, 
Mom

Things I never told you…

I’ve been keeping secrets from you for some time now… I’ve often come here to work out my issues, but this time I needed to sit with it. Let it sink in. Let is grow before I could let it out. I’m pregnant again! It’s not that I didn’t want to share the good news right away, but this pregnancy has not been without its challenges and I needed some time to process the questions themselves before I could put them down in words.

It all started back in January when I found myself staring down at a pregnancy test with the word PREGNANT staring back at me. It was 8 days before my missed period. Two long weeks later, I heard my baby’s heartbeat at the doctor’s office. I was barely 6 weeks pregnant. The decision to have another baby was something I had thought long and hard about. Given my age, my options were narrow, but having children closer in age was something I had always wanted. Little did I know that things would happen so quickly…

As with my previous pregnancy, the first trimester was a smooth ride. There was hardly any morning sickness or fatigue to complain about. I even joked to my husband that some days I barely remember being pregnant. Everything was going exactly as I had experienced with my son. Around the 3 month mark, we decided to opt for genetic testing just as we had done previously. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a prenatal test in which a sample of chorionic villi is removed from the placenta for analysis. It is usually done between weeks 10 and 13 of pregnancy — earlier than other prenatal diagnostic tests, such as amniocentesis. Chorionic villus sampling can reveal whether a baby has any chromosomal abnormalities. CVS is an invasive, elective procedure that’s not for everyone. But, for a control freak like me, it was a no brainer.

The test is not for the faint of heart. If you’re squeamish about needles, stop reading here. A long hollow needle is inserted into the placenta, either vaginally or through the abdomen, and a small sample of the chorionic villi is drawn out. It sounds a lot more scary than it really is. The whole procedure lasted about 15 mins, but the genetics counseling portion of the visit took up to an hour. Having been through this before, my husband and I arrived at the doctor’s office fairly relaxed. We met with the genetics counselor (GC) to go over our history and settled into the procedure room for the test. The doctor came in and after a quick ultrasound, a long thin needle was inserted into my abdomen, as we watched live on the screen, a small sample was collected for analysis. That was it. I was given instructions to stay off my feet for the next 24 hours and a few other restrictions for 48 hours and sent home. Everything was looking good so far.

Most genetic testing offers 2 types of results… Within a day, we could get preliminary FISH results which would give us a snapshot of the genetic makeup. These results were 90-98% accurate, followed by a full karotype analysis within 10-14 days. So, the next day I called the GC to see if our FISH results were available… She said she would call us as soon as she heard back from the lab. An hour later, my doctor called back with some not so great news. It turns out that the FISH results were inconclusive. It showed something very rare. Half the cells were normal while the other half showed 4 copies. There’s a name for this condition… Mosaic Tetraploidy. He said not to worry as he thought it was a likely a lab error and to wait for the full analysis to come in, which could take up to 10 days. Also, our ultrasounds had been near perfect, showing nothing abnormal- a very encouraging sign!

Tetraploidy is a condition in which cells contain four complete sets of chromosomes. Instead of having 46 chromosomes organized into 23 pairs of 2, tetraploid cells have 92 chromosomes organized into 23 sets of 4. Typically, tetraploidy is found in all cells resulting in an early miscarriage. As of early 2016 there have only been a few cases reported in the medical literature of live born infants with tetraploidy. The longest reported surviving infant lived to be 26 months old and experienced severe physical and developmental problems. In some cases, tetraploidy is only present in some, but not all, of the cells in a fetus or live born baby. This situation is referred to as mosaicism.

As scary as it was to hear those words, strangely, at that moment I was very calm. I didn’t panic or get upset. Call it mother’s intuition or wishful thinking, but I knew that my baby was okay. Whatever life had in store for us, we would deal with it as best as we could. Still, waiting for another 10 days to know for sure proved to be extremely difficult. Thanks to the support of a couple of good girlfriends and my family, I made it through. It’s during times like this that we really get to see who is in our corner. All it takes is a phone call, or text to say,  hey I’m thinking about you. I’m beyond grateful for those people who checked in on us often. About a week later, I got another call from the genetics counselor and this time, the news wasn’t any better. The full analysis showed the same abnormality… I was so convinced that everything was going to be okay that the news hit me like a brick.

Are you sure? I asked the genetics counselor and she said no, we’re not sure. That answer threw me for a loop. Our recommendation is amniocentesis in a couple of weeks, she added. You see, there was a possibility that the abnormality found in CVS was contained within the placenta and the baby was just fine. There’s a name for this… Confined Placental Mosaicism (CPM).

CPM is a condition characterized by the discrepancy between the chromosomal/genetic makeup of the baby and placenta. Genetic and chromosomal makeup of the placenta and fetus are almost always the same, because they both develop from the same egg. However, it is estimated that 1 in 50-100 women experience this condition due to some problems during cell division in the placenta. The prognosis is good with no fetal and maternal complications in a majority of the cases. Suddenly, I was hoping that I was one of these women.

Amniocentesis is yet another invasive procedure that allows your healthcare practitioner to gather information about your baby’s health from a sample of your amniotic fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds your baby in the uterus. It is usually done when a woman is between 16 and 20 weeks pregnant. This meant I had to wait for another 3 weeks before I could schedule the test and likely another week more to get the results. I was starting to dread the wait even more than before. Still, I had a ray of hope to cling to and my faith was strong.

3 weeks later, my husband and I went in and met with the GC yet again. This time, our visit was brief. Then, back to the examination room where the doctor reassured us that our baby was going to be just fine. The procedure was quick and we were sent home with stronger instructions to stay in bed for a couple of days and absolutely no lifting anything over 10 lbs for the next week. That meant, I couldn’t pick up my baby boy, which was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do. The next day, we heard from the GC that our FISH results were normal, which is 98% accurate. 10 days later we got our full panel analysis which confirmed the FISH results, which meant that most likely everything is okay with our little GIRL. Finally, we could breathe a sigh of relief.

2017-04-16_20.38.10Throughout this ordeal, I scoured the internet looking for articles, testimonials from others who have been through this and couldn’t find much info. I thought long and hard about posting this, but if my story helps someone out there, then maybe my suffering was not in vain. Last Christmas, as I wrapped presents for my little nieces one little item caught my eye. It was a delicate pink hair clip. I don’t know what came over me, but I saved it in my nightstand. I have looked at that little clip every day since I found out I was pregnant. On those nights when I couldn’t sleep, not knowing what was happening to my little girl, I would hold that clip in my hand for reassurance. Some days, when my anxiety got the better of me I would clip it to my bra, holding it close to my heart. It’s such an insignificant item, but to me this little hair clip is the closest thing to my baby girl. Every time, I feel her move I’m reminded of how fragile life is and how incredibly lucky we are to have such a blessing. I cannot wait to bring her home wearing this clip.

If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to ask… I’m not a medical professional, but I can share with you what I’ve learned based on our experiences. For anyone out there going through something similar, please know that there is always hope. In the words of Rumi, Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.

Baby Lelan- 10 Months!

My Dearest,

As I write this, you’re 10.5 months old! You are a curious and interesting little kid. I could spend all day with you without getting bored or tired of you. You are fascinated with the world around you and your daddy and I are fascinated with you. 

You are not a typical 10 month old. You are advanced… and I’m not just saying that because I’m your mom. Your attention span and focus is probably the differentiator. If you are interested in something, you will take your time to figure it out. If we give you a toy that makes sound, you turn it over and over and investigate until you are satisfied with whatever it is that you’re looking for. If we show you how to do something, you pick it up right away. Papa taught you how to drum on the table and you started doing it right away. You watch baby Einstein and mimic the actions that follow. When we read books to you, you know what’s on the next page. Your face lights up in anticipation and it’s one of my favorite day to day moments with you. You’re a bright little star, full of curiosity. You love music. When a good song comes on, you’ll drop everything and focus on the notes. It’s been amazing watching the world through your eyes!
You LOVE to laugh… Your belly laughs are so contagious! I can still make you laugh like no other, which is one of my greatest accomplishments. Lately, your personality has started changing… Even though you’re still easy going in general, you have started asserting yourself in certain areas. For some reason, you detest being changed. You would rather stay in your wet diaper than be changed. I don’t think it’s attributed to any fears. I really think you’re just too fascinated with the world to be bothered. You still love baths, but lately you’ve started throwing a tantrum when I lay you in the bath. I haven’t figured out why, but as long as you’re sitting up, you’re having a blast. You love to splash around in the water. Some nights the whole floor is wet and I have to mop it up, but it’s soooo worth seeing you bliss-ed out!

You are still a good eater. We give you whatever we’re having and you eat without a fuss. Macaroni and cheese, bread, waffles, oatmeal, steamed carrots and broccoli, rice, yogurt and spinach pies are some of your favorites. You will eat any type of fruit in front of you. When you like something you loudly smack your lips and make the cutest face! We’ve taken you to a few restaurants and you’ve been very good. You loved the south Indian restaurant and ate pretty much everything that we ate. Surprisingly, you can handle spicy food, but I’m only giving you bits and pieces even if you beg for more. Another cute thing you do is scoot next to me when I’m eating and give me those puppy dog eyes. No matter what it is, you want a bite bites. Same goes with whatever I’m drinking. You love to drink out of my cup. You still LOVE formula and diluted coconut juice. 

You’re sleeping well these days. You had a tough time a few weeks back when you were teething, but it seemed to have slowed down a bit. You’ve started sleeping in your big boy bed! The transition had gone a lot easier than we had expected. There are still days when I rock you to sleep though, but I don’t mind it one bit. We’re going through a nap transition and still figuring out whether you’re ready for 1 nap, but for now we’re sticking with 2 naps a day. Your balance has improved greatly, but you’re still not walking on your own. You’re babbling a lot but no distinct words yet. We’re in no rush, my angel. Whenever you’re ready… 

Our lives have slipped into a sweet rhythm with you and belive it or not, you’re the one keeping the beat. We adore you to bits. There’s no love greater than the one you have for a child, and you are exceeding every threshold within my soul. 

I’m always here for you, my sweet angel…

Love,
Mom

Baby Lelan- 9 Months!

Dear Lelan,

I’m getting so bad at posting these on time. But, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to record the first year of your life. I’ve been making notes so I won’t forget but you are growing up so fast that I can barely keep up.

At 9 months old, you’ve already accomplished a few awesome things. You’ve kicked your paci habit to the curb. You’ve started using the potty regularly for both 1 & 2. You can walk the length of the sectional couch holding on to it. You know how to say cat and you can feed yourself pretty much anything. These are remarkable achievements and I’m just in awe of you.

I decided to help you quit your paci habit at the beginning of the month because you were waking up crying at least 3 or 4 times a night… The first week was really rough but you just needed another way to soothe yourself. Music and rocking are what helped during the transition. I’ve really enjoyed rocking you to sleep, my darling. As an infant, you didn’t like to be held but now you let me hold you until you fall asleep in my arms and it’s been a treat for me. Watching you sleep is the most amazing thing ever! We’re still working on letting you soothe yourself to sleep but for now I’ll take all the mama cuddles I can get.

I’ve been offering the potty to you after every nap ever since you were 7 months old. Everyone thought I was rushing you, but you let me know that you enjoyed your time on the potty. We read books, sing songs and have so much fun that some days you don’t even want to get off that thing. At first it was slow going, but my goal was to get you used to the potty not potty trained. Once you figured out its utility, you started peeing in it consistently. At the turn of the 9 month mark, you started pooping in it on your own. Now we offer it to you after every meal and every nap and you do your business on most days. Of course we miss some but we don’t make a big deal about them. At this rate, there’s a good chance that you could be potty trained by your 2nd birthday, which is ahead of most kids in this country.

You eat pretty much anything I give you without a fuss. You LOVE books. Recently, you’ve started chasing the cats around. They are terrified of you, but occasionally I catch Lucy trying to play with you. You are such an easy going guy that you make every day so much fun. I’m so proud of the way you’re growing up, my darling. Every day is an adventure and I can’t wait to experience it with you!

Love,
Mom

 

Baby Lelan- 8 Months!

Dear Lelan, 

How are you 8 months old already? Where does the time go? I’m with you almost every single day and have been watching you grow with such heart bursting pride. You have exceeded my wildest imagination in the way you process the world around you. You are so determined to go, do, see… it’s awe inspiring. You fall ten times and get up a 11th and keep trying. If only I was like you, imagine how much I would accomplish. Adults are so quick to give up… I hope you never lose your sense of wonder and never let an obstacle stand in your way. 

This was the month when you became mobile… it started out slowly with an army crawl, but quickly escalated to you pulling yourself up on to the crib. It was the day after Christmas when I found you standing in your crib. I can’t lie, at first I was baffled because you had barely started crawling. But, then I saw your beaming face and instantly my confusion vanished. You were so proud of yourself and I couldn’t help but share in that feeling. Seconds later, you fell backwards and hit your head in the railing and started bawling and I scooped you up to console you. That day I saw a glimpse into your nature. I was reminded of the Vonnugut quote, ‘We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.’ You are my daredevil! I can’t pad every surface that could cause you pain, but I will be there to help you back on your feet after the fall. 
This month also brought Christmas and New Year. You had a wonderful time with friends and family. You got tons of presents from grandma and your aunts Kate & Eileen. You met your cousins Shane & Hanna and really took a liking to your cousin Hanna. You also played nicely with your second cousins Peyton  & MacKenzie. For New Year we stayed in and had a quiet celebration. You were in bed by 7 and mommy and daddy followed suit shortly. 

The new year brought us 2 fresh teeth. Your bottom ones have sprouted and the top ones are really giving you a hard time. But, you’re a trooper and coping with it as best as you can. Your vocabulary is improving. You started saying cat and daddy’s hat recently. You pointed to the bin with all your books and said ‘buh’.You’ve been vocalizing a lot lately and we’ve enjoyed listening to you. But, everytime I say mama, you repeat dada and laugh like you just made a joke… you are a rascal!

Your interest in reading has grown tremendously. You point to books that you like and prompt us to read it to you. We have a rule in our house that each person should read atleast 3 books to you everyday. We’re running out of new material but you have your favorites and don’t mind listening to them over and over again. 

I need to get better about posting these updates on time. So many adventures await you my love as you begin to put one foot in front of the other. As the weather warms up, I can’t wait to take you places. There are so many wonderfully beautiful things in this world and your daddy and I are looking forward to sharing them with you. Just remember, no matter how far you go, we will be right behind you. 

Love,
Mama

Baby Lelan- 7 Months!

Dear Lelan,

I can’t believe I almost forgot to write an update this month. The holidays have got us all crazed but, I couldn’t miss an opportunity to reminisce about you, my darling!

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It seems like you are determined to grow as fast as you possibly can. Some days I catch you playing in the crib for several minutes without making a peep. It’s like you want your alone time already. The sentimental fool in me wants to say… slow down, but I totally understand your spirit. There is so much out there and every day is an adventure. And, having an imagination is so much cooler than anything you can watch on TV. Instead of slowing you down and babying you, I’ve decided to clear the path for your growth. I will always give you your space, so you can be exactly who you are meant to be.

For Thanksgiving, we took you to North Carolina and you handled the trip like a Pro. You were an awesome travel companion- adjusting and going with the flow. I’m sooooo proud of you, even now when I think about how much fun it was to travel with you. In NC, you hung out with your cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We made sure you were on your schedule and you responded by being your best person ever. Thatha and Paati were so impressed with how easygoing you are. Your cousins were so smitten with you, that I heard they cried the day you left.You are so loved by so many people and our family unit is very close. They will always be there for you whenever you need them.

You are still a good eater. You eat just about anything, but definitely have a taste for the sweet stuff. I’ve been trying to slowly introduce you to spices and so far you’ve enjoyed them all. You’ve started drinking from a sippy cup. Your coordination has improved a lot and you are learning to pick up things with your finger and put them in your mouth. You are doing so much in such a short time that I’m constantly amazed by you.

You are talking up a storm these days! You started saying DADA around the beginning of December. The first time your dad and I heard those sweet words we both burst into happy tears. I swear it was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard in my life. You haven’t said any other new words, but you make so many sounds and I know you understand us perfectly.

I’m going to keep this short… because already this is 10 days late. 🙂 Don’t ever forget that we both get each other in ways that are incomprehensible. I’m on your side and will always help you grow in whatever capacity you choose. My trust in you is already growing strong and I hope we can maintain this connection for years to come.

With Love,
Mama

Baby Lelan- 6 Months Old

Dear Lelan,

You have spent half a year on this planet already and every single day is a treat. Life has settled into a nice rhythm with you. Most days, you are the clock by which we set our schedule. Your pace is steady and predictable, which makes all of our lives that much easier.You really are the happiest baby on the block! You smile, belly laugh, giggle and grin more than you ever cry. Even on those days when you’re going through growing pains, you make an effort to be happy. Your positive disposition is downright contagious, buddy!

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We’re still waiting for your first tooth. I think I’m more traumatized at this point than you are. We’ve had a couple of bad nights where you were in a lot of pain, but hopefully they are few and far in between. You’re still a champ through it all, my darling! You had a little cold last month, but the humidifier helped you recover faster. Other than that, you haven’t had any major health issues. You’ve even handled all your shots without much fanfare, which makes me believe that you have a healthy composition. At your last doctor’s visit you weighed a healthy 17.6lbs and measured 28.5in long.

You are turning into a good eater. You prefer sweet tasting food to savory, just like your daddy, but you’ve yet to taste any processed sugar. You’re still eating purees that I make from scratch and it’s been fun trying our new fruit and veggie combinations. You will try anything once and will definitely let us know if you don’t care for it a second time. You’ve started holding your own bottle. You are starting to self-feed using a mesh and by holding crackers in your hands. Your coordination has improved greatly in the last few weeks.You are my fiercely independent boy and I’m here to help you reach your developmental goals.

You are still into music, especially Tamil movie songs. Our babysitter was amazed at how quietly you played while listening to these songs today. When certain songs come on, you visibly perk up and start bopping your head or clapping your hands. When you go for a walk on the stroller or are getting changed on the changing table, you’ve started tapping the sides with your hand as if you’re hearing a beat. I wonder what song is playing in your head??? Other artists you like are Bill Withers, Michael Jackson and Ella Fitzgerald.

You’re babbling a lot these days… mostly coo’s and vowel sounds. You’ve definitely said dada already. You say yum-yum when you like something and blow raspberries all the time, and repeat/ mimic our sounds whenever you feel like it. You are into books, but would rather eat them than finish reading them. For the most part, you would rather be left alone to play. You don’t like being held and prefer to roll around freely. You’re still not crawling, but you have figured out that you can roll towards your goal… You are a determined boy!

You love being around people but take your time warming up to strangers. As long as I’m holding you, you feel reassured and will flash anyone your brilliant smile. I fully support your nature and encourage you to keep up your guard. The world is a scary place and you have every right to be weary. Your dad and I are committed to never allowing you in a situation where you feel uncomfortable. We will always respect your feelings and act accordingly.

A couple of weeks ago, papa taught you how to clap and you’ve been perfecting it ever since. Today, you wouldn’t stop clapping your tiny little hands all day. You are such a fast learner!!! The next month will bring a lot of changes for all of us as you start to become more mobile. We’re also on tooth patrol every day! I can’t wait to help you through these transitions. We’ve come a long way, kiddo and still so many adventures await… We’re with you every step of the way, so go ahead… the world awaits!

Love,
Your Mom