Wow! Time flies when you're having fun. I hope anyone who was checking here was living by the adage of "no news is good news." Truthfully, I haven't posted because we have been too busy enjoying life as a family.
Christopher is 10 months old and doing great. He had a cardiology checkup 2 weeks ago and things look great. The spot that was dilated during the cardiac catheterization back in November seems to be growing with him - or at least not narrowing. His blood pressure is excellent. And he's certainly growing! He a big boy - 75th percentile for height, 90th for weight, and off the charts for head size. (Big brain in there!) We are gradually spacing out our visits to the cardiologist. We got the longest leash yet after our most recent visit: 3 months until we go back.
In terms of development, we are still seeing the physiotherapist regularly to help with motor development. Christopher took his first steps at 9 months old and would love to be walking by now. Ironically, though, we are discouraging this. He isn't crawling yet and hates being on his tummy. Crawling is the single best way to encourage symmetrical motor development and because of the stroke, that's very important for him. We hadn't noticed any asymmetry between his limbs until he started trying to walk - but now we can see a limp on his left side. The therapist's hope is that crawling will help strengthen all of his limbs and his core so that when he walks later, the asymmetrical gait will be less pronounced. The problem with letting him walk now is that every time he walks with that limb, it reinforces the pathway in his brain that says, "this is normal walking." So, we spend a lot of time cajoling him into getting onto his hands and knees, and trying to help him crawl. He is very slowly making some progress, but I know it's frustrating for him at times. He so WANTS to walk!
He is a smiley, happy, social baby who loves to babble. Katie is his favourite person in the world, hands down. He thinks she's absolutely hilarious. He delights in being startled - he thinks it's hilarious if we jump out from behind something and scare him. And he thinks it's really funny if we copy his movements. Sometimes when he is done his supper and wants down from his highchair, he'll wave his arms around and yell. One of us copied him one night and he thought it was SO FUNNY. There are nights where he does that and the three of us mimic him for ages, all of us laughing our heads off. Christopher has the most wonderfully contagious giggle, deep from his belly, that makes us all laugh. It's ridiculous and yet...these are the moments we treasure.
Christopher started swimming lessons 2 weeks ago (it's a parent and tot class) - and so far he seems to have mixed opinions. As long as the water is really warm, he enjoys it, but when it was a little cooler (last lesson), he just cried the whole time. He does NOT like being cold.
Brad and I are doing well. Life is very busy, as we are both working full time and of course the kids keep us busy. But we're very happy. I have struggled in recent months to deal with some of the memories of the most difficult times around Christopher's illness, but I have sought out some great support and am gradually doing better. I think I'm realizing that these will always be difficult memories, but I will always treasure them too, because those difficult times gave us our beautiful, healthy boy. And the tough stuff makes you appreciate the good stuff even more.
Christopher turns 1 on June 9. To celebrate, on June 10, our family is going to participate in the Walk for Miracles to support CHEO. We can't think of a better way to celebrate the past year. If you are interested in making a donation to CHEO in the name of Team Christopher's Heart, you can find the page here. Also, we are hoping to have a big group of Christopher's friends and family for the day of the walk, so if you're able to walk with us, please join our team on the website. (There will be birthday cake afterwards!)
I'll end with a few photos: