Reminscences of Coraline's first year
1. Hearing when she was born that she would need an operation in her first three months of life due to having two holes in the heart and a leaking valve. However, she has not yet had an operation. Now, at one year old, we go for Cardiology check-ups every three months. They do feel she will need an operation but not in the foreseeable future. The top hole has closed on its own, and the bottom hole has grown tissue around itself.
2. Keeping Coraline well for nine months, on the advice of Coraline's Cardiology team. It's funny to imagine that we did this for nine months. We checked with everyone before we met up with them that they were well, and we didn't do any long train journeys etc. or go to any baby groups. We succeeded. We still led a great, fun, full agenda each week. We were told we could expose her more at nine months and then she caught two colds, but this is great for her building up her immunity.
3. Joy in our home. Coraline and I have enjoyed our weekdays together - we go to the supermarket, meet friends for coffee, go on walks, go to appointments. We start each day with gratitudes and when Kevin comes home he says things like, "she's a fine little woman". Life feels so rich. Plus of course, there's the fact we got married when she was eleven months old in July! Coraline has the sweetest presence.
4. Rolling, rolling, rolling. Coraline has been rolling since early on. She is now sitting up and shuffling around on the floor. We began baby sensory classes when Coraline was about ten months old and we had the go ahead to go to baby classes from her Cardiology team. I remember sitting there the first lesson and thinking I couldn't go back because it hit home that all the other babies could sit up and reach out for things. But within a couple of months Coraline was sitting up too, and waving her arms about.
5. Coraline's relationship with our neighbour Margaret and her husband Dave. This has been a mainstay since Coraline was maybe five weeks old or around then. She goes to Margaret's every Monday which began as a few hours and is now for the day. Theirs is a relationship of mutual love and adoration. I have been inspired by this giving on Margaret's part to do a bit of volunteering with Coraline in the community now that she has turned one.
6. Reading; books on napping, weaning, Down's syndrome, reading Down's Syndrome parent bloggers, philosophical books. Oh and writing, this Blog!
7. Meeting all sorts of people. Paediatricians, Audiologists, Cardiologists, Midwives, Health Visitors, Portage, Speech therapy and more. We have enjoyed all of this and learn so much each session, and we see it as a lovely part of our week. Our day-to-day feels fun and free.
8. An outpouring of love from our family and friends and people we chat to in the street. Cards and gifts for Coraline and beautiful, beautiful messages to us.
9. Reflux! Holding Coraline upright because of her reflux, which we only learned to do late in the game. This is because her lower muscle tone means the milk comes back up more readily. Her Paediatrician said she would grow out of this naturally around the age of a year old, as she'd be sitting up more, and he was spot on. It's already much, much less.
10. Expressing milk for Coraline which I did for seven months as she was not able to latch on.