Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eyes That Melt My Heart

sunny3, originally uploaded by sunnycardon.

My good friend Sonja took these amazing pictures of Antalya last night at the park. I love how they capture her eyes.

sunny 15, originally uploaded by sunnycardon.

sunny 14, originally uploaded by sunnycardon.

June Baby

Even though my due date isn't until July 7th, I have always thought of this baby as a June baby. Well, here we are with less than 18 hours left of June and no signs of the baby coming anytime soon. I think it is time to resign myself to the fact that this little one will in fact be a July baby and that all my wishing her here won't make it happen any faster.
(My friend Sonja at The Wonder Years took this picture for me last night - isn't she great!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm not a saint, just a parent

I came across this great article this afternoon that is all about what it is like raising a child with Down syndrome. It's worth reading if you have a few minutes.

On a different note, Antalya is very much into hats and shoes lately.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"You've Been Cured!"

Those are the words I heard from my doctor this morning at my 36 week prenatal appointment. No, I haven't been cured of the heartburn, nausea, large belly, and annoying contractions, but I'm not hoping for relief from those symptoms for a few more weeks. What I have been cured from are all the inconsistencies, worries, and complications of this pregnancy. Yep, somehow over these last two months everything abnormal about this pregnancy has worked itself out, resulting in a baby that is growing right on target and amniotic fluid levels within the normal range.

I feel so grateful knowing I can finally sit back and relax for these last few weeks. I am planning on this birth being night and day difference from when Antalya was born. While I am in labor I can focus on nothing but the anticipation of holding my little girl - no last minute fluid reductions to lower my risk of an emergency c-section, no scheduled meetings with a social worker to make sure we can handle the stress of what is about to happen, no forms to sign in anticipation of our daughters admittance to the NICU, no fear that after all I do to bring her into the world she may not survive the upcoming surgery necessary for her to live. No, this time I will be prepared. I will be calm, under control, and relaxed. Rather than the needles and unfamiliar voices of the NICU staff, it will be my own arms and voice that first welcomes this little one into the world.

This picture was my first introduction to Antalya. Jason was allowed to go see her in the NICU before I was. He brought back the camera and I remembering him showing me on the camera screen this picture of our daughter. I thought she was so beautiful I couldn't hold back the tears. It will be incredible to see my child for the first time in 'real-life' rather than on the back of a camera.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


We are in our second week of swimming lessons. Antalya and I registered for a two-week parent and tot class at the community pool. Antalya has never had a fear of water - quite the opposite, in fact. She loves being in water so much, that even the sensation of drowning is fun to her. She will happily throw her face in water, come up choking and coughing from swallowing so much, and then do it again if we don't stop her.

It has been an interesting experience for me. It has brought up some of the sensitivities I have been feeling for several months about how other people perceive me and the actions of my daughter. For example, I wonder if the stranger at the park thinks I am an awful mother because Antalya likes to chew on the wood chips (yes, I know they are not only a choking hazard, but also very unsanitary, but try as I might, Antalya only sees them as oral stimulation), or if the person in the passing car thinks I am cruel to put a harness with a leash on my daughter when we are in the front yard playing, or if the family sitting next to us in church wonders why I haven't taught the importance of reverence to my daughter, the list goes on and on.

Going back to swimming lessons - for some reason being in the class has helped me come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what anyone else may think. All I have to do is focus on doing what is right for my daughter - knowing that the expectations I set for her are different than what other parents have set for their children. I don't expect to understand what it is like for another parent to teach their child, just as I don't expect other parents to understand what it is like teaching Antalya. All that matters is doing the very best we can given our own set of challenges.

Has Antalya mastered as many skills in the swimming class as her peers? No. But that is alright. She is still doing amazing and I am surprised at how much she has learned in just a few short lessons. I didn't go into the class expecting her to master swimming to the side of the pool by herself. I knew my expectations would be different than the other moms in the class. Gratefully, I can now feel at peace over the expectations I do place on Antalya, knowing that it matters very little how other people perceive it.