I can't believe it, but it was 12 weeks ago today that little Bryce blessed our lives. I already look back on that day and can't believe how sad I was. He is such a good baby and has already enriched our lives so much. I had no idea at the time how blessed I was the day he entered the world.
In just the past week or two, he's really started to change and grow up. For a while, I was worried because he hadn't changed much since he was born--he just ate and slept all the time. Now, he's much more alert and getting so strong. He has been rolling from tummy to back since he was 4 weeks old, and can now lift himself up on his elbows too. He loves looking at bright colors and patterns--especially polka dots. He watches his brother and is still teasing us with little half smiles. He is so content and really only cries when he's hungry. He has even slept through the night twice in the past week. Compared to his refluxy brother, he is a really easy baby.
One of the overwhelming things about Bryce's diagnosis was (and still is) all the physical and developmental problems that can come with Down syndrome. We still don't know what he will be capable of, but so far he is doing so great. Mike and I often wonder if we are just in denial, but he seems just like a normal baby--ahead of where Connor was at his age. We have been meeting with Early Intervention teachers from the school district and he was evaluated by a private physical and occupational therapists. I am so proud to say that at this time he doesn't qualify for either of those private services. We got confirmation that maybe we aren't in denial--he really IS doing well.
Until the age of two, premature babies have two different ages--their chronological age (when they were actually born) and their adjusted age (how old they would be if they were born on time). When Bryce was evaluated by the physical therapist yesterday, she did some standardized testing with him. For his chronological age, he scored in the 25th percentile. For his adjusted age, he scored in the 75th percentile. She averaged them out to 50th percentile. That means he is doing as well as half of ALL 2 1/2 month old babies. To say I was proud would be an understatement. I know this doesn't mean he'll necessarily stay that way--but any time he can exceed expectations I will be so proud of him.
One problem many kids with Down syndrome have is low muscle tone and/or floppy joints. Their ligaments tend to be a little longer and stretchier than other kids'. All the people who looked after him in the hospital said he had really great muscle tone for a baby with Downs. The physical therapist said the same thing--the only place she saw a problem was with his ankles. The ligaments are really loose--you can bend his foot back so far it almost touches his leg. She said that when he starts standing or walking it may become a problem, but one that is easily fixed. He just may have to have some soft ankle braces for a while or maybe an insert in his shoes. I hope and pray that he continues to do well and keeps exceeding those expectations!
Connor has really accepted Bryce as part of the family now. He is much more comfortable touching him, sharing our laps with him, and talking with him. If he sees Bryce laying somewhere, he'll go up and talk to him in the sweetest voice. We went to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Omaha last weekend, and as we were packing up and getting ready to leave, my brother-in-law was holding Bryce. Connor went up to him and said, "Um, Uncle Brett, we need Bryce". So sweet! A few weeks ago he either wouldn't have noticed or would have wanted us to leave him there!
We are so happy with our family of four. Bryce is such a sweet baby and a wonderful addition to the family. We're getting our family pictures taken later today and I have to go get myself ready while the boys are sleeping. Take care everyone!