The morning after you were born your doctor told us that you had Down syndrome. You also had a blocked intestine and you could not keep down any milk. You had surgery when you were four days old. It was a difficult start for us all, but I think that we are all stronger as human beings and as a family because of it. We also had a difficult time when we first found out you had Down syndrome. We are at peace with it now. While you are a baby first, the Ds is part of you and we love you just as you are. I just wish I had known then, everything that I know now. It breaks my heart that there was any sadness in connection with your first few days in the world. I hate that the tears I cried were anything but tears of joy but we were scared and sad that you were so sick. That is in the past now and the joy you have brought us this year is immeasurable. I never knew my life had been missing something until you came along. Nothing brightens my day like the thought of you, the sight of you and your little smile!
When you were two months old you were hospitalized with bronchiolitis. Your daddy and I were very scared. Especially when they put a tube down into your lungs and had a machine breathing for you. Your Grandma came and rocked you all night when you came off the machine and were having withdrawals from the morphine. This is what you looked like in the hospital.
You were in the hospital for just over two weeks. We insisted that they let us take you home for your first Easter, so they gave us an oxygen tank and a machine that kept track of your oxygen. You got through it. You are a strong, strong boy and you fought through this like you will any other challenge in life. I admire your strength. You were such a brave boy though it all. Here you were on Easter weekend with your little oxygen tubes but sooooo happy to be home.
You are a little angel. The best baby a Mom and Dad could have asked for. The first night we brought you home from the hospital (February 25, 2009), instead of crying when you were hungry in the middle of the night, we heard you making little sucking sounds. To this day, when you are hungry, that is what you do. It is the cutest face. I call it your "sucky face." In fact, you rarely cry. You have developed other ways of communicating with us though. One of them is the sucky face. The other is blowing raspberries. You especially do this now when you are frustrated or, in the middle of the night when you need a diaper change. The raspberry is also the first sound you make when you start to wake up in the morning, even before you open your eyes sometimes. You look so precious when you are sleeping. You have always been a good sleeper and began sleeping through the night when you were only four months old. Momma and Daddy appreciated it sooooo much.
You have greatly impressed me when it comes to eating. We were really concerned at first that you were going to have difficulty in this department, especially during the first week after your surgery while you wee still in the NICU. It was a very difficult time. It broke my heart having to go home each night to sleep without you. But I always was back by 7:00 am to feed you breakfast. The nurses wanted to feed you through a tube in your nose but I would not let them. Your Daddy and I made sure we were there for most of your feedings each day so that we could feed you ourselves. I would hold you and feed you while Daddy tickled your feet and wiped your face and hands with a cool washcloth to keep you awake long enough to eat. We knew you could do it and were very proud of you when you would finish those tiny 2 ounce bottles they would give us to feed you my breast milk. Here you are the day we got you home from the hospital showing everyone what a good little eater you had become.
You never took to breastfeeding but that was ok. I pumped milk for you and you were almost exclusively on breastmilk for 6 months. Then you started eating baby oatmeal. I pumped until approximately September 30, 2009 and because there was so much of it, you continued to have breastmilk until November 17, 2009 when all the milk I had frozen for you ran out. Here you are drinking your last bottle of breastmilk. It was a bittersweet moment for Momma.
Then you drank formula like a champ and continued to try new foods. Your favorites have always been sweet potatoes, squash, apples, banana's and yogurt. You love oatmeal in the morning with fresh banana mashed up in it. You also love to tear apart waffles, eat pizza crust and any other thing we put on your tray. We hope you are always so easy to feed.
You love all kinds of music and you love it when we sing to you. Your favorite song was initially "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" but then we came up with our own version of "You are My Sunshine" that goes something like this:
You are my Joey, My little sunshine
You make me happy, when I've had a bad day
I know you know punkin'
How much Momma loves you
Please don't take my Joey away!