On Tuesday we woke up early and filled the diaper bag with toys and snacks, and I loaded Ellie up in the car to head to the cardiologist for our checkup. Technically this was our checkup to assess Ellie a year after her heart surgery. The last time we had seen her cardiologist was in August. This being the first echo Ellie would have to undergo while mobile, I felt a vast supply of treats was necessary. This time, however, I didn’t feel nervous. To see the extreme difference in Ellie after heart surgery, to know who she really is with a fixed heart, I know what a struggling heart looks like. Ellie’s color, her strength, her eating, her weight gain, all show a healthy heart. It was nice to see our cardiologist, after seeing her monthly for Ellie’s first year of life, I consider her a friend. Someone who I talked to on the phone many times last year when I was scared, who called me on a Sunday evening on our way home from the emergency room, and answered my questions for over an hour. We talk about her kids, share stories, I trust her and respect her. Ellie had no interest in sitting still for the echo. The only way to keep her still and calm was to show her a video of Mya singing on my phone (when I had thought scheduling the appointment while Mya was at school was a good idea). The pictures on the echo were perfect. Ellie’s heart remains strong, the valves look good, her rhythm will always be a tad off due to her defect, but is of no concern. As I was packing up the suitcase of toys I had brought, our doctor handed me an appointment card for a year from now. A year! She trusts us and Ellie’s heart to not need another echo for a year. On the way home from our appointment, Ellie fell asleep and I played the radio loud and sang along to “Ain’t no mountain high enough,” and may have felt goose bumps on my arm at the thought of Ellie’s perfect heart. A wonderful drive.
On Wednesday we had blood work to monitor Ellie’s thyroid. She is on thyroid medication which requires regular blood work to determine her medicine dosage. The results of her last test were a little surprising. Ellie’s thyroid has decided to start working. Instead of needing more medication due to weight gain since she was initially prescribed, it appears she needs less medication. Although I hate blood draws, the news that her prescription is being cut in half is good news. A busy week for sweet Ellie, who is also on antibiotics for an ear infection right now. When we were at the hospital waiting for the results of her blood work, we decided to visit the NICU. To see if there were any new Down Syndrome parents, to brag about Ellie, to see old friends. The nurses all smiled when they saw her and all fought to hold her. They wanted to see her walk, they marveled at her surgery scar. I am always being reminded of how far Ellie has come, how much she has achieved, how many battles she has already won.