Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Esther Turns Four Years Old!

This past spring we began to notice that Esther snore while she sleeps, and she was waking often to cry a little and go back to sleep on her own.  There were also times when she would wake up in a panic, with a raspy voice, almost like she felt like she was having an asthma attack of sorts.  We talked with her doctor about this during one of her sister, Carese's well child check ups, in July.  We discussed that this can be a sign of sleep apnea, and that her tonsils and adenoids may be enlarged and causing a narrowed airway.

After that I made an appointment with an ENT. But then I tried diffusing essential oils in her room at night and giving her Ibuprophen before bed and the snoring/restless sleeping seemed to abate, so I cancelled the appointment.

Fast forward to October and Esther got a cold - a bad one.  She went from not feeling well Saturday to real breathing problems Sunday night.  We are talking the kind of breathing you can hear from another room that puts a mother into full fledged panic mode.  I was thankful that I had started breathing treatments for Esther the moment she showed signs up being sick, so I knew I had done everything I could and that she needed to see the doctor ASAP!

I took her to see the doctor the next day, after videotaping her breathing during her sleep.  She was diagnosed with having croup, an ear infection and very swollen tonsils. They tested her for strep throat, but thankfully she did not have that. She prescribed antibiotics and oral steroids, and she was breathing better within hours.  But for the first time she reacted to the steroids with a emotional episode...she's never done anything like that before and I hope she won't do it again as it was so hard on both of us.  She was upset and nothing I did seemed to help, but thankfully it only lasted about an hour.

 The doctor watched the little video and said that she definitely has sleep apnea problems, especially when ill.  She made a referal for Esther to see an ENT at Children's Hospital in Seattle and we also talked about monitoring her oxygen during the night while she was sick.   Just that morning a friend had offered to give me her puls-ox machine, so we were all set to make use of that!  Her oxygen levels were fine after that, but I'm hanging onto the puls-ox machine for now.

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Esther's day at Children's went exceptionally well.  She had two appointments that day - cardiology (I'll blog about that one once we get the final results, but so far so good), and then ENT.  It was determined that her tonsils and adenoids are enlarged when she is healthy, and this is very common in children with Down Syndrome - their tonsils and adenoids are normal size or enlarged, while their airways are small.  The ENT explained that children's tonsils and adenoids grow faster than the airway until they are around 11 years old, so that any child with problems much before that time, the problem will only get worse.

So Esther is now scheduled for surgery on January 7.  We covet your prayers for this in two ways - that she will be healthy in the weeks leading up to the surgery (we are keeping her home from here on out - I don't want her to get another upper respiratory illness and have another night like we had), and that she won't experience any of the common complications that children with Down Syndrome usually experience with this surgery (pneumonia, inability to eat/drink for days, dehydration and others).  Thank you in advance for your prayers!

Now to better news!  Esther got to go to the zoo for the first time - and she loved every minute of it! The otters and penguins really put on a show for her, and she really enjoyed their antics!

Esther turned 4 on September 20 - can you believe it???

Esther is learning new words, and putting words together to make sentences - like "close the door"  and "cookies please"!  She is also learning to take off her clothes, and she tries to put them on too.  This is especially funny when she tries to put on her siblings clothes (and a little embarrassing at times when she selects undergarments!).

She also loves to help with laundry, especially sorting diapers and soakers.  She loves to read books, and points to pictures and says the words if she know them.  She will also point to pictures if you ask her where something is!

But above all, her favorite thing is playing with her dollies.  She loves to play momma, but her favorite thing is to have her dollies hug and kiss, or dance together!

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