Having a child with special needs often means lots of extra face time with doctors. In particular, having T21 lends itself to seeing both the pediatrician and specialists frequently, at least in the first couple of years of life.
Today, thankfully, was just a well-child visit to the pediatrician's office for Levi. He had his four-month checkup and it went very well. I informed his pediatrician that we've started working with solid foods and that we're switching Levi's supplementation from Poly-Vi-Sol/Zinc/B12 to the Nutrivene D product. She was fine with that. Levi hasn't indicated any problems as a result of starting off with sweet potatoes instead of rice cereal and so it seems we're on the right track there as well.
People with T21 often have additional challenges with eating and speaking because they frequently have high palates in their mouths, smaller mouths and/or larger tongues. I inquired with the doctor about Levi's mouth and she confirmed my thoughts that he doesn't seem to present with any of these issues. I think that's great news because it may mean that eating food may be less challenging and that the actual articulation of speech may be a little easier for him than we had initially thought. In the end, only time will tell, but it was good news nonetheless.
I did express some concern about Levi's substantial weight gain vs. his minimal growth lengthwise. I know that kids with T21 can be predisposed to hypothyroidism as they grow because their thyroid often can't keep up with their growth. We also have a family history of thyroid disease and so it's even more important to me that we stay ahead of any problem that might develop. Talking to his pediatrician, we agreed that although not absolutely necessary, it would not be a problem to check Levi's thyroid levels now rather than waiting for his 6 month appointment. Typically, they will only check two hormone levels in a test for hypothyroidism - the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4 levels. If both numbers are normal, then it is presumed that no thyroid disease is present. However, there is another test which indicates if thyroid antibodies are present. If so, then even though his hormone levels are currently normal, antibodies would indicate that he is in the process of developing hypothyroidism and so we'd want to check his levels more frequently. Thankfully, if Levi does develop thyroid disease, the fix is pretty easy. A simple pill, which can be crushed, is all he'll need to compensate.
The blood draw was not fun to watch (or participate in, I'm sure), but Levi survived and thankfully it was over in less than 2 minutes. Unfortunately, I think it's only going to get worse as he gets older (and stronger), until he's old enough to understand that remaining calm and sitting still is going to help him.
We're also vaccinating on a delayed schedule, so Levi only got half his vaccines this month and will get the rest next month. And no flu shot yet - that will be at his 6 month checkup.
Everything else was great! His stats were as follows:
Weight: 15 lbs, 14 ounces (67th percentile)
Length: 24.5 inches (33rd percentile)
Head Circumference: 16 inches (13th percentile)
These percentiles are all pretty consistent with his last visit, except the length - I think he may have been "overmeasured" last time in the length. The medical assistants aren't always the most precise when it comes to wriggly little babies!
Aside from the vaccines he'll be getting next month, we have followups with specialists to look forward to. We should be seeing the opthomologist in December and the cardiologist sometime in March. Hopefully nothing else develops in the meantime.
And since tonight is Trick Or Treat night here in our township, here's a picture of Levi modeling his costume. Unfortunately, temps have plummeted and it's rainy so the little boys may not be trick or treating with the big kids, but at least his costume gets to double as a sleeper until he grows out of it!