Our little girl turned 18 months and to celebrate she got to go to the cardiologist and developmental clinic and has a pediatrician appointment on Thursday! Yay!
First the bad news. We saw Helena's cardiologist on Monday, and while her cardiac functions are great, the artificial valve they put in her heart is starting to leak. This is not uncommon, and unfortunately there's no real way of knowing if she'll develop a leak when they put it in. Some kids do great and can keep the same valve for years and years without issue, and others (like Helena) will need her valve replaced sooner than we had hoped. We go back to her cardiologist in three months, and he'll do another echo (which was super fun - "Ok 18 month old squirmy baby who hates being restrained, you have to hold still while we put this weird gel on you and move this wand all over your chest, be good!") and we'll monitor the leakage to determine when we will need to replace the valve. It's not the best news, but she is still doing great and thriving despite this setback.
The good news is that she's finally walking! She took her first real steps about two weeks ago, and has just taken off since then. She's wobbling down the hallway, and doing her best to keep up with her brothers.
The other good news is that we got a great report card from developmental clinic. Helena has exploded developmentally, and while she is still somewhat behind on speech and gross motor skills she is scoring ahead on cognitive and fine motor skills. Her weekly team of therapists all agree that while she is behind, there is no reason she will not catch up and be completely on track, sooner rather than later. She's not really speaking yet, but she is a baby sign language pro and in the developmental world it is not uncommon for speech to come after all the motor skills. She's on 18 months, and her brain can only process so much growth and change at once - she's hyper focused on the physical development right now that she's letting the verbal go for the moment. As she becomes a better walker, we expect a verbal explosion much like the physical one we've seen so far.
For perspective, she scored 8 months old on her fine motor skills at her one year developmental clinic and at her 18 month appointment she scored 20 months. For her cognitive play skills, she scored 10 months at her 12 month appointment and 19 months now. She's developed much more than 6 months in age in 6 months of time.
What is also great news is that Helena is doing wonderful with gaining weight and growing. She's in the 45th percentile for both height and weight, which is amazing considering at her 6 month developmental clinic she was in the 6th percentile for weight. in a year she's come so much, and is finally healthy and growing appropriately for her age.
She's come so far, we're so proud of her for all her hard work and progress. And we're so proud of our boys who adore their sister and love to "help" with her therapies and want the best for her.