It has been wonderful to be home getting used to life as a family of four! We had a vacation week together when Mark was off for Christmas, and felt a real sense of rest and peace for the first time since Matthew's diagnosis last February. It has always felt like something is looming and like we couldn't really settle into home life - but it finally feels like we have had a chance to exhale, and now we can move forward for a bit without counting down to the next big scary thing.
After a lovely family-filled Christmas, Matthew had a full echo-cardiogram and check up with his local cardiologist. She was extremely pleased with the images of his heart and with his growth and development since the last surgery! She cleared us to treat him "like a normal baby," with just normal precautions and some warning signs to watch out for possible cardiac issues. We were thrilled to get the green light for eating solids and sleep training - both of which are going well. (Dude will eat ANYTHING, and slept through the night for the first time this week!)
Matthew has also started his Early Intervention appointments - working on strengthening his gross & fine motor skills after all of the challenges to normal baby development. His therapist is super pleased with where he is at (further ahead than the typical cardiac kid!), and is helping us with some practical exercises and strategies to work on his stamina and strength. We are continually grateful for the medical and social support in Matthew's life!
Going forward, we will continue to see all of Matthew's doctors (and probably a few extras along the way) - but hopefully with less regularity as we get further out from surgery. And unless something goes wrong, we shouldn't have to plan for his next catheterization and surgery until around his 2nd birthday!
An invitation for anyone who is interested: we will be dedicating Matthew as part of our regular church service on Sunday, February 4th, and we would love to have you join us for this special day! (9:30 at Shiloh Community Church) We believe that it's important to publicly commit our children to God's care, and invite our community to join us as we seek to raise them to love and serve God. Our faith and community have carried us through this difficult season, and we would cherish the opportunity to introduce you to either of them!
We continue to be overwhelmed with how many people care about Matthew's health and how our family is doing. Thank you to everyone who has asked for an update or checked in to let us know that you're still praying. We appreciate it more than you could ever know!