This morning we got to make our first “normal” visit to the pediatrician for Harper’s four-month check-up… And yes, it was a bit late, but they tried to give us a little break between appointments! Overall, things went well. Harper is up to 15 lbs 6 1/2 oz, which is keeping her in an average growth range… So we are going to keep her on the higher calorie formula for now. She is 26 1/4 inches long, putting her in a higher percentile for length (don’t know where she gets any height from!). Harper also received her vaccinations, which were nothing after all she’s gone through!
Of course, the biggest concern we’ve had is her development and her head circumference, both of which are still legitimate concerns. Developmentally speaking, she is doing far better than anyone would have predicted. And we know that is a direct result of the healing power of an awesome God! Her therapists have noted that she does still suffer from some low muscle tone in her upper body, some head lag, a slightly weaker right side, and some stumbling in her vision when it comes to tracking in certain areas. Today the doctor voiced concern about her speech development- she thinks that there appears to be a little delay in her sounds, particularly when it comes to laughing and making cooing sounds. Harper makes noise, but she hasn’t started making the types of noises they want her to yet.
Unfortunately, Harper is jumping off the charts with her head growth and size. Her head circumference is steadily increasing at a rapid pace, which is indicative of the fluid in the ventricles of her brain. However, she is not showing any symptoms of pressure on her brain at this point, so the doctor at Duke have decided to just keep watching her until those symptoms start to appear. In the words of the pediatrician, everyone is just “delaying the inevitable”…. A shunt. She said that given Harper’s complex history and her age, another surgery at this stage would be very risky, so the general consensus is to wait as long as possible so that the risks of surgery will (hopefully) decrease. However, should she start to display symptoms of that fluid putting too much pressure on her brain (symptoms such as excessive irritability or vomiting), quicker action will be taken.
We see this as a call to hit our knees in prayer. We’ve seen God work amazing miracles in Harper, and we know He isn’t finished yet. While the doctors may see this as “delaying the inevitable,” we see this as yet another opportunity for God to show off. Please say a prayer that our little fighter will prove these doctors wrong, that the fluid will stop increasing and even begin to decrease, that the remaining cysts in her brain will diminish, and that her brain will start to heal itself. Yes, these are bold prayers, but we serve a mighty and awesome God who hears and answers and offers hope… “And hope does not disappoint…”