On Monday morning, I took Lexi and all the boys to the International Adoption Clinic at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. After briefly getting lost in the parking garage, we arrived at the check in desk at 10:30 a.m. You don't even talk to a person to check in because there is a computer screen for you to type in the patient's name and birthdate. It finds the appointment, says it will let the front desk know you have arrived and then tells you to have a seat. Interesting.
I was amazed at how full the waiting room was, but they got us in quickly and even had enough seats for the boys in the exam room. They took her vitals, weight, height, head circumference, etc. The blood pressure machine had the cutest little cuff to fit her arm. (I know, it's the little things that impress me.) The nurse stuck her with a needle for the TB test, but she didn't even cry. Lexi was kind enough to provide the doctor with a stool sample so it could be checked for parasites commonly found in the water in European countries.
Then, we moved to a slightly larger room with toys and met with the Occupational Therapist and the Pediatrician. The OT played with Lexi and evaluated her motor skills while the pediatrician asked me questions. The boys kept busy (and kinda out of the way) by coloring pictures for me and playing a matching game with cards. I offered a small reward to the boy who drew the best picture of our family. Nothing like a little competition to keep them occupied.
The OT was pleased with Lexi's ability to perform tasks and her strength and dexterity. She said Lexi was only a couple of months delayed (mainly since she is still not completely stable when she walks) and that she should catch up very quickly. I was not surprised to hear this because we've seen it for ourselves since Lexi has been home. However, from this summer when we met her, I originally expected her to have about a six month delay. So that was really good news!
The pediatrician was great too. She answered all of my questions and gave us a few suggestions about feeding. I mentioned that since Lexi was sleeping so good at night and nap time that we would probably go ahead and move her to own room. The Dr. said if we plan on moving her out of our room, we should do it sooner rather than later. She also said we should encourage Lexi to start letting us know when she wakes in the morning or from a nap and let know that it's okay. Currently, Lexi will play quietly and wait for someone to see that she is awake. Of course she is thrilled when we get her up and smiles and laughs! While this may sound nice, it is really a hold over from the baby home where she learned that no one will respond if she woke up earlier than the "scheduled" time so there was no point in making noise. That's not normal. So, now when I put her down for a nap, I set the timer for 1 and 1/2 hours to start checking on her. I don't want to encourage her to cry, but to at least call out for us.
Alexis is 29 inches, 24 lbs, and her head is 46.6 cm. (18.3'). That puts her around the 8th percentile for height, 55 percentile for weight, and 55 percentile for head circumference. Not too shabby, considering that she spent the first 14 months of her life in an institution. What I found amazing is that she has gained 4whole pounds and grown 1/2 an inch since the US Embassy Dr. Appt in Moscow on December 8th. She really IS growing right before our eyes. No wonder her clothes are becoming too small already. I was beginning to wonder if I washed them in hot water and caused them to shrink. Interestingly enough, she outweighs all of my boys when they were 15 months old and her head is the same size as Garrett's at that age.
The pediatrician said Lexi is petite, but that's normal since she was born at 36 weeks and weighed in at only 5.6 lbs. Overall, Lexi is growing well and the Dr. didn't have any concerns about development at all. She did not see any signs of FAS/FAE. We understand there are no quarentees we won't discover symptoms down the road, but we are very optimistic about her future. (That's not to say the FAS/FAE would be so terrible. It's just something to be on the look out for so we can make sure she reaches her fullest potential.)
Well, that was the easy part of the appointment. Then came time to draw blood. SEVEN vials of blood. To say this was horrible is a terrible understatement. I don't know if the nurse was new at this (she didn't really seem to be) or if Lexi's veins were really, really hard to find (much more likely) but it took forever to get as much blood as they needed from her arm. I thought it was bad in Russia when the nurse at Dr. Boris' office stuck the needle in her arm and then rooted it around until it struck a vein. But this time was much worse. The nurse found a vein on the first try, but then it rolled away (or something to that effect) and stopped giving any blood. The tourniquet came untied and the assistant nurse had stepped out of the room to get more vials so she wasn't there to help tie it back. We almost had to ask Preston to come tie it, but it was no use and Lexi was screaming her poor little head off. That ordeal resulted in one single vial of blood.
The nurse decided to try the other arm. Same problem, but at least a little blood was coming out. It took 15 minutes to get only 2 vials of blood. Obviously that wasn't working. So out comes the needle. The nurse was clearly very shaken and felt terrible that Lexi was screaming so hard. She didn't want to try again. I, on the other hand, did NOT want to have to go through this again. Fighting back tears of my own, I said please try to get what you need now and don't make us have to come back. So she went back to the other arm. This time she got the vein just right and filled the remainder of the vials quickly. Whew! Lexi had so many Band-Aids and cotton balls on her arms that we could barely pull down her sleeves. For the record, I NEVER WANT TO HAVE TO PUT HER THROUGH THAT AGAIN!
On the way out of the hospital we stopped on the first floor to play with the neat train display (something the boys enjoy every time we go there) and then checked out the gift shop and pharmacy. I got Lexi some Children's Tylenol to ease her discomfort.
In the gift shop, I let Garrett pick out his small prize for winning the family picture contest. He was so sweet and picked out a little furry pink monkey for Lexi. He said she was the one who really deserved a prize. Under that tough guy act, Garrett has such a gracious heart.
We pulled out of the parking garage (after making a couple more wrong turns) at 1:38 p.m. Because the boys were so good and we were all starving, I took them to Chucky Cheese's. We were one of two families there for about over an hour. That's the ONLY way I can handle CC's. Lexi slept through it all and woke up just in time to head home. She finished her nap on the way home.
We went to our local Pediatrician today for Lexi's 15 month check-up and to let her read TB test. (It was negative.) No needles were involved in today's visit. While we were in the patient room, Martin called and said that Vandy already had her blood test results back. Everything checked out fine!
Both doctor visits confirmed what we already knew... we have one happy and healthy baby girl! Praise God!