I took the day off on Thursday for Ella's 9-month check-up and a dermatologist check-up for myself (you can never be too safe in Arizona). Ella's regular pediatrician wasn't available this time because she is currently working night for July (the pediatrician clinic is part of the university-affiliated teaching hospital--which, as an educator, I really enjoy and appreciate). She was initially seen by just a medical student for the initial exam, and we were then joined by the attending physician...who asked if anyone had ever told us that Ella had a heart murmur. What?! No! After I got over the immediate freak-out-but-try-to-look-calm moment, she kindly assured me that it's really mild and it's just something they'll note. She helped the med student listen for it, and it was fascinating to see the light bulb go off in his head as he picked up the little variance in the pattern of Ella's heart (the educator coming out again). I sent a text with the diagnosis--Peripheral Pulmonic Stenosis--to my very dear friend, who wrote back "hahaha....it means she has loud arteries...there's nothing wrong with her heart". In layman's terms, Ella's arteries are on the narrow side, so they are a bit louder as blood rushes through--just like a thin hose compared to a fat hose.
Other than that, Ella is doing great. At 29 inches and 18 pounds, 2 ounces, she's a long, lean baby. The didn't give me exact percentiles (nor do I feel like I need them), but she's at the top of the growth chart for height, and just below the average for head circumference and weight. They were pleased that we're trying to read to her as much as possible (some days more than others) and that she's proficiently crawling. She hasn't said any true words yet, but she'll repeat sounds back for us and babble away to herself, so I'm hoping it's just a matter of time before the words start coming out.
She's so much fun and she's such an amazing blessing in our lives. I took her 40 week picture the other morning, and it dawned on me that she has now been with us on the outside for just as long as she was with me on the inside. As wonderful as it was to be pregnant with her, it's even better to hold her and kiss her and love her and watch her grow.
Today's blessing is seeing the desert come back to life after the big monsoon rains that we got this week. All of a sudden, everything is bright green again! It's absolutely beautiful! God knows that our state needs the rain after the fires, and He's come through.