Saturday, December 30, 2006

Video Montage

Here are three video montages that I found and enjoyed.

I like the words to the song that accompanies this one.
A Life Worth Living

This one shares one father's feelings about having a child with Down Syndrome.
Down with Gabriel

This last one is pretty long. It has lots of pictures of children.
D is for Down Syndrome

Apologies to all of you dial-up folks.

Occupational Therapy

Meet Wade's occupational therapist, April Evans. She came out to the house on Thursday for another session with Wade. She thought he had progressed a lot since the last time she was here. His muscle weakness is mild and she thought he seemed on target with the rest of his development.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Family Photos

"Mother & Child" - Especially for Mary

Wade has found his thumb

Wade & Christopher

Supper time

Christmas with the Strite Family

Wade sleeping with doggie

Wade, Grandpa, Cousin Jenna

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wade's Update

Wade converses with Cecily G.

We have been waiting to hear from Wade's ENT doctor regarding his upcoming hearing test. Dr. Vickery did call recently and told us that he had been in contact with the audiologist at University who will be performing the test, and they were in agreement that Wade would have to be sedated in order to do the test. They generally don't like to give infants anesthesia unless absolutely necessary. Dr. Vickery's advice was to wait until Wade was 5 or 6 months old to lessen the risks of the anesthesia.

The procedure is scheduled to be done soon after Valentine's Day.

Wade also has a problem with silent reflux. Along with that, he makes these funny squeaking noises during and after nursing. When he is sedated for the brainstem hearing test, they will also look down his throat to evaluate what is going on with his esophagus and voice box.

One of his therapists recommended that we have Wade's eyes checked also while he is sedated. She said two of her Down's children had to be sedated in order to have their eyes checked at 6 months of age. I am waiting to hear back from Wade's ophthamologist to see if he wants to do that or not.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Dogs in Town

In a recent post, No Dogs = Deer, I spoke of the demise of our two dogs.

I thought about getting some puppies from the pound, but after finding out the cost would be $80 - $120 each, I gave up on that idea. I found someone with a litter of mixed Lab pups that we could buy for free. I brought two of them home. Karen doesn't think they are as cute as the others we had, but is willing to adopt them as long as they perform their job of keeping the deer chased away.

Gus & Sam

I named the black one Gus. When we were deciding on a name for Wade, I wanted to call him "Gus". That would be short for "Augustus George". You know, since we live in Augusta, Georgia. Karen didn't think that was nearly as cute as what I did. So now I have a dog named "Gus".

Sam & Gus are also the names of two characters in one of Christopher's favorite books.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Randall's 8th B-Day

We let Randall invite his friend, Randy Heatwole to come home from school and spend the night. Randall is 12 days older than Randy. They are 2 1/2 cousins. We went to Pizza Hut for supper, then came home and had birthday cake.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Recent Photos

The Strite family got together last Sunday afternoon and took some pictures.

Somebody cracks a joke

Dad, Mom & the grandkids

Wade has been smiling a lot

Karen's sister & family from Ohio are here for Thanksgiving. We took a canal boat tour up the Augusta Canal in a 65' electric boat. Was quite interesting.

Captain Christopher

Left to Right - Some unknown lady, Kay Wren Point, Randall Strite, Alan, Betty, & John Point

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wade Got Shot!

Three times! Poor boy!
On Monday we took Wade to see his pediatrician. It was just his normal 2-month checkup. I was impressed by the nurse who gave him his shots. She got all 3 syringes lined up, band-aids ready, told Karen to hold him down, and wham, wham, wham she was finished! I honestly think it only took 3 or 4 seconds from start to finish.
No. The third shot was not in his belly button. Dr. Jones just put some silver nitrate on his belly.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What is Down Syndrome

What are chromosomes?
Our chromosomes contain the genetic code which controls and instructs cell division, growth, and function. They are the structures inside the nucleus of living cells that contain hereditary information. A person normally has 46 chromosomes, 23 inherited from each parent. Every person has a unique genetic code (with the exception of identical twins). It is this uniqueness which makes the physical appearance of each person different.

How do we get our chromosomes?Our chromosomes are given to us by our parents. Each parent gives us 23 chromosomes which come from the egg and sperm cells. When they combine, they produce a cell with 46 chromosomes. This cell then divides, the result being that every cell contains identical
genetic material.

What is Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is caused by a person having three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two copies. This is why Down syndrome is also referred to by the name Trisomy 21. Instead of a pair of chromosomes, as is found in all the other chromosomes, number 21 includes three chromosomes. It is important to understand that all of the chromosomes of this person are normal. It is the fact that there is an extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome. Every cell in a person with Down syndrome will contain 47 chromosomes (with the exception of Mosaic Down syndrome which is discussed below) instead of 46 chromosomes. There are many theories about how the extra chromosome causes the effects of Down syndrome but little is currently known. Research, however, is continuing and a breakthrough may provide possible treatments to lessen the effects.
How does this happen?
During cell division to create a germ cell (either sperm or egg), a cell containing 46 chromosomes divides into two germ cells each containing 23 chromosomes. Sometimes this division does not happen properly and one cell may contain 22 chromosomes and the other may contain 24 chromosomes. This can happen if the chromosomes do not properly separate and instead "stick together." This is called nondisjunction because the chromosomes have failed to disjoin or split-up. 75% of the time it is the egg cell which carries the additional chromosomal material, 25% of the time it is the sperm cell. If the cell containing 24 chromosomes combines with a cell containing 23 chromosomes, the new cell will contain 47 chromosomes instead of 46. If the trisomy is chromosome 21, the person will have Down syndrome. Other conditions arise if the duplicated chromosome is a different chromosome. If the trisomy is chromosome 13, the person will have Patau's syndrome. If the trisomy is chromosome 18, the person will have Edward's syndrome. These conditions are rarer than Down syndrome and have their own characteristics which are different than Down syndrome.

Are there different types of Down syndrome?
There are three different types of Down syndrome: Standard Trisomy 21, Translocation, and Mosaicism.
Standard Trisomy 21 is when the extra chromosome 21 comes from either the egg or sperm cell. Between 90% and 95% of all Down syndrome is Standard Trisomy 21.
Translocation is caused when a piece of chromosome 21 is located on another chromosome such as chromosome 14. The person with Translocation Trisomy 21 will have 46 chromosomes but will have the genetic material of 47 chromosomes. The person with Translocation Trisomy 21 will exhibit all the same characteristics of a person with Standard Trisomy 21 since they have three copies of chromosome 21. Translocation occurs between 3% and 5% of cases of Down syndrome.
Mosaicism is when a person has a mix of cells, some containing 46 chromosomes and some containing 47 chromosomes. This occurs either because: a) The person received 46 chromosomes at fertilization but somewhere during early cell division the chromosome 21 cell pairs failed to split creating a cell with 47 chromosomes and a cell with 45 chromosomes. The cell with 45 chromosomes can not survive but the cell with 47 chromosomes will continue to divide. All cells that come from this cell will contain 47 chromosomes. b) The person received 47 chromosomes at fertilization but later during cell division the extra chromosome is lost. Mosaicism occurs in 2% to 5% of cases of Down syndrome. A person with Mosaic Down syndrome may exhibit all, some, or none of the characteristics of Down syndrome depending on the percent of cells carrying the extra chromosome and where these cells are located.
I copied all of the above from
Wade does have Trisomy 21.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No Dogs = Deer

These two deer were about 20 feet behind our house

These two puppies were dropped off at our rental property last year

One of our dogs just disappeared several months ago and then several weeks ago the second dog made a life altering decision to explore the state highway near our house.

We liked our two small dogs because they did such a good job of keeping the deer out of our garden. Now the deer feel free to come right up behind the house and snack on our winter ryegrass.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More Hearing Tests

Today we took Wade back to his EN&T specialist, Dr. Vickery. Since our last visit, Wade has been on a round of antibiotics to try to clear up the fluid that was in his ears. It must have worked because Dr. Vickery said he couldn't see any fluid.

They tested each ear three times. The last time that was done, the tests showed normal hearing at certain frequencies but not at others. This time they said the tests were all varied and showing different results with each test.

Dr. Vickery is going to send us back to University Hospital Hearing Center where they have the capability to perform a more advanced test called a "BERA".

Brainstem evoked response audiometry (BERA or ABR) involves sophisticated, computerized equipment. Sounds are placed in the ear, and the brainstem's response is recorded from electrodes (similar to electrocardiogram electrodes) that are taped to the patient's head. This testing is extremely helpful in:
Distinguishing sensory (inner ear) from neural (nerve) causes of hearing loss
Helping to localize problems in the brainstem auditory pathway
Determining the ability to hear soft sounds, in selected cases

To do this test, the baby has to be sleeping soundly. If the baby cannot be tested while asleep, then he must be sedated with oral medicine or in some cases even anesthesia. We will probably make an attempt at scheduling Wade's appointment at naptime, but we don't have much faith in his ability to sleep through the test. He doesn't like having objects inserted in his ears.

Wade has really started smiling at us this week, although I haven't been able to catch it with the camera yet.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Southern Mennonite Fellowship Meetings

Where I spent the entire weekend

Dr. Laverne Miller expounded on various medical issues

This past weekend we were at Hartwell, GA for the annual Southern Mennonite Fellowship Meetings. For the last 7 years, I have been taking my sound and recording gear up and taking care of the live sound as well as recording and selling tapes and CDs of the messages.

Hartwell is about 2 hrs. northwest of here. We went up Friday at noon. I spent all afternoon setting up my equipment in time for the first evening session. Then 3 sessions on Sat with a terrific barbequed pork supper, followed by 2 more sessions on Sunday. Then I packed up my stuff and we got home about 7PM Sunday evening.

A very enjoyable weekend. We enjoyed seeing friends from all over the southeast that we don't get to see very often.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Babies Can't Wait

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), is a national law that works to improve results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

President Bush signed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, which reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), on December 3, 2004.

Babies Can't Wait (BCW) is Georgia's statewide interagency service delivery system for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities and their families.

When Wade was 1 month old, we had our first meeting with someone from the BCW program. A lady came out to the house and started what they call the "Intake Process". Basically just asked a lot of questions about how Wade was doing and discussed with us what all the BCW program involved.

BCW works with children from birth through 3 years of age. Early intervention programs can take many different forms and can include a wide variety of services and professionals, depending on the child’s needs.

Today we were visited by 2 ladies from BCW. One was an Occupational Therapist, the other was an Infant Educator. They held & played with Wade to evaluate how well he is doing in various areas such as muscle tone, orthopedics, eye tracking, etc. They felt like he is doing quite well and is not exhibiting a lot of the troublesome symptoms that are quite common with Down Syndrome.

One problem area with a lot of people with Down Syndrome is an overall low muscle tone and increased looseness of the ligaments between the bones. This often leads to orthopedic problems after infancy.

Wade seems to have good strong muscles. He kicks and pushes hard with his feet. Squeezes tight with his fingers, and he is feeding good and sucks well on his pacifier. These are all great signs.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Christopher's 3rd Birthday

Wade snuggling with a gift someone gave him today.

Wade sitting in a chair we bought with some gift cards that were given us

The day after we found out that Wade had Down Syndrome, Randall got hit in the head by a swing. This is what he looked like after we spent 2 hrs at the emergency room. They put 3 staples in to hold his scalp together. We were beginning to wonder what was going to happen next.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Wedding Story

Here is an account that I found of one of the few instances of a person with Down's getting married. In this case, both had Down's. I found it interesting to see how capable they were at functioning in society.

"Shauna and I are married and we are very happy. We have a dog named Pal who lives with us in an apartment in our parents' basement. We both have brothers and sisters, but we live by ourselves with Pal. We are so happy now, and I have a beautiful wife. We believe in eternal marriage."

"A long time ago, I helped my Dad on his farm. Sometimes I drove the tractor, just like my brothers. Sometimes we made mistakes. Then we did not make the mistakes again. Five years ago I got my driver's license. I drive my Pontiac to work at J. C. Penney's. I have worked the more than 20 years. I am a good worker, I am a good driver, too."

"We learned about independent living through the Arc. We plan our own meals. We cook our own food. We like to find new recipes. Sometimes we buy frozen dinners. We like light desserts and low fat food. I weighed 197 pounds when we met. When we decided to date, I did not eat so much with my roommate. I weighed 158 pounds when we got married."

"Shauna does the laundry on Tuesdays. She irons our clothes when I am at work at Penney's. We help each other keep the house clean all week. Saturday is our cleaning day."

"I play the organ. Shauna plays the piano by heart. She is learning to read music too. We have music lessons on Friday. On Monday and Wednesday we go to Dixie College for evening classes. We like the computer too."

"We drive to the bank to deposit my check when I am paid on Friday. Then we drive to the store to do our shopping. We know how to use our checkbook. We are careful with our money because we are building our new home. My Dad helps us with that."

"Doctors said I would never walk or talk. People said I could never learn. They said I could never read. And some people still say people with a disability cannot be married. Me I think sometimes people are wrong."

"Marriage is not for everybody. It was right for us. People used to take care of us. Now we take care of each other. Shauna's family is my family. My family is Shauna's family. But now we are our own family. We like it that way. It is a lot of work, but it's worth it. Our families always there when we need help."

"Our most important message is: Do what is right. If it is important, never give it up. Go for it!"

Heart Checkup

Today we took Wade to see Dr. Henry Wiles at MCG's Pediatric Cardiology Center. They did an EKG, an echocardiagram, and poked, prodded & listened, then pronounced him to have a perfectly normal heart. Praise the Lord! We are so happy!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hearing Checkup

Wade is getting chubby

We took Wade to his appointment with the Ear, Nose & Throat doctor today. They did several more electronic tests and checked for fluid in his ears. They did find fluid in his ears, so the doctor prescribed antibiotics to try to clear that up. The hearing tests revealed that he can at least hear certain frequencies at a normal level in his left ear. The right ear wasn't quite as good but did get normal readings from some higher frequencies.

The doctor said that until we can get the fluid cleared up, the hearing tests will not be real accurate. We are to go back again in 3 weeks.

Basically, we felt encouraged by the report and hope to find more positive results when we go back next time.

Monday, October 23, 2006



byEmily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Medical Update

Wade with Randall & Christopher

4 days old – We took Wade to an audiologist to have his hearing tested. He had failed the initial test at the hospital when he was born. He failed this test as well. The audiologist wants us to bring him back when he is a month old. At this point we have not found out about the Down’s diagnosis.

8 days old – Wade visits Dr. Jones (pediatrician). Blood is drawn for testing. Dr. Jones discusses some of the implications of Down Syndrome with us.

10 days old – We take Wade to a pediatric ophtamologist. He doesn’t see anything wrong. Wants us to bring him back when he is 6 months old. I think Wade is the youngest patient this Dr. has ever seen. He acted like he wasn’t sure what to do with a baby that young.

2 weeks old – Visited pediatrician again to check weight gain. Wade is slightly under his birth weight. More blood is drawn for testing. Someone let the last batch set out too long.

3 weeks old – Went to visit Dr. Flannery at MCG’s Childrens Medical Center. He is a genetics doctor. He and his assistant, Carolyn Lovell were both exceedingly helpful in talking with us about Downs, telling us what to expect, and answering all of our questions.

3 weeks old – Went back to pediatrician. Wade is gaining weight just fine. He has passed his birth weight.

1 month old – Back to the audiologist for a third hearing test. This is a basic electronic test that is done on all infants at the hospital when they are born. Wade does not pass it this time either. Somewhere between 40 – 60% of Down’s children have some hearing loss. The ear and ear canal tends to be smaller in these children, which increases the chances of problems. Our next step is to take Wade to an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist for further testing and evaluation.

This coming week we have an appointment with the EN&T doctor on Wednesday. On Thursday we have an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist at MCG for a heart checkup. Approx. 50% of Down’s children are born with heart defects. The doctors who have listened to Wade’s heart have said that they do not hear any problems. Pray with us that his heart will check out normal.


I have decided that this would be the easiest way to keep family & friends updated on the things we are discovering about our son, Wade. Of course Wade is not alone in this world, hence the name of this blog – "4 GUYS & A LADY".

Wade Michael was born Sept. 18, 2006 to two very proud parents and two excited big brothers. When Dr. Jones (pediatrician) examined Wade that first day in the hospital, he told us that Wade exhibited several physical signs that pointed to Down Syndrome. He said that he really didn’t think Wade had Down’s, but wanted to do testing to find out for sure. Exactly one week later, we received a phone call telling us that Wade did have Down Syndrome.

Now nearly one month later, we have gotten over our initial feelings of shock, disappointment, sadness, & other emotions. Wade is a wonderful little boy, and we are experiencing all of the normal joys of having a new baby in the house. We are resting in the knowledge that God has a special plan for our family, and are excited about finding out what all he has in store for us.

In later posts, I will be giving more details about some of the doctor’s visits we have had and those to come. I will also be posting some of the things we have learned and are learning about Down Syndrome. I invite your thoughts, comments, & prayers as we travel this road together. We are so thankful for family & friends who have shown us in so many ways, how much they care.

-- "The Biggest Guy"