We are the Stow Family and this is our story. Our lives are blessed by Love, Joy and Hope. Follow our sometimes interesting stories on loving our two boys, exploring parenthood, and celebrating a little extra - two parents, two boys and an extra chromosome!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Did I say I was ready...?

Ironically, the longer it takes Harlan to arrive, the less 'ready' I feel for his birth!

I have felt many times over the past three weeks that labour was imminent, but each time the signs tapered off into nothing and Harlan has not made his appearance yet...

Because Malakai was born by C-Section, so too must Harlan. Not that I think I could do natural birth, not after my experience with Malakai (12 hours in labour and not a single centimeter dialated... no thank you, too sore!).


As with Malakai, I wanted to go into labour before having the C-Section so that we were certain that Harlan was ready to arrive - in his time. And, there is something special about knowing that Malakai initiated his arrival, and I really wanted the same for Harlan.


I am now in my 40th week and still no Harlan... My doctor will not allow me to go over 40 weeks with a C-Section, so we have one booked for Friday at 4pm (our last possible day), just in case Harlan doesn't arrive on his own before then.


Little Harlan has another day and half to make his own entrance, otherwise, he's going to be pulled out... poor little monkey!

On a sad note, it is our friend Tim's memorial on Friday as well - if Harlan doesn't arrive on his own before then, Darryl and I will be attending the memorial and then making our way to hospital to have our baby a couple of hours later. How funny life can be...

Monday, January 25, 2010

And so a journey ends...

It is with a heavy heart that I write of a friend of ours who passed very suddenly... and with a tragedy that screams through my heart...
Just a week before his wedding to his beloved, Tim died this last Sunday in the early hours. He leaves behind a grieving fiance, a mother who is broken, two brothers and many many friends who will miss him sorely.
I am left thinking, as I am about to bring about a new life, how quickly a life ends. Sometimes there are no warnings, no way to prepare, just an emptiness left behind by a sudden and tragic event.
Tim - you were definitely not a shrinking violet, some even thought that you could only be handled in small doses - such was your energy and vigour. You lived on the edge, you had fun, you enjoyed life so much. You always greeted a friend - and life - with a big hug and kiss.

We will miss you terribly.

The Call - by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I have heard it all my life,
A voice calling a name I recognise as my own.

Sometimes it comes as a soft-bellied whisper.
Sometimes it holds an edge of urgency.

But it always says:
Wake up my love. You are walking asleep.
There's no safety in that!

Remember what you are
and let this knowing take you home to the Beloved with
every breath.

Hold tenderly who you are
and let a deeper knowing colour the shape of your

There is no where to go.

What you are looking for is right here.

Open the fist clenched in wanting and see what you already hold in your hand.

There is no waiting for something to happen, no point in the future to get to.

All you have ever longed for is here in this moment, right now.

You are wearing yourself out with all this searching.

Come home and rest.
How much longer can you live like this?
Your hungry spirit is gaunt, your heart stumbles.
All this trying. Give it up!

Let yourself be one of the God-mad,
faithful only to the beauty you are.

Let the Lover pull you to your feet and hold you close,
dancing even when fear urges you to sit this one out.

Remember - there is one word you are here to say with your whole being.

When it finds you, give your life to it.

Don't be tight-lipped and stingy.

Spend yourself completely on the saying.

Be one word in this great love poem we are writing together.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

one in twenty-five

I thought I should share an interesting bit of information that I got from my Obgyn the other day...
Now, let me first say that my Obgyn, the one who delivered Malakai and who will be delivering Harlan (soon... hopefully...), is someone I just adore! I was so excited to see him again through my second pregnancy and we talk alot - about children with special needs and about life in general.
He shared something really interesting with me the other day. He told me that despite all the technology, the scans, the blood tests, the amnios, and yes... the resultant 'terminations' of babies who are not considered 'perfect'... despite all this, the average rate of a child born with a genetic or other defect sits firmly at 4%. That is one in twenty-five...
They cannot seem to budge this number... and I am taken aback by the poetic nature of... well... nature!
What does this tell me? Well, it confirms that my son is worthy of life. It confirms that all people who are 'differently-abled' are worthy of life.
It confirms that world is a place where a tree with a crooked branch can stand next to a tree that is perfectly manicured and still offer shade, still sway in the breeze and still do a darn good job of being a tree!
The number cannot be changed for a good reason - and I think every mother of a child with special needs can give you one, if not one-hundred, reasons why their child has blessed their life and the lives of those around them.
Just a little bit of interesting information.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Letter From Granny

I've recently renewed contact with a with an ex-colleague whose son has Down syndrome. She sent me photographs of her children and told me "Quintin is turning 24 in June and he is very precious. He was in his school's swimming, soccer and athletics team. He really enjoyed his sports." Here is a wonderful young man who has already gone through so many life experiences that Malakai still faces and I had so many unasked questions - mainly about his schooling and his work/independence.

This prompted the story I tell myself to resurface - hoping that that all the people out there that Malakai comes into contact with will support him as he embraces opportunities does his very best. I suppose I just want everyone to love my awesome little man as much as I do.

Then I ask myself why I am having these thoughts at all? Could it be because I expect Malakai to have difficulties? Could it be because I want Malakai to be treated differently to every other child? Could it be because I want to hold him back from experiencing life? Definitely not! So I have decided not to believe these thoughts because they are not true.

So, I ask myself, what is true? The reality that is right infront of me is true. And, I realise, reality is always kinder than the stories I tell myself! I can't know what the future will bring, and trying to fathom it out is impossible and a waste of precious time. What I do know for sure is that Malakai is awesome and everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is!

The last time I saw Malakai a few weeks ago, he was enjoying playing with his toys, dancing to music, clapping his little hands, having a blast throwing sand in the air with most of it landing in his hair, smiling proudly as he mastered manoeuvring down steps, sharing his toys with his parents, communicating through signs that he was hungry or thirsty or tired, contemplating walking, sleeping like an angel in his Mommy's arms, waving goodbye... Now, what can be better than that?

My heart is swollen with love for Malakai as I remind myself that he is my teacher and he will lead the way as he follows his own life path learning his lessons along the way. And me? I will follow his perfect progress applauding him every step of the way.

Granny Bugs

Monday, January 11, 2010

Malakai's First Steps

Just a quick post to note for prosterity (and to congratulate my little monkey) on taking his first steps today!

After almost a month of standing like a champion, Malakai took his first unaided steps at his first session of physio therapy for 2010 this morning. I had a feeling this might happen, because sometimes it just takes another perspective to show him the 'motor plan' of how something is done.

I didn't expect him to do it again for me at home. Nevertheless, this afternoon when I called to him and asked him to stand and walk to me and he actually did! Two small, but completely awesome and beautiful and inspiring little steps.

The best thing? That he knows he's achieved something. His smile when I grabbed him and kissed him all over said it all. He did it again for Daddy, and I suspect we'll have our hands full very soon!

Well done mister man!

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year New Look

I've updated Malakai's blog design because this will now become Malakai & Harlan's blog... As a family we are growing and changing and so too must the blog that we've used to advocate, educate and share our amazing journey in becoming parents of our amazing Malakai.

I chose the name 'the good life' because that's what I believe we are blessed to live - a very fulfilling and enriching life.

I hope that all those friends I've made in bloggy-land will continue to visit this blog as we welcome Harlan, embark on a new year, and attempt to face our new family dynamic in the way that Malakai has taught us - One Day at a Time...

Hello 2010!

I had this super-long post written, and now I can't seem to cut and paste it to blogger... pretty annoying, but probably for the best, as my posts are becoming quite rambly (is that a word?) lately!

So, I'll just update you all on our Festive Holiday Season by pictures with captions! Much more fun!

As you can see - my belly is growing a bit these days! These pictures were taken when I was about 34 weeks on... It is our little family portrait before little one arrives!

This is mister man helping out in his new garden - yes, the very same garden I wanted done by Christmas... ahem* Well... it's not quite done yet, but it is coming along nicely. I spent this morning pottering around (all 36 weeks of me) and had a complete blast! Photos of the garden completed will be coming soon!

A few days before Christmas we joined our local Ds Association to hand out food packs at a charity organisation that offers assistance to physically and mentally handicapped people. This organisation is run out of old disused shipping containers in a very poor township. We were so glad to be part of this!

Christmas with my family is a very chilled affair... no cooking, no cleaning, no entertaining... My brother-in-law always spoils us to lunch and afterwards we lie in the pool and relax (without a dish to wash!). This year we went to a beautiful hotel that organised the most lavish picnics in their beautiful gardens - Malakai just LOVED exploring and I spent as much time as I could lying on the blanket, just relaxing! Afterward, we swam in the pool and lay in the garden - all very full and very lazy!
Then, just a quick update on Malakai. I cannot believe just how much he's changed the past three weeks! It always seems that when we're on holiday and have lots of time with him, Malakai just blossoms!
On a motor level - Malakai is still not walking yet, but he's standing for longer and longer periods and is still cruising along everything. He's crawling with his bum in the air, legs completely straight and man can he move! He's obsessed with the toilets and toilet paper... He's also learned how to go down stairs and get off the couch backwards - he learned it amazingly fast one day he was diving head first and the next he was turning around. Malakai is also dancing - it is a the cutest friggen thing I've ever seen!
On a fine motor level - Malakai is now using his pointing finger and pushing buttons. This took a long time for him to master - I've been showing him for months. But it's like the light just went on and now he loves pushing buttons and making his toys make music! He's also showing an interest for the very first time to put shapes in the shape sorter - before he only wanted to throw the shapes as far as possible, and now he understands that he needs to put the shape in the hole!
On a communicative level - Malakai understands so much more than I think we even realise. He follows instruction and has started to give us things when we say 'ta'. He's playing peekaboo (he even hides himself away!). He's signing eat, sleep, and more. He's verbalising so much more than a few weeks ago and is saying 'ma ma' and 'ba ba', but I am not sure he's actually saying it in context yet... I think he's really understanding so much more, and the other day, when a show called 'Boogie BeBees' came on (a dancing show for toddlers), their theme song goes 'dance, dance, dance...' and there is is, shaking his little booty in front of the TV!
Teeth - yes... because they deserve their own paragraph! Malakai has been teething for what seems to be 40 years now! We have a full set of teeth on top and on ONE SIDE at the bottom... we are working on the second side on the bottom and then we're done (I hope and pray)! Add to this a bought of tonsillitis and fevers and you can imagine - I was so sleep deprived for 5 days that I didn't know what to do with myself! Things are better now though, and Malakai is sleeping through again... thank goodness!
As for myself - I'm officially on maternity leave and waiting for Harlan (yes, that is baby number 2's chosen name) to arrive. At my checkup today we discovered that Harlan is weighing in at 3.1kgs (huge!) and I have another 2 or so weeks to go. I am incredibly uncomfortable, but I am also relishing in the relative calm before the storm (so to speak)... So I'm napping every afternoon and generally having myself a fabulous time!
Ok, so my 'short' post morphed into a rather long one! Sorry! I will endeavour to update my blog more often, and hopefully will be able to keep my posts shorter...
Here's to a fantastic 2010 - it can only be amazing!