Nathaniel and Nikolina, Californians by birth, are the children of our son, Shane, and his wife, Lemony. Nathaniel looks like an inverted version of his father as a child. Shane was a blue-eyed blond with wispy hair. Nathaniel, being the product of an Anglo and Latina union, has the same general features but in the darker tones of the Latino community -- dark brown eyes and black hair. (There is also Native American blood on both sides of the family, even in light-complected Shane, and that comes out in the children, too.) Nikolina, to me, is the spitting image of her mother.
Nathaniel was unexpected, much wanted, and anxiously awaited. With defective genes floating throughout the family, there was a strong possibility that he might have spina bifida or some other x-chromosome related defect. He did not. However, the later sonograms showed that he did have hydronephrosis (swollen kidney), which apparently stemmed from a kink in one of the ureters. As a result, he had to wear a bag, into which the urine from that kidney was drained, for the first year of his life, until he was old enough for surgery. Surgery turned out to be five operations, all of them done at the University of California at San Francisco Hospital. Today, Nathaniel is a normal, active second-grader and inveterate butterfly catcher.
Nikolina is our latest miracle baby. I have posted much about her at the Blest Atheist website, and those posts are listed below. Having OEIS Complex, she was born essentially disassembled -- body open from waist down and organs in the wrong place, missing, or split in two. Her intestines were in an external sac (Shane and Lemony knew about the intestines, but nothing more, before the birth; all the rest was a surprise). Blood tests show her spleen to be functioning, but doctors have not yet been able to locate it. She also has spina bifida, like Noelle and Shura. Her latest checkup (September 2009) shows one more surgery needed (besides the ones already planned): hip dysplasia. On a happy note, the doctors are pretty certain that she will be able to walk; she may have a limp or need a small brace, but considering how much was wrong, including her legs having been attached in the wrong place, the ability to walk is indeed a miracle. At her recent hospital visit, the doctor gave her permission to move however she wants, and she immediately sat up! And now she gets to eat food, instead of modified formula. She really likes that!
See posts about Nathaniel and Nikolina.
Photos of Nathaniel and Nikolina, in order:
1. (top) Nathaniel and Nikolina, after Nikolina came home from the hospital
2. (left) Nathaniel and Nikolina, after Nikolina came from from the hospital
3. (right) Nathaniel and Nikolina in the hospital
4. (fourth row left) Nikolina's baby picture taken at the hospital
5. (fourth row right)Nathaniel in Chinatown, San Francisco
6. (fifth row left) Nathaniel laughing
7. (fifth row right) Nikolina laughing
8. (sixth line) coming home from the hospital the first time
9. (seventh line) Nikolina after spinal surgery, showing her typical indomitable spirit
10. (eighth line) our little Stanford gal
11. (9th line) Nikolina at San Francisco Moon Festival in late August
12. (10th line) Nikolina, a bit exposed (the under-clothing view); another Moon Festival picture of Nikolina
13. (11th line) Nathaniel, September 2009
Nathaniel November 2009
pictures of Nikolina from November 2009
2009 Ends on a Jolly Note
It was so wonderful that Nikolina was not in the hospital for Christmas. So may times either Doah or Noelle was that just having everyone here, not there, was a blessing. (Unfortunately, I had a cold and could not participate in the Christmas festivities at Shane's house -- we still have to be careful around Nikolina -- but nonetheless I had a great Christmas, nearly an entire day alone with God, something that I can usually only dream about.)
Here are a couple pictures from the day that I missed. The pictures alone show how well they are doing, especially Nikolina, our little disassembled baby for whom there was "little hope." Look at her now!
Our little girl has fun.
Nathaniel, March 2010
And they keep growing...
(1) Nikolina at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
(2) Nathaniel and Nikolina at home
(3) Nathaniel as Dr. Who for Halloween
(4) Nikolina at a restaurant