Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Halloween X-Ray and more PT

Hello friends and Team Lucy fans! :-)
Just got back from yet another awesome therapy session.  Would you believe it is STILL close to 100 degrees here?!  It's supposed to drop down in the mid to low 90's soon, but MAN!  It's HOT!  
We did half of therapy today indoors, and half outdoors.  Thank goodness for shade!
Lucy is really turning into a little wild woman!  It was hard in the PT indoor room since there are other kids there doing their therapy, and here is Lucy... stealing their toys, running around and laughing... You can't hold her down now... ha!
We did a lot of work with an exercise ball.  A big one... She would have L lay on her side, back and front, and hold her by the legs and roll her on the ball.  WEEE!  Lucy was flying on that ball!  Natural instinct would have you put your hands down on when you see the floor approaching, and Lucy did!  Hilary said it is really stretching her out, and it's working her core and back, as if she is doing baby sit ups.  Laying on her side on the ball was awesome, since she had to flip herself back over to a sitting position if she wanted to sing the 'bouncy ball' song... I have a ball like that at home... brand new.  Bought it thinking I would exercise.  HA!  YAH RIGHT!  So it's going to perfect for Lucy... see, I knew it would come in handy at some point.
Another thing we were told to keep up at home is her carrying something in front of her while walking.  Lucy, being a new walker, loves to hold her arms out to the sides for balance.  If we give her something to hold, she brings the item and her arms to her chest, which helps balance.  We bought a small fan the other day, and the box is just perfect... Funny how a box can entertain her for hours... 

So, we headed out to the playground and Hilary had her climb up the ladder to go down the slide... over and over and over... The steps on the ladder were really far apart... Like for example, Lucy's knees while climbing were even with her hips.  Lots of stretching and muscle work today.  Hilary noticed that Lucy resisted a little when climbing with her left side. (The surgery side.)  She said, 'let's go in, I want to check her hips.'  UM WHAT!?  I about died on the spot.  What the heck is going on?  So we went inside, and she did a full hip exam and said, 'she's great, she has great range of motion, but she is still cautious to push herself to the next level.'  WHEW.  So, of course I said, 'is her hip in still?!'  She said if it was out, Lucy would be in agony.  She was just checking her motion.  BUT, of course, paranoia sets in and I think the worst.  WHEW.............

Anyways, Hilary said she is blown away at how different Lucy's walk is even from last week!  Her gait isn't as wide.  She used to walk with her legs far apart, and now, they are in closer.  I honestly attribute this to the physical therapy.  I am so happy that we are doing this!  

I told Hilary as we left that I keep reminding myself that this isn't over.  It's a crappy thought to have, but we are still waiting on the pelvic bone to deepen.  What Hilary said is this.  The muscles have JUST as much to do with this as the bones themselves do.  Muscles encourage bone growth.  If the muscles are not strong and stretched around the bone, the bone will not grow as it should. It also can lead to a re-dislocation or partial re-dislocation... I didn't know that.  So stretching and working the muscles is essential for success.  Every day I just hope and pray that we don't have to face another surgery!  I want to be the small percentage of one surgery success stories!

Our next appointment with the surgeon for a follow up has been moved back 2 weeks to October 31.  WHAT!?  I didn't really want a Halloween appointment, let a lone wait another 2 weeks... UGH.  I am just going to keep calling every day to see if there has been a cancellation.  I just want it over with.

Anyways, the babe is sleeping- which is normally a mother's cue to clean and do laundry.  Not this momma.  This is my cue to join Lucy and take a nap!  Laundry can wait... :-)  
Have a good day!

Why sit in the grocery store car when you can stand the whole time?!  Hey, at least she was quiet and I got some shopping done. :)

Even though it's play time, I still like her to 'work' her hips!

The sun was SO bright in her eyes!  Playing at the park like a big kid!

I don't think there is a day that will go by that this picture will not make me smile :)

The newest member of our family- Lucy's little sister, Lily!  Coming January 24th, 2013

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Walk before you run!

Hello blogging world! 
WOW how our lives have changed in the last few weeks!  Not only is Lucy taking steps, she is full on walking... She doesn't even bother with crawling anymore.  Walking is way more fun!

We just got home from yet another awesome physical therapy session.  I swear, every time we go, I learn something new... 
Today Hilary really got to evaluate Lucy's walk.  She was only taking a few steps last session which was 2 weeks ago.  She noticed a few things.  Lucy's ankle is weak and needs some toning up.  That will all happen in time, or with the help of some shoe inserts.  For now, walking on un-even surfaces is the best thing for her right now... Walking over pillows, inclines, grass... anything that makes her work her ankles.  Lucy also walks with her legs out a bit.  Of course, this is to be expected from a new walker, plus after being in the 'spica' position for so long.  So we are doing a few things to 'bring her legs together' as she walks.  
1.  Hilary told us to build a pathway for Lucy using blocks, toys, boxes, whatever we have at home.  Make the path as narrow as a balance beam width and have her walk through it.  That way she isn't able to kick her legs out to the side.  Makes sense, right?!
2.  Compression vest!  Yep... sounds weird, but again- it all goes back to the sensory and proprioception that I talked about in my last post.  It's basically like Spanx for babies! haha!  She is supposed to wear this vest for a few hours each day as she walks and plays.  It helps give her stability, as well as good posture.  Right now, Lucy puts her hands up for balance and literally tries to RUN forward.  She falls a lot because she has zero concept of slowing down to re gain balance.  (Can't blame the kid!)  So this vest offers compression to the hips, shoulders and body to give her the best possible posture for walking.  I was scared to death yesterday watching her walk. She goes so fast and falls forward, then gets up to do it all over again.  She has bruises, scrapes, you name it- all over her knees!  I guess it's all part of being a 'big kid!'
Hilary said we will give the vest a shot for a few weeks, and change out to compression leggings if we need to.  When Lucy first put the vest on, it was amazing!  She almost immediately dropped her arms to the sides.  It was giving her the balance she needed.  She acted drunk for the first few steps, because with good posture, shoulders are back.  Hers are always forward since she is leaning to 'go!'  Once she got the hang of this vest, her gait looked SO much better!
I hate the thought of yet another contraption to strap on this kid, but if it helps her, then great.  We will do it!  Our therapist is letting us borrow this one, but to order them, they are around $300.  
Here is the link to the vest:  SPIO vest

Another cool thing we learned today is that the trunk muscles and core muscles are linked to talking!  Yep, someway, somehow... once those muscles are toned up, the child can speak louder and have a better idea of how to form sentences.  Who knew?!?! 

In exactly one month from today, we have our 6 month post cast removal x-ray.  I am already feeling sick to my stomach about it.  UGH.   Trying not to let it ruin our joy right now, but it's hard!  I just hope and pray for perfect news. :-)

Here are some pics!  Have a great rest of the week...

She thinks that the store is her very own personal playground...

Light Bright at the Museum

This is what the compression vest looks like... Kinda like batgirl!
She looks so cute in it!

Getting ready for her baby sister to arrive in 4 months

Now that I officially have a walking baby, I use this bubble bath every night!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Progress and PT

It's only been our 4th physical therapy session, but WOW!
I officially have a baby who can take steps on her own!  TEN in a row to be exact!  I officially have a baby who can stand up on her own without pulling up on anything!  I officially have a baby who has the confidence in her legs again to go after what she wants... 
Man, I have to admit. This year has been SO crappy for us!  Between casts, surgeries, doctor's appointments, etc...  BUT seeing little  Lucy walking around makes me so proud, so happy, and so amazed at this perfect little girl I am raising. :-)
As some of you know, we took a 2 week vacay to La Jolla, California near San Diego.  We had a blast!  Lucy got to walk on all different textures.  Her therapist, Hilary, says sand is the best thing for her to walk in!  (Remember from my last post, we are working on developing her sensory and proprioception.)  We walked on the beach, walked to the park, walked everywhere!  She still needed to hold my hand, of course, but she has the motivation to GO!  Those little things like walking in the grass barefoot, we take for granted here in AZ 7 months of the year!  Poor thing, if she tried to walk in grass here, her feet would burn...
Today I was so excited to show Hilary how Lucy takes steps... Lucy was totally hamming it up, walking all around the room from toy to toy.  Hilary was SO proud.  She says Lucy has the drive to do anything she wants... (that's half the battle.)  So many kids lose so much proprioception and motivation during a cast for months and months, that it takes time to build that up again.  Hilary says developing her proprioception is key.  That way Lucy won't tippy toe anymore.  
A few things we have been doing at home (recommended by Hilary) are massage, and pressure point therapy.  Now that Lucy is mobile, she doesn't even want to lay still for her massage, so that's getting frustrating!  Also, we have been making her 'work for it.'  For example, when we do a puzzle.  I put the puzzle pieces on the ground, and the puzzle on her table.  I make her bend down to pick out a piece, then she can put it on the puzzle.  Sometimes I have a small pillow or stool near, and I have her walk over the stool or pillow to go get the pieces.  Remember, we are working on her core, legs and hips.  All of that has to get super strong again... She actually enjoys doing her therapy work, so that makes it less like 'work.'
I still go behind her when she crawls, and offer resistance to her ankles and legs.  I just meet her resistance.  One thing with DDH babies, after the cast removal they still crawl with their hips flexed outwards, not under them... picture standing there, then just sticking out your booty. (haha, I know...) that's how hip babies move.  We need to teach Lucy to put her hips back in, in alignment with her core.  Again, we are trying to teach her not to compensate.  She needs to learn it right from the beginning. :-)
She got to walk up stairs today with help, alternating which foot to start with.  She seems to favor starting with her left. (her DDH side.)  Why?!  Hilary said she isn't comfortable with shifting her weight to the other side.  She reminded me that just because her left side is the affected side, her right side was also casted, and we need to nurture and work with that side as well.

All in all, I am SO thrilled with her progress!  We are 7 months post surgery (almost),  3 months post cast removal, and almost 2 months free of her brace. (Only at night)... so for her being totally free for not even 2 months, the progress is unreal!
I also have noticed now that she is mobile, her words are coming together.  She has started to say 'tree', 'go', 'bee', 'gone', and a few other words all in the last 2 weeks.  It's like it's all clicking together...

Here are some pics... The first 2 are L at PT, where the ball pit is the hit of the party.  We are going to build her one. Again, it's the sensory thing... Also, if the balls are hip height, making her walk through the pit is another awesome exercise for her hips... 
Hugs from AZ

The awesome ball pit... It's just PVC pipe and tarp!  The balls are super cheap at Toys R Us and Target.
I am totally going to make one for our back yard!

Work those hips!

So are you melting at how cute she is?!  I know, I know... she's a total babe.
I turn my head for one minute, and she climbs up on the coffee table...

... and walks all around the couch....

The babe of the beach!
Daddy showing her the sea lions at La Jolla Cove


Just another day at the beach..