Friday, October 16, 2009

Update on Mary's Therapy with Pictures

I must be a mom-blogger. Because I took my camera to therapy today so I could get pictures of Mary with her physical and speech therapists, just so I could put them on my blog.

Well that, and this blog is my scrapbook of their lives because I just don't have time nor space for a lot of stickers and paper.

Mary had her first actual physical therapy session this morning, after the evaluation on Monday. Antoinette (pictured left) is her lovely physical therapist and she seems to really enjoy Mary. Below are some pictures of the various exercises she does with Mary's tiny body. Mary's arms are stretched and her joints are flexed. The basic treatment idea for hypotonis, as I understand it, is to provide sensory input to Mary's nerves and muscles to "wake them up" so to speak.

 Antoinette has also recommended we had a second physical therapy session to our weekly schedule. So we are going to try that and see if it helps her improve. I also learned today that at some point the sessions will become more hands on for me and that I'll spend more time learning new exercises and stretches as well as practicing our current ones.

Nikki, whom I've mentioned before, is the speech therapist we've been seeing since Mary was 9 days old. Obviously, we are not dealing with whether or not Mary can talk yet, but anything related to the mouth falls under her treatment umbrella. She too works to stimulate the nerves and muscles in Mary's mouth. While my stated therapy goal (on the intake paperwork) is exclusive breastfeeding, I've been learning that addressing Mary's hyptonia from an oral perspective is also about making her ready for eating solid foods and for speech. I want my girls to learn sign language, but not because they can't talk!

Here is an analogy to understand how Mary's mouth is working right now. Have you ever ever realized how much work our cheeks do to keep the food in between the teeth. I hadn't. Think about the last time you had dental work and they numbed your mouth. Remember how hard it is to eat while you are still numb? How food spills out of your mouth and you can't really control it. Well, that is how it is for Mary, sort of. I mean, she isn't eating solid food, but her tongue, cheek, and jaw muscles have a hard time moving the milk to the back of her mouth for swallowing.

In the pictures below Nikki is stretching Mary's cheek and then providing stimulation to the inside of her mouth. In the third picture is the reward - Mary's sucking on Nikki's finger. I'll be adding the use of a dental stimulator (think baby toothbrush, like the kind that fits on the end of your finger) to our own at home sessions as well.

Nikki and I had a hard conversation today about whether or not to pursue exclusive breastfeeding as Mary's therapy goal or just stick with the bottle. The conversation isn't finished yet and I still have a lot of thinking to do. Also, of course, I need to talk to Bruce about our therapy goals because I am not raising Mary in a vacuum. My whole family is affected by these decisions.

In no way was Nikki discouraging towards my initial stated goal of exclusive breastfeeding. But I think she is trying to guide me towards a more realistic understanding of what may or may not be possible for Mary in the short term. She encouraged me to take this decision week by week for now. And we also discussed some new techniques for encouraging Mary to latch and develop positive associations with the breast.

1 comment:

  1. Well...who wouldn't love working with that sweet little baby. She is so beautiful and precious she doesn't even look real!

    So thankful for all of the guidance the Lord has given you on how to help your sweet girl. You are an awesome Mommy.


Thanks for commenting! Be sure to leave an email address in your profile or in your comment if you'd like a reply.