Always Celebrate the Inchstones

img_1608I’ve been working on a few new posts about our life in Los Angeles, but Solly just hit a new inchstone and progress is always a good reason for a quick update.

Last night, Solly started holding and drinking from a handle-free cup completely independently! It’s not perfect: he’s still making a mess with it, spilling water from the cup about 80% of the time and sometimes forgetting to bring the cup upright after taking a drink, but we can now proudly say that Solly can pick up a cup off of the table, bring it to his mouth, take a drink, and place it back on the table.

This is a huge accomplishment, especially for a kiddo who the NICU doctors once said would never eat or drink by mouth. We’ll continue chipping away towards all of Solly’s milestones, but today, we’re celebrating this inchstone and Solly’s progress.

Setting Goals for Intensive Therapy

img_0597We’re in the final week of our fourth three-week intensive at NAPA Center. Once we wrap up on Friday, we’ll have completed a total of six intensive therapies with NAPA and several at other clinics, and while I’m far from being an expert in navigating the world of intensive therapies, I now feel confident in what to expect when we walk through the doors on Day 1 of an intensive.

While there is a lot of planning and paperwork that goes into an intensive, without a doubt, one of the hardest parts of intensive therapy – aside from managing Solly’s fatigue and constant need for motivation – is setting goals at the onset of treatment. Goals are vital to the success of intensive therapy. They help the therapy team understand what I envision for Solly; they guide the therapy team in developing a plan for the duration of the intensive; and they can also dictate Solly’s confidence throughout the intensive therapy. Too easy and he quickly becomes board. Too hard and he doesn’t want to participate. For these reasons, there is quite a bit of pressure for me to fine tune our list of goals before starting an intensive.

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New Year, New City

I have struggled to write this post. I’m not sure why, but it’s been hard for me to put into words why we decided to pack up and move our family to Los Angeles at the end of 2019.

Maybe it’s because four years earlier, we’d moved to Nashville to be close to family. Maybe it’s because after three years there, we’d finally assembled the right therapy and medical teams for Solly. Maybe it’s because people usually move for work: it’s unusual for a family to move for the well-being of their child.

But that’s just it. We moved for Solly. We moved for Bea. We moved for our entire family. We began 2020 as residents of Los Angeles.

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SDR: Four Months In

Nearly four months ago, we went into the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery with the mindset that it could have great benefits for Solly, but the most likely case is that he’d simply be more comfortable.  Dr. Park, the surgeon at the Saint Louis Children’s Hospital who performed Solly’s SDR in May, requires all US-based patients to come back 4 months after SDR so he can review progress and make any suggestions on physical therapy, bracing, equipment, and additional surgeries to support his patients. We had this appointment this week, so I thought now would be a good time to check in and report back on how Solly is doing post-SDR. Continue reading

Our SDR Experience

Nothing could really prepare us for Solly’s Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy. That’s not to say that I totally unprepared: I’d read countless personal stories about the surgery, devoured anything the doctor’s office sent to us, and asked plenty of questions of fellow Mama’s whose babies had already had the surgery. Those Mamas were even kind enough to give me tips and tricks for the hardest part of the surgery: the recovery. I’ve said it before: the Special Needs community is awesome.

All that said and done, next to our time in the NICU, this surgery was the hardest thing we’ve been through to date with Solly. There were a lot of unhappy moments, quite a few tears, and many sleepless nights. Solly is one of the happiest kids I’ve ever met, so when I see him crying or in pain, I will do anything to stop it.

It was an exhausting few days.

There’s a lot to cover. Here’s what went down before and during surgery: Continue reading