1 Day, 3 Therapies

On Tuesday Nathan saw three different therapists. It was hard work for him but very helpful. Helpful for Mommy too as I am learning how to administer some of these same exercises to him at home. He loves to be touched and I sense the stretching feels good to him too. This is how our day went:

Speech Therapy – He saw Laura, his ST from the NICU, for the first time in over two weeks. He sucked well initially but started aspirating when she dipped his paci in milk. Then mid-way through the feed he got fussy, spit out the paci, and didn’t even want us to do massage exercises around his mouth. In theory, the massage techniques help simulate eating. Afternoon is his usual fussy period so I’m not completely surprised that he checked out on us.

Big take-away: Go back to breast milk. I started to introduce formula. I’m trying to determine if that’s a factor in creating the fussiness and his less frequent pooping. (Yes, call me crazy. I’m still pumping a little; about half of what I did initially. I tried to stop. Haven’t been able to give it up completely. It’s one way I feel like I can bond with this kiddo, especially on harder days.)

Physical Therapy – He went back to see his good friend Katie. She did some serious stretching on Nathan. She noticed that his neck is getting tight on the left side. Before she started working with him, she said, “It’s going to look like I’m ripping your baby’s head off but I promise I won’t.”

Yep, that’s pretty much what it looked like to me. Thanks for the warning Katie!

Here’s me trying to mimic the same thing at home.

I think I’ve got a little further to go.

Nathan also did a lot of work tracking objects and working to fully turn his head. We need Mac’s help on that one. I did notice him turn toward Mac this week. Apparently his brother is more interesting than a toy.

This week he was better at staying flat on his back and not just completely rolling to the side when you lay him down. One thing we realized is that when we stick a rattle in his hand it stablizes him a bit so that he doesn’t just roll on over. If he has to either do supported sitting or “tummy time,” he tells you he hates it.

Big take-away: Schedule an appointment with yet another specialist – orthopedics.

His right foot is turned in and wonky. Even with lots of stretching since birth its wanting to go the wrong direction.

Occupational Therapy – This was a bonus “appointment.” A friend of ours, Marti, from church came to our house to get to know Nathan. I really respect her opinion and I’ve been wanting her to meet him for some time. It never worked out when he was in the hospital because we were so busy. Meeting with her the most encouraging therapy session I’ve had with Nathan. She told us that he looks better than she expected and he is clearly bonding with us. An infant’s association to bonding is oral. Since he’s not eating that’s by nature, going to be a challenge. She observed that when he chokes he fights it and looks to us for help. Both good things. We got lots of good advice on how to touch him, move him, sibling bonding, and developmental things to be on the look out for.

Big take-away: He’s bonding with me!

Here’s one last picture of big brother hamming it up for the camera. I have yet to get a good picture of just the two boys together.

My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!

Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!

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