Monday, October 15, 2012

Aquatic Therapy-16 Months

 Steven is now 16 months old and doing great! He loves trucks/tractors/cars and anything else that says "VRROOOOM!" He tends to use his injured arm (Right) first and then if he can't get it to do what he wants he will switch to his Left.  I'm interested to find out if he will choose to be Right handed or Left handed.  It doesn't matter either way, of course, but we are curious. He still has a slight elbow contracture. It isn't getting any worse but it's also not getting better.  He started Aquatic therapy a few weeks ago.  The first 4 sessions he cried the entire 30 minutes, but this last time he actually started to enjoy it!! I think it's separation anxiety from Mommy more than anything else.  I have noticed a difference since his 2nd session, he seems less stiff and more able to reach high without overcompensating with his body.  This week is Brachial Plexus Injury awareness week. We made T-Shirts to raise awareness and we are going to the walk to raise money for the BPI Center at Cincinnati Children's hospital this weekend.  I have shared this blog with the local news and also pregnancy websites to hopefully spread the word.  I pray that our efforts will spare another child from this injury. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

14 months old

Steven is now 14 months old! He is constantly on the move now that he is walking and climbing everything! He has gone from having OT every week to once a month and we are adding Aquatic therapy. There is definitely a need for more Aquatic therapy programs in Indiana! We have only found 2 and have to wait a month for it to start. It's once a week for 7 weeks. It's about an hour away from us. Meanwhile, we are doing therapy at home like always and doing some in our small pool here at home too. Steven has a slight elbow contracture. That means his elbow will not fully extend out. I can straighten it by pulling it straight, but it's uncomfortable for him so he doesn't let me do it easily.  It's a daily part of therapy now.  I hope it doesn't turn into a big issue. For now his doctors don't think it's going to cause any issues but it could in the future. His doctors said if it gets any worse he could wear a splint for a few hours during the day or at night time. It's crazy how this injury works... when he was first born, we prayed and prayed for that little elbow to bend!! Now we are praying for it to straighten! Most people don't understand all that happens throughout the process of a Brachial Plexus Injury. It's not just a "healing" process and then his arm is "fixed".  After we get past one hurdle, there is another one on the other side to get past.  It amazes me how my little man is so happy even though he has to go through pain and uncomfortable situations during therapy and everyday life. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One year old

Steven is one and Lillian is three! Where has the time gone? Steven is doing new things constantly now. He still has limited range of motion, especially with lifting his arm above his head and external rotation. His Occupational Therapist did some tests with him today and he is doing everything age appropriate and beyond! We are so proud of him! He is standing up alone and walking as long as he is pushing something. He is getting ready to start Aquatic Therapy in a few weeks, we are excited to see how he enjoys it. With Steven becoming "Mr. Independent" therapy is becoming more difficult. :( I hope he has fun with doing therapy in a pool, he LOVES swimming! I love it now that Lillian and Steven are playing together more, they are becoming buddies! She likes to help him do things and doesn't like it when Mommy makes him cry during therapy and stretching.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Moving and Grooving!

Both hands!!

Steven is pulling up on everything!

REACH! Working really hard to reach this high :)
Steven is pulling up on everything and "cruising" along side furniture. He is crawling hands and knees all the time now and never army crawls anymore.  He still gets pretty tired and his right arm gets sore after a while, but he is getting stronger and stronger everyday.  It's hard to believe he will be 1 next month, where has the time gone?  He is saying Ma-ma, Da-da, La-la (Lilly), Nana (Banana), and bye-bye. He absolutely loves bananas!!! He wants to eat them all the time. He loves to dance too. His big sister, Lilly, loves music and dancing and so he gets plenty of opportunities to dance! Our next appointment with the BPI Specialist is in July. We hope to continue to hear good news. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Steven is Crawling!

Steven crawled for the first time April 18th 2012! We are so proud of our little guy! He has been "army crawling" for a while now but I never expected him to just take off crawling on his hands and knees when he did!  Now he is attempting to pull up on the play table, couch, chairs, and anything else that's eye level.  He is unstoppable!

Friday, March 23, 2012

9 Months Old

Steven is now 9 months old. He is quickly getting places he wants to go with army crawling, but not yet crawling on his hands and knees.  He shifts his weight on his right side without being prompted now!  We went to Cincinnati Brachial Plexus center this week for his 9 month check-up.  They said he is "recovering well enough that surgery is not recommended at this time"!  Yay! Wonderful news!  We are so proud of our little man and how far he has come.  I often wonder what he must be thinking when Mommy and Daddy are constantly messing with his right arm...  Someday he will understand ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shifting Weight on Right Side

Steven is now 8 months old and he is starting to "army crawl" and briefly push up on his knees and elbows. We have been working on weight shifting on the right side and trying to push up into crawling position with elbows straight.  He is starting to shift his weight on his right side to pick up toys with his left hand. We give him subtle reminders by "tapping" on his right arm to remind him to use it.  He is getting too smart! He has realized that it is easier to use his left arm/hand. Gentle tapping on his right arm works amazingly!

Strong Grip at 7 Months Old


Steven is now 7 months old and making wonderful progress!  He is able to lift his arm up to about eye level while sitting.  His grip in his right hand is getting stronger and stronger.  He is able to pick up small objects and even feed himself puffs and tiny pieces of food. He LOVES bananas! I let him feed himself a chopped up banana almost everyday! 
Although he often compensates by shifting his body to the left in order to lift his right arm, he still keeps his balance very well while sitting.  We have to constantly watch out for torticollis, which is basically a stiff neck from lack of movement. When he was only a few months old he had mild torticollis and we had to do special exercises everyday to correct it and also to prevent him from getting a flat spot (Plagiocephaly).

Reaching at 6 Months

Steven is now able to reach up behind his head  and touch the floor when he is laying on his back! He still isn't able to reach past his chest while sitting. He rolls around to get toys and things he wants to play with. He can now prop himself up on his forearms and lift his head all the way up. We are so happy with his progress! He is such a happy little boy and we are so proud of him and how hard he has to work everyday. He is so strong and determined to get to things he wants, one way or another!


Steven is 4 1/2 months old and he is now able to bring his (Right) hand to his mouth while sitting... AND... supination! He is turning the palm of his hand up in order to put his fingers in his mouth. YAY!! Lots of progress in such a short time!

Hand to Mouth at 4 Months Old

At 4 months old, Steven can now bring his hand up to his mouth while laying on his back.  He still isn't able to do this while in the sitting position due to having to work against gravity. We have been working really hard on exercises to help with supination, which is making his palm face upward instead of the down position that it is naturally in. Steven sees an Occupational Therapist once a week and we do "therapy" all day, everyday. Everything we do with Steven has a purpose. We don't simply play with toys, we choose toys that will help him grip, lift, pull, push, etc.  Everyday tasks have become therapy sessions in our home.

He moved his arm!

     When Steven was 2 months old he had an appointment with his Orthopedic Surgeon. He told us that since Steven hadn't raised his arm up at all yet that it was time to meet with another doctor and plan for surgery... Two days later, I was playing with him on the couch and he slowly moved his forearm up across his chest! Praise God! I was elated!!! I ran to get my husband and the camera and he did it again! This movement showed us that his nerves (although damaged) were not severed from his spinal cord. When I called to tell the doctor about this wonderful news, he still suggested we meet with the other doctor and plan for surgery.  That's when I realized I needed to do some more research.  I found the Cincinnati Children's Brachial Plexus Center, and we have been seeing them ever since! :)

In his arm sling at 2 weeks old

     Steven is a few weeks old in the picture. He is wearing his sling to keep his arm from flopping backwards and possibly causing more damage.  From the day he was born, he was able to move his hand and fingers, and occasionally we would see him bend his elbow just a bit.  The first few days, weeks, months were spent just watching him, hoping and praying that we would see some kind of movement.  At this time we did not know if his nerves were just in "shock", stretched, or severed. We hoped for the best but prepared ourselves for the worst. Any of the outcomes can mean that nerve surgery is necessary to repair his nerves, but the more severe the injury, the more invasive the surgery. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Steven and Lillian a week after he was born

     Big sister Lillian wanted to share her blanket with her new baby brother.  She loved him so much from the day he was born and still does! He slept a lot in the beginning and didn't seem to be in pain, until we started doing therapy.  The doctors all agreed that we should keep his arm in a sling, or pinned to his shirt for 2 weeks and then start therapy. It was such a joy watching them together in the first few weeks.