Friday, June 12, 2009

Some days are harder than others, but God always provides

Emily had her first aqua therapy appointment on Tuesday. Here she is before we left:

And here she is in the pool:
I wouldn’t say that she cried the entire time she was in the pool...just about 98% of the time. We have a few thoughts about what may have caused all the crying:
~ New place and lots of new noises
~ New therapist who was doing all kinds of new things with her
~ She has never been in water before (we bathe her with a shower sprayer)
~ Teething (we never get tired of using this excuse)

Here is a rare picture without tears:

As you can see from the pictures, Mike was in the pool with her. The therapist was showing him different exercises and asking him tons of questions. She asked about Emily’s current therapies, what kind of equipment she has at home, what exercises we do with her, etc. Throughout the session, she did not seem very pleased with our answers. Her questions eventually changed to “Aren’t you working on this?” or “Don’t you do this with her?”. By the time the session was over, Mike and I both felt like the worst parents in the world! We walked out of there feeling like deadbeats.

Emily wasn’t feeling much better. She had a complete meltdown when she got out of the pool. I guess the 40 minutes of crying was just a warm-up. As I was trying to change her, she was completely hysterical – her face was bright red, she had tears, boogers and saliva all over her. At one point she even started choking on her own saliva. It was a pitiful sight! You know how much fun it is to take off a wet bathing suit, right? Well, try removing a wet bathing suit from a child who is stiff as a board and crying hysterically. I felt like I was having a wrestling match and I was not winning. By the time we left, we were all physically and emotionally drained.

Before I go any further, let me just clarify something. I am not trying to portray the therapist as a terrible person. She was getting the information she needed to plan goals and treatment for Emily. She was just very direct – we certainly didn’t have to guess what she thought about anything. I really do think that Emily will benefit from working with her (once she gets over the trauma of it all). And if her work will benefit Emily, I can get over my own personal feelings about how she made us feel that day.

The hardest part of the whole day was: Emily’s reaction was a reminder to us that we don't have a typical child. She has sensory issues that make it hard for her to process new noises and new feelings (like being in water), reflexes that keep her from moving her body in appropriate ways and those things make it difficult for her to adapt to change. She cannot hold up her head, so Mike had to constantly make sure her face wasn’t dropping into the water (she likes to bring her head forward all the time). These things are not new to us, but having someone else pointing out all of her limitations can be a little tough to swallow. We felt like we were smacked in the face with reality – we have a special needs child. It actually reminded me of this day back in the NICU.

When we were given Emily's diagnosis, that was just the beginning of our journey. Accepting CP and all that comes with it will be an ongoing process throughout her life. At times we will rejoice over her accomplishments and at times we will grieve over her limitations. All the while, we will put our faith and trust in a sovereign God, who created her and already knows what kind of woman she will grow to be. We will continue to praise Him for giving us the priviledge of raising this beautiful little girl. He has counted us worthy of this task and He has given us all that we need to be the best parents that we can be. We will continue to ask him for guidance and wisdom along the way. He is the Great Provider - He will meet our needs as well as Emily's - we have no doubt about that.


Auntie Lisa said...

Guilt is the most powerful tool in parenting. Special needs or not!!! Let me tell you something, You and Mike are doing everything within your means possible to help Emily achieve each and every new milestone in her life. Just take this new journey as a new path and new approach. Every therapist and mother will tell you what works for their child, but you know it doesn't work for every child. Each child is different. You will not click at first with every therapist, but in the long run, the hardest ones are the ones we learn from. Just like teachers. The most hated teachers are the best. They are not there to be your friend, if that happens along the way wonderful!!! Even if you get one thing from this new therapy you've succeeded. Keep trying, don't give up on this just yet. Keep in mind, every opportunity requires a shot! That way there you can say you've done whatever it takes.
By the way, she looks so freaking cute in her tiny little robe and bathing suit. Yeah Mike you look good too! Go get em kids!! She can achieve, she will achieve because she has you two!
Love Auntie Lisa

Mommy2MollyandWill said...

Rejoicing with you and Crying with you! You guys are doing great! You are relying on the Lord for guidance in raising your child...that's all any of us can do. I pray the therapy will get better and Emily will begin to love the water and her new therapist!

Kerrie said...

Oh Dawn and Mike - I'm so sorry your first day in the pool was so exhausting!! Things will get better in the pool - I promise!! However, I have MANY therapy stories I can share with you - we really need to get together again soon :)

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I'm sorry your day was so challenging and emotional!! I think that Auntie Lisa is one smart woman. ;)

Isn't it funny (not the ha!ha! kind but interesting kind) how daily challenges start to look "normal" after awhile? Then something happens that makes us realize what we deal with ISN'T normal.

Sounds like this new therapist is going to challenge you and Emily to greater heights! I'm praying that one day you will post about how much Emily loves the water and how it has helped her.

Until that day comes, YOU ARE GREAT PARENTS!!! :)

Love and miss y'all!!

Melanie said...

Oh My Goodness, I have those exact same pictures of Daniel when he first got swim therapy. Oh and it echos so badly in the indoor pool area! I remember looking at the clock and thinking OMG will this even end. BUT I will tell you he eventually got use to after 30-40 times. LOL Just kidding, it took 3 or 4 times before he was comfortable.

Michelle said...

That does sound like a physically and emotionally draining day; I would have been in tears by the end. I'm sorry the therapist was so blunt and direct and not very tactful...I understand she was only trying to do her job by finding out the info she needed, but she could have found a better way of putting things. I think we parents deal with enough guilt as it is...believe me, I'm always feeling like I didn't/don't do enough with Kayla. I don't think that'll ever end. Hang in there!