I’m trying to coherently write on a weighty subject while attending to the whims of a sleepy teething baby (whose method of dealing with teething is simply to keep awake). Please forgive all bad writing and mistakes. 🙂
Back in December, Sunshine had an MRI scan done to check for any possible unexplained reason for her speech delay and ASD symptoms. It always seemed to us that there was something eluding us, some reason why she was so barely below her milestones. It wasn’t always enough to alarm, except mainly in speech. When we took her to speech therapy, the thought was that perhaps it was her hearing. Doctor’s referrals and three tests later, her hearing is pretty normal. Then we managed a waiting list to see the developmental pediatrician, who ordered the MRI.
Today she called with the result. There is a mild abnormality in the front left lobe of our daughter’s brain. It would be what affected her speech development, and it happened during her time in utero. How or exactly when is uncertain; except for the flu the day I went into labor, it was a routine healthy pregnancy. “This happens more often than people realize,” the doctor reassured me. She said we’d discuss this further at our follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks but we could expect an occasional check in the future to see how her brain progressed and just see what our Sunshine can do. That was that.
I took it okay at first. After all, it was an answer to our question about her delays. And then my chest tightened and I could hardly breathe. I wanted to sit somewhere quiet and think about this, but I couldn’t. There was too much going on. I’ve just been calmly told our daughter had brain damage before she was born and in four hours we’re throwing the first birthday party for her and her brother with some relatives, Haus Meister’s back is hurt from a muscle pull, and the kids haven’t cleaned up that mess like I asked them…. And all the while wondering how this happened and whether I could have prevented it. How to explain it to people? What to do next? Little by little I began to piece things back together. After all, Trooper had a much worse prognosis the day they told us about his Grade 3 IVH (a significantly greater issue). These days he’s doing multiplication and division in his head! And really, did today’s news change anything? No. It just made it all click. Sunshine still makes her own progress, and everyone sees improvement with her as the months pass. She names shapes and colors. She can count up to 30. She calls me “Mom” now, and she didn’t do that last Christmas (2013).
The day went on regardless and then Haus Meister came home from work with the birthday cake in tow. He had been home for lunch when the call came, and just seeing him again brought me out of my tangled thoughts. That happens a lot, I confess. He’s my voice of reason. 😉 I realized again that there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. I was pretty healthy and no one saw a problem during that pregnancy. Sunshine is still our sweet, bouncy, enthusiastic girl with a zest for life and zero fear. She’s blooming at her own pace, but always there has been progress. She’s never lost anything she’s gained. I could breathe again, and enjoy the party.
Tonight Sunshine received an 18″ doll for her birthday. It’s a generic one, not an American Girl doll like Princess’ was, mainly because I do not trust Sunshine to refrain from cutting the doll’s hair. I do not trust Sunshine to refrain from cutting her own hair. But to Sunshine it was perfect. Her Grandma made a dress and kerchief for the doll to match the heroine of Sunshine’s favorite cartoon. Sunshine recognized that instantly and carried the doll around the rest of the evening. She danced with it, sang with it, introduced it to “Rose” (Princess’ retired Felicity doll), and then Sunshine tucked it into bed with her at bedtime. She wouldn’t have done this last year, either. When I replaced the kerchief on the doll’s head, Sunshine said, “Thank you, Mom,” and had the doll give me a kiss. I treasured it.
So again what does this mean for the future? Just that we know what she’s working hard to work around now. 🙂 And as always we’ll give her the best we have in us–unconditional love, and a helping hand or two.