17 March 2005

life today

I had my 6-week post partum check-up yesterday. And I survived. Whew. I was terrified of having an exam done, but it wasn't even painful. Until about 10 minutes later. haha! I was definitely less than comfy the rest of the day, but I can't really complain considering the incredible pain I had a matter of weeks ago. Looking back, that pain was much worse than I even realized. There is a kind of numbing that goes with intense pain. Such was the case in the early days of my recovery. I am healing well and the stitches are now gone. That is wonderful to me because it tells me I won't split open the seam that I now have. Sigh...

Roxanne always makes it a point to check on the progress of Miss C's arm. I was nice to hear her say, "She's moving it much more than just three weeks ago!" Being the one who watches day to day, sometimes it's hard to see the progress. The world of physical therapy is new for me. With a brachial plexus injury, one of three things has happened with the damaged nerves:

1. They can be stretched. Sometimes, a neuroma (scar tissue) can develop on the healing nerve.

2. They can be ruptured (torn apart).

3. They can be pulled from the spine, called an avulsion.

Visibly, the arm simply hangs limp and does not function.

If the nerves are stretched, they will heal themselves and the therapy will keep the muscles functioning in the meantime. Should her evaluation at 3 months of age be lacking, they will probably discuss surgery with us. If repaired, the nerves can (hopefully) heal themselves. If left unrepaired for too long, they will degenerate and be forever useless. At that point, the best they can do is redirect muscles for optimum use, resulting in less than 100% ability, for sure. Sometimes, repeat surgeries are necessary. If a neuroma occurs, I believe it can hinder the progress of a healing nerve, and also require surgery.

At home, our 'therapy' for her includes passive range of motion exercises, joint compressions, and triggering the nerves to fire with any type of input we can...vibration, light touch, massage and texture.

Miss C's hand and wrist have moved since she was born. Her upper arm is the area that is most affected. This indicates that fewer nerves are involved. Thus far, each week, she has shown significant improvement. Her fingers are opening more freely, her wrist is flexing further and her muscles are gaining strength. This week's appointment was especially good in that she moved her arm against gravity. That takes work for this little girl! We are so proud! And, to top it off, last night, she was really moving it a lot...with efforts to bend the elbow. It was awesome to see. My parents were here and we all sat around watching her move her arm when I would 'trigger' it by touching the upper arm with a light, ticklish touch. Lying on her back, she lifts it further than ever before. My heart is so thrilled at moments like that. Before they left, my whole family sat around and prayed for her...even my son. I know God will heal her. To whatever extent that He chooses...He knows exactly what is in His plan for her.

So, my life today consists of a baby who sleeps long, long hours, and is incredibly content, and a little boy who will be 4 in less than a week. I am gaining momentum in my daily activities after being out of commission for well over a month, and slowly life as I know it is evolving into a family of four and increased demands. But, it's worth every moment.

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