When your baby is 1 week old, and she has her 1st MRI and the results aren’t what you thought you would ever hear, let alone something you never want to hear……Veronika has an injury to her brain from the bleed she had before she was born, and we believe that it will affect her movement down the left side of her body, and she will most likely never walk….

I guess at that point in you make a decision, one of two possible options i guess. You either think ‘oh well, if that’s how its gonna be, why bother,’ OR ‘Yes she will walk, and we will come back in when she does and say I TOLD YOU SO’.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

November(yes I am a bit late with this blog)

I knew November had been a super busy month for Veronika and I. December continues to be busy, but I think November must of been our busiest month in 2011. December 1st saw us waiting at the Royal Hobart Hospital for Veronika's ENT appointment. While we were waiting, I thought to myself, November was so busy that I'm glad its over. I got out my diary, for interests sake and counted how many appointments Veronika had in November 1,2,3,4......23,24,25. Yep that's it 25. Not to shabby to get thru 25 appointments for her in one month. Especially considering that I had steroid injection in my shoulder early November(a side effect of lifting/carrying a 3 and half year old that cant walk), and had nearly the full week following at home, 'taking it easy'.

Some of those appointments included getting both legs plastered to make new foot orthotics(AFO'S). Veronika was surprisingly tolerant of having this done. It really doesn't take that long, but all the same, it must be weird for her. To have someone do that to your leg, then just before it sets, cut it off to use for the AFO's.

The finished casts, ready to be used to make the new AFO's.

We have been seeing a private Physio, Speechy and Occupational Therapist. I am so thankful that Veronika is eligible for the Better Start Funding. It is going to make such a difference. We have been seeing the OT fortnightly and Veronika gets so excited when we go down the lane way. It didn't take long before Veronika recognized where we were going, and as soon as she sees her OT she starts signing 'bouncing'. One of her favourite things to do there. It is amazing that the few simple warm up exercises(swinging/bouncing) can get Veronika's left arm functioning so well, and then when we sit at the table to do some work, in particular reaching with her left arm. I have been completely amazed the last 2 times we have been. When we sat at the table to do some 'work', this week I held up the people for her to reach to play with at the dolls house, she instantly reached with her left arm. She didn't even go to reach with her right one (something that she has mastered). I must say even thinking about it almost brings a tear to my eyes. There are days that I think how is Veronika ever going to be able to do those things that require 2 hands, like tying shoe laces(yes I know about Velcro) let alone getting on a pair of shoes with only one hand, using a knife and a fork, brushing her hair and putting it up in a hair band.....but maybe one day all this will be possible. Yes we have a long way to get there, but at the same time she is only 3, and so we have a lot of time to get her left arm and leg functioning. 

Veronika is learning new signs all the time and her vocabulary is expanding(mainly with signing, but she is getting new sounds). The other day she was watching a signing DVD about numbers. And she started looking at her fingers, she put her index and middle fingers up, and started making a ....t,t,t,two,two... sound. So now everyday, we have been asking her what this is(us putting up two of our fingers) and she is saying 'two'. Last week when we saw the Speech therapist she played a game with 'verb' cards. They had pictures on them of actions, like kicking, eating, brushing, washing, crying, smiling, catching etc. The speechy held up 2 cards at a time and said an action, and Veronika had to choose the right card and put it in the box. In the 1st lot(of 10) she hesitated at 'smiling', but when I said 'happy' she took the right one. At the end I was pleasantly surprised how well she had done. The speechy said to me, Veronika wouldn't of got them all right by chance, she was looking at them both and then choosing the right one. Then she did another lot, and she did pretty well with them too. Then she held up 3 cards at a time, but that just confused her. I was so proud of how well she had done. I really had no idea that Veronika would even be capable of that.....it just gave me the friendly reminder that i obviously needed to never under estimate what Veronika is capable of.

Last week we had our last Session at Early Childhood Intervention Services(ECIS), Veronika's school, for the year. We had a little Christmas party. It was bitter sweet, as I am going to miss seeing Veronika's friends every week, and their Mums, Dads, carers and Grandparents(there are a couple of Grandma's raising their grandchildren, they really inspire me). The other reason is that next year Veronika will be in the transition to school group. Meaning the following year she will be in kinder! One of the teachers was telling us a little about what to expect for next year, and I had to ask, will there be a part of the program that focuses on helping the parents to cope with the idea that their baby will be going to school. I know that Veronika will most likely be ready, but I know that I won't be!

This is Veronika, on our way back to town after ECIS, with her bag of artwork from the year. She was so excited and waved, and blew a kiss to everyone we passed!

And just a couple of happy snaps from recently...

 Jordan(my eldest) reading to Veronika.

Veronika showing her top that Carmen from Oscar and Raban make her. It has a possum on the front and the Hoodie is a long curly possums tail.

Afternoon tea with Ms Quentin Bryce....

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to afternoon tea with the Governor General of Australia, Ms Quentin Bryce. What a fabulous afternoon we had. Quentin Bryce is just wonderful. Veronika and I had a lovely chat with her. She asked me lots of questions about my journey with Veronika, and asked if I had other children(yes I do, Jordan 9 and Jakob 6).

Veronika and I, with Ms Bryce and Gina(a friend of mine we met thru ECIS this year)

I guess on reflection, if I didn't have Veronika, this is something I never would of had the opportunity to do. Met and have afternoon tea with the Governor General. What a privilege to be in company with possibly the most elegant lady in Australia.  A lady who, to me was genuinely interested about my journey with Veronika. A lady who congratulated me on the job I was doing, helping Veronika on her journey to health and mobility......a conversation I don't think I will ever forget.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

International Day for People with DisAbility

What a great day...well apart from the rain. But then us BrightStars seem to attract the rain when we plan to perform outside!

We had the pleasure of dancing at International Day for People with Disability, with our BrightStars.

After the dancing I had a really good chat with a Mum who I haven't seen for a while. Its so good to talk to friends outside the walls of the hospital or various places we take our children for their therapy. We caught up on the last 6 months or so....the highs and the lows we have been thru, and about where we are heading next year with our children....The if you don't laugh you are going to cry....But more importantly we talked about how blessed we are to have these amazing children in our lives. How often children like ours are referred to as 'special' children...but how we feel that we are the 'special' ones, special that Veronika chose us to be her family, and special that her little man chose their family.

As parents we often think we get to choose who our children are, but its more a case of our children deciding that they wanted to be in our family. Yes its not an easy job, being a  parent, let alone being a parent of a child with 'extra' needs....but WOW its worth all the effort.

When Veronika smiles, everyone who sees her smile, smiles with her. She some how has been Blessed with the Ability to make a person smile, even when they are having a really hard day. For that I am grateful. I guess that I decided a while ago that if Veronika could change how one person views people with disAbilities, that she could have the Ability to make people STOP and enjoy life and not rush through it, to make people see that people with disAbilities are real people, people that contribute to Society for the better, then the world would be a better place. I think that Veronika has opened many peoples eyes, to accept her for who she is, that she is not the little Downs girl, but that she is Veronika, and she happens to have DS and CP and a Congenital Heart Defect....but none of her diagnosis define her. Yes they are a part of who she is, but not what she is. And the flip side of that.....I am often known as Veronika's Mum, but very proud to say that yes I am Veronika's Mum, and I love her to the moon and back, and WOW look how far she's come.

May 2008....

to now.......