October 22, 2013

Therapy for the babies but may as well be for mom too!

As soon as the babies came home from the hospital I contacted our county's therapy program because children up to the age of three are eligible for services if they meet certain criteria. I wanted the quads assessed as soon as possible, not because I had specific concerns but because I did not want to miss anything if an issue arose with any of the kids. We qualified for occupational therapy based on the kids real age. They have always been on track for their corrected age so to get them to qualify we have based it on what they should be doing if they should be doing if they would have been born on their due date.The babies were only a couple of months old when Trish and Sue first started coming twice a month. When the babies were teeny tiny the hour was spent watching for the babies to track a toy or reach for an item with first one hand and then with two at the same time. The babies then started learning to hold two toys at once. Each developmental milestone the quads got praised by both the therapist and by mommy. I was probably the one that was so excited to see each new task they they were doing; where Trish and Sue were probably thinking they should have done that weeks ago. Different angles seen by all. Two very different professions, one a mommy and the other a therapist.
Playing with toys left by the therapist in between visits.

Notice Isabella's clenched fists...I mention this down below.
Toy holding then lead to holding their head up when laying on their belly. Then it was rolling from tummy to belly and then back and we wanted to see that they could make this flip from both the left and right. Next came sitting and then going from the floor to that learned sitting position. Crawling came after that and now at age 1 they are learning to take their first steps. Rylan will be walking first among the babies. In the past I have never put much thought into these developmental milestones with my full term kids. I just knew they would do them when they were ready. You throw in a preemie baby or four and you scrutinize every single thing your preemie does. You know it will take them longer to hit each milestone but in the back of your head you are always asking yourself if it is taking them longer than it should. The preemie world is a scary one and I finally feel we are starting to get out of it a little bit.

The babies were not always thrilled with the stretches but oh what I would have given them to stretch me out!
I am sure I enjoyed the twice monthly therapy sessions more than the babies. For them it was work and they were usually very ready for naps after the hour was up. For me it was an hour that I had entertainment for the babies and someone my own age to talk to. When the babies were little I would use the first part of the hour to pump and eat. I actually would get to eat lunch at a normal lunch time twice a month! The last part of the hour I would sit on the couch and have adult conversation. Now as the babies are getting older I get an hour of running around and completing as many tasks as possible before Trish and Sue start packing up their bags. The mom (or dad) are suppose to be interacting with the therapist and the client(s) but we are going through a stage right now of if mommy is around we all must sit in mommy's lap. This does not work so well when they are suppose to be playing and being evaluated. So I stay out of their line of vision and you should see how much I get done. I still tend to prepare a quick lunch that I can eat while making passes through the kitchen. Drew also loves therapy time as much as mommy because he gets to play with all the new toys that come in the therapist bags. He tends to not want to share with the real clients!
A Halloween therapy project. Of course Drew wanted to go first!

Having a second set of eyes on the babies has been huge. I was always concerned with Rylan and he went through a period of being very stiff. It was even hard to hold him. I thought we were for sure seeing the beginning signs of CP. After discussing it with Trish and Sue I was given techniques on how to carry him, lift him from his crib to stretch certain muscles and even how to hold him in my lap. They were able to calm my fears and reassure me that what he was going through was normal and his stiffness would improve. After a couple of months I started realizing I wasn't hitting his head into his door as often because he wouldn't stiffen up as much when I carried him. The techniques we had been given were helping and I could relax on some of my concerns for Rylan. Isabella is my sensory child and has been from very early on. She does not like new situations and even today still holds her hands in very tight fists when something just isn't right for her. The funny thing is she is a sensory seeker. She loves swinging, being pushed around in a bin, or spinning in circles. These are things we have learned during our every other week visits.

We weren't sure what Isabella would think of the wet paint on her foot but she surprised us by liking it.

Before the beginning of summer break when the therapist take almost two months off we had discussed that starting in the fall they would probably be able to see the kids every week. I knew that this meant they were not seeing all the developmental milestones being met at the appropriate times. This honestly did not concern me. I was just so thankful that if they were not hitting these milestones we were able to get them the therapy they needed to help them reach them. I did not ask what they were seeing to suggest increasing the amount of time because I did not want to spend the next two months watching every little thing. I just wanted to be mom. When September came around and we had the first session for the new school year it was music to my years to be told that they would not be able to increase therapy hours because they had excelled during the summer and were caught up to their peers. I was so proud of my quadlings and how far they have come since being my 2 and 3lb babies. So for now we are sticking to two hours each month. I do try really hard to not compare to the other 12 quads who were born 3 weeks before ours. I will tell you that many of them have been walking for quite a few weeks and we still have no walkers. The internet is awesome to turn to for advice from other quad moms but sometimes it can add increased concern that your babies are behind. So Becky, Amber and Gina can you just push your babies down before taking anymore pictures until we figure out the walking thing over here!!
A little break in between painting to take a spin.

Bootiful work by the littlest 5.
This week on Thursday from 12:30-1:30 you will find me trying to get 101 things done in 60 minutes while Drew tries out all the toys that are hidden in the bags and the babies will be showing off all their latest tricks. Oh and there will be some adult conversation and probably a kid song or two thrown in since the hour is suppose to be focused on 4 one year olds. Therapy has been a huge blessing in our family and both Paul and I feel very fortunate that we are able to receive this service until the babies are 3.
And this is why I run around like a bad woman when I have someone else playing with the babies. They get points for being cute and being in the way but no points for being good helpers.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post, Krista! I laughed so hard, I think it's funny that I see your kids doing things mine aren't (uh, hello! we still have bottles in the house!) and I wish mine would soon "do what your kids are doing"- it's so easy to compare! But a big Thank God that overall, ALL our kids are doing spectacular. Yours will be walking any day from the looks of it and although it will be celebrated it also will mean another level of craziness!
    Quadmom hugs from me to you!


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