Julie Lyles Carr: In Her Right Mind....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

In Her Right Mind....

We've had a interesting week here around the Octamom household. We've learned a little bit more about our precious 7 of 8, taking a peek inside her mind and learning a fascinating piece of information about that busy brain.

7 of 8 has developed one of the most unique crawls of all our babies. When her twin 8 of 8 began cruisin' crawling early, 7 of 8 would observe him with a certain level of interest, but seemed quite content for several weeks to let him have the crawling spotlight solo. When 7 of 8 did get motivated for mobility, she opted for a style of crawl which we deemed 'the wounded soldier'. Using her right arm as her lever, she would pull herself along, kicking her feet on occasion and using her belly as her primary platform. She certainly exhibited crawl charm, a mode of individuality unobserved in the babyhoods of her other siblings. We chalked it up to a creative mind, took funny video and frankly didn't think too much about it...until about 8 weeks ago.

Over that weekend a couple of months ago, M and I looked at one another and experienced a revelation; 7 of 8's crawl had remained unchanged. The 'wounded soldier' belly crawl had remained consistent. She had gained more finesse and speed, but she continued to keep her left arm mainly out of the way and did not get on her hands and knees. Her twin brother was a model of the cross-crawling pattern, was scaling the stairs with ease and was beginning the thrill-seeking stunts of pulling up and letting go. 7 of 8 continued her lopsided belly motion. It sort of hit us all at once; this was something on which we were going to need some advice.

After chiropractic adjustments, pediatric evaluations and ultimately an MRI this past Wednesday, we have an answer. Either in utero or right at the time of birth, 7 of 8 most likely experienced a neonatal stroke, resulting in a lingering weakness on the left side of her body. The fruit of this event is mainly in her left hand, which she somewhat avoids using, and in her left foot. She does not have any stiffness of the muscles or rigidity, and she is willing to use the left side, but seems to need to be reminded.

Our course of action is to begin physical and occupational therapy this Tuesday. It is a unique opportunity: 4 of 8 (our child who is hearing impaired) is so excited to be able to work with 7, having been the recipient of extensive Auditory Verbal Therapy herself. Because we worked so hard as a family in therapy with 4 of 8, we are thankfully not feeling as overwhelmed as we did when 4 of 8's hearing loss was diagnosed. While there is a tinge of bittersweet heartache with 7 of 8's news, there is also a sense of gratitude that we have been entrusted with her progress and growth, along with an acceptance of her adorable way of moving herself through her terrain. Just like 4 of 8's unique accent due to her hearing loss, 7 of 8's little crawl is simply an individualistic accessory that has a charm all its own.

7 of 8's prognosis is considered to be very good. The amazing brain has an incredible ability to rewire and reroute. Time will tell how her right lobe makes adjustment for her left side. As the right side of the brain is responsible for the left side of the body, it will be fascinating to see how 7 of 8 works in her right mind. For now, she seems happy to be the 'talker' of the twins, while 8 of 8 is the 'mover and the shaker'. Her brunette hair is more plentiful and longer than 8 of 8's light blond fuzz. Her big green eyes light up with grins at her 'little' brother's sparkling blue ones. 7 of 8 and 8 of 8 are so different on so many levels and yet their relationship has gained this week a new sweetness. 7 of 8 has begun making significant strides in her motor skills, all in an effort to keep up with her 'baby' brother. And he keeps cheering her on.
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