Saturday, February 25, 2012


These are the words I heard in a span of about 20 minutes as we left Children's hospital to go pick Mary Lawrence up from school:

"She has instability in her neck"..."probably going to need spinal fusion..."..."Lee, it's almost noon don't we need to get Mary Lawrence?" ..."Let's just put Maggie's brace on when we get home"..."We need to tighten the car seat straps when we stop next- they're too loose without the brace"..."That man isn't even looking; he's on his cell phone! Oh noooo!!!" ....Smash, crumple, spin in slow motion.... "Ma'am are y'all ok??? We called an ambulance. Stay where you are..." Child screaming, siren blaring, body shaking...

Car accidents can jolt you out of your security on the road in less than one second. This was no different. If Maggie had been on the passenger side or had ML been in the car in her normal seat, things could have been a lot worse.

Maggie is okay, but the neurosurgeon was clearly unhappy that I didn't have her brace on. (The "we had taken it off for another doctor and were running late" excuse was not good enough for me either.) Thankfully her MRI is on Wednesday so we'll know for sure. But having just heard about this new instability in her neck five minutes prior, I was very upset. Now I'm just sick to my stomach thinking about what further harm the crash may have caused. That's on top of the constant headache I've had since. (Jessica was okay, too, after an afternoon at the hospital, poor thing!).

We moms think we are okay in our big, safe SUVs and that nothing can harm us when we're going 35 mph on a city street. But that's a myth. Always make sure your children are securely strapped into their seats, even if you're only going a mile down the road. Know that even though you are a good driver, the person two cars away from you may be texting, talking on their phone, drunk, or just plain not paying attention...

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pinless halo

Short story- the two main doctors treating Maggie in Dallas differ on how to treat her. One says we need to correct her immediately either by halo or spinal fusion (the Atlanta doctors concur); the other says we need to wait a few years and really see if we can determine what the underlying issue is before we do anything drastic. Both have valid points.

Anyways, the doctor who wants to hold off on the major stuff suggested a pinless halo brace. I agreed to try it but told him that I doubt it would work because so far Maggie has been able to either remove or maneuver all braces so they are rendered ineffective. But anything is worth a try.

So we went to Scottish Rite on Thursday and I was elated to see that this pinless halo is an AWESOME brace. She cannot get out of it or manipulate it to her liking- and it makes her straight! (Why they didn't give us this a year ago, I'll never know, but I know we can't look back).

Maggie hates it, of course. She can't walk because it's heavy and awkward. But she'll learn. We are working our way to wearing it 24/7 except for baths and stretching.

I'm not sure what the other dr will think. I'm dreading to think he will still want the real halo because we can't take it off at all and he thinks she needs that unrestricted straight growth for 4-6 months. I'm praying that this pinless halo will quickly retrain her to be straight. So Justin and I need to be super committed to making her wear it as much as possible. Which, I might add, is very hard to do.

The past few days I've been totally catering to every whim of Maggie's because I feel so bad for her with her pouty lips and sad eyes. This afternoon she said she wanted to go "bye bye in car." We didn't really have anywhere to go but I put her in the car anyways and we went to the Redbox kiosk at the grocery store. I snapped this photo as she was waving to everyone and saying "hi" to the shoppers. I mean, seriously, what a great sport this child is...

(How hilarious is that curly hair popping out of the top? She looks like a little science experiment.)

People couldn't help but smile. Then one lady asked me if she had fallen on her head. Translation: "You must be an idiot mother for your child to end up like this." And then I just had to leave...

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Good news!

Maggie gained 1 pound in the last 10 days! That is huge for us so thank you for the prayers. It wouldn't have happened without my sweet husband whom I talked into doing a 5th (very late night) feeding to get in some extra calories. That coupled with a healthy Maggie=weight gain!

In other news, in my desperation to build up muscle strength and induce peer pressure to help her neck, I signed Maggie up for Little Gym and swimming lessons in addition to the 5 therapy sessions we get each week. This goes against everything I believe as a parent (i.e. don't overdo it with too many activities) but that just all goes out the window when all those things are truly good for her. Or at least they are right now. Swimming has been so wonderful for her upper body strength. Little Gym is a whole new world if socialization and adventure for Maggie; she is a little hesitant but willing to try anything. I'm sure the other parents wonder why I'm bringing a child with a neck brace to a gym class, but oh well!

Other good news is Maggie is talking in full sentences. She had a feeding evaluation today and the therapist couldn't believe that she was only two and talking so well. This was refreshing because usually these evaluations are so discouraging because she's so delayed in other areas. One of the sentences she's said recently:

"Mommy, (when looking at a picture of a volcano) what happened to the volcano? It's hot- don't touch; ka boom!, it exploded mommy."

How thankful we are for our talkative geologist!

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