Tag Archives: motor skills

Marvelous Monday

Oh my gosh! Are we here?! We are! Happy Monday, Reader!

Addie and I are thankful that we made it to Philadelphia safe and sound! We had fun flying together and I’m sure we will have a story or two for you in an upcoming post about flying (alone) with a toddler!

We all landed safely! Even Buttons, the monkey!

We all landed safely! Even Buttons, the monkey!

* * *

This week, at the encouragement of a fellow POLP, I wanted to discuss another type of dwarfism besides achondroplasia. I want to advocate for the LP community, and though achondroplasia is rare, it is the most common type of dwarfism. Knowing that I don’t know enough about dwarfism as a whole, I started to research online, in books and through chats about other forms- to learn from other parents and help understand their concerns. I’ve been learning a lot about Diastrophic dysplasia (DD) as a result of wanting to know more about less mobile people with dwarfism. Due to the vast differences in each form, there are many features of one type of dwarfism that are absent in another. DD occurs in about one in 100,000 births. Apparent physical features tend to be shortened forearms and calves (this is known as mesomelic shortening). Mesomelic shortening is refers to a shortening of the middle (AKA intermediate) portion of a limb. Other physical features can include deformed hands and feet, cleft palate, cauliflower ear, small auditory canals in the ears, osteoarthritis (joint pain), and contractures (which are joint deformities) and can restrict movement. Many people with diastrophic dwarfism have limited range of motion, such as Matt Roloff (LPBW).

Diastrophic dysplasia is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern which means that both parents must carry the diastrophic gene for a child to be born with DD. For couples who have a child with this form of dwarfism, there is a 25% chance with each subsequent pregnancy that the child will be diastrophic. Diastrophic dysplasia is [one of several skeletal disorders] caused by mutations in the SLC26A2 gene. This gene is responsible for instructions for making a protein essential for the normal development of cartilage- leading to the development of bone. Without this normal response/protein production, cartilage does not develop into bone properly. The signs and symptoms of diastrophic dysplasia are similar to those of another, more severe, skeletal disorder called atelosteogenesis type 2. Some diastrophic infants have breathing problems due to hypoplastic cartilage, leading the mortality rate due to respiratory distress approaching 25% in early infancy, but most people with this type of dwarfism live into their adult lives.

Like other forms of dwarfism, due to its features, diastrophic children are likely delayed in their motor skills. This is due to the many surgeries they endure in just the first few years of life. These include issues with clubbed feet, scoliosis, kyphosis, dislocated hips, and other physical issues that can be corrected with surgeries, braces or even months of casting. Regardless, as we all do, diastrophic children reach their milestones physically and mentally and many have families of their own.

THIS webpage gave me some great information, and of course I went here first… Addie’s geneticist and orthopedist are A.I. DuPont doctors! For all the achondroplasia information that I know, and all that I don’t, it was a good lesson to learn that dwarfism is not dwarfism is not dwarfism- something I know people outside of the community may not realize. The diagnosis of dwarfism is not explanatory in and of itself, but more of an umbrella. Being a person diagnosed with dwarfism can mean over 200 different possibilities (and those are just the recognized forms)- there are different types being found to this day, and children and adults who are yet undiagnosed due to their specific differences.

Thank you for learning about diastrophic dwarfism with me.

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Finally… my random of the week! Besides being super excited that we made it through the airport, I was glad that I’d tagged my bags the way I did: I used my business card (with address, email and phone) as my luggage tag. Thankfully, I have moo.com business cards, which are impossible to rip! Because of this, I know that my information is on each bag, unique and clearly marked. The usual tags are hard to read and when your luggage all looks the same, sometimes you end up pulling every bag off in search of your own (not easy when you’re alone with a baby!). In the past I’ve tagged my luggage with bright fabric or tape, but in one case, the fabric was gone (leaving me searching for my bag for an hour while the same pieces of luggage paraded around the carousel- one was mine and the other was a lost bag) and taping my new (thanks Mom and Al) luggage might ruin it. So… I resorted to this:

IMAG3572

Clean. Simple. Reliable.

Thanks for reading! Happy Monday!

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Filed under Educate/Adovocate/Make Change, Marvelous Monday

Time Marches On

… or crawls or walks. At 8 1/2 months, we don’t really sit up yet. While Christmas is in the air, I’m becoming more aware of the gross motor skill differences between Addie and other children her age. In some ways, I consider myself lucky to have a baby who doesn’t move much, yet. I don’t have to chase her around- she stays on her play mat and happily rolls from one toy to the next, but other times I feel sad. I want to wear her on my body. I want to have her sit up and look at me. I don’t want to worry every time she bumps her head that there will be some severe injury. I don’t want to feel the kyphosis in her spine. All good things in time… Sometimes, time takes a long while to come.

It’s Christmas Eve, and as people are tucked away in their beds, I am feeling Addie’s soft spot to check for a buldge. Like I do every night. I wait until she is asleep, then gently feel her head to make sure that there are no signs of hydrocephalus. Then I let her sleep. Just as Santa is making his way down our chimney, I will wake up to make sure Addie’s snoring isn’t getting worse. When the milk has been finished and the cookies all gone, and the big man is on his way to the next house, I will lay back down to pretend to sleep ’til dawn.

I love Christmas, but maybe my love for the season is rivaled with hate for it, in equal parts. I miss my Dad. I hate that we barely put up lights to save on an electric bill we already can’t afford. I wish my whole family could be together and not spread out down the east coast. And I wish I knew what the future held for Addie. There are a million things that can go wrong in life, I just want one wish for Addie’s first Christmas: A lifetime of happiness for my baby girl.

I remember last year at this time:

Christmas 2011

We were in Florida and I could not wait for Addie to arrive. My handsome nephew, Mark, had been born almost a month prior, and I could not stop snuggling on his little self. I couldn’t even dream of a human so small and fragile. But then, my Addie came.

Florida 2011

Brand new Addie

This face is wise and curious:

Addie

She is, as far as I can tell, the reason I am here in this world. But sometimes, I wonder if I am good enough for her. Am I willing to wait for all the good things? Will I show her the right path to take, but let her choose her way? I want so badly to live in the now, but it’s so hard when the past is always nipping at your heels.

My dear baby girl. You are the comfort and joy, the wondrous night, what makes me laugh all the way home where you snuggle into me and keep me warm, you’re my good cheer and you help me live in Heavenly peace. You are my miracle. Christmas, or not.

Happy holidays to all who celebrate. May we never know what God intended for our lives, just that He intended them for us.

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Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Early Intervention

Addie went to Early Intervention for her physical interview.  She automatically qualifies for the program based on her diagnosis, but they like to get together to check where her skills are.

She’s 3 months… what skills?

I began the interview by handing the therapists toys that she likes, as she was completely disinterested in the ones that they wanted her to track and follow.  The red and yellow rubber “toys” she presented to her looked more medical than playful; I was glad that I brought along a few of her favorites. Once she proved her skills there, we moved onto a few other things, then questions about her eating.  These confused me, as they were asking about how she takes pureed foods. I’m sorry… what? She’s 3 months- update your questions to coincide with what the AMA guidelines are for feeding.

After more noise making and eye tracking, a little bit of reaching, and a whole lot of “prayer hands” (where she holds her hands in a prayer-like fashion), the therapists asked if I could pull her up by her arms to bring her into a seated position, which helps check her abdominal strength. Um, nope. Have you people seen her head size, which we discussed at length, and how I can’t let it snap back? She holds her arms and legs up in the air, she’s working her abs, let’s leave it at that.

So, we moved on. Sort of. One of the last questions included me holding her, facing me, in a slightly seated position cradled in my arms. From this point, I would drop her back, “just a bit”, to see if she startles.

You want me to drop her to see if she still has the startle reflex, which I said she did? Trust me. She does. And I’m not about to risk her head flapping back to prove it.

In the end, it was a fine visit and I agreed to worth with a therapist to come up with a care plan, but for now, that just consists of monitoring her motor skills.

I provided the therapists with a copy of the most up-top-date chart of where her motor skills should fall as an achondroplastic, and let them know I expect her scores from now on to be biased toward these age-appropriate, according to experts in dwarfism, milestones.

As it is, Addie scored at 3 to 4 months for each group, except social and verbal skills, where she is at a 4 month and 5 month mark, respectively. This was no surprise to Mima (my mom) or Daddy, as they both know how much I love face-to-face communication, always making eye contact with people I am in conversation with, as well as the fact that I love to talk. And I do so a lot!

It’s nice to see that being sure to speak with Addie everyday, encourage her to engage us in conversation and always make eye contact with her, whether she is playing with a new toy, getting dressed and counting her snaps, or in between the lines in a story- we are enhancing her communication skills.  I hope that she can keep up with her motor skills, but even if she ends up a big behind from AH kids, I know that she will reach her goals!

I do hope to add a few things to her goals, like looking at her toys more, but she just loves the social interaction she gets from the people around her, often losing focus on the object at hand and choosing to look at the people near her… unless there’s a ceiling fan.

A BIG congratulations to our tiny little girl for making her milestones thus far, and being the little chatterbox that mommy is, too!

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change, Milestones

Brass Tacks

When you boil it down, there is a ton of information about parenting; breast feeding, diapering, scheduling, milestones, sleep patterns, bathing tips, birthday party ideas… these things rule the Mommy World on the internet.  But where is the information for a child who is not average? You know… the child who is above average, but below in height? Where is the information for children with dwarfism? And if you can’t find anything more than general information about dwarfism, let’s make the search easier, and pin point what we’re looking for: achondroplasia.

There are a ton of “facts”, and “the genetic workings” are explained in detail, but the deeper details, multitude of growth and development charts, information on specific spinal development, and what toys, carriers and car seats work best. Where is that information?

Well, it’s not there.

It’s not in Parenting, Parents, American Baby, Family Circle, Disney Family, OR at your geneticist’s office.  It’s not that I’m angry, I’m just confused and deterred. Who do you ask if the doctors don’t know?

I love nice people as much as the next gal, but when I want answers, I want answers. I  don’t necessarily care if a doctor is nice when there is no information in hand. It’s not a hard concept- I want to know all there is to know about everything there is to know ,so that Dave and I can raise Addie in the best way possible for her and her needs, while not forgetting our own. We are good parents doing a lot of research, spending time and energy on excavating information that a working doctor does not have time to seek. Except, the one doctor I hoped would know enough to answer questions I had without reading an article she presented to me weeks ago.

I am wholly aware that I need to be Addie’s best advocate, but is there anyone out there who will help me?

The most helpful information I got from the geneticist: Addie’s measurements. For which I provided the growth charts to be plotted upon.
…And provided the accurate reading of said charts- as the assistant, a pediatric specialist, seemed unable to read the caption under the chart stating which lines were for Achondroplastics and which were for AH children.

And so, I guess I’m really just relieved that I did a ton of research so that I could tell the doctor what she was missing, and so I knew what questions I need to delve into further with the right people. But, who are the right people?

I’m hoping to find some answers in Delaware… insurance pending. Insurance; I believe that would be a whole other blog!

On a happy note: HAPPY THREE MONTHS TO THIS BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL!!


Thank you, one million times over, to the wonderful parents I’ve connected with who have given me more than advice- they have shared all of their medical knowledge with me- making disappointment easier to handle.  When I can’t find the exact answer I need, I know I can gain  a wealth of medical information from moms and dads who have walked the line before me.  Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing with me and helping me navigate my way as a new mom!

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change

Corporate America. There’s Hope.

I was disappointed.  Using a baby carrier was amazing to me. I was a baby wearing mama. Holding my little girl to me while I did everything from the dishes to walking the puppy, felt so pure and natural to me. I love the Bjorn which has more support, but the organic look and feel of the K’Tan was just what I wanted, and I was lucky enough to have a friend who purchased it for me!  I used it once, but Addie was so scrunched in it, I decided to wait to use it for a few weeks; then we learned she was an achon baby, and my little miracle could not use a carrier.

Scrunched Addie (see above)

No carrier.

I walked into the small local shop where I got the K’Tan. I explained that for medical reasons Addie would not be able to use it, and that it was clean, had all the pieces, it was in the box and had the instructions and warranty card.  The woman behind the desk glanced at me, her eyes darted to Addie, then to a piece of paper, where she was writing a note. “Your name and number. “ *** “I’ll ask the owner and call you later, but I already know the answer is ‘no’. We don’t take anything back that’s been out of the box.”  I was confused, as the carrier is clean, and there is one in the store, on display- out of the box, that they will sell. I assured the woman that I just wanted store credit, but she seemed to be distracted, so I wheeled the stroller in a k-turn motion and walked out.

I left the shop feeling dejected.  I would have loved to shop in this store again- support a local business. I was sure that the owner would call, or understand, but a message, “Hi Chelley, this is Xxxxx from Xxx XxXx, I spoke with the owner and we can’t take it back. Sorry. Bye.” Short, not sweet and not helpful. Instead of helping a local mom at an already difficult time, the almighty dollar takes the cake.  Instead of spending a few hundred there over the next few years, they made $74 on one sale. One time and one time only.  What a disappointment.  I would wanted a call from the owner (this truly is a small business)- to perhaps speak with her.  In a small state, like Rhode Island, all the business you can get includes everyone, right?

Please know that I am married to a small business owner. The business is my husband’s passion: music. Often times he has had to turn people away from full-fledged returns in favor of store credit, but he always takes the time to discuss issues with his customers- and speaks to them personally. To be told, “no”, was a lot to take, especially because the woman I had spoken to was so sharp with me and didn’t seem to hear what I was saying. I love the carrier, but medically I can’t use it. Isn’t the human condition a benefit here? The rules can be changed. Exceptions can be made. But, you have to listen.

And not I have to make the request that  no one give Addie gifts from small shops… clearly they cannot bend to be helpful to a new mom who is in apparent distress. As people serving people, looking up to see your customers, instead of down at your phone/keyboard/notepad, would go a long way. Sometimes you just want to know you were heard before a decision is passed down.

At the end of this debacle, I posted the carrier on line for a fraction of the price… and my big sister saved the day. A new mommy herself, she posted on Facebook and asked around, finding a buyer!

Sadly, however, this was just one of the few items that I was told “no” to on behalf of Addie.

Which brings me to Babies R’ Us in Warwick, RI.  I originally loved the idea of registering at only small shops, but knew we would need far reaching locations due to my family being all over the east coast (and some on the west, too!)- so BRU it was! I’ve been so happy with their assistance in returns and exchanges since the baby showers, and for this alone I was so grateful.

The Baby Einstein Bouncer was awesome! I remember seeing it and wanting it immediately; colors, lights, music and a ton of tactile activities. I was sure Addie would love it as much as I would.  Alas, this was not to be so.  Not a big deal to return, right? Wrong!!!

The box that the bouncer came in was cumbersome, so we took the inside boxes out of it and tossed the main packaging into recycling months ago; a small blessing that we never put it together. Driving to the store with Dave, he was convinced they would not take it back, while I was plotting my steps from pleading with the manager to writing corporate. We loaded our returns into a cart, including the pieces of the bouncer.

As we stood in line, I was already frustrated. Why do I have to explain things, why can’t “due to a medical condition” just be enough? I walked up to the counter with my cart full of stuff and explained, “I’d like to return some toys. I’m sorry I don’t have the main box for the bouncer, but it’s never been put together.” Michaela smiled at me and asked if we had been registered there. I felt the need to continue, “I really love the bouncer, but for medical reasons Addie can’t use it.” She glanced up from typing in my information and warmly smiled again. “No problem”, she said. While making small talk and commenting on how adorable Addie is and how she hopes she is OK, the sales associate scanned my registry info, found the bouncer, scanned the rest of my stuff, swiped a merchandise return card, handed it and the receipt to me and wished me a nice day.

I walked over to Dave, who was feeding Addie her favorite [and only food], Mommy Milk, and wanted to cry. I was so pent up, convinced that the world was against me. That, already, there were issues that would hinder Addie, but Babies R’ Us proved me wrong. A corporation caring about its customers, though I’m sure not always the case, has brought some light to the sadness I feel having to return toys that are not good for our beautiful little girl.

We got this beautiful elephant, a mirror, finger puppets, 2 books and an impression kit for Addie’s hands and feet with the credit. I think these will be great to help Addie’s development for touch and vision. I’m so excited to play with her new toys and help her develop at her own pace in a fun way!

Knowing that I shouldn’t give up on the world lending a hand is a good feeling- especially because this is just the beginning of a long road.

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change

Motor Skills

I fear that some of Addie’s motor skills will be behind… because that is what I’ve read, I’ve researched and what I’ve been told.

This was June 19th, age 9weeks 1day.  She may, at some point fall behind… til then: she’s kicking tail in the milestones department!

I’ve got a million fears about how she may not be average until she’s a bit older, and I’m going to celebrate, because I’m right- currently, she’s advanced. She has amazing head control and is rolling herself over daily, although not consistently. With everything I may want to cry about in the future, I’m here to applaud the now.

Roll, Addie, roll!

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Milestones

‘A’ is for Adelaide and Achondroplasia

I’m not sure where to begin. I could go back to camping.  That amazing 2-days my husband, Dave and I spent in Maine, creating our beautiful daughter.  It wasn’t really romantic, but it got our minds off of the previous 6-week troublesome time, which began with an early pregnancy miscarriage- often referred to as a chemical pregnancy.  In the weeks following, when the cramping eased, and the doctor reminded me that we could try again right away, we knew we needed a weekend away.  With our handsome puppy at doggie daycare, we took off to Wells, Maine.

It was a beautiful weekend.  And we made Addie.

A few weeks after we got back, I got a faint line and after watching the timer flash for 3 minutes “PREGNANT” popped up on the digital screen.  Excited, but scared to repeat the past, I tried to hide my findings from my husband; but, a few hours after he went to work, I texted a picture of the test to him.

***

Hearing her heartbeat was the most beautiful music ever created.  Rapid and deep, hearing her life beginning in me was one of the best days of my life, and over the following months, I took the tests, ate well, gaining only 26 pounds, and was then blessed with a beautiful, but long, delivery at 38 weeks, 5 days.

A clear-lunged Adelaide Eileen came into the world April 17, 2012 at 10:32am at 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 18 inches long.

18 inches is in the 5th percentile for height in a newborn.

At Addie’s one month check up, her head was in the 75th percentile, weight 10-25th percentile and height still in the 5th.

At two months, her head was in the 90th percentile, weight 25th percentile, and her height had dropped below 5th.

I cried.

We left the doctors’ office with an appointment for a fontanelle ultrasound to check for Hydrocephalus and another for x-rays of her long bones.  At 5’7 and my husband standing 5’9, I was unsure how we had such a short baby, but her head was our main concern.  Along with the appointment at the radiologist’s office, Addie left the office with thighs sore with vaccine shots.  Later that night, June 19, 2012,  a fever of 101.5 struck, and was just the beginning.

***

At 7pm, June 21st, we arrived at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI. Addie presented with a mild-grade fever, lethargy and a lack of appetite. She endured hours of IVs, needle pricks, blood draws, a CT scan and four, yes four, unsuccessful attempts at a lumbar puncture.  Without the spinal cord fluid needed to run a meningitis test, Addie was started on broad spectrum antibiotics for the night.

A tentatively negative read was done of her CT, for everything, including Hydrocephalus- a concern due to the rapid growth of her head. Although this brought relief, there was another test we knew needed to be done for her general heath (an x-ray of her long bones), and there was the issue of what was making her ill at the present moment.

***

A call from our pediatrician to the attending physician in the hospital prompted the bones of her body to be x-rayed, specifically the long bones in her arms (upper) and legs (thigh), pelvis, spine and skull, which took all of 10 minutes and we were wheeled back to our room.

A geneticist came to do some measurements. I felt hot and sick. There were tears forming, but, as a mother, I had known Addie was too short for her age. We discussed nothing specific, only mentioning that there could be a genetic anomaly, and that’s why she was called in to look at the x-rays. As the doctor left the room to read the x-rays herself, I held my knees to my chest and practiced breathing.

When she returned, I was cleaning out my breast pump pieces in scalding water. She pulled a chair up to talk. I stayed at the sink, burning my hands in the water. When she didn’t continue her diatribe, I knew the x-rays had shown something. I finished washing the bottles and made small talk. If I never heard what she had to say then she had never said anything. Right?

“After reviewing the x-rays with the best radiologist in Rhode Island, we have both confirmed the diagnosis of Achondroplasia,” Doctor.
“What’s that mean?” Dave.
“Dwarfism,” I said. Blankly staring at something that wasn’t there.

Achondroplasia 

There’s been a lot of discussion over the years about the proper way to refer to someone with dwarfism. Many people who have the condition prefer the term “little person” or “person of short stature.” For some, “dwarf” is acceptable. For most, “midget” definitely is not.
But here’s an idea everyone can agree on: Why not simply call a person with dwarfism by his or her name?
Being of short stature is only one of the characteristics that make a little person who he or she is. If you’re the parent or loved one of a little person, you know this to be true.
But here are some facts that other people may not realize about dwarfism and those who have it.

Dwarfism:

  • is characterized by short stature. Technically, that means an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches or under, according to the advocacy group Little People of America (LPA).
  • can be caused by any one of more than 300 conditions, most of which are genetic. The most common type, accounting for 70% of all cases of short stature, is called achondroplasia.
  • can and most often does occur in families where both parents are of average height. In fact, 4 out of 5 of children with achondroplasia are born to average-size parents.

Dwarfism isn’t:

  • an intellectual disability. A person who has dwarfism is typically of normal intelligence.
  • a disease that requires a “cure.” Most people with one of these conditions live long, fulfilling lives.
  • a reason to assume someone is incapable. Little people go to school, go to work, marry, and raise children, just like their average-size peers.

What Causes Short Stature?

  • More than 300 well-described conditions are known to cause short stature in a child. Most are caused by a spontaneous genetic change (mutation) in the egg or sperm cells prior to conception. Others are caused by genetic changes inherited from one or both parents.
  • Similarly, depending on the type of condition causing the short stature, it is possible for two average-size parents to have a child with short stature, and is also possible for parents who are little people to have an average-size child.
  • What prompts a gene to mutate is not yet clearly understood. The change is seemingly random and unpreventable, and can occur in any pregnancy. If parents have some form of dwarfism themselves, the odds are much greater that their children will also be little people. A genetic counselor can help determine the likelihood of passing on the condition in these cases.
  • Dwarfism has other causes, including metabolic or hormonal disorders in infancy or childhood. Chromosomal abnormalities, pituitary gland disorders (which influence growth and metabolism), absorptive problems (when the body can’t absorb nutrients adequately), and kidney disease can all lead to short stature if a child fails to grow at a normal rate.

By far, the most common skeletal dysplasia is achondroplasia, a short-limb dysplasia that occurs in about 1 of every 15,000 to 40,000 babies born of all races and ethnicities. It can be caused by a spontaneous mutation in a gene called FGFR3, or a child can inherit a change in this gene from a parent who also has achondroplasia.

People with achondroplasia have a relatively long trunk and shortened upper parts of their arms and legs. They may share other features as well, such as a larger head with a prominent forehead, a flattened bridge of the nose, shortened hands and fingers, and reduced muscle tone. The average adult height for someone with achondroplasia is a little over 4 feet.

Diagnosis

Some types of dwarfism can be identified through prenatal testing if a doctor suspects a particular condition and tests for it. But most cases are not identified until after the child is born. In those instances, the doctor makes a diagnosis based on the child’s appearance, failure to grow, and X-rays of the bones. Depending on the type of dwarfism the child has, diagnosis often can be made almost immediately after birth.
Once a diagnosis is made, there is no “treatment” for most of the conditions that lead to short stature. Hormonal or metabolic problems may be treated with hormone injections or special diets to spark a child’s growth, but skeletal dysplasias cannot be “cured.”
People with these types of dwarfism can, however, get medical care for some of the health complications associated with their short stature.
Some forms of dwarfism also involve issues in other body systems — such as vision or hearing — and require careful monitoring.

Possible Complications and Treatments

Short stature is the one quality all people with dwarfism have in common. After that, each of the many conditions that cause dwarfism has its own set of characteristics and possible complications.
Fortunately, many of these complications are treatable, so that people of short stature can lead healthy, active lives.
For example, a small percentage of babies with achondroplasia may experience hydrocephalus (excess fluid around the brain). They may also have a greater risk of developing apnea — a temporary stop in breathing during sleep — because of abnormally small or misshapen anatomy or, more likely, because of airway obstruction by the adenoids or the tonsils. Occasionally, a part of the brain or spinal cord is compressed. With close monitoring by doctors, however, these potentially serious problems can be detected early and surgically corrected.

As a child with dwarfism grows, other issues may also become apparent, including:

  • delayed development of some motor skills, such as sitting up and walking
  • a greater susceptibility to ear infections and hearing loss
  • breathing problems caused by small chests
  • weight problems
  • curvature of the spine (scoliosis, kyphosis, and/or lordosis)
  • bowed legs
  • trouble with joint flexibility and early arthritis
  • lower back pain or leg numbness
  • crowding of teeth in the jaw

Proper medical care can alleviate many of these problems. For example, surgery often can bring relief from the pain of joints that wear out under the stress of bearing weight differently with limited flexibility.
Surgery also can be used to improve some of the leg, hip, and spine problems people with short stature sometimes face.
Nonsurgical options may help, too — for instance, excessive weight can worsen many orthopedic problems, so a nutritionist might help develop a healthy plan for shedding extra pounds. And doctors or physical therapists can recommend ways to increase physical activity without putting extra stress on the bones and joints.

 

The information runs far and is quite plentiful.  In the United States, approximately 10,000 individuals are estimated to have achondroplasia. Achondroplasia affects about 1 in every 40,000 children. However, this number varies, depending on the source. Eighty percent of all little people have achondroplasia. Approximately 150,000 persons have achondroplasia worldwide. The worldwide population of little people is approximately 190,000.

And there, my dear readers, are the facts.

Please don’t say you’re sorry. Nothing to be sorry about. She is beautiful and we are blessed. She’s a bit small for her age. That’s all.  Mention of a TLC tv show hardly seems appropriate, after all, is social media the best judgment or indicator for life’s actuality? Asking if there is anything you can do doesn’t make much sense either, as she is a normal little girl in every way but height.

People don’t know what to say- I’ve already encountered that. But if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, if you don’t know what to say, say nothing.

Adelaide Eileen. The prettiest girl in the whole wide world. <3

But with all this talk, I can’t say that I’m not scared, or angry, or confused, or hurt. I can say I’m so happy, blessed and in love. Little people live normal life expectancies and can do anything they want.  It’s not a disease. She does not need to be cured.

She cannot ever do gymnastics.  If I said this didn’t hurt me, I would be a liar.  I was a gymnast, and some of my fondest memories are swinging my long and lean body around the bars, sleep over camp and long drives to state meets. She cannot participate in other little girls’ gymnastics parties. But, she can swim- and I’m looking forward to mommy & me swim lessons like it’s Christmas day!

And here I am. I’m angry.  I’m really angry. I’m so ashamed of myself for, potentially, making life harder for her.  I am, in my mind, at fault. I want to help her be the strong girl I know she is, but how can I do that when I’m falling apart on the inside? I’m angry this will impact her. I’m angry other children won’t get it. I’m angry that people in her family, at least not everyone, will understand and respect and be “ok” with her stature. I’m angry people may point, laugh, call her names, misunderstand her, and hurt her. I’m angry, damn it. I really am.  Perhaps some of my fears are masked by this anger, which I’ve always been so quick to feel, but for now I’ll call it a pure emotion and hope it unfolds well.

As I watch her sleep in her hospital bed (crib), she looks like the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. She has my little nose and crooked pinkies, and Dave’s ears and lips.  She is an angel. She’s a perfect combination of the man I will love forever and myself. Maybe she’s not your ideal baby- but she’s certainly my ideal: happy, healthy, with dimples, bright blue eyes, 10 fingers and toes, sweet baby coos, and a sigh that ends with her collapsing on my chest.

In truth, as I write, she is getting better from whatever brought us here in the first place; No fever, less lethargic and eating much better. But she is still here. I am battling with her being sick and getting a lifelong diagnosis that I’m not sure the right way to process.  I am dealing with the good news of no hydrocephalus and the shock of knowing my daughter will be physically different from other children. I am scared of my reaction to other parents, when they tell me of milestones their children are crossing, as Addie’s motor skills may be slightly behind because she cannot learn to sit by propping. I am wondering what life will bring to her and how I can make sure she has the best one possible- as any parent does for their child.

Over the past few days I have tried to take all the information thrown our way in stride, and remember that some questions will remain unanswered until she reaches a certain age and the universe reveals its mysterious ways.  I’ve contemplated if I had known she would be a little person before she was born, would I feel differently… no.  I wish I had had the time before she was born to process, as it is hard to shed tears when I’m looking at her beautiful face; but I will let my emotions take their course, rely on the love Dave and I share and the information at hand to be the best parents we can be.

And so, I conclude.

‘A’ is for Adelaide and Achondroplasia.

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