Monday, July 07, 2008

Occupational Therapy

The theme for the day kids is "occupational therapy"- in both the literal and figurative sense...

This morning John and I went to the occupational therapist for yet another new and different assessment of his mouth. I am reminded of the poem The Blind Men and the Elephant when it comes to all these assessments--each health care professional is looking for something different and none of them has the same perspective as the other. In any case, John actually has some issues preventing him from breastfeeding that therapy can help.

1. He's mildly hypotonic (has low muscle tone) - which may or may not have been caused by being born by c-section. His tongue is affected and needs to be strengthened.

2. He has a strong preference for turning his head to the right.

3. He isn't yet able to make the movements with his tongue that are necessary to nurse (or even drink from a bottle) efficiently.

The OT said that since he's gaining weight so well (10 lbs 8.5 oz today) that the pediatrician would never be worried about his suck, but that it's best to nip it in the bud because it will prevent issues with eating solids and speech down the road.

I was really worried that she would ask me to do a lot of time-consuming exercises with him, but so far, it doesn't sound so bad.

1. She asked me to start feeding him from bottles with ball shaped nipples at the end.
2. Tap cheeks with index finger before every feeding.
3. Give him pacifiers from the freezer-the cold will cause him to suck in his cheeks and exercise those muscles.
4. Offer him the breast 1 to 2 times a day for 5 min with shield (use nipple from bottle).
5. Work on head turning to the left.

I really feel so much better now. For the first time in a month I feel some optimism that he might breastfeed someday.

Now for occupational therapy, the figurative version...

I finished my book--the final re-write anyway. I still have to go through and make sure the formatting is all correct and fix any typos I've made. But the writing is finished. How did I manage to come to the end? I have no blasted idea. Sam got a cold and slept most of the day Thursday and I started tinkering around with my novel and late in the afternoon, I came to the last page. I wanted to run gleeful laps around the neighborhood in my underwear. It was a huge moment for me. But then I realized I'd been in such a groove that I'd missed a couple of pumping sessions and did that instead.

My next book-related project is writing a snappy synopsis. Considering the number of websites out there dedicated to teaching aspiring authors how to write one, I'm in good company. It is not at all fun and is darn near impossible. This is where the therapy portion enters the equation.

Wish me luck.

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