The Greene Affect – Nine Months In

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By Michael

Nine months old.

Each month it happens, he turns a month older, and each month I have at least one moment where I want to stand with my arms out in confusion just asking “how?”.

Nine months marks another “milestone” moment I had marked in my brain months ago when the weight and fear of the unknown were nearly unbearable. We’re officially ¾ of the way through the first year. The first year with Harrison. The first year with Arthrogryposis. The year that most parents say is the hardest.

The thing with the first year, though, is you also get to have a ton of “firsts”. Having big families on both sides means you don’t have just one “first Thanksgiving”, you have three. Having large families and multiple Thanksgivings also means having tons of “first times” trying new foods. While we’ve been slow in introducing solids to ensure swallowing, along with tongue and jaw strength, was where they needed to be, it’s safe to say we have blown the door to solid food off its hinges! We knew he’d be a food baby, but man-oh-man, this boy likes his food! (Maybe a bit too much a few times. Lol)

A full belly surrounded by a cast does not make the happiest of baby boys we’ll just say!

So while having times of happiness, some new firsts, and making memories this past month, it still has had its challenges. While the spica cast has not been as bad as, at least I had expected, it has still brought its challenges. There has for sure been some trial and error as we’ve learned to navigate with the cast, but at this point, we pretty much have our routine and strategy in place.

Being in the cast has also forced about half of HG’s therapies to be put on hold until the first of the year. On paper, that sounds great, a bit of a break on a few things, a little less running around for him and his Mommy. Sometimes that makes things harder, though. The lack of doing something, even when you’re unable to, leads to feelings of doubt. As if you’re not doing enough and should do more.

It’s hard watching your son wanting to do things while being unable to. To sit and wonder if there’s something you’re missing. If maybe you took him to another doctor or tried another therapy, that may be the key. That if you try harder, then you’ll expand your child’s physical abilities.

It’s hard having your hands tied while sitting under a cloud of doubt. Forget logic. Forget the fact that you’re in the middle of a process that hopefully gives your son the ability to walk within a typical timeline. There’s always room to wonder if you’re doing enough.

These times where we’re stuck in a “holding pattern” because we’re waiting for the next surgery or for the latest cast to come off, seem to be where the most mental struggles live.

Our son is doing great for the cards he was dealt. Any doctor or therapist that sees him, is happy with his progress and optimistic about the future. He’s growing, getting stronger, and getting chattier than ever. The list of positives that can be pulled from any and every corner is enormous. Most days I know this. I know this as I write this. That little nugget of wondering if you’re doing enough is always there. It’s a naturally parental thing to sit and wonder if you’re doing enough for your child.

That doesn’t mean that the weight of it all can’t sometimes weigh on you. Especially when your child’s struggles are so immediately and physically apparent.

For now, though, we’re looking forward to our next visit to Greenville in a few weeks. From there it’s onto HG’s first Christmas and the New Year. With multiple family birthdays sprinkled throughout this next month.

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