She had a little discomfort, got in the bathtub, and delivered Taryn in the tub. You can just imagine what that would be like, not even knowing you are pregnant and then here is a teeny tiny baby. Luckily she lived very close to her local hospital, so they rushed her off along with Taryn. Taryn had a 98 day NICU stay. She had sepsis, brain bleeds, IVH. She only weighed one pound, nine ounces and was thirteen inches long. Despite being incredibly tiny and dealing with a ton of issues, she survived and fought through all of that and still has that same determination today.
We just fell in love with her from moment one.
We had the privilege of meeting Taryn on the day that she was released from the NICU. We were holding her, she still had all her little cords and cables and all that good stuff attached to all kinds of things. It was just a joy to get to see her and hold her and know she might be our daughter. We were just hoping we’d be able to take her home.
We knew from day one that she was so at risk for cerebral palsy and that was key for us. So we knew to be enjoying her, but also to be really vigilant of any warning signs so that we could intervene early. That knowledge helped empower us to seek early intervention services as soon as our daughter was discharged from the NICU. We were able to start in-home physical and occupational therapy about two weeks after our daughter came home, and I have no doubt that has greatly improved her cognitive and motor outcomes.
For Taryn, cerebral palsy affects the left side of her body
so we noticed she was really always looking to one direction and not the other so we worked on encouraging her to move her head the other direction. Then we noticed she was neglecting to use her left hand and then finally we noticed her left foot was dragging. We started some constraint therapy to encourage Taryn to use her left side.
While she had that restraint on, I remember there was one activity in which she had a mitt that had Velcro on it. We were encouraged to throw the ball toward her to see if she would catch it in her mit, and first I thought, "Good Lord, it's gonna hit her in the face". It might have the first time, but she wasn't hurt. We just kept up with it, and it was amazing to see her develop her own confidence. I think that is the key to everything, conveying to these children regardless of what their challenges are, they can do it.
I have to tell you something that's funny.
It's been a couple of months but I was outside with her and she fell in the driveway. I'd learned from my first two children that you don't always run and make a big deal because that panics the child. I said, "Oh Taryn, are you okay?" And she looked up at me, still on the floor, "I almost fell." I said, "Honey you did fall." But for her it was like eh. She’s so tough.