RSS Feed

My Son

I told you all a while back that I’d someday tell you why my son is so amazing. That day has come.

While I’d love to rave about the cute couple of finds I had over the weekend, or how well magazine creation is going, all I can think about this week is Thursday.

Thursday is going to be difficult.

Thursday my 21-month-old son is getting an MRI.

And I’m frightened.

It all started when my son was 3 months old. One day we noticed that his right arm was suddenly turned in, his hand in a fist and his arm laying lifeless by his side.

Strange, we thought.

His pediatrician diagnosed it as a birth injury — a brachial plexus injury to be exact. There was just one problem. He didn’t have a difficult birth. I never bought it.

Around 9 months old we started taking him to physical therapy to improve the use of his arm. I’ll take this opportunity to thank God for physical therapists and their patience, wisdom and dedication. Without therapy I don’t know where my son would be today.

He’s been in therapy for a year now. He’s been in therapy over half his life, every week, once a week. Over the past year we’ve added occupational therapy to help his fine motor skills and swimming therapy to help his overall movements and strength. He loves swimming, fyi. 🙂

My son was a scooter for a long time. He got around on his bum for months before he was finally able to pull himself up and try walking. He didn’t walk until he was 17 months old.

That was scary.

And when he finally started walking his PT noticed some weakness in his right leg, too. So we decided to see a specialist at the children’s hospital here in town. We met with Dr. Rinaldi in the rehab department and the man is an amazing person. He got on the floor with my son and played with him while observing his physical abilities. I am thankful for that man and his kind staff.

His diagnosis was Cerebral Palsy, specifically Hemiplegia, which is a weakness focused on one side of the body. It wasn’t unexpected as his PT had suspected this and prepared us, which I am thankful for, as I may have broken down in hysterics right then and there in the doctor’s office.

But as far as brain problems go, this is the one they say they’d choose if they had to. It was probably caused by a brain bleed, but we’ll see what’s going on on Thursday. Sometimes injuries are so old they can’t see them, but hopefully we’ll get some answers.

I’m secretly hoping the MRI will show how big and amazing this kid’s brain is. At 20 months he was counting into the 20s, singing his ABCs, identifying letters, letter sounds, upside down letters, shapes, colors, numbers, reading us his books from memory, and so much more. I can’t keep up with the kid.

The most difficult parts of all of this have been the random stages of grief. Like seeing him run around at the play area at the mall and noticing the obvious difference between him and the other kids — although to the untrained eye, he probably looks fairly normal. Watching him fall over and over again (which has been helped by the foot brace he got a few weeks ago). Seeing the frustration in his eyes when he doesn’t understand why things are so difficult to do with his right hand.

But the thing about kids with special needs is that they’re constantly amazing you. I forget how desperately I prayed for him to be able to walk … for months. And then one day he did. And now he squats, holds big toys with two hands (and says “bof hands” while he does … that’s therapy for you!), tries to jump, runs pretty fast and sits up and lays down really well. These are all things that have amazed me and made me so thankful for his determination.

This little kid, this baby whom I carried around with me for the better part of a year, this naive little boy has shown me more in nearly two years about perseverance, love, joy, patience, acceptance and hope than I ever thought possible.

No matter how many times he falls, he gets back up. And that’s a lesson we all need to learn.

So that’s why I talk about how amazing my son is. Not just for his unbelievable smarts, but for his will.

Pray for us this week friends. This MRI means sedation at his age, and though I know it will be harder on us than it is on him, the thought of not being able to comfort him when he is scared breaks my big old heart.

Feel free to ask me anything about Liam. We’re pretty open books.

I’ll update you all on Thursday.


About Erin Shipps

Life in your thirties can sometimes feel like you're stuck between what has happened and what's yet to come -- like being amidship. But I'm forging through with thrifty household decorating, DIY projects, health advice, and just life. When I'm not crafting my local Kansas City magazine VintageKC, I'm busy being a rock star's wife and mommy to the most beautiful 3-year-old. Welcome to our world amid the Shipps.

9 responses »

  1. Janelle Wessel

    Wow, that brought tears to my eyes!! Although, I can’t truly understand exactly what you are going through, I can understand the desperation as a parent for your child to be “normal” & healthy, & to have everything be ok! You are all in our thoughts and prayers for sure, but no matter what the outcome…..Liam has two, awesome parents that will give him everything possible to live a happy life, filled with tons of Love! That’s more important than anything! Sounds like he is one VERY smart little boy, & handsome too! You have every right to be proud & think he’s amazing!! Keep up the great work, Erin!!

  2. This made my heart explode. You betcha I’ll be praying for you guys, and if you ever need anything beyond prayers then you just let me know. I’ll be anxious to hear how it goes. Liam is amazing, and God gave him to you and your rockstar on purpose…

    Hang in there, friend!


  3. I had a very similar situations with my son, Erin. He was in therapy starting at 3 months old. We went through the MRI’s, cat scans, eegs, etc. It was a scary time. I could write a book here about it, but won’t. What I will tell you is I now have an 8 year old, who is getting along great. You would not be able to tell he was also diagnosed at 5 months old with CP. He is also one of the smartest kids I know. I will leave you with what he told his dr at his annual checkup recently. “They didn’t know I if I was going to walk when I was a baby, but now I am the fastest runner. God gave me a gift, he gives everybody a gift.” Good luck with the MRI, and best wishes to you and your family.

    Michal Lillard

  4. I love this erin…..your story is so special, thanks for telling it!

  5. Wow…what an amazing little man you’ve got!!! Thank you for sharing your story! Little guys like Liam are the very reason I’ve dreamed of a PT career…I’m hoping to do a peds clinical next spring. I will absolutely be praying for you all today…for peace, answers, and protection! I can’t pretend to know what you’ve gone through so far, but I do know the heartache of watching your boy struggle w/something you have no control over. I adore you guys and will be anxiously waiting to hear the results!

    Hang in there, sister!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: