Occupation (as it pertains to this blog): Mom to Summer, now 3 years old, but born at 29 weeks. You can read about Summer's current goings on here.
Connection to the Trousdells: Sister of a friend; big support to Tracey over email/the blog since the boys were born.
I met Tracey for the first and only time at my brother’s wedding a few years ago (7 years?!). Long-time friends of Steve and Jen’s I have often heard about the comings, goings, and gallivantings of the One Eleven Archer Family.
In the fall my mom told me about Nolan and Asher’s early arrival and pointed me in the direction of this blog. I visited the site and thought to myself, how much easier it would have been if we had done a blog when Summer was born. It was totally overwhelming trying to keep family and fiends informed of what was happening and then of course, you think you told one half of the family, what you told the other half, and each day is never the same, and you have to relive many of the unpleasant moments again and again as you make the rounds of phone calls. Thankfully Don took care of most of this… but it was emotionally exhausting for both of us.
So, now Summer has her own blog. It is partly for us to diarize her therapy progress and it doubles as a great way to engage our family, friends AND therapy team.
On to a little about Summer:
Summer Lynn was born in North Bay, August 8, 2006 at 29 weeks and transferred to Toronto the following day. I had not read anything about premies, risks, what was good, what was bad. I had planned to do all the reading about parenting in my last trimester... oops.
So like it or not – Summer was here. She seemed to be a good size, weighing 3.25 lbs. I had heard of much smaller babies doing just fine. However, she suffered a massive venous infarct, (AKA Grade 4 bleed) discovered at WCH during her first day of life.
This was an agonizing time for us. What did this mean for our child? What did this mean for our family? What could we do?
The two months of Summer’s hospitalization brought many ups and downs. In the beginning, it seemed to be all downs… the bleed, the breathing problems, chest tube, hydrocephalus, shunt… and then we seemed to turn the corner and she slowly grew and became so much stronger.
We were finally discharged home in October 2006. We were new parents and did not know what to expect in the months to come.
When Summer was several months old, she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (hemiplegia), though I remember her showing symptoms when she was just a few months old. We knew this was highly possible, but you never give up hope for an extra miracle.
I remember when Summer was diagnosed with strabismus in her right eye, how devastated I was – All I could think was “Are you kidding me????” I know, it is small stuff, but it would have been nice just to catch a break for once!
Summer is blossoming into a happy, social and capable little girl. She is well liked by her classmates and enjoys life to the fullest. She loves to run, play soccer in the yard, visit any park, anywhere, anytime, rain or shine and she is looking forward to riding her bike as soon as her new pedals arrive.
We have been lucky to be connected with other families of premies. We encourage each other and share the joy for our children. It is comforting to know we are not alone in some of our challenges and struggles and it is and inspiring to share many of our victories.
We are fortunate that our caring team of therapists take special interest in Summer and we never feel like we are one of many. They have become a regular part of our life and our family. That said, we strive to achieve a fine balance between getting Summer to develop her motor skills to her potential, and not have her feel that we are always trying to ‘fix’ her… Our latest endeavour is CIT therapy where her unaffected arm is casted so that she works to develop skills on her weaker side. 3 days until un-casting – and it is all going well.
Summer never ceases to surprise and amaze us – daily - both with her determined (and sometimes stubborn) nature, and her infectious spirit.
Thanks Tammy! Summer (and Tammy and Don) have been incredibly inspiring and have shown us how far these little miracles can come even after a difficult start. We hope to meet up with Tammy, Don and Summer when they visit the grandparents in Comox this August. Seems like Summer and Rio will make quite the pair!