I've got to say, this thing is everything we'd hoped for. Asher gets to be upright and exploring, and I have zero pain with him in it. Don't mind the awkward photo, but here I am with it on before Asher's in, just to show you what it entails:
I have a belt around my hips, Asher has a harness/vest (that he puts on separate from me and then we attach) and then we strap into sandals together.
I have to admit that despite their claims to the contrary, I never believed for a single second it wouldn't hurt my back - I only hoped I'd tolerate the pain enough to make it worth it. "My back? You don't know my back" is what I thought to myself each time I read another description of how comfortable it is. But I ordered it anyway because if things hurting my back stopped me from doing things for Asher, Asher wouldn't be doing much of anything.
Anyway, they weren't lying. They weren't even exaggerating. I am curious to know how many prototypes they went through before they came up with this exact design because I truly cannot believe I feel none of Asher's weight in my back. If he's not bearing weight and just "hanging" in the harness - which he does do and needs to be reminded to have strong legs - then yes I can feel him pulling on me, but only through my legs. And if we get on uneven ground where it's harder for Asher to weight bear because I'm more unsteady, then it does get a bit awkward. Not to mention the fact that most times I am walking like some sort of pigeon toed monster, because I can't figure out how big/small/narrow/wide my steps should be to make stepping the most natural for Asher. But a few more tries and we'll have it dialed, I am certain. Asher consistently taking all of his weight through his legs is something we will work on, with the end goal being him doing all of the weight bearing and initiating the steps. Already, I can definitely feel the difference between when I take the step and when he does, and at that point he is completely weightless. It is a really cool feeling when I am used to physically supporting him all the time.
Now I'd like to say it's otherwise gone perfectly but that would be a bit of a lie. We've had a few technical difficulties. For instance as well supported as both of us are in it, Asher's tone can still kick in and get him out of pretty much any device known to man. In this case, although his feet were completely supported by the strapping on the UpSee he managed to keep his shoe strapped down while pulling his AFO right out of his shoe. Jordan and I brainstormed several ideas, including putting something sticky or scratchy on the back of his AFO or inside of his shoe - but that makes getting the AFO into the shoe in the first place quite difficult. I mentioned it to a friend who recommended sports tape, and then she promptly ran out and got it for me (I'm surrounded by good people, remember?). The next time he went in the UpSee we wrapped his foot - with AFO and shoe on - essentially taping his shoe to his AFO. I'm pleased to say it worked like a hot damn! We'll have to weigh the pros and cons of using tape (for cost reasons and practicality) vs. coming up with another solution, but for right now it is the perfect fix.
And the other glitch - well that was when the UpSee harness got caught on my belt (the one on my pants) and Asher was hanging from me, laughing hysterically because I was screaming hysterically at Jordan to "Gettttt hiiiiiimmmm offffffff meeeeeeee!!!". The instructions weren't lying when they said to be sure the harness was positioned on the adult's hips and no higher. Somehow my belt didn't get that memo. Lesson learned.
Anyway, I think I've done enough talking. Let's get to the part you really want to see - some video of Asher actually in it! The videos haven't been great so far, but this gives you a little sneak peek, including how excited he and Nolan are about it the first time he's in it:
(Nothing like the paparazzi hounding you when you're out for a stroll! You can't even get privacy in your own kitchen, sheesh.)
We are so thankful for this great invention and the very generous people who bought it for us. So much exploring lies ahead...and don't worry, we'll capture lots of it on video for his adoring fans.