In our house, we do our best to celebrate strides big and little. This update is a seemingly small step for the Schulte family, but one that we think may hold the promise of something much, much more.
What's the news? We are seeing the first signs of Elsa's protective instincts with her legs and feet. Translation: When Elsa feels her body leaning forward, she is taking a step to return herself to a place of stability... at long last! Cue the angels... eh-hem, that includes YOU. Every prayer and encouraging word you've sent our way has helped us to keep moving forward.
Speaking of forward momentum: It's hard to say what the tipping point was with this latest development. But it does seem that a few things have fallen into place recently. In the early months of 2018, we got an Upsee to simulate the walking movement. In the spring, we figured out that a lot of Elsa's self-stimming was the result of a desire to communicate and move. In June, things started clicking for Elsa in the therapy pool (click HERE for the post). Then in July, we spent time using Zero G - awesome technology that supports walking through a track in the ceiling...
Elsa looked good in the Zero G this go round. Really good. So two weeks ago, we decided to try her in a gait trainer. It had been a while...
And, she did incredibly well. The high arm rests (something that we hadn't tried before now) seem to be an essential support for her.
Geneticists told us on Day 8 of Elsa's life that the chances of her walking were 30 percent. It was such a dark day, filled with other grim statistics about the unlikelihood of eating and talking and - worst of all - the probability of a shortened life, in comparison to typical peers.
We've always said, if she walks WONDERFUL. If not, it's OK. And it's still completely OK if she doesn't walk. But we're finally allowing ourselves to believe it's possible. Cuz look at this girl!?
It's pretty precious how invested our younger girls are in Elsa's walking success. Our 5 year old can do what I'm doing in the video above (She still has a few openings in her PT schedule, should anyone be interested...). I've also seen our 3 year old help her baby doll walk, encouraging her with affirmations and love. Heart melting, for sure.
But the roots of our hope extend SO far beyond our four walls. Your faith and words of support have buoyed us so many times, and continue to... constantly. Thank you for always being in Elsa's corner!