When we left Seattle Children’s Hospital with Luella four months ago, we were warned against comparing Luella’s development to typical baby milestone charts. The doctors stressed that Luella would develop at her own pace and expecting her to reach milestones at the same rate as babies without brain injuries would be setting ourselves up for disappointment.
We’ve heeded their advice, (mostly) letting go of expectations and allowing “Luella to do Luella”. Even so, I couldn’t help but notice when she reached three-months-old and she still wasn’t smiling. I did my best to elicit grins: I sang in a nauseating falsetto, I peeked, I contorted my face, I contorted/peeked/falsettoed and then falsettoed/contorted/peeked…and nothing. Despite my best efforts, she continued to stare back at me solemnly.
She passed four-months-old with nary a grin and when the infantile spasms set in, she was not only still unsmiling, she was nearly unresponsive.
And then, around Thanksgiving, it happened. With steroids holding the spasms at bay, she came out of her fog and made it to the happiest milestone of them all: big, fat smiles.
(Health Update: Luella’s EEG from last week was all clear of infantile spasms, so we are continuing to wean her off of the steroids! Hooray! In January, we will have yet another EEG to see if the spasms are still eradicated, as well as visits with several other specialists.)