My sweet, sweet Maddie Lee, along with her twin sister Charlotte turned two on Christmas Eve.
It was a bittersweet birthday.
It was bittersweet because Maddie is two and she’s still not walking.
She takes steps when you bribe her with an extra hug (she’s that sweet…I kid you not) or when you have one of her favorite toys like Elmo, her ‘B’ (lovee) or her beloved bouncy balls.
“Baaa!” step.. step… step
“That’s right Maddie, come get your ball.”
“Baa!!!” step… step…step
“Come on big girl, you can do it…that’s right, walk.”
When she reaches me, I scoop her up and praise her with a big hug and lots of kisses, “Good girl! Good walking Maddie Mad! Momma’s proud of you!”
But, no matter how many times we do that, she’s still not walking with any consistency. She loves to walk on her knees and my beautiful little girl who has officially entered the category of “toddler” still crawls.
It’s enough to make a Mom feel like an utter failure.
But then I remember…
They were born under rare circumstances. A scenario that happens in less than 1% of twin pregnancies. When you’re born at 28 weeks, at a mere 2lbs, 13oz and your first days are spent hooked up to machines, living in an isolette and “growing” under the watchful eye of doctors, there’s a chance you’ll have some things come up in the future.
Fast forward two years from the picture above and we are here with our little Maddie.
We have found ourselves taking her therapy to the next level because she simply wasn’t getting over this walking hump. She has been taking steps for a while, but when most toddlers keep moving on with that, Maddie has plateaued. We knew it would be harder for her because she has Hypotonia – which is overall low muscle tone. She was my baby who took a while to sit up, belly crawled for ages and struggled to eat solids without choking. Every single muscle in her body has had to be strengthened in a very drawn out time frame.
Thankfully, the choking happens very rarely now. I swear she shaved years off of my life with that.
If I’m being honest, it’s hard not to feel like I’m failing her, even though logically, I know it’s just the nature of her circumstances.
So my little Maddie will use this walker to build the proper muscles that are needed to gain the endurance for becoming a full time walker. She will also be getting a foot brace for her right foot because it bends inward due to the hypotonia and how she has learned to support her weight, so that has to be corrected as well.
Our physical therapist is optimistic and says she’ll be walking on her own a few months after we do all of this. But, regardless of when it happens I know my child WILL walk. When I’m watching her crawl and knee walk next to the 15 month old neighbor girl who sails past her on her feet…I have to remember that. When I find myself feeling like a failure, I have to remind myself that she is working at her own pace and thankfully, this is not a permanent stall in her development. She will walk, and if this is the only thing we have to worry about when it comes to our little 28 week preemies – I know we are luckier than most.
When I got pregnant with the twins, I searched all over online to find as much information on this type of pregnancy, the Monoamniotic – Monochorionic twin pregnancy. I found very little in the positive and when I did find the positive, it was usually on a blog. So, I’m sharing our story. Because while we have hit a few bumps in the developmental road, we are so very fortunate and in the years to come, these struggles will become a distant memory.