Monday, January 4, 2010

Right back at it ....

Monday came far too quickly. I was dreading getting back to routine after break but as the day wore on I realized that I do operate best with structure and order. However, having said that, I equally enjoyed having all the kids home. The late, late nights. Sitting up talking, playing games, watching our favorite shows. Staying in our jammies most of the day. Seriously, our average night found Mark and I in bed around 12:30am with a few 1am and 2am's sprinkled in there as well. Those times are insane. I am a late nighter but too many strung all together and it will catch up to me. I set my alarm for 6am to head out for a jog this morning. At 6:45 I was still hitting silent. So much for that run. Boys are back at school. Jess back to work. Danny and Caitlin and sweet Charlotte back in San Diego. Taylor is home until Sunday though, which will be nice. Zoey so loves the activity and buzz around here and I swear, this child of mine grows totally bored with me, in no time at all, but as soon as new blood walks in the room, she is just so animated and engaging.

Zoey had vision and speech today. Both sessions she worked really hard at, for pretty much the entire hour. Both therapists she absolutely adores. Smiles, waves, hugs and lots of love to spread around. Her speech therapist stopped by on Saturday to drop off an evaluation form. She left a new list of Zoey's signs with a note that read, "Do you realize that Zoey's signs have double since November. From 15 -30?" Wow. That is all I can say, wow. This child is amazing and to think that we, or some around here say it was only I, ever doubted that she would ever be able to communicate and express her needs to us. 30 signs blows my mind. Her therapist left a new set of goals. Two of which she has already met. In two days: "help and pig." Now, her signs aren't all necessarily easy to read by strangers but in the end, it is us, her family and the circle of caregivers and therapists, that we most hope she will be able to communicate with and to. Here is a little video. Zoey loves music and it is one of our biggest tools for therapy. As you watch the video, you may notice her eyes that float to the left, or her ridged legs and arms, those movements are all associated with her brain injury. Involuntary reflexes due to the damage to her brain and her central nervous system. Most of Zoey's challenges, at this point, all circle back to her stroke. Be it in her motor planning or her physical limitations but we see daily, not the limitations but the possibilities. Mark and I revisited the MRI of her brain shortly after birth. I was not there. Mark viewed it with the neonatologist. He told me something that I had never heard him say before. He said that he dropped to his knees when he saw the MRI picture. He said, in his mind, something he never, ever voiced to me, that after seeing the huge white matter, nearly half of her right hemisphere, he thought that more then likely, she would not be capable of much. I heard him say that. We looked at each other and we cried. Just for a moment because in the next breath we looked at Zoey, sitting on his lap, smiling up at her daddy, looking concerning at me, as she was very aware that I was crying, and we both said, look at her, look at her now, she is so alright. She is our miracle girl. (don't forget to pause the blog music at the bottom)

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

FANTASTIC! That was just amazing to watch. To see how far Zoey has come in the past year - she will make miles in the years to come... Praying for a rather uneventful, normal, healthy & happy New Year for the Needhams.

Robyn from Otisco Lake

stephanie said...

AWWW, I can always count on your videos to put tears in my coffee.
Zoey is amazing! Her signing is awesome!!! I love how she anticipates what comes next in the song. I could tell she really liked stomping her foot in "If You're Happy..." And I just learned how to sign dog too. Zoey is way ahead of me. Wish she was closer to teach Em.

The VW's said...

What a precious girl!!! Great job Zoey! You are such an inspiration! HUGS!!!

ABandCsMom said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! Go Zoey, go!!!

Googsmom said...

Oh Heather, that was awesome!! WTG Miss Zoey!!

Look at those adorable little toes. Made me smile. Zoey is just wonderful. {{{{HUGS}}}}

Dana Janowicz said...

Nice job! You continue to amaze us Miss Zoey. You are one special blessing in all our lives.
xoxo

Katie Epstein said...

Too cute! LOVE the " shout horray" sign with the smile! Such a cutie!

Lacey said...

Oh my sweet Zoey. You know i'm going to be getting a call in about 10 minutes from Ray asking me if I've seen the video. He checks your blog every morning. I have never seen him so smitten by someone so much. He calls her his Zoey
Zoey, you broke Ray's tough manly outside! Wahoo!

Kristen's mom said...

Seriously I know everything Kristen says or signs, but a stranger might have a little trouble and it does not matter. When Kristen says something to me that is important to her, She always makes me repeat it back to her so she knows I got it. I can't just agree with her I have to repeat whatever she said back.It's pretty funny. Even though our kids have a bit of a tough time communicating you can bet they know exactly what we and everyone else around them is saying. Amazing girls!

Anna said...

Much of the reason that you, and Zoe, are where you are is because you didnt roll over and "play dead". I am thankful that the Dr didnt voice those things when you saw the scan. When we had Victoria they kept saying over and over that there was nothing there, she would never....... But I didnt believe them. I could see life in her eyes. I was the first to see that beautiful smile. Then it was me that she cooed at the first time.(it still breaks my heart to think of what could have been, and what is not.Wasnt meant to be) We as parents CAN make a difference! Hard work DOES pay off! There IS hope! May this New Year hold even more signs, experiences, and Joy for Zoe and her special family!

Anonymous said...

Zoe is absolutely darling!!

Jenefer in San Jose

Cammie Heflin said...

Sooo cute!!! I have got to teach Addy some new songs!

Peter Olson said...

Wow! Zoey is an amazing girl. Great teaching on your part too.
Parents of toddlers can recognize words & movements they make even if others don't have a clue what the child is saying. As Zoey develops her communication skills even further, my guess is that, more people will understand her message.
I can tell she is communicating, "I love you mom, dad, family and friends, and you ain't seen nothing yet!"

Gracesmommy said...

She is absolutely magical! I know you are so proud of her... what an AMAZING job she is doing! Awesome job Zoey!

Rhea said...

That video is awesome - our God is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing that. You made my day. Zoey is so precious and a miracle!!!!

Monica said...

That Zoey is Amazing! I can't wait for my daughter to get home so I can show her.

Tish said...

My Zoey is a true STAR... Thank you for sharing the video; my favorite parts are when she says "doggie" and shouts "hooray"!! :) I am so proud of her!! You are changing the lives of so many people by sharing the Gift of Zoey Grace.

Please give My Miracle Girl a big squeeze and loads of kisses from me.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome guy Mark is. To keep his reaction from you all this time shows how much he wanted to protect you from what he thought was evidence of Zoey's future. He didn't just take what he saw and throw in the towel, he let Zoey show you all by herself what she is capable of. And he was so right, there is no limit to what she can accomplish if she is just given the tools and help she needs.

The video is adorable and she is getting to be such a big girl.

kathleen

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I love you in your newest video Zoey! (with help from mommy's singing). Heather & Mark you both most be just in constant awe at what this little miracle/princess can accomplish. phew...does this old auntie's heart good to see it!!

When people ask me how is Zoey doing, my response has been - "she's cruising" and indeed you are... keep on, littlest miracle, you inspire us all

Love

Auntie Bluebelle

sturpin said...

Way to go little wonder! :)

The Boyds said...

She is signing sooooo well!!!!

So amazing!!

When I used to teach baby sign in college- we always did OLD McDonald!!!

She is sooo cute!

Angi said...

Precious little girl - always bring a smile to my face!

connie said...

What a great video.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is "clap,clap, stomp, stomp, hooray, hooray, oink, oink, woof, woof, and nay!" I have joyful tears, love you all, Christi Harman

Lindsay Ann said...

Hi Heather,

It's Lindsay Hardgrave. I've been reading your blog for a while but figured I should leave a comment and let you know how much I appreciate it. You bless so many people by sharing your family's story. Glad to see that Zoey's doing so well. I know you have tons of helping hands, but if you ever need anything, I'm still around in the neighborhood.

Rhea said...

I showed Aaron the video - he is the most gentle 10 year old boy I have ever met. Maybe a pastor someday - anyways he loved the video and asked if we should teach Anna sign language. He had the biggest smile on his face while watching. I think that having lots of kids makes them care so much about others, especially if they have someone special in their family. Lots of Love!

Victoria Strong said...

Zoey, I love you. From the deepest part of my heart you have touched me and changed my life forever. Hearing your laugh, seeing you smile makes my heart grow and knowing the strength and courage you embody makes me stronger. I can not wait to see you and hold you again soon.

Anonymous said...

OK, now I'm in tears again after seeing this video. I realize I cried today at therapy when I saw that Zoey has learned many new signs (horse, fish, cow, pig, smart, thank you, beautiful) just since I totaled them up last. She now has 41 signs! My favorite part is that her emerging ability to communicate allows her personality to shine for all to see. And Heather, YOU are doing it all. I'm there to guide but you are the one making it happen, day after day. It's your dedication and the beautiful way you interact with Zoey that has brought her to this point. And it's only just begun...she will blow us all away...

Love to you all, Katie

Denise said...

Oh...I WANT TO SEE HER NOW!!! The whole time I am watching that video, all I can think of is that I want Ella sitting right next to her on that couch. She is doing awesome. I love how she nods for yes. Ella doesn't do that. I cannot get the smile off of my face from watching that video. We must come up with a plan for getting together!! I just realized that I miss you guys terribly. I hope we can all go to Disneyland when the Rugg's are here but I also want to get together at a house too so the kids can just play!!

Sandy said...

Awesome!

Dawson said...

Absolutly wonderful!! Thank you miss Zoey for the smile you have put on my face today

scrappy quilter said...

I'm with tears too. The words "she is so alright" are so very true. What a little achiever. She has come such a long way and I can only see her accomplishing more and more has we all continue to pray for her. Hugs

Kele said...

Absolutely precious! Seriously Heather, it does do my heart good to see how far Miss Zoey has come, wonderful...wonderful!

Bethany said...

Oh Lord, what a doll baby. I love her shaking her head yes in the beginning ... she has got the whole body shake like Nika. So cute.

MoonNStarMommy said...

She is sooooooooooooo adorable!!!