So just when we thought we were getting the hang of this leg-lengthening thing… At our last doctor visit, our intrepid orthopedist pointed out that Mira wasn’t really straightening that magic leg of hers. The lengthening is going great, we’re almost halfway done. But he talked to us about how important it was to get her knee straight. If she didn’t straighten it better, we’d have to slow down or even stop the lengthening process.
I went away armed with exercises and determination to do whatever it takes to get that baby girl’s leg straight.
We went to physical therapy. We did all the exercises. We reminded her every time we could to “Straighten that leg, Sweet Pea!”
We did chiropractic. We did stretches. We tried warm epsom salt baths. Y’all, we did ALL THE THINGS.
My last ditch effort before her next appointment was to get her in a pool. A friend gave us guest passes to her gym, so I dug out my swimsuit and loaded Mira up. Once I had dragged both of us, her wheelchair, her walker, and all our floaties into the gym, the guy looked at my guest passes and said, “You know these aren’t for this gym, right?”
And then I cried.
He immediately jumped in with, “Don’t worry, ma’am, we’ll let you in. Just hang on a second and I’ll get my manager.”
Bless the man, he didn’t know what to do with this exhausted mama and her weepy mess of tears and mutterings about physical therapy.
What kind of crazy person doesn’t look at the big BLAZING name on the gym pass?
Once I’d collected our stuff and the remnants of my pride, we headed to the indoor, heated pool. Oh, it was lovely. We were the only ones on the family side. I carried Mira in and put her in her floatie. It took some time for her to adjust to the freedom of having that leg just hanging out. I showed her she could swim, we practiced kicking, and I even encouraged her to try walking around on her leg. (Doctor told us it was fine in water even though she can’t bear any weight on it normally.)
Pretty soon, she relaxed. She even began to smile. I don’t have any pictures because I was busy being Mama, but, oh, we were happy. We laughed together and splashed. I encouraged her to splash me as much as she could with that one leg. And she began to revel in her independence from her walker and her wheelchair.
At one point, she got so sassy she thought she’d try to ditch the floatie. She quickly realized that leg wasn’t nearly as strong as it used to be and we swam back to the floatie for security. Then she was content to just kick and spin her way back and forth, up and down the pool. I walked beside her and encouraged: “Straighten that leg, mighty Mira. Kick like a mermaid, lady! Splash me some more!”
I had to downright bribe the kid to get her out of that water at bedtime. Or maybe she blackmailed me. All I know is, we ended up in the Chik-Fil-A drive thru for milkshakes.
Today, I was at the church for co-op. A friend met me in the lobby with a gift. She told me that the quilting group at church had gotten wind of Mira’s story and asked if they could make her a quilt. They prayed over our baby girl as they sewed and are now working on quilts for the rest of our kids. I opened the finished quilt and read the carefully monogrammed words…
And then I cried some more.
I like to think that today’s quilt came at just the right time. In physical therapy, we learned that Mira has made no measurable improvement. We’re slowing down the lengthening for the next week until she can see the doctor again. In the meantime, we’ll do even more P.T., even more exercises, so much stretching, and lots more praying. We might even try to dig up some more guest passes to the wrong gym again. :-/
Meanwhile, we are rejoicing in our girl’s smiles and the love and prayers of unknown women who have blessed us all with their tiny stitches.
Thank you, Jesus, for timely gifts in unexpected places.