Friday, June 20, 2008

A praying people

Yesterday was the first day of Ella's new therapy. We don't really have a lot of time for another time commitment on a Thursday afternoon, but then again, we can't afford not to have this one, either. About a month ago I was reading a pamphlet from the new yoga center down town. They were advertising all the programs available for kids - including "baby yoga," which my mom was taking Owen & Ella to the following week. I flipped the page over and saw an ad for therapeutic yoga for kids with feeding problems and emotional issues. This woman does gentle massage and stretching and cranial sacral therapy in a fun laid back way, while helping the child along the way. I was so happy and felt so strongly that this is what we were to do that I cried. I really did. And then I looked at the price tag: $90/hour - and I cried even more. It is the kind of thing that if it worked, we could put no price tag on what Ella would gain, but still, it was $90/hour. I was mad and annoyed and sad and still crying when I remembered: $90/hour therapy saved my life (it was a little different kind). I did some investigating and found out that she is a First Steps therapist as well. Hhhhmmm. So, I called my service coordinator, Pam, and within and hour, we had lined up that same therapist to come do therapy at our house, for a fraction of what it had cost. Pam told Stacy, our new therapist, "This mom knows how to work the system. She wants you 4x a month." Done. It was awesome. I felt like super woman for about 2 minutes because I worked the system and got what we needed and was gonna pay hardly anything for it. But by then, we were at Barnes & Noble and I couldn't see either of my kids, but heard books dropping, and super woman put her normal clothes back on and frantically cleaned up a mess.

And so we started our new therapy yesterday. I was running late coming back from vision therapy in St. Joe, Michigan and Nick was supposed to be here doing dishes and sweeping floors, but he was late too. So, 10 minutes before Stacy arrived, we were frantic and I was pacing and pouting and tense. But, I can turn it on real fast, fortunately. She first wanted to demonstrate on me and immediately said "Wow, you're really tense. Stressful day?" I was found out. I can't fool a massage therapist, can I?

Cranial Sacral Therapy is --- well, let me just led Wikipedia do what they do best: A craniosacral therapy session involves the therapist placing their hands on the patient, which they state allows them to tune into what they call the craniosacral system[1]. By gently working with the spine, the skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia, the restrictions of nerve passages are said to be eased, the movement of CSF through the spinal cord can be optimized, and misaligned bones are said to be restored to their proper position. Craniosacral therapists use the therapy to treat mental stress, neck and back pain, migraines, TMJ Syndrome, and for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.

And so, they lay hands on the patient. And the pressure is very light, almost too light, but after a minute or so, the area that you are touching loosens up and feels different. There is fluid that flows through your spinal cord that is called craniosacral fluid. It often gets blocked up and can be relieved with some gentle pressure and some good intentions. Or, as she said, if you are praying people, you pray for healing in those areas and put everything you've got into it. God does his thing, I do my thing and the fluid will move and relieve some tension in the body. Stacy quickly found that Ella's chest, upper back, ears, mouth, neck, g-tube scar and belly button were all places that needed work. Those are all of the areas she has experienced some trauma.

And although she has improved in so many areas, I know she is still traumatized. Nick carried Ella into the hospital room to see my grandma on Thursday and she started to shake. A moment later when the nurse walked in, she started crying and yelling at her. I didn't believe she had forgot, but I didn't know how much she knew. That is very upsetting to me. Before she was born, I had done some studying of babies with birth trauma and NICU trauma and it did help when we lived in the hospital and I knew some ways to make her feel safe and to make it less traumatic. But, still, I knew. I couldn't help but worry about her emotional health day and night. And we have been doing so many therapies and exercises and praying and we have seen many improvements. But, I have still felt like there was a missing piece: Someone to cater to her emotional needs (and maybe even mine.) Stacy explained how to do the belly button therapy, with some gentle touching and some big prayers. She explained that if Ella is sleeping, she might quickly sit up and scream - not because its painful (it is light touch), but because it does what it is supposed to do: releases the emotions. She repeated to me what I should say to her when that happens. "It is ok. You are safe now. Mommy has you and won't leave you. All that bad stuff is over and you are safe and loved and we will protect you." And I started to cry, as if God was speaking that right to me. And I wanted to hug her and say "Will it really be ok? Is it really all over?" But, instead, I hardened my heart and pulled it together and thought I could save it for blogging later - a place where I feel free and almost always cry. For the rest of our session, she said those exact words to us 2 more times. And each time, I cried. And I again saw how Ella will be healed through therapy, and I might get a little healing as well.