Sam. Conqueror. Overcomer.

On the 15th May 2009, Samuel Christian made his way into this world...two month's premature and in severe respiratory distress. Within hours, Sam was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome - a very rare congenital disorder, of which little was known. The diagnosis together with the immediate challenges Sam faced to thrive became our core focus and it was with joy and thankfulness that we eventually brought Sam home, after nine weeks in the NICU.

As time pressed on, it became obvious that Sam's development was falling behind that of his RTS peers. Shortly before his 5th birthday Sam underwent a brain scan and it was confirmed by a paediatric neurologist that in addition to Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, Sam also has Cerebral Palsy related to his premature birth, as well as Autism.

This blog chronicles our journey through these challenges...
SAMUEL - COMPLETE IN GOD
Our world has crashed, been blown apart.
This can't be happening....why us? Why now?
Your fragile life shaken before it could barely start,
How do we get through this...please, Lord, tell us how?

Drowning in our sorrow, waiting for answers that just don't come.
Our baby "special needs"? It simply can't be true!
The heartache overwhelms us, we're left feeling cold and numb.
The diagnosis tells us little - these children are so few.

But then we finallyget to touch you, to see your precious face
And all the heartache and questions fade, replaced with love and pride.
It's obvious from the very start you're showered in God's grace,
And with His love and guidance, we'll take this challenge in stride.

When once we couldn't pronounce it, Rubinstein-Taybi's become our norm.
When once the future seemed dark, we now welcome the journey as having an RTS angel brings lessons in unexpected form.

Our world has crashed, been blown apart!
This IS happening....to us.....right now!
We've been blessed with a gift, so precious from the very start. How do we get through this? Here's how.....
By believing in a God, so merciful and great,
By trusting that He's right beside us as we journey through the narrow gate.
By believing His love for us is not determined by a human frame,
By trusting that we draw Him near by merely calling His name. This precious baby we asked God for,
Prayed he'd be perfect and complete.
And, as Samuel means "God hears", He's laid His answer at our feet.

(Nicky de Beer : 27/05/2010)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Learner Drivers


Don't worry - he didn't really fall at the end of the video :) Just came up a little close and then got a bit of a fright.  So Sam's taking a little longer to get used to the swivel wheels than what he did to the actual walker, which happened almost immediately.  He's still grasping the concept that, while holding on, the walker follows his hands...and being a rather busy little dude, his hands are all over the place. So holding on to the walker and his book, while gesturing about what he can see around him plus a little (gobby) talking and singing makes for a challenging exercise.  I made sure I had enough time yesterday morning to load the walker into the car to take along to our weekly physio session and it was awfully sweet watching Sam show off his newfound mobility to the ladies there. Heidi feels that the walker is perfect for Sam and was thrilled at his good posture while walking. She's even already started working on getting him into a standing position on his own, using the walker as support, so that he doesn't have to wait for someone to help him up. Not sure I'm terribly keen on this idea but I am pretty sure it'll take Sam some time to let go of his sensory anxieties and embrace such a massive step towards independence, so take your time little smurf.

We spent last weekend in Stilbaai and were thrilled to find the beach extremely quiet on Saturday morning, despite the lovely weather.  Sam, however, was not quite as thrilled though.  The sound of the waves seemed to frighten him which in turn added to his fear of the water and he was not loving the feeling of the sand on his skin.  So we had to take turns sitting under the umbrella with him.  Despite his distaste for the sea sand, Sam actually managed about five minutes of sitting unsupported on it which makes this whole sitting-aversion increasingly interesting...and baffling at that. So sitting on the hard, cold bath surface is in (without any water), as is (apparently) detestable sea sand and (only our) bed (still somewhat understandable). But sitting on the physio's spongey matt is out, as is the soft rug?  Am I the only one struggling to see the pattern here?


Snuggled safe in Dad's shoulder, protected from the wind and scary sound of the waves


Hands thrown up in a defensive startle reflex (from the sand) which quite often lands a pretty forceful blow to the face of the person holding Sam


Sammy and Oupa


Early Morning Grins


This moment was quite something...Sam not only taking a bottle from someone other than myself (and very occasionally Chris) but during a rather bumpy car ride.


Sam was playing with his empty Kiddy-Calm bucket in the bath last night, kept studying the letters on it (we have "school" every day at home which includes numbers, shapes, colours, signing, letters, etc) and then signing "Daddy".  After a while I'd realised that he'd recognised the "..ddy" from the word "daddy". It's so exciting that he's starting to associate and apply the things we learn at home, in every day "outside" environments for eg, he recognises the numbers used to mark tills and aisles in the shops, he recognises letters in shopfront adverts, etc. Me thinks that Sam might not be quite as ineducable as I was told he would be when receiving his diagnosis.  What thinks you?