A.K.A Reilly Roo, Roo, R, sweet pea, baby blue eyes
Reilly was born on April 11th, 2005 in Newmarket, Ontario and also shares her birthday with her granddad.
My husband and I can remember Reilly’s first few months of her life vividly as she was a poor sleeper, extremely irritable and fussy. I can’t count the number of books I read, web-sites consulted, and number of people I contacted looking for answers and not finding anything, often feeling that it must be our parenting skills then. I did consult a couple of doctors from her birth and they said everything was fine, don't worry. Of course looking back it wasn’t fine and if only we had someone more familiar with developmental disorders could we have mitigated the pain and anguish we all went through in the ensuing couple of years, for both her sake and ours.
Initially though, the only thing we thought was wrong was that Reilly had some undiagnosed gastro issues for sat up exactly at 6 months and had great eye contact with everyone. It wasn’t until about 10 months that the red flags started to go up, for Reilly did not babble like the other children, or crawl, and was incredibly chubby. Again we were told not to worry, it was far too early to think that something was wrong.
In the next two years we continued to consult doctors, arrange speech and physiotherapy appointments and connect with any available service within the community. In the fall of 2007, we finally were put in touch with a genetics specialist who finally agreed to test Reilly for Rett Syndrome. We waited and waited…. and eventyally received the results of the MECp2 genetic testing on March 27, 2008 (Mike’s b-day) that confirmed she had Rett syndrome. Reilly was almost 3 years old at this point and we were not devasted for we already had come to terms with the diagnosis and were just waiting for the medical community to catch up with what we already knew.
The first three and half years of Reilly’s life was a dark period for my husband and I for many different reasons, mainly because Reilly was in a lot of pain, anguish and torment and no one knew what to do to help. Without getting into all the nitty gritty details we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to some specific drug treatements that literally gave us all a new lease on life. Reilly is now this wonderful little girl who has a wonderful smile and enjoys life to the best of her abilities.
Reilly also has a little sister, London, who is 2 years her junior. I would like to be able to say that London adores her and showers her with affection but that is not exactly the case. For London often gets irritated when Reilly comes into her space and rarely shows uninitiated signs ofaffection but I do know that she does care for her in her own way, and is starting to show signs of love and respect. The challenge is that Reilly doesn’t give her any feedback, verbally or phsyically, so I can only attempt to understand what London must be feeling on her end to have a sister that gets lots of attention without fully understanding the reasons for it. We are trying to get London to develop some good habits, such as acknowledging Reilly when she comes into the room or before she goes to bed. I know it is going to be an art in trying to balance the needs of both girls.
Although Reilly should be in junior kindergarden this year, we have chosen to keep her at a local daycare for a couple of different reasons. the most important reason though is that Reilly is extremely happy in her current environment and why mess with that??? Of course we owe a huge thanks to all the staff at this daycare for everything they have done and continue to do to support Reilly and our family and also to all her playmates for making her smile and giggle each day. Reilly loves anything to do with water, especially swimming, listening to music, reading books, watching cartoons, and anything related to winnie the pooh!
Reily has been able to walk since about 2 years of age but goes through periods of unsteadiness and has balance issues. Unfortunately she has little use of her hands and thus is not able to feed, dress, or bathe herself. For those that don't know much about Rett Sydnrome it is considered a severe neurological and developmental disorder. With that most of the girls are not able to speak or use alternate means of communication. As a result, we have to read our daughters needs and wants through the gaze of their eyes and screams and shreaks.
Reilly (left), London (right)
For more information about Rett Syndrome, http://www.rett.ca/.