As soon as Oliver was born, ten weeks early at that, Aaron and I started therapy on him with the nurses.

Oliver was born with clubbed feet, hip dysplasia and a dislocated left hip, which is common with a spina bifida diagnosis.

Since he was so early, there was nothing we could do immediately for his feet besides therapy. 

So everyday we stretched here, pulled there, and repeated the process on the other foot. 

Before we knew it, we could see his tiny little feet loosening up and becoming more flexible. 

Oliver came home just shy of 36 weeks, and therapy through ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) began. 

Once again, there was not much we could do, other than a stretch and a pull here and there. 

They did add an occupational therapist to make sure Oliver was continuing to eat well through a bottle without aspirating. 

We only had a few episodes of this while his stay in the NICU, but it's frightening to have happen at all.

Like any other parent, the beeps and alarms of the NICU were frightening and it scared me to even hold my little baby for fear of setting one off. 

Days turned into weeks, and we actually became accustomed to these noises. 

When Oliver's discharge date approached us, I couldn't imagine being without these alarms. 

I had become familiar with each distinct alarm and what it meant. 

I knew if I was feeding him and a loud, continuous deep beep came on, it meant that he was aspirating and needed to be pat on the back so he could come through and breath. 

But with help, we turned the screens and alarms off, and learned to read his body and face. 

Needless to say, we were thankful to have this extra therapist come to our home and help keep us on our feet with what to do if something happened.

Over time, therapy transformed into tummy time, tummy time, and some more tummy time! 

Oliver actually loved being on his tummy in the beginning, since the first weeks of his life he was positioned this way so his back closure could heal.

Once he realized it was work, he hated it! 

We found mirrors and light up toys extremely useful during these tough therapy sessions, and hey, if we were in a pinch I would just use the camera on my iphone with the forward facing mirror so he could see himself. 

Now that Oliver is one year of age (9 ½ months adjusted) we are working on sitting up, and his favorite...tummy time! 

For this though, tummy time isn't to strengthen his neck, but to encourage this little man to crawl! 

We have seen the therapist and other doctors through Scottish Rite Hospital, and amazingly enough they all believe he has excellent muscle strength to someday crawl and walk with assistance. 

One thing I found extremely useful for some support while sitting up, (so he doesn't fold in half lol) is one of those neck pillows you see people using at the airport and airplanes. 

They are in the shape of a “U” and fit perfectly around the front of the child's belly. 

Over time and repetition, Oliver is starting to build great core strength. 

If you have found other items that may work for you and your child, leave a comment to share!

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