Within a couple of weeks an appointment had been set up at CHEO, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Jessica was seen by neurology, audiology, occupational and speech therapy, and developmental specialist and oh yes the optometrist. In layman's terms - brain, ears, large and fine muscle, speech and how does she grow? This makes for a very long day for a 9 month old. Koosh and I were exhausted! I don't know which one of us needed a nap more.
Her brain activity tested okay. She was making a lot of sounds so the speech therapist was encouraged. Her ears were inconclusive as her responses were erratic. The eye test was a hoot. For a child this young they project pictures on the far wall while the child is sitting in the mother's lap. She was so much more interested in what was immediately around her so this test proved inconclusive as well.
It was the developmental department that had the most tasks. Toys were introduced, taken away, hidden, revealed, squeaked, bounced and lets not forget the mirrors. The stimulation was immense. It did show that Jess although interested at times, could care less for the most part. She became very agitated by so much stimulation so I began to sing to her to calm her down. (Music was to be a big part of Jessica's development.)
Needless to say, the tests Jessica went through that day proved that her development was in fact severely delayed. The doctor expressed his belief that her growth would forever be behind and whether her muscles would ever support her he could not say. He felt that if she received some extensive therapy perhaps in a residential setting she may progress.
Excuse me? This child is only 9 months old and you are recommending that we give her up? Koosh and I were numb. This could not be happening. Surely with love and the right kind of stimulation her future would be brighter than that!
Koosh and I said very little to each other on the hour drive home. I was singing a great deal of the time anyway to keep Jess happy. We did know individually that we were a family and Jessica would grow up knowing her family and community.
Within a week, we would receive news that would impact Jessica's development as well as our family.