When she was diagnosed with cortical blindness, we were told that her vision would improve, but of course, only time would tell how much. I kept reminding myself of this and hoped that it was true, but in the face of yet another uncertainty about Shelby's development, it was so hard for me to get past the sadness and grief that I felt at the time. We communicate so much through our eyes. I remember thinking (very irrationally), how will my daughter know that I love her if she can't see me?
When people told me, she doesn't know that she can't see in an effort to make me feel better, it only seemed to reinforce for me everything that she was missing. I eventually was able to pull myself out of my funk though. Another hydrocephalus mom who I respect very much has written on her blog about finding a careful balance between acceptance and hope. I have gotten much better at towing that line. And lately, it really hasn't been difficult to hope, because we are actually witnessing Shelby beginning to see things.
It is amazing. On Sunday, Trip was shaking his head back and forth at Shelby while making a funny noise. She started laughing, and then imitated him by shaking her head just like he was. I know that this sounds like a small thing, but it was a huge step for Shelby. She had to have seen what he was doing pretty clearly to be able to mimic it.
Yesterday, there was another amazing vision breakthrough. This may be a bit masochistic, but I have always snuck silently into Shelby's room to get her up from naps. I creep over to her crib and slowly put my head right in front of her face, to test her vision by seeing if there is a reaction. I never got one without speaking to her first.....until yesterday. She actually smiled at me and babbled when I came into her line of vision. What a miracle!
I still would like to know how much and what kind of detail Shelby sees.... She has come so far, from seeing nothing at 6 weeks of age, to actually looking at us now. It is exciting to know that she will probably continue to improve. Plus, all this vision improvement is due to lots of new brain connections being made. Think about all the other good stuff going on in that brain of hers. Keep it up Shelby Frances!!