Erin has always been a water baby, she started water babies at six weeks old and immediately loved it. When my maternity leave finished she could no longer carry on with water babies but moved to aqua tots instead. Erin’s swimming has been her greatest joy. When in spica (a type of hip brace) Erin obviously could not swim, she missed it, I missed it. As soon as each spica cast came off we got her back in the pool. She again had an enforced break after her grommets were fitted. We have got around the ear problems by using earplugs and the ear band it.
My daughter has today shown me her natural competitive streak. Erin can’t run well, she doesn’t keep up with her peers, DDH needing to wear a hip brace and hypermobility make that difficult, but at swimming, she shines. She grins from ear to ear. She is keen, she is able and she shows it. During today’s lesson, they had to sit on the edge of the pool, dive in and swim the width. Erin was excited – she loves this.
‘Erin, Natty, Jamie go’ called Lisa the instructor. Erin dived, she glided, then her little legs got going, her fingertips pulled through the water, she didn’t come up for breath until almost the end. Her fingertips grabbed the side of the pool. She eagerly looked right and left and screeched ‘I won’
I wasn’t a race, but that didn’t matter, if it had of been she would have aced it – her peers didn’t stand a chance, they were left in her slip stream. I wish that she had been wearing fitness trackers for swimming as it would be great to see her progress and how her stats start stacking up.
I was rather pleased with her performance too! I felt such emotion as she delighted in beating the others. For a mum that is used to supporting and helping her daughter with physical stuff I felt myself grin. We have two weeks until the DDH Xrays to see how her hip has developed since her operations (and wearing a hip brace) last year, only then will I rest that there will be no more operations and hip brace spica. Erin has changed me – I am so much more emotional about things now. I notice the details. The little things matter more than they ever did. Before Erin’s hip dysplasia diagnosis, I took much more for granted – Erin’s health conditions are not life-threatening obviously and she is not sick – for that, I count our blessings. But having been through so many procedures and health worries with her I treasure everything. It hasn’t just changed my outlook with Erin, I am more emotional about all things now. DDH cut into me in a way that will never go away. I seem to feel more. And whilst this is ultimately a good thing as I don’t miss the details it does mean emotion catches in my throat more than it used too. That gulp you do to hold it all in, I get that that when she swims and I get that when she climbs a slide.
Swimming has been a great release for Erin but I think it has really helped her rehabilitation since surgery. The passive movements and the stretching in water have really helped her develop control. She often complains of pain but swimming does not hurt her. Recently she has chosen not to do hockey as it was a lot of effort and very physical. She found it too much – however, she would never say no to swimming! Swimming has been a great natural physio for Erin after months in a hip brace.