One tough girl

Liby Sage Peterson is 17 months old. Liby was born with critical aortic stenosis involving Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. At only 4 months old, she had a heart transplant. Up until her transplant, Liby had spent her entire life in the hospital. She also suffered from a stroke early in life, which has caused her to struggle with weakness on the left side.

The Peterson family got connected with Rainbows United to help navigate the challenges ahead for Liby. Kim Stewart is Liby's Speech Therapist. “We have been working with Kim since May 2017,” said Liby’s mother, Jill. “Since starting Rainbows’ services, she has made so much progress!” The family enjoys the convenience and ease of in-home therapy, and Liby’s mother is thrilled with the tools and resources they have been given so far. “Having Kim come to our house has made a huge impact in our life,” said Jill. “She has personally taught me ways to help Liby overcome her weaknesses and she even includes my 5-year-old son, Lane, with Liby's therapy.”  

When beginning therapy, Liby would not take anything by mouth. Fast forward to now, and you’ll see a whole different girl. “I have been seeing Liby weekly for almost a year now,” said her therapist, Kim. “I began seeing her when she was 6 months old, and she was struggling with taking nutrition orally and seemed very lethargic. Since I have been seeing her, with mom and brother's aid, we have helped her learn to drink from a straw. She will take about half of her liquid by mouth, and then mom g-tube feeds the rest.” These steps in the right direction are life-changing for the family and are huge milestones to be celebrated. “Even though she won't drink as much by mouth, she will eat almost anything and everything given to her. She loves to eat,” said Kim.

Liby's expressive language has also expanded dramatically over the last several months. “She is imitating everything and will use short phrases,” said Kim. “She can also shake her head ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to let others know if she wants something or not.” In addition, Kim is helping Liby learn sign language – and the Petersons are pretty excited about that!

“We have all really bonded with Kim, and it is a wonderful feeling to have someone to share Liby's successes,” Jill said. “Both Liby and my son get excited to see her, because Rainbows makes therapy fun.”