This baby is my daughter. She was born nearly a month early and weighed only 4.3 pounds. She underwent immediate emergency surgery on her spine because she was also born with the birth defect Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida is a neural tube birth defect and she had the worst kind, myelomeningocele. Her chances at survival were atrocious. She is a miracle baby.
To better be able to tell how small she was, check out how tiny she is compared to my hand. She could wear Cabbage Patch Preemie clothes. That's without considering the Spina Bifida and surgery.
A mere week later, she underwent another surgery, this time on her brain to prevent hydrocephalus.
Here is the true story of learning about her birth defect and God giving us our miracle baby:
We had waited 9 years before I got pregnant with her. I did everything right, including eating Brussels sprouts and stuff that usually gags me with a golden fork. Oh, I was a Christian . . . whenever it suited me to pray, meaning basically only when I wanted something from God. That's not really a Christian then, saved or not. I'm a private person, so this is hard for me to get up close and personal with folks I don't know. Please bear with me.
Everything seemed to be going fine in my pregnancy, pretty much, other than lots of premature labor pains. I was working hard in a warehouse up until a week before I had my daughter. I was working night shift and went to my OB appointment the next morning.
We had wanted to know if the baby was female or male, but my doctor didn't much believe in ultrasounds. Silly enough, we'd waited so long for a baby, I wanted to know whether to do the baby's room in girl or boy colors, buy clothes, that sort of gonna-be-a-mommy-finally deal. Yet, on this day, because all the movement I felt from the baby was high, my doctor ordered an ultrasound to see if baby was breech.
That's when my world fell apart. No one told my husband or me what was happening. Obviously something was horribly wrong cause the lady doing the ultrasound ran out of the room yelling for my doctor. My doctor took us into another room, called for a wheelchair, and immediately admitted me into the hospital. They told us only that the baby was a girl and she had Spina Bifida. No one would even tell us what Spina Bifida was.
Yes, this sounds like I was a horrible person, but I didn't know what Spina Bifida was. All I knew was what I had heard of it like on some telethon and it was depressing enough that I had changed the channel.
After spending the weekend, clueless and so very upset in the hospital, I was sent four hours away to St. Louis and a specialist. This doctor took an amniocentesis and explained about Spina Bifida. She said it was too bad we didn't know about it before, so I could have had an abortion. I couldn't believe it! She said all the premature labor was my body trying to get rid of a deformed baby.
They reported that they didn't expect my daughter to even survive after birth. If by some chance she did, then they said she would be horribly deformed, mentally retarded, a vegetable in a wheelchair unable to have a quality life.
You will never know my agony upon learning this. I won't even try to explain it now. I alternated between praying and believing in a miracle, to angry with God for letting this happen to my baby after I wanted one so badly and had done everything right during pregnancy.
I was still a little more than a month from my due date. The hospital discharged me, told me to go to my doctor when I went into labor, and planned to Life Flight me to St. Louis for a C-section; then immediate surgery on my daughter if she survived birth. Before my due date, within a month, the amniocentesis results would show if our child had a chromosome defect that would cause death upon birth.
4 days later, I went into labor. My doctor thought it was too early, more false labor, so I stayed home in labor for 7 hours. Finally, the doctor said to come to the hospital. My water broke on the hour trip there. I no sooner arrived at the hospital, supposed to be Life Flighted to St. Louis, not even checked in as a patient yet, before my daughter was born. Exactly 15 minutes after I arrived at the hospital.
She survived birth, and was taken to Riley's Hospital in Indianapolis, since St. Louis said if they couldn't help her, that's where they would send her. Our daughter underwent immediate major surgery to close her spine and lived against the odds. When she was a week old and closer to 4 lbs than 5, she again had major surgery, on her brain this time to prevent the possibility of hydrocephalus.
Our daughter was a fighter. She wanted to live. So many people were praying. God spared her life.
She does have Spina Bifida. She is in a wheelchair. Yet, she didn't die upon birth. She is not mentally retarded, nor is she a vegetable unable to have quality life.
She is my hero. To this day, God has spared her life time and again when the odds were against it. I don't always understand why she must go through so much, but I do know with certainty, God has a mighty plan for this child's life.
Honestly, after she wasn't completely healed of Spina Bifida when she was a baby, I was very angry with God. I had the faith, so I couldn't understand why not? It would be an obvious and indisputable miracle that even an atheist couldn't deny. I so couldn't understand why. It hurt me for her. No, that's not the right reaction, but it's as honest as I can be. I'm just an imperfect human, and a true Christian now . . . not just praying when I want something from God.
I don't understand why my daughter isn't healed completely . . . yet. I wish I could tell you why bad things happen to good people sometimes; or why not everyone is healed. When I get to heaven, I intend to ask Jesus those questions.
Yet, miracles still happen. God heals. He has done great things in my daughter's life, spared her, healed her of other serious life-threatening illnesses. At a later time, I will share more of the many miracles God has preformed for my daughter. So many times, she should have died. So many times, God healed her against all the odds.
Thank You, Jesus!