Monday, March 14, 2011

As Long As Its Healthy

How many times in your life have you had this conversation:

"Congratulations I hear you are expecting!  Do you want a boy or a girl?"

"It doesn't matter. As long as its healthy!"

Its sort of cliche, I suppose.

I've had this same conversation many times in my life.  From both sides.  I was the pregnant mom.  And I was the one talking to the pregnant mom.

It wasn't until after the twins were born that I really sat and thought about those words.

As long as its healthy. 

What do you mean by that?  Do you mean that you don't really want the baby if she's not healthy?

Send her back please.  I'd like a healthy one.

If you've ever experienced a hardship of any kind in your life, and I'm quite sure you have, then you know that sometimes we take things for granted.

Unfortunately most often, until we've experienced such a hardship, we don't realize it.

For example, your heart is beating.  Your lungs are breathing.  You might have traveled this far through the pages of your life and you've never given a second thought to your beating heart and your breathing lungs.

Me neither.

Until I was blessed with babies with heart and lung problems.

What a blessing.

God's reminder that, oh yeah, this is what He is doing for me.  Every second.  Of every day.  Of my entire life.

See how much I love you?

How many people go through their entire life and never realize the power of the gift of a beating heart.  Of breathing lungs.

How blessed I am that I do.

My friend Kelley and I have discussed this in detail.

The blessings of preemies.

See, her daughter was born premature around the same time as our girls. 

And we have walked this road together.  The rollercoaster of the NICU.  The ups and downs of life with a preemie (or 2) at home.  The feelings of helplessness when taking your baby back to the hospital after working so hard to get her out.  The gripping fear when hearing a baby's diagnosis.  The unknown.  The trust that we must place in God. 

The amazing education we have been given on account of these tiny, beautiful beings. 

This education is two-fold:

It is medical.

And it is spiritual.

Early on in her daughter's precious life, Kelley's pediatrician spoke to her about the future.

He said, "By the time you get through this, you will be a cardiologist, a neurologist, and a pediatrician all rolled into one." 

Boy was he was right.  Just ask Kelley about their amazing journey.  You can read her blog at Fairy Tale Endings.

And what the heck is a PDA anyway?  I thought it was a phone.

Turns out its a tiny yet very important vessel that keeps babies alive in utero.  And amazingly, it is engineered to close as soon as the baby takes her first breath so she can stay alive. 


This is just one of the many examples of the miracle of life.

I've never questioned the idea of humans being created by God, but taking this journey with our daughters has put an exclamation point on it.

So while its easy to see that healthy children are always blessings, please remember that children with diagnoses are incredible blessings too.  They open up many eyes to a whole new world.

How blessed are we :)


  1. To You, My Sisters
    By Maureen K. Higgins

    Many of you I have never even met fact to face, but I’ve searched you out every day. I’ve looked for you on the internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores.

    I’ve become an expert at identifying you. You are well worn. You are stronger tan you ever wanted to be. Your words ring experience you culled with your very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyond the expectations of this world. You are my sisters.

    Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority. A very elite sorority. We are special. Just like any other sorority, we were chosen to be members. Some of us were invited to join immediately, some not for months or even years. Some of us even tried to refuse membership, but to no avail.

    We were initiated in neurologist’s offices and NICU units, in obstetrician’s offices, in emergency rooms and during ultrasounds. We were initiated with somber telephone calls, consultations, evaluations, blood test, x-rays, MRI films and heart surgeries.

    All of us have one thing in common. One day things were fine. We were pregnant, or we had just given birth, or we were nursing our newborn, or we were playing with our toddler. Yes, one minute everything was fine. Then, whether it happened in an instant, as it often does, or over the course of a few weeks or months, our entire lives changed. Something wasn’t quite right. Then we found ourselves mothers of children with special needs.

  2. We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our children’s special needs. Some of our children undergo chemotherapy. Some need respirators and ventilators. Some are unable to talk, some are unable to walk. Some eat through feeding tubes. Some live in a different world. We do not discriminate against those mothers whose children’s needs are not as “special” as our child’s. We have mutual respect and empathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.

    We are knowledgeable. We have educated ourselves with whatever materials we could find. We know “the” specialists in the field. We know “the” neurologists, “the” hospitals, “the” wonder drugs and “the” treatments. We know “the” tests that need to be done, we know “the” degenerative and progressive diseases and we hold our breath while our children are tested for them. Without formal education, we could become board certified in neurology, nephrology, endocrinology and physiatry.

    We have taken on our insurance companies and school boards to get what our children need to survive and to flourish. We have prevailed upon the state to include augmentative communication devices in special education classes and mainstream schools for our children with cerebral palsy. We have labored to prove to insurance companies the medical necessity of gait trainers and other adaptive equipment for our children with spinal cord defects. We have sued municipalities to have our children properly classified so they could receive education and evaluation commensurate with their diagnosis.

  3. We have learned to deal with the rest of the world, even if that means walking away from it. We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during “tantrums” and gritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person behind us in line. We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-meaning strangers. We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs complaining about chicken pox or ear infections. We have learned that many of our closest friends can’t understand what it’s like to be in our sorority, and don’t even want to try.

    We have our own personal copies of Emily Perl Kingsley’s “Welcome to Holland” and Erma Bombeck’s “The Special Mother.” We keep them by our bedside and reread them during our toughest hours.

    We have coped with holidays. We have found ways to get our physically handicapped children to the neighbor’s front doors on Halloween, and we have found ways to help our deaf children form the words “Trick or Treat.” We have accepted that our children with sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace on Christmas. We have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing Yule log with our words for our blind children. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving. We have bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter. And all the while, we have tried to create a festive atmosphere for the rest of our family.

    We’ve gotten up every morning since our journey began, wondering how we’d make it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not sure how we did it.

    We’ve mourned the fact that we never got to relax and sip red wine in Italy. We’ve mourned the fact that our trip to Holland has required much more baggage than we ever imagined when we first visited the travel agent. And we’ve mourned because we left for the airport without most of the things we needed for the trip.

    But we, sisters, we always keep the faith. We never stop believing. Our love for our special children and our belief in all that they will achieve in life knows no bounds. We dream of them scoring touchdowns and extra points and homeruns. We visualize them running sprints and marathons. We dream of them planting vegetable seeds, riding horses and chopping down trees. We hear their angelic voices singing Christmas carols. We see their palettes smeared with watercolors and their fingers flying over ivory keys in a concert hall. We are amazed at the grace of their pirouettes. We never, never stop believing in all they will accomplish as they pass through this world.

    But in the meantime, my sisters, the most important ting we do, is hold tight to their little hands as together, we special mothers and our special children, reach for the stars.