For these children, I prayed. . .
I prayed for happy, healthy kids. I did not pray about their eye color, their sex, their aptitudes or abilities. I just prayed they'd be here, happy and healthy and that I'd be prepared to care for them and love them. Lord, make me a good mom. I did not pray for easy babies or good sleepers or easy eaters or binky haters or any of the other things I've since thought, I should have prayed for that.
I did not think to pray that milestones would be hit on time, that my kid wouldn’t be “different”, that they’d grow to call me “Mom”, or that seizures wouldn’t rock my entire world! I prayed that they would know how to love and be loved and the Lord has given me much of what I asked of him!
After almost a year of trying, I got pregnant with Garrett. The prayers about being a good mom & being prepared all picked up. He came, I fell in love, debated just having one thinking how could I love another human this much?, and then got back on the horse and was pregnant just after Garrett’s first birthday. Two under two and then we’re through; that was our plan. That’s what we got. And at 6 months pregnant with Mikenna, we got more than we ever asked. . .
Garrett had his first seizure. Half an hour into it, we figured out that’s what it was and drove him, ourselves, to the hospital in a town we didn’t know and STILL strapped our nonresponsive babe in the car seat (see, I prayed I’d be a good mom) and flew across town to the voice of our GPS. Without sharing every detail, within a month, we had three hospital stays, 2 flights, 2 ambulance rides and have played trial and error with medication while seeing as many as 5 seizures in a day since March 1st.
There’s no genetic diagnosis or specifically-named syndrome that applies to our boy. So, when you’ve seen Garrett and noticed he’ll twirl your hair but not wave hello or hug your neck but not give a high five, here’s why: He’s epileptic & developmentally delayed; he’s “disabled”. He’s challenging but rewarding. He’s loved, appreciated and loving in return: answers to my prayers! We prefer to say he has unique circumstances. Well, to be honest, for months, we’ve preferred to say next to nothing. So, why now?
Because we’re learning. Because we’re getting help from all over. Literally. Iowa City, Rochester, Hiawatha, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Webster City, Fort Madison, Grundy Center. We’ve connected very little with others in similar situations but have seen the benefit in doing so. He’s teaching me a lot. Patience, acceptance, faith, perseverance: the meaning of Sarah Palin’s stupid Hockey Mom speeches as I battle referrals, docs, second opinions, bills, insurance, personal plans and red tape! He’s teaching me a new sense of accomplishment that may involve being full-time mom and part time PT, OT & ST! Mostly, he’s teaching me that I need help and I’m getting better at accepting it.
I will admit that I often see sharing despair as whining or weakness in a cry for help. I am not whining. As I care for my newborn and tend to the needs of my special tot faced with more questions than answers medically & personally, I still manage to feel blessed. I look at them both and see more excitement than fear. In not asking for help, I am asking this of you: Hug your babes. Don’t ignore the word Mom or Dad said over and over again as I often see. Say the words I love you and value each time you hear them in return. I know not the challenges you face, but I hope you can find blessings among them!