For this LAST day of October, we have the privilege of meeting Madison!
When I was a young girl, I used to fear that God would give me a special needs child. It was always in the back of my mind that this was something that I would not handle well, and I feared that God would test me. I have seven children, and with each pregnancy, I worried, and with each one, up through the sixth, I was relieved to find out that everything was "typical." When I got pregnant with Madison I had been reassured by my doctor that with each normal pregnancy, the chances of something going wrong decreased. I really didn't worry, and when I went in for my ultrasound at 16 weeks, I was only concerned with whether this was a girl or a boy. When the tech had me roll over to face the wall, so she could get a different view, I didn't worry. When she took 10 times the number of pictures, and got very quiet during the exam, I pondered it, but didn't worry. Then I went in to see the doctor, and he said that they couldn't get a good look at the spine, so I needed a level II ultrasound. A full week of anguish, hoping for the ultrasound to be normal. But I knew, in my heart that something was wrong.
When we received the diagnosis "spina bifida" I was heart broken. Our doctors were quite optimistic, which I am very thankful for. Nobody encouraged me to terminate (although it was offered), and they gave me some booklets on the condition which were helpful and scary at the same time. I soon found a support group at Babycenter.com and finally felt like I had arms of understanding surrounding me. It was a grieving process realizing that the baby I had pictured was going to be challenged in ways I couldn't even know yet. When Madison was born, we were told her defect level was L4-5 and that she had a 40% chance of walking. I was angry at that statistic, and never shared it with anyone. I knew that Madison would show us what she could or couldn't do. She had a shunt placed at 6 months. She crawled at 10 months. Walked with a walker at 15 months. Now walks independently with AFOs since about 27 months. She dances, she sings, and will be running soon, I know it.
Now, almost 3 year later, I realize what a true blessing this journey has been, and will continue to be. Madison lights up the house with her sharp and sweet personality, and fills the house with noise, as she is by far my loudest child. She is beloved by all her siblings, and I know they will have a level of understanding for others in this world that have challenges as well. How can you place value on these things? They are without price. I thank God for Madison, and pray He continues to use her and us to bless others as we come into contact with them. I know I have been blessed beyond measure by all the families I've met in the spina bifida community. They are amazing people.