Guest blogger Kimberly Drew and her family recently celebrated daughter Abbey’s birthday. In her two part series, which begins today, Kimberly describes the arrival of their daughter. She candidly describes the diagnoses of Abbey’s numerous conditions and how special needs loss and altered their lives and their parenting experience.

Anniversaries of Life and Loss:
It’s Okay to Feel a Little Sad

Twelve years ago, I was twenty-two-years-old and about to have my first baby. My husband and I were surprised to find out we were pregnant after only being married for a year. I was in my fifth year of college at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana and had just begun student teaching. Over the next nine months we did all the things that a first time parent does. While our budget shrank, my waistline and anticipation grew exponentially. We took labor classes, toured the hospital, had three baby showers and then we waited. We waited, and waited, and waited.

When the day finally came, to say we were excited is an understatement.

We were naively ready to be parents to a perfect baby girl. Then it happened. Or I guess I should say, then it didn’t happen. Labor would not progress. After eighteen hours of induced labor and three and a half hours of pushing, my doctor appeared and in an urgent frenzy, started yelling at everyone. Papers flew, nurses ran into each other, and a neonatal team descended on us like seagulls on an unattended picnic at the beach.

I remember throwing my head back and submitting my soul to God.

In an instant, Abbey arrived. For the rest of my life, I will never forget the silence. The team began working on her right away. No one congratulated me. There was not a single smile in the room. The hush of death hovered over us, and my tender years were not able to process what was happening. I just kept asking why she wasn’t crying.

Why wasn’t she crying??

No one would answer me. No one could say anything to me for the next twenty four hours that made any sense at all. They lost count of how many times she was resuscitated that night. The fact that Abbey pulled through still amazes us.  We know that God spared her life. People from many states and countries across the world were praying fervently for her healing.

We’re forever grateful.

After almost a month in the NICU she came home, and our life changed forever. The next few months revealed bilateral hearing loss and a seizure disorder.  The next few years revealed microcephaly from brain damage and cerebral palsy among a host of other problems.  At the age of twenty two I became the mother of a disabled child.  I thought I was just becoming a mother.

I had no idea how different my life was about to become.

Abbey’s birthday was April 10th. Every year we celebrate with candles, cake, friends and family, and a ridiculous number of photos. Every year I lay in bed that night and remember her birth and how the course of my life was inalterably changed.

 

How Did You Learn of Your Child’s Special Needs Diagnosis?

Does Kimberly’s story bring back memories of learning of your child’s special needs? Share your story in the comment box if you like. Then come back tomorrow to hear more about what the anniversary of life and loss looks like in Kimberly’s family in Part 2 of the series.

Part 2

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