Its been a long five days.
At Vivian’s 1-week check up last Friday the pediatrician noticed a small patch of what looked like burst blood vessels at the base of her spine. He somewhat matter-of-factly suggested that we take her in for an ultrasound as such a mark can mean a baby has Spina Bifida.
My heart sunk and I’m certain I missed a breath. Vivian’s 20-week ultrasound was clear, and she was born healthy and vibrant. I just wasn’t prepared to have a conversation about birth defects after her birth.
Spina Bifida is the most frequently occurring permanently disabling birth defect. It affects approximately one out of every 1,000 newborns in the United States. Because of the paralysis resulting from the damage to the spinal cord, people born with Spina Bifida may need surgeries and other extensive medical care. I felt overwhelmed yet emboldened whenever I thought of Vivian facing this diagnosis – I would be here to help her through the journey. I would never turn away.
Everyday as I looked at her precious face and peered into her dark eyes I promised her that I will always protect her. I will always keep her safe. I will do whatever I can do help her live a happy and fulfilled life. Regardless of whether or not she has special needs. She is my girl and I am her mother.
Fortunately, the doctor today found her spine to be perfectly normal and healthy. He said the small mark on her back will likely fade over time, and even if it doesn’t its just a little mark so who cares?! I immediately felt lighter upon hearing the good news – such relief and so much gratitude.
As I left the hospital I said a prayer for families who don’t receive good news. I pray that they have access to excellent health care. I pray that they are surrounded by loving family and friends who offer support and encouragement.
Once home today I made a donation to the Illinois Spina Bifida Association. I know its a small gesture, but I wanted to do something for the families I’ve been praying for all afternoon.
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