I used to think that children with disabilities were born to extraordinary women. I thought that these women were so amazing that they were given the most special children to care for. I also knew that I certainly was not one of those women. If I were to be given a child that special, certainly I would crumble under the weight of that stress.
From the moment I found out that I was pregnant with Olive, I knew that something was “off” but never knew what it was. It wasn’t the pregnancy itself, which was actually pretty great as far as pregnancies go. I pushed and pushed my doctors until they gave in to more testing. Before we left that day I asked Sean “What do we do if we find out something is wrong?” he told me that those were the moments that define people lives. “We can’t decide that now, because we aren’t there now. We may have some hard choices.” We had a big hug and then headed to Portland to the Big Hospital.
At that appointment we were told that Olive had a Single Umbilical Artery (SUA), it had the potential to be a problem but we would monitor closely and once she was born there would be nothing more to worry about. Phew! I was officially “high risk” at that point and had a monthly date with the high risk clinic; we had a couple bumps but mostly the road was smooth sailing.
When Olive was born and we learned about her eyes, I was scared. I didn’t think I could handle a baby that was anything other than “perfect.” I am ashamed to say that I spent much of her first few weeks disappointed in what I had been given. A lot has changed since then. Before I was ever pregnant, if I had been given a choice: you can have no baby, or you can have a baby with a defect, I would honestly have chosen: No Baby. Remember, I was not one of those women. I was also not given a choice. If I was asked today if I would change a single thing about her, I wouldn’t. I would not want her any other way. I would choose her just the way she is.
Those women, the ones that are so extraordinary… I’ve learned that they aren’t given special children because they are extraordinary, their children made them extraordinary. No, I don’t think that I am extraordinary, but I do think that Olive has made me a better person and a better mother. I finally understand why I had never ever heard a single complaint from a mother of a child with special needs. I can almost guarantee you that those mothers wouldn’t change a single thing about their children. I think we would remove the hardships that they may face and we would erase any pain that may result, but nothing about them would change.
Sean is taking Olive back to the Big Hospital today for her check up (I couldn’t get off work). In the last few weeks her vision seems to have taken a huge downward turn. I am actually not really concerned about it, we will take whatever we have and we will deal and move forward. She started work last week with Early Intervention to help her catch up and keep up developmentally. I wish you all could see her and snuggle her and love on her. I wish that you all could feel how special she makes me feel… I have been trusted with the most amazing of all gifts.