Thursday, June 5, 2008

Journey to Salvation: Part Two

Did you miss Part One? Catch up with the link below:

Journey to Salvation Part Two

So, as my husband and I were all of a sudden swept into an emotional roller coaster, we didn’t know how to function….
Our Olivia spent the next ten days in a pediatric ICU, with many moments of uncertainty for her future.
Still, I had no point of reference of even how to begin to cry out to God for help.
I almost felt guilty trying to speak to Him, since I never really had before.

She came home on anti-seizure medication, because once she came off of the ventilator, she began having seizures. Her brain was responding to the trauma that it endured from the period of time it was without oxygen.

There we were, in the midst of what I call “survival mode.” We were trying to learn and understand how to go about our lives, and take care of her and her big brother in the meantime.

The physicians reassured us that she would be ok long term, and her brain was without oxygen for an ‘insignificant’ period of time.
In between staring at her sleeping, and hovering over her constantly in my state of constant worry; I realized over the months that followed her discharge that her left hand was always fisted. Her pediatrician dismissed my worries, and insisted I was being overly cautious.
Then, by the time she was 8 months old, I demanded we get an occupational therapy evaluation; as it’s main focus is fine motor/hand skills.
The energy that allowed my husband and I to function during these months came from adrenaline, and our love for her. We wanted to be angry that this had happened, but we didn’t have time—we had to keep moving.
Then, during a routine visit with her neurologist, he said the words that I can still hear so very clearly, “We don’t know how long her brain was without oxygen, so I am going to write down in her chart that she has cerebral palsy; for insurance purposes.”

“Cerebral Palsy?” I said. “How does one get cerebral palsy?” My head was spinning.

I know driving home from this appointment, through my tear-soaked face I thought, “I don’t know how to do this. I can’t take care of a physically disabled child. God, please help me.”

Our days became filled with more therapy and doctor appointments, and I fell into a depression, because all I could do was live in fear for her future. I couldn’t see how anything positive could come from this. I spent most days focusing on her limitations, rather than her strengths.
I was now a mother of a child with cerebral palsy—and I was spiraling in a downward motion; not knowing where I was going to land.

I was raised Catholic, so I began going to church again—week after week, I was searching for God.
I thought daily, “Where is He? Who is He? Does He even hear me? I need some kind of hope, or I am literally going to have a nervous breakdown….”

Maria and her family reside in NE Ohio. She and her husband are the parents of two. Their daughter is a person with hemipelegic cerebral palsy. Because of her experiences, Maria provides parent-to-parent support for families involved in her local early intervention program. Her gift for writing has come directly from the Lord since her daughter’s diagnosis. She writes a monthly column entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids” for the Mahoning Valley Parent magazine in Ohio; and has expanded into Parent magazines in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. She is also a contributing author at Maria is very passionate about getting the word out to special parents that they are not alone in their journey of raising their special child; and that they were chosen by God to parent their children. Maria welcomes comments and communication as well as invitations for her to speak to your group.

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