From time to time I invite fellow gleaners to share their gleaning experiences here at the gleanse. Today we have my co-worker and friend Kim Ketler. She is a strong, passionate, and compassionate supermom.
"Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of life." ~ Maureen Hawkins
"There is something wrong with your baby."
When I heard those words spoken at 37 weeks of pregnancy, I did not realize how quickly my life was going to change forever. Sixteen weeks after the birth of our disabled son, my husband decided he no longer wanted to be married and moved 75 miles away from me and our two boys. Grieving the loss of a healthy child, the end of my marriage, and entering my new "wait and see world" was almost too much to handle. Every doctors appointment ended with the same comment, "we will just have to wait and see."
Due to the stroke my son suffered in utero, he is missing a large portion of his brain. He also suffers from Hydrocephalus, Cerebral Palsy and numerous other conditions. Austin has had two brain surgeries, spinal cord surgery, placement of a feeding tube, orthopedic surgery, and has been in physical therapy since he was eight weeks old. He has experienced more pain and suffering than many people will ever experience in their lifetime.
The doctors thought he would never talk because he is missing the part of the brain that controls speech. As I taught him and myself baby sign language, he started to make sounds you couldn't understand but you knew it had to be a word! Today Austin can tell me quite clearly, "I love you Mom." Words I thought I would never hear out of his mouth. It makes me cry just thinking about it. Watching him reach new milestones every day, which takes more effort than a typical child, is a true joy and a blessing from God!
Today, my son is five years old and my life is better than I imagined it ever would be. It's not an easy life and quite challenging most of the time. However, I can honestly take a look back at all the therapies, appointments, sleepless nights, tears, triumphs, milestones, fears and say with certainty that it is absolutely worth it! I love being his mother and thank God everyday for trusting me and allowing me to raise such a special child. God has shown his love for me by providing me daily strength, courage, and determination to continue this journey, which I consider to be a beautiful struggle.