|Mitchell with his dog
husband, Eric, and I moved to Willmar from the cities
in May of 2002 with our 2 year-old daughter, Megan.
Eric lost his job and went through some tough times
in finding something new. When he got the job offer
in Willmar, we both knew it was what we wanted: a small
town life instead of the busy city life. We didn’t
know anyone when we moved there, which made things kind
of difficult at first. Luckily, I was blessed to meet
Lara. Lara invited me to a bible study for their Christmas
brunch. I remembered sitting and listening to testimonials
about the close relationships the women had with God
through the many trials they went through. I was in
awe. I had never experienced anything that put me in
that type of situation for such closeness with Him.
Well, things changed.
That year Eric and I found
out we were pregnant. We were so happy! And then that
changed too. We went in for my scheduled 18 week ultrasound
and throughout the whole thing, I just felt like something
wasn’t right. The next day I got a phone call
from my doctor asking me to come in to discuss the results.
I’ll never forget that day . . . it was Valentine’s
Day. I sat there and listened to her as she told me
that our baby had Spina Bifida. I just sat in shock.
Could this be true? Tears ran down my face. When Eric
came home, the exact words I said to him were “I
hate God.” I honestly never thought those words
would ever come out of my mouth. It had to be the worse
day of my life; it felt so unreal. A couple days later,
I woke up crying at 2:00 in the morning. It was uncontrollable
– there was no stopping. Finally, I asked God
to put an angel’s wing around me for comfort –
and as soon as I was done asking Him, I felt warmth
around me I couldn’t explain. I stopped crying.
I felt calm. Ever since that day, I’ve always
felt like everything was going to be okay.
We started a prayer line on
e-mail with everyone we knew. I couldn’t believe
the people who reached out to us. People we’ve
known forever and people we had just met. We couldn’t
have made it without them.
There was a book I read that was especially helpful,
Let Go and Let God. That’s exactly what I did
– I let go and let God. It was a huge relief for
me – both mentally and spiritually.
As time went by it came closer
to my due date (July 4). On June 8 I called the local
hospital to let them know I wasn’t feeling well
and wanted to know if I should come in. They monitored
me for a couple hours and sent me home – just
telling me to lay low for a couple of days. Eric insisted
we go to the Cities so I could stay with my mom and
be closer to the U of M – where we planned on
delivering. I packed up and we headed to the Cities
– now with my contractions 4 minutes apart. We
dropped my daughter off at my mom’s and made it
to the hospital and by then I was dilated to a 4. They
immediately prepped me for my C section. Eric left to
call his mom to tell her we were having the baby. He
came back with tears in his eyes. I didn’t know
what was going on. Eric’s dad past away 16 years
ago, and June 8 was his dad’s birthday. At that
time, I knew someone had plans for this baby. I went
in for the C section –I was so calm through everything.
I don’t know if it was God or just the drugs I
was on! I’ll admit, I was kind of scared to actually
see what our baby was going to look like. But as any
mother will say, of course, he was precious.
Mitchell and I stayed at the
NICU for 10 days. He had surgery on his back when he
was two days old and then had shunt surgery two days
later. That night the urologist came to visit me and
Eric at 10:00 and told us that Mitchell had a spastic
left kidney and no right kidney. I lost it! I thought
I was prepared for everything and then this! That night
we went back to our room - I took out my bible and tried
to find some hope for our baby. We had many people praying
for Mitchell. We took the weekend away from the hospital
to spend some time with Megan and then came back on
Monday. Mitchell was scheduled for another ultra sound
to look at his bladder and kidneys again that day. I
was there as the tech dotted out the measurements on
Mitchell – so I asked him how he could measure
something that wasn’t there – since we were
told Mitchell didn’t have a right kidney. He told
me “That’s it – the right kidney is
right here.” I couldn’t believe it! When
I talked to the resident doctor later that day he too
was shocked and so was the urologist. They had no explanation.
I saw the before and after ultrasound results and the
only explanation was “a true miracle.” That
was just one of many.
It was and is a long road but
there have been so many people who have helped us so
much. We were so fortunate to meet a family in town
that had adopted a little boy with Spina Bifida. They
have been such an inspiration to us and have helped
us in so many ways. They have given us more information
on Spina Bifida than any doctor, nurse or website! Some
days I ask God “Why Mitchell”? – And
then I say “Thank you, God for Mitchell”.
There’s a reason for all of us on this earth,
and if Mitchell’s reason is to bring people closer
to God through his disability – so be it. It’s
God’s will. As I’ve learned – Let
Go and Let God.
Eric and I have told ourselves that we’re just
babysitting one of God’s children while we’re
here on this earth. And we’re going to do the
best job we can.
Mitchell is now 4 years old
and is doing wonderful. He sees specialists on a regular
basis just to make sure were doing everything we can.
Mitchell is strong enough to use a walker and indepently
get around. He's also working on using walking
sticks. He goes to school four days a week
where he is mainstreamed two days and then in a smaller
group with other children with special needs the other
Mitchell is the light of our life. He always has a smile
and brightens any room he walks into. He's
not shy and really likes to talk whether he knows
you or not. The great thing is that Mitchell has
many friends and the amazing part is that they see him
for who he is and not his disability. It really
shows that it's the inside of a person that counts.
to Spina Bifida
-The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.