I've been told by several people that we don't update the blog enough so I wanted to post a little something in the way of an update. In all honesty, in looking back over our blog I've realized that we've made the majority of our posts prior to or following an intense or troublesome time regarding Madison. And while blogging during those times has been an outlet for us to express our feelings, let everyone know the current issues, and ask for prayer I now realize that I don't have to wait for an earth-shattering moment to occur in order to share thoughts, feelings, updates, etc.
When I sit in the rocker in Madison's room I often look at my belly pictures hanging on the opposite wall. As I've said on our blog in the past, I can't believe that she was once a part of me, now that we have her here in the world. And while I can look at those pictures with fond memories of being pregnant, I can't help but remember how scared and troubled I was during that time.
January 15, 2010 was the day Dustin and I learned that our precious "peanut" was a little girl. I was 18 weeks pregnant and it was the same day my doctor told us she believed she saw signs of Spina Bifida in our baby. Our joy was quickly replaced with devastation upon hearing the news. The remaining 21 weeks of my pregnancy were bittersweet as I carried my sweet Madison, unsure of what was "wrong" with her or what challenges we would face as parents to a child with Spina Bifida. We had so many questions for the many doctors we saw and the uncertainty of it all was more than we could bear at times. But now that Madison is about to be three months old and we've lived what has seemed a lifetime since January 15th, the questions I had while pregnant I can now answer myself.
These are the questions I asked my doctor after that first ultrasound and here are MY answers.
QUESTION: "What will be wrong with her?
ANSWER: Nothing. Nothing at all is wrong with her. Madison is progressing beautifully and she continues to be an amazing picture of God's healing grace. Don't think for a minute that Madison's middle name is Grace by accident.
QUESTION: "What will we notice is different about her?"
ANSWER: Nothing. When Madison's hair grows back to cover the shunt incision on her head, you would never know by looking at her that she was born with a birth defect. That is the only thing you would notice.
QUESTION: "Will she have developmental delays?"
ANSWER: Everyday Madison is growing and overcoming the odds. Is she a little behind in holding her head up? Yes. But I have to remind myself that while other babies would spend their first month learning how to do this, my baby was connected to monitors, cut on three times, and was heavily sedated and on pain medication for over a week. She gets extra time to catch up. Otherwise she is right on track with her physical and social development.
Dustin and I marvel at how God has worked through our daughter. And to think that a doctor questioned whether or not we should continue with the pregnancy makes me sick. What blessings we would have been robbed of if we had listened to that crazy doctor. What a miracle we would have missed. Madison is a our beautiful and perfect gift from the Lord. She makes loving her the easiest task in the world. Her diapers turn my stomach but her smile melts my heart. I miss her when she sleeps and I am overjoyed to walk into her room and scoop up my warm little peanut and snuggle her after a nap. I love how she tries to sing along with me when I sing her her night-night song (we've caught this on video so I have proof that she does it though it seems impossible she could). When she sucks on her fingers I laugh because she was given a perfectly good passie to suck on but spit it out because her fingers are apparently better. I cry just looking at her sometimes because I can't believe how beautiful and perfect she is. I beam with pride every time I take her out or we go to church and she doesn't make a peep, just sits there like the best baby in the world. I go to pieces when she makes her sweet baby noises and talks to us with her two favorite words "goo" and "huggie."
The only question I'm left with now is this...
QUESTION: "What else will the Lord allow us to experience on this journey?"
ANSWER: We do not know yet. But Psalm 34:4 says that if we will seek the Lord, He will answer us and He will deliver us from our fears. This gives me confidence that nothing else we are meant to endure will be more than our Lord can deliver us from.
Lastly, I want to share a sort of poem (by Roy Lessin) that we were given on a greeting card after Madison was born. This card has really stuck with me and has encouraged me greatly.
Your daughter is here not by chance, but by God's choosing. His hand formed her and made her the person she is. He compares her to no one else- she is one of a kind. She will lack nothing that His grace can't give her. He has allowed her to be here at this time in history to fulfill His special purpose for this generation.
Roy Lessin didn't know he was writing that about Madison Grace Rawls when he wrote it but he was.