Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful That We Are Not Alone - Guest #10

This dear friend goes to my church and I've had the pleasure of watching her handle a massive surprise with grace and public joy. I have been blessed watching her...and I hope you will be blessed reading her more intimate joy.

Please welcome Sonya:

"Why I am Thankful for a Fisher-Price Star Stacker

In 2002 our daughter Caroline was born, followed by Lauren in 2004. We thought we were done; "so done" that I had my tubes (well, one tube, but that's a whole other story) tied two month later. As the girls began to outgrow their cribs, toys and all the other baby equipment and accessories we had accumulated, we found new homes for the stuff. We were done.

Two years later, however, I began to experience some familiar symptoms. My state of denial lasted a couple of weeks, but the little plus sign on a positive home pregnancy test was quite a wake up call. The next day we were at the doctor's office viewing a little heartbeat on a screen and calculated the cost of all the "stuff" this little one would need. As we left the office in a bit of a daze, we were encouraged to enter a Fisher-Price drawing. Top Prize: high chair.

A week weeks later, a nurse called with the news that we had won the third prize: a little Fisher-Price Star Stacker. I picked up the toy and remember chuckling over the fact that the baby had one toy now. On the drive back home, as loud and clear as if someone were sitting in the passenger's seat talking to me, came the thought,"See, I am going to take care of this child." It was startling, but it was the most reassuring thought I'd had in weeks! I believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, was reassuring me on that day!

Over the next few weeks and months as news of our "surprise" pregnancy spread, we received loans and gifts of nearly everything we needed: maternity clothes, baby clothes, a crib, toys, etc. See, I am going to take care of this child.

At nineteen weeks, a routine ultrasound of our little boy revealed two clubbed feet and an atypical measurement in his head. We took the doctor's advice and scheduled an amniocentesis just to rule out any genetic or neurological causes.

This is the point in the story where I admit my long-time animosity towards minivans. I can't stand them, and swore that I would never drive one! The problem was that even our largest vehicle wouldn't accommodate three car seats and so our hunt for a new family vehicle. Just a couple of weeks before the amnio, I begrudgingly began to admit that a minivan made the most sense for our family. To preserve my "dignity" though, I declared that the day we picked up the minivan would be one of the worst days of my life.

Have you guessed what happened next? On the way to pick up our new minivan, I answered the call from a geneticist with the news that our new little guy (at this point my husband and I were still debating between two names) had a rare chromosome disorder; a deletion in the top portion of Chromosome 2. Other than crying my way through all the sales and financial documents - I still wonder if what those people at the dealership thought - all I remember from that day are the words of the geneticist:

Five cases in the the medical literature:
Severe to profound mental deficits
Low muscle tone
Heart defects
Hearing loss
Seizure disorder
Shortened life span

Very little was known about other kids with similar deletions, but none of it was good. As the doctors began to run more detailed tests, we asked folks to begin praying. Our families, friends, Bible Study Groups, church family, and even strangers prayed for us. A week later, a report came back that revised the location of the deletion. Their best guess was a slightly improved prognosis. We settled into a cycle of despair and hope, but whenever I saw that little Star Stacker toy I remembered the words, "See, I am going to take care of this child." I knew that God would either heal our son or equip our family to care for him.

A week before his due date, I went into labor. It was an anxious few hours as we waited to see what immediate health concerns Ben would have. Ben arrived with a hardy cry and a good Apgar scores. An echocardiogram, a renal ultrasound, and a detailed hearing test revealed no causes for concern. He was discharged from the hospital two days after his birth. See I am going to take care of this child.

Three weeks after his birth, we were at the orthopedic office to begin serial casting process to correct his feet. As the doctor wrestled into two thigh-to-toe casts, he declared that Ben was "strong". I couldn't have been more pleased.

At the age of six months we became concerned about Ben's hearing. After multiple hearing tests, one of which was performed at the hospital so he could be sedated, we discovered he has a moderate, mixed hearing loss in both ears.

When we went to the audiologist to arrange for hearing aids, we were stunned to find out how expensive they are. Katherine told us state money might be available to assist the purchase, but she knew Fulton and Cobb counties were already out of funds for that year, she wasn't very hopeful. We left with a promise that she would call and let us know.

We arrived home to find an excited message from Katherine. When she called the contact for Forsyth County, she was told money had already been set aside for Ben. The hospital audiologist who performed the sedated test had already called and put him on the list! Our cost for the aids would be a little over $400. We shared this exciting answer to prayer with our Bible Study groups and in just a couple of days received a call that someone had anonymously donated$400 to help us pay for the hearing aids. See I am going to take care of this child.

Ben is now 3 1/2 years old. He has some developmental delays in his speech, gross and fine motor skills, but he is so far ahead of where we thought he would be. I have hope that he can be an independent adult. I keep that Star Stacker in his room as a tangible reminder of how he has taken care of Ben as well as provided for our material needs."


  1. Someone shared a quote with me yesterday that blessed ME. Your reminders of God's faithfulness bless me! Your simple act of LOOKING for God in the little things has transformed what might have been a trauma into a continual reminder of God's faithful hand in your midst! What a wonderful gift your attitude is to others who struggle. Thank you for blessing us with your story! Here is the quote that your daily life bears witness to:

    "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." Melody Beattie

  2. What a powerful story! I love the visual of the star stacker. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This post is just beautiful. I am blessed to know that sweet little Ben. Sonya, I want you to guest post for me too! Hugs, Amy