“The doctor would like you to come in tomorrow to go over the results.” My heart hit the floor. The tears followed close behind. A wave of pain and fear wrapped around me and is here to stay.
Cara was born on Wednesday, August 25, 2010, her due date. I was induced because it seemed like little Cara wasn’t moving as much as she should and my fluid was a bit low. As the day progressed, Cara’s activity picked up and her heartbeat was great. Dan and I were excited and images of having two girls, sisters, growing up together and our complete family filled my mind and my heart. Natalie will love having a sister she can play with. It was a very quick labor and delivery. Cara was born at 11:56pm. She was pink head to toe and came out crying, weighing in at 5lbs 12ozs. She was petite but gorgeous. Every day the doctors and nurses checked all the necessary boxes and Friday morning we were given the green light to go home.
Cara had problems feeding and we were instructed to supplement each feeding with a bottle. “It’s just because she is small.” Soon, Cara was drinking exclusively from a bottle. She would still take an hour to finish just a few ounces. “It’s just because she is small.” We began to notice that Cara wasn’t meeting her milestones when her sister did. “It’s just because she started out almost 2lbs behind.” “Every baby develops at their own speed.” Three months, still not able to hold her head up. “It’s just because she started out almost 2lbs behind.” “Every baby develops at their own speed.” Four months, still can’t hold her head up, not smiling, and not bringing her hands to her mouth. “Every baby develops at their own speed.” “More tummy time.” At Cara’s four month well check appointment the pediatrician looked at Cara with a furrowed brow. “I would like for Cara to see a neurologist as soon as possible. I am also going to refer her to the neurodevelopmental center and an opthamologist.” The look on the doctors face as she examined Cara is etched permanently in my mind. “Every baby develops at their own speed?” “More tummy time?”Before I left the pediatrician’s office I had an appointment with a pediatric neurologist for the very next day.
The neurologist examined Cara. Again, the same look. “I am going to order an MRI of Cara’s brain”.
January 31st, 2011. Cara and I arrive at the hospital at 6am for her MRI. Dan joins us, after dropping Natalie off with a neighbor, just in time to chat with the anesthesiologist. We leave just before noon. A 1.5 hour MRI took over 2 hours. Cara did great and we are happy to head home. “Call your doctor’s office on Wednesday for the results.” The pain and fear tightens it’s wrap.
Wednesday. “Hello. I am calling to see if you have received the results for Cara Williams’s MRI.” “I will check with the doctor and we will give you a call back.” A couple hours later. “Hello Ms. Williams. The doctor would like you to come in tomorrow to go over the results.”
February 3, 2011 we found out that our daughter has significant, permanent damage to the central portion of her brain that had a global affect. Cara suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a condition in which the brain does not receive enough oxygen.
Wheelchairs, mental retardation, involuntary movements…cerebral palsy?? This is our reality.
I left the doctor’s office and my world came crashing down. Pain, fear, sadness and anger swept in and took over. I cried for the next week. I found myself holding my breath, eyes shut tight and fists clenched until the wave of pain went down. This is all I could do to keep from collapsing and shattering. I wanted to scream until I had no voice, pound my fists until they were broken and run until my legs gave out.
I sat with Natalie on the couch holding Cara. I told Natalie that Cara has an ouchy in her head. Natalie looked at me, smiled, bent down and kissed Cara on the top of her head. “It’s okay baby sister.”
One thing I could hold on to was that now we know what is wrong and we can move forward. Stem cell therapy, physical therapy and providing as much stimulation for Cara’s brain as possible. We can help her brain to compensate for the damaged portions. There is so much hope. We are done right???? The damage is done and we can work on fixing it right??? Time to move forward??
I wake up every morning. Give my daughter a kiss and whisper to her. “I love you. I have faith in you. I believe in you.” I need everyone to have faith in Cara. Having faith in her is the greatest faith you can have in God and in life. Have faith that she can fight this. Cara, with love, can continue on her path in life with strength. Have faith that our beautiful little girl can do more than dream and wish. Have faith in her that she will live these dreams.