On May 20th, I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy that we named John Stephen. I always find it so amazing how fast you can love another human being. I also can not believe how much easier it is this time around.
Like my daughters, baby John is a really good baby. He eats well and sleeps well. Because my mobility is so much better than it was when my girls were born, I find true enjoyment feeding this little guy at 3am. My legs can walk me to the kitchen to make his bottle and my hands allow me to easily change his dirty diapers. It was so challenging taking care of the girls. I could do it all, but it would take me so much longer to snap up there sleepers and fasten their diapers. I may have three children now, but today was the first day that I ever gave an infant a bath. Steve always took care of that for me in the past. Even though John cried the whole time, I loved EVERY second of it and can't imagine ever forgetting that I did it on my own.
My life is very busy taking care of two girls (ages 10 and 8) and my one week old son, but I can honestly say that I have never been this happy. I have everything I could ever want: a great husband, three healthy kids and a safe place we can call home. I wouldn't want to trade places with anyone else in the world and thank God for all the wonderful gifts He has given me.
What an evening. My Martial Arts instructor came over tonight so he could work with me on my kicks. Even though I could have this baby any day now, I stretched and prepared for the lesson. He patiently reviewed several different kicks with me and I did each one a few times. I was really surprised how well it was going since my balance has been off during this last month of pregnancy.
When we were all done going through the kicks he left the room momentary and returned with Steve and my girls behind him. I could see that Sharon was holding something behind her back and was stunned to see her holding a white/gold striped belt that was meant to replace the white belt that I have been wearing for over a year.
My instructor than handed me the official certificate that stated I have earned my white with gold striped belt. I couldn't help but smile and look at my mom sitting on the couch and say, "I bet you never thought you'd see me do this."
Then my instructor handed me a red star patch (goal patch) and had Steve read yet another certificate. As he read it, I could feel the tears in my eyes and could see my father tearing up as well. I don't think anyone in the room ever thought they'd see the day that I would accomplished something in a sport. Certainly not me. This certificate says the following:
This Goal Star Award is Hereby Presented to:
Your Indomitable Spirit, Perseverance, Self Control, and unwavering Integrity is an inspiration to everyone. To have overcome what you have, without spite of others, and always looking ahead to new challenges with the perseverance to conquer what stands in your way, you inspire others to be better then what they are and show them a path to that goal.
I think that these are some of the nicest words ever said about me. The fact of the matter is, I could not have accomplished this goal without my instructor or my family. With that all being said, I think it's time for this baby to be born!
I realized something today. I'm not nearly as strong of a person as I was two years ago. As I look back at how I handled my previous two pregnancies, I don't know how I did it (and with such a positive attitude). Back then, I couldn't do anything for myself. Steve and my mom had to help me get dressed, use the bathroom, drive me to work, make all my meals and so much more. I can do all those things myself this time, yet I feel so exhausted and miserable.
I can't help but think that back then I had to prove to everyone that I could do it. I could be disabled and still not only handle being pregnant, but I could be a good mother as well. I can't help but ask myself, "was it knowing that so many people thought I couldn't/shouldn't be a mother that made me so much stronger just so I could prove them all wrong?" Maybe. I guess I'm okay with that.
Everything in our lives has an affect on who we are and who we will become. I always felt that growing up disabled made me a stronger person. As I look back on her, well me, I can't help but think that she was an amazing woman. I'm sure if I dig deep enough I can find that strength once again. I just have to take the first step in doing so.
After living the first 33 years of my life thinking I had Spastic Diplegia, a form of Cerebal Palsey, I was correctly diagnosed with Dopa Responsive Dystonia (DRD). I am on new medication and doing things that I never imagined possible. This has changed the lives of my husband and two daughters. I truly believe that I am living a miracle each and every day. Life can't get any better than this!