"God doesn't give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with special needs doesn't take a special family, it makes a special family."
" Faith makes life possible. Hope makes life workable. Love makes life beautiful."

The Winwards

The Winwards

Friday, October 10, 2014

October is Spina Bifida Awareness - Days 1-10

Each year, every October is Spina Bifida Awareness.  I am doing a post about Spina Bifida every day on Facebook.  Here are the 1st, 10 entries.

Day #1 - We found out that Tanner would be born with SB at 24 weeks. I will never forget that day, it will forever be etched into my mind. I still become teary eyed thinking about it. When we found out, I had no idea what SB even was, and that alone terrified me. The first thing the doctor said to us was "Your baby boy has spina bifida, he will have no quality of life, when would you like to abort??" NO parent should ever be told that! We chose life, and that Dr. can stick it where the sun don't shine!
I'm so thankful that although the rest of the pregnancy was filled with worry, I was able to prepare myself for what may lay ahead. Tanner is SO much better than I ever envisioned him to be! No quality of life?? I think not! Tanner is so full of LIFE!

 The date on this picture is off due to new camera and date wasn't updated at time of photo.  It should be 12/15/2008

Spina Bifida Awareness day #2 - Nothing causes or prevents Spina Bifida. Let me say that again.... NOTHING!! I took prenatal vitamins for over a year before getting pregnant with Tanner. Yet, he was born with Spina Bifida. There is no reason why it happened, it just did. And I wouldn't change him anything!

Spina Bifida Awareness Day # 3 - For me as Tanner's mom, there are hard days, but also AWESOME days too! Finding out while I was still pregnant that Tanner would be born with spina bifida made for a worrisome pregnancy. I cried every day. BUT it also gave me the opportunity to go to consults, and select his doctors before he was born. AND I had the time to prepare myself for what I knew may lay ahead. 
Tanner has taught me so much about celebrating each moment, no matter how small. That although life is tough, we are ALWAYS stronger. That everything is possible, and things can be done in MANY ways. 
He is truly my Hero. I love him so much!

Spina Bifida Awareness Day #4 - Perspective & Spina Bifida. We could be so bitter about the challenges that come along. But we as a family, strive to find the joy in little every day things.

Spina Bifida Awareness Day #5 - Other Spina Bifida kids and adults, just like my Tanner. All our friends! All those born with Spina Bifida have just as much fun as anyone else!

Spina Bifida Awareness Day # 6

Out of every 1,500 births 1 child is born with SB. SB is one of the higest aborted rates (which is beyond sad, because I love my Tanner and can't imagine life without him)
Having a child with Spina Bifida has taught me this.

Spina Bifida awareness Day #7
Whether or not Tanner can play the way other kids do, is a question I am asked a lot. He is a kid, of course he can play! He loves the same kinds of things, and loves to play with others. He is very social. 
Curiosity is OK. Parents please don't shush your kids or lead them away when they want to talk too or play with a child that may have some differences. Tanner uses a wheelchair full time outside of our home, or he crawls. Just because he does some things differently, does not mean he cannot do them at all.

Spina Bifida Awareness Day #8
This blog explains it way better than I ever could. (click on link)

Spina Bifida Awareness Day #9 
The human nervous system develops from a small, specialized plate of cells along the back of an embryo (called the neural plate). Early in development, the edges of this plate begin to curl up toward each other, creating the neural tube—a narrow sheath that closes to form the brain and spinal cord of the embryo. As development progresses, the top of the tube becomes the brain and the remainder becomes the spinal cord. This process is usually complete by the 28th day of pregnancy. But if problems occur during this process, the result can be brain disorders called neural tube defects, including spina bifida. This means that before a woman even knows she is pregnant the “damage" has already been done. The mother typically does not learn of the condition until her 20 week ultrasound. Early ultrasounds around 8-10 weeks which confirm the pregnancy and establish gestational age will not pick up on the defect. Prenatal testing which can indicate "risk" of Neural Tube Defects including Spina Bifida are offered around 16-18 wks gestation. If a "risk" is suspected a follow up ultrasound is preformed. Many mothers decline this testing as there is some risk involved.
We found out there might be a chance of Spina Bifida when I was 22 weeks pregnant with Tanner, and found out for sure at 24 weeks. I was devastated and turned to God. Without that trust and comfort, things would have been so much harder to handle.
"With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." - Mark 10:27

Spina Bifida Awareness Day #10 
Being Tanner's mom has never been hard. Yes, there are extras, heartache, stress, confusion, worry, and struggles. But there is also a whole lot of LOVE. 
I am so proud of the boy he is becoming!

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