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Thursday, February 15, 2007


Is it a tad sadistic to feel blessed because you're better off than someone else? It seems somewhat perverse to turn someone else's suffering into your blessing. So, forgive me if come across as unsympathetic in this post. I've just been thinking a lot about Gina and her son, Liam, who has severe cerebral palsy.

I happened upon Gina's story on a CP parent site. She touched me.

Gina's first child, a girl, was born in the hospital via c-section. Two years later, when Gina became pregnant with her second child, she desperately wanted to attempt a vaginal birth. Her doctor advised against it, as VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)'s are dangerous and risky. Defying her doctor's advice, Gina decided to hire a midwife and give birth to her second child at home. Her pregnancy was free of complications, and she went into labor on her due date. The labor was uneventful, up until the last phase of pushing. When her son, Liam, was delivered, he was not breathing. Gina and the midwife panicked, and attempted emergency CPR. They were able to keep him alive while they rushed to the hospital, 20 miles away. Little Liam was deprived of oxygen for such a long time that he sustained a grave brain injury, which resulted in severe cerebral palsy. Although it can't be proven with 100% accuracy, it is believed that Liam would have been okay had he been born in a hospital, and intubated immediately.

I cannot even fathom Gina's guilt. The article I read was written by Gina, and she spent several paragraphs detailing her DAILY struggle to overcome the guilt that envelopes her. Several times a day, Gina asks herself, "What if?" Her heart is sewn together with a weak thread. Every day. Every hour. Liam is now 10 years old. The guilt continues to slice at each fragile string.

I feel guilty for a lot of things in life, but not about Ellie's birth or disability. I did everything possible to be healthy when I was pregnant. I ate fruits and veggies. I stopped drinking coffee. I rested. I didn't color my hair. I stayed away from fish and sandwich meats. I only took doctor-approved medicine when absolutely necessary. There was nothing else I could have done to keep her in longer or save her from the stroke.

THAT is a blessing.

When I analyze my pregnancy, Ellie's birth, and post-natal care, I realize that there was nothing more that could have been done. It just happened. I don't know WHY (I will ask God that when we meet). It just did. And when I am so desperate to "fix" Ellie, I remind myself that only broken things need fixing. Ellie's not broken. There's nothing "wrong" with her. Yes, her brain works differently than yours or mine, and that will require her to work MUCH MUCH harder in order to do things. But that doesn't mean that she's less than perfect.

I believe God saved me from that guilt. Perhaps He knew that something so powerful would send me over the insanity edge. Whatever the case, I'm grateful.