I am so excited to be a guest blogger on this segment of Danielle’s blog. I’ve followed her and her adorable daughter for awhile now and just adore them! They truly bring a light to the Instagram world!
I am Christina. When someone says to me, “tell me about yourself” – I often just look at them with a puzzled expression. Lol – I am a mom, so often the adult words are floating around in my head somewhere.
I am a Christian, Wife, Mother, Hairstylist, Blogger, and Advocate. I believe those 6 words encompass my existence these days. I’m also a story teller and my Bestie here asked me to share about my motherhood journey, so I’m going to share about that with you today.
Shortly after our first wedding anniversary we did what every couple tends to do and decided to try for baby. After a long 14 months of having no success, and tragically losing my father right smack dab in the middle of that timeframe, we were mentally exhausted and turned to an Infertility Specialist.
We learned that I have what’s called Diminished Ovarian Reserve. They explained that natural conception would be unlikely and our risk of multiple miscarriages was high.
We were crushed.
Through all of our prayers, our hearts led us to Adoption. We met with an attorney a month later and thus began the lengthy process. I never imagined exactly what motherhood would look like, but I knew I was meant to be one.
After a short wait we received the call that we were chosen by an expecting couple. We were beyond elated to be chosen. We met with the couple and they told us we would become parents to a little girl in just a few short months. If you accumulated all of my life’s excitement into one moment- this topped that.A few weeks later, our birthmother showed signs of preterm labor. And our daughter was delivered by emergency c-section at 31 weeks gestation.
She spent her first few hours of life fighting, alone in a NICU room hooked up to a ventilator. 3 pounds of pure heaven.
I’ll never forget the first time I laid my eyes on her, I was so scared and so in love, I just wanted to climb in her little incubator and tell her, “I’ll always protect you and I promise to give you the world.”
And just like that all the pain of infertility was quickly forgotten.
We chose the name Finley before she was even a twinkle in her birthmother’s eye, after she was born we discovered that it meant “fair warrior.” Couldn’t be more fitting.
We learned that she had suffered Bilateral Grade-3 Brain Bleeds due to her prematurity. When we googled “Brain Bleeding” we saw that likely she would have Cerebral Palsy (CP).
We were told she would be very delayed and might not ever walk or talk. We chose to do everything in our power to make sure this wasn’t the case.
Early intervention was Key. We started therapy and Infant Stimulation when she was just 3 months old. We have done hundreds of weekly Occupational and Physical therapies, stretching programs, eye-surgery and patching, Botox injections, some medications, restricted diets, essential oils, supplements, infant massage, day bracing, night bracing, horse therapy, water therapy, kinesio-taping, ballet, yoga, and Intensive Therapy Clinics- All while trying to let her just enjoy being a kid. She started school last year, and absolutely loves it!
Finley’s official diagnosis is Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy with overall Left-Side Weakness. Spastic diplegia, historically known as Little’s Disease, is a form of CP that is a chronic neuromuscular condition of hypertonia and spasticity — manifested as an especially high and constant “tightness” or “stiffness” — in the muscles of the lower extremities of the human body, usually those of the legs, hips and pelvis. Spastic diplegia accounts for about 22% of all diagnoses of cerebral palsy, and together with spastic quadriplegia and spastic triplegia make up the broad classification spastic cerebral palsy, which accounts for 70% of all cerebral palsy diagnoses.
When Finley was fitted for a wheel chair two years ago, it hit me. I saw the next phase of her life and knew there had to be more.
I had read about SDR in online CP SUPPORT groups and figured it was worth a shot to see if she was a candidiate. She was.
Our Friends + Family quickly rallied to help us fundraise via YOUCARING, since our insurance did not cover the cost. We flew to St. Louis in October 2016 and Finley underwent the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy with the best pediatric nuerosurgeon in the world, Dr. TS Park, for this operation. He told us it was successful and all of her spasticity was removed. It was CRAZY that her legs went from stiff hard logs to being jello-like. Life changing, indeed. We have been in intensive weekly therapies ever since.
We started our little Instagram in 2015 as a means to connect with other people who’s lives are effected by CP. I really wanted to meet other moms like me, and while it’s a common motor disability, meeting moms was a struggle!!! And the schedule of a special needs parent is not conducive to long talks in person! It had to be late night chats via Instagram with wine and tissues nearby.
Being Finley’s mom has taught me so much, it really is all about enjoying the journey and connecting with others- I am so grateful for the community that supports us and our special little lady.
She is the most spirited little determined soul. I am blown away by her sweetness. My husband and I know there will continue to be tough roads ahead for our precious girl. As we continue to do our best to provide her with the best life possible, she’s doing the exact thing for us in return.
I knew from the moment I saw her in that little incubator when she was born, that she was going to rock our world in the best way possible.
Last week she stood up from a chair and took 4 powerful and strong steps to me without the aide of any device- it was the best day ever! There are no words to describe that moment. The moment I dreamt of since I found out we were having a daughter.
My husband and I knew we would do everything in our power to make sure her life was as amazing as possible, little did we know that all along she was doing that for us in return.