Abby was born on a Summer afternoon in August of 2016. She was our 5th babies. I had, had pretty much text book pregnancies and deliveries with our 4 previous children and Abby was on target to be a repeat of her predecessors. When the final push happened though, there were no screams, no rise and fall of the chest and our world stood still as doctors rushed to help her. Alarms sounded but I’m told she improved at every interval. There were 2 very experienced doctors in the room working. I prayed that God would give me my baby back and all I heard in response was, ‘It’s going to be ok.’ Those 5 words kept me together during those 8 minutes until we heard her cry. Abby Charlotte Spooner had arrived and she had only just begun to turn our lives upside down in the best way possible.
We took home ‘normal’. Lots of night feeds, snuggles, smiles and coos. She had some feeding issues in the beginning, a hurdle we overcame by day 5. But around 6 to 9 months of age I started to become concerned that Abby was missing some key developmental milestones. Everything seemed to be happening a little later than normal. She was unable to sit and her head and trunk were floppy when I would pick her up. When I would put her in a sit position she would arch her back out of it. She WAS doing some things; she was rolling but never pushed up on her hands and knees. I started with my Doctor and a referral to the local Child Development Centre (CDC) thinking that with a bit of early intervention we would get her on track quickly.
In early August, just after Abby’s first birthday, we met our the physiotherapist at the CDC who noticed some areas in her body that seemed quite tight. ‘Just to be safe,’ she said, ‘I think we should have your family doctor refer her to pediatrician to see if any of this tightness in her muscles could be coming from her brain.’ I didn’t want to borrow trouble. I tried not to worry while we waited for our appointments. I went home determined to keep working and playing with our daughter to get her moving. I googled some videos on at home physiotherapy activities that I could do with Abby. Abby was just starting to army crawl at this point. I came across a video of a child that moved EXACTLY like Abby. He had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. I don’t know how to explain that moment…I KNEW.
I did a few quick reads from Children’s hospital sites on early warning signs for CP from birth through the early years… it was all describing Abby perfectly. Doctors and neurologists would later confirm daughter had ‘probable cerebral palsy’ caused by any variety of things: a stroke, a brain bleed, a malformation of brain, injury from lack of oxygen from the placenta or at delivery. Those words whispered into my spirit while we waited for our daughter to cry came back to me and took up residence inside of my chest…’It’s going to be ok.’ Our journey as Abby’s parents had begun on August 4th, 2016 but our journey as ‘special needs parents’ was only just beginning almost a year after she was born…
Join us on the Journey
We want to share the journey with you. We want you to come along because… it’s an amazing privilege…It’s an honour. We all have things to learn from people who are different than us. Abby is our teacher of: – Joy – perseverance -bravery -dependance. God put the most beautiful spirit inside the body of a girl who is finding her way of doing things differently.
‘It’s going to be ok.’