Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Life Changing

After we decided we wanted to adopt Annie, I started researching Spina Bifida.  I wanted her regardless of her SB, but I needed to know what was coming.  I read that most kiddos with SB will not walk and will be bound to a wheel chair.  I was 105% completely okay with that prognosis from day one.
Over the last 2 years that we have had her, when people hear about her diagnosis they express their hope that she will walk.  While I appreciate their well wishes, I can see that some of them view living in a wheel chair as a terrible thing. I have never seen it that way.  I've always known that if Annie is in a wheelchair, she will be one of those kids that rocks it so well that all of her friends will be begging their parents for a wheelchair. :) As her personality has developed, that initial observation has been proven true so far. :) She has an amazing personality!
Annie first received braces about a year and a half ago.  They didn't change her life much. Well, not really at all.We were pushing through with PT, and knew walking would come eventually.
Annie had AFOs (ankle foot orthotics) that were worn with knee restraints.  We were avoiding HKAFOs (hip knee ankle foot orthotics) like the plague. We had just heard how heavy they were and we didn't want to give her anything more that would complicate her progress in walking.
Last month, her doctors said that she needed HKAFOs on her left leg, but her right leg was strong enough to just have an AFO. We also ordered a set of AFOs for when she is sitting her in wheelchair. We went and got the measurements, and went home. Over the last month I have dreaded getting these braces.  These doctors were changing so much that her old doctors had decided and as a completely ignorant parent, all of the lingo and decisions can get overwhelming fast! 
We got there today and I had to face my anxiety and put on her new braces. 
Other than expecting to gain a new aggravation because of the bulkiness of the braces, I didn't have any expectations for these braces.  I figured it would be like last time where life went about pretty much unchanged after receiving her first braces.
But then...
the second she stood in them her entire life changed.
Y'all, I am not even exaggerating.
I could cry just remembering the magnitude of this moment.
As I said, I have always been 105% okay with her being in a wheelchair. But when you see your child doing things science said they wouldn't be able to do- overcoming obstacles that people abort their children for out of fear- well it is an amazing, miraculous, moment.
The second she put them on, she stood. Stood strong. all.by.herself.
Now, she was wearing braces and holding onto her walker, but she was standing, and standing firm, and nothing was going to knock her down.  I cannot begin to express how huge this is for her.  And me. To look down and see her completely independent from me, standing on her own two feet, well it is just indescribable.
Oh, and it gets better.
We showed her how to push her walker and then take steps.  They showed me how to slightly shift her weight at her waist, then guide her foot forward so then she could take steps.
After a few guided steps, she began shifting her weight and taking steps ALL BY HERSELF!
Take a minute to soak that in.
She took steps today. Our child's first steps weeks before her third birthday.
She literally went from 0-60 today.
The rest of the day she has spent hanging out in her braces and walker, and practicing to walk.  To hear your child say, "I need to walk to Mommy," so then she can give you a hug- well, it is just a miracle. period.
I don't believe she will be walking by tomorrow or anything, so don't get too excited, but this is a huge huge huge step for her. Literally changed her life in an instant. I have just been overwhelmed all day.
The second her feet touched the floor today, her life forever changed. How amazing is that?! Praise Jesus for this miracle!  Even if she decides to not walk in the future, (this is her decision after all), this is still a miraculous moment worthy of our awe and God is the One worthy of our praise for it.
 Here is Annie standing, and when I brought out the camera she let go as to say to y'all, "look bloggy friends, no hands!" :)
 Then she lost her balance and fell which is why she looks less than happy here.  I made her get right back up, made no deal about it, and went back to taking pics, (not to be a bad mom, but to show her what an awesome thing her standing is). And she is so so proud, y'all!
Here is how it looks from the back. :)
December 7th she is being fitted for her wheelchair, and our little mommy's girl is about to discover her independence.  Pray for me, I'm already mourning. lol
Yeah, it's funny, but totally not a joke. :)


  1. oh my goodness, look out world!!! Almost three years of movement about to be unleashed!! Bring it on Banana!

  2. OH WOW...Praise the Lord!!! This is WONDERFUL News!!! Thanks for letting me know. I even showed the pics to Kempton. We're so happy for you all!