October is a special month in our home. It is the month our youngest daughter was born and it has become a month in which we spread awareness about a condition that has impacted her life….and ours.
Olivia was born a few days before Halloween. It was to be a “typical” scheduled cesarean section, but nothing typical came of that day.
Moments before Olivia’s arrival, something occurred. We may never know what that was, but whatever it was lead to our baby girl fighting for her life.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy…a phrase that we would soon become all too familiar with; means a loss of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Five years ago, the life we dreamt for our child changed in an instant. Olivia suffered severe brain damage and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a condition that affects muscle tone and control. We didn’t know anything about CP and really hadn’t any idea how it would impact Olivia’s future. Doctors were quick to fill in those blanks with images of a child who would struggle, have little capacity of comprehension for the world around her, and become a stress on our life.
They were so wrong….
She began smiling and her eyes sparkled with love and joy as if a spark was ignited within her.
Olivia persevered. Her strength and willingness to never give up was inspirational. The word “can’t” didn’t exist in her vocabulary.
When you focus on the day at hand, never looking ahead; miracles begin to occur. I will NEVER forget the day I witnessed my daughter’s legs and feet take their first steps.
Olivia has faced and overcome her fair share of struggles, but throughout it all she maintained her courage. These days are not done. They come and go, but we fight through them together. Always being hopeful of what tomorrow may bring.
Five years ago I gave birth to a red headed, cherub cheeked spitfire who happens to have Cerebral Palsy. CP has NEVER defined who she is. Olivia is our daughter. She is a sister, a friend, a sometimes silly-giggly little girl. She has enriched our lives with love. She has taught me much throughout these five years. The lesson that resonates the loudest is today is all that matters. Yesterday is gone, there is nothing you can do to change it. Tomorrow is a lifetime away, but today….today a miracle can happen. Have faith, love deep and listen with an open heart.
This month, designated as World Cerebral Palsy Awareness; listen with your heart and open your minds. Individuals with CP are actors, writers, teachers, athletes, students, children, and adults and so much more! I’ll be wearing my green on October 7, will you?