I came home from our trip feeling a little discouraged; our last physical therapy session before we left, Ginette said that Cora will probably be sitting up by the time we got back. Well, when we got back she wasn't even rolling over, no less sitting up. And then one of last week's appointments was with the neurologist and he said two things that were very disheartening: #1 that if Cora isn't sitting up by the time she's two years old then she'll most likely never walk, and #2 that Cora will never catch up. When I heard these things my heart sank. Never catch up?! Up until that appointment I was feeling very optimistic and even proud of Cora because she had an appointment with her allergist who is a new doctor and as I was going through her long medical history, Dr. Drain said, "Well, look at her go! She just keeps improving at every corner, that's wonderful!" It seems strange but until Dr. Drain said that, I didn't realize how much she had improved.
I have a hope in my heart that by the time Cora goes into Kindergarten, that I might have to hold her back a year or two but that she would be caught up by then. I tried not to let the neurologist's comments get the best of me but I couldn't shake it out of my mind. It was quite disheartening to hear and I began the usual rhetorical questions in my mind. What does this mean for Cora long term? Is this just a physical set back or an intellectual set back as well? What does this mean for me as her mother and care taker? What is our life going to be like in a year when she can't walk? Will she be confined to a wheel chair the rest of her life? Will she ever go to a main stream school? My mind went on and on and on and I had to plead the Lord for peace and comfort that night as so many doubts and fears plagued my mind.
On Sunday our lesson in RS was Let Your Faith Show and we had a great discussion and out of the blue the teacher called on me and asked me how I let my faith show. Of course I was caught off guard and my dumb answer was this: "Well, I'm sure you guys are tired of me talking about Cora all the time but it's my trial right now. (Then I started tearing up and couldn't gain composure for a few minutes). My mom would always tell me that 'I really feel like Cora's going to be ok.' and I would get frustrated with my mom because I felt like she wasn't taking the situation seriously, she wasn't validating my feelings and acknowledging how serious the situation is. It isn't like Cora will wake up in a month or two and all of a sudden have no medical issues going on. And so, it wasn't that I was doubting my mom's faith but it was frustrating to me that it seemed she wasn't taking it seriously. But since then I've come terms with it and she does still say that she feels Cora is going to be ok, but I've learned that she's demonstrating her faith to me. It isn't that I don't have faith because I do. But I can't quite think on the same level because I have to face reality and the facts that are staring me in the face; that Cora does have these problems. And so I don't have an answer for you. I guess letting my faith show is a work in progress. Of course I have faith but letting it show like my mom can is a work in progress and I'm sure that's not the answer you wanted to hear but that's where I am; a work in progress"
I'm still kicking myself for giving that answer, as raw and true as it is. I DO have faith and I DO have a testimony, I've actually grown quite close to my Savior the last several months and haven't relied on Him so much in all my life. At the end of the day, sometimes all I can think of is the Psalm, "Be still and know that I am God." And that's the extent of my faith for that day. Because when a doctor tells you your baby is never going to catch up, it's really hard to exercise faith when all of the physical evidence suggests otherwise.
I'm sure I've written about this before but our first Sunday in Spokane there was a high councilman named Brother Porter speaking about his daughter's lifelong health problems and despite organ transplants, as a young woman she still was lying on her death bed. (I was only pregnant with Cora at the time). He thought to himself about Joseph Smith healing the early saints when he'd ask the question, "Do you have faith to be healed." (Paraphrasing) And Brother Porter asked himself, "Do I have the faith for my daughter to not be healed?" He went on and explained his emotional and spiritual process with that question until finally he was ok with her not being healed and could let her go. She passed away a short time later. Now, taking this into context I ask myself the same question, do I have the faith for Cora not to be healed? (Meaning have Cora pass away). The answer is a resounding no! Absolutely not. And so I think my faith is weak and I doubt myself for feeling this way because I can't answer yes to that question. I can't live without my baby girl and I wouldn't survive or ever overcome that grief. But yet when I feel my faith is weak I still think to myself, be still and know that I am God.
A scripture that I memorized in junior high was D&C 6:36 "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." I really try hard to do that, I do look to the Lord with all of my thoughts and dilemmas especially with Cora's progression. I decided to take what the neurologist said with a grain of salt and wait until her physical therapist saw her this week. Ginette came today and was shocked at how much Cora had grown, she was huge to her! I told her what the neurologist said and asked what she thought. She said her job is to prove doctors wrong and she would do everything she could to do just that. She pointed out all of the progress Cora made in the last month; it's stupid to say this, but I didn't even notice the physical progress! I see her every day and I have a cute distraction named Kimball so it's easy for me not to see the progress. Turns out, Cora is officially sitting up! (How did I not realize this?!) When put on her tummy she doesn't sprawl out, she stays on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth. WHAT?! Her leg muscles aren't as tight, she has better movement altogether with her arms, and the best part??? She uses her arms/hands to cross over in front of her to grab objects! Why is this a big deal? Because one of her brain abnormalities is Hypoplasia of the Corpus Callosum (HCC) which is a thinning of the cc. The cc is what connects both sides of the brain together and lets them communicate to each other. The fact that she's crossing over the center line of her body is an AWESOME indicator that both sides of the brain are in fact communicating with each other. This gives me a slight glimmer of hope that she'll be one of the very few patients with HCC that it doesn't affect. Fingers crossed!!!
Jan and Ginette are both extremely optimistic with Cora and I'm going to follow suit. Instead of getting hung up on the neurologist's comments, I'm choosing to go along with Jan and Ginette, Mom, and the Lord. I'm going to let whatever faith I have show, if it's the last thing I do. Because by golly, the Lord is in control! He knows the beginning from the end and the purpose behind everything. This week I caught myself wanting to know the why's to everything but I can't think that way, I can't let doubts and fears plague my thoughts. The Lord has let his tender mercies bless me with a darling baby girl who's so special and warms my heart and lights up my life. I count my blessings every day and am so grateful I was chosen to be her Mama. Every time Kimball hears Cora crying in her room he gets so excited because he knows that means Cora is awake. My two children are my life and I don't know why I am so blessed that they're mine but I'm so grateful that they are. And that they are mine for eternity! So I say to myself, "Be still; and know that I am God."