“Mitchell with his dog
My husband, Eric, and I moved to Willmar from the cities in May of 2002 with our 2 year-old daughter, Megan. Eric lost his job and went through some tough times in finding something new. When he got the job offer in Willmar, we both knew it was what we wanted: a small town life instead of the busy city life. We didn’t know anyone when we moved there, which made things kind of difficult at first. Luckily, I was blessed to meet Lara. Lara invited me to a bible study for their Christmas brunch. I remembered sitting and listening to testimonials about the close relationships the women had with God through the many trials they went through. I was in awe. I had never experienced anything that put me in that type of situation for such closeness with Him. Well, things changed.
That year Eric and I found out we were pregnant. We were so happy! And then that changed too. We went in for my scheduled 18 week ultrasound and throughout the whole thing, I just felt like something wasn’t right. The next day I got a phone call from my doctor asking me to come in to discuss the results. I’ll never forget that day . . . it was Valentine’s Day. I sat there and listened to her as she told me that our baby had Spina Bifida. I just sat in shock. Could this be true? Tears ran down my face. When Eric came home, the exact words I said to him were “I hate God.” I honestly never thought those words would ever come out of my mouth. It had to be the worse day of my life; it felt so unreal. A couple days later, I woke up crying at 2:00 in the morning. It was uncontrollable – there was no stopping. Finally, I asked God to put an angel’s wing around me for comfort – and as soon as I was done asking Him, I felt warmth around me I couldn’t explain. I stopped crying. I felt calm. Ever since that day, I’ve always felt like everything was going to be okay.
We started a prayer line on e-mail with everyone we knew. I couldn’t believe the people who reached out to us. People we’ve known forever and people we had just met. We couldn’t have made it without them. There was a book I read that was especially helpful, Let Go and Let God. That’s exactly what I did – I let go and let God. It was a huge relief for me – both mentally and spiritually.
As time went by it came closer to my due date (July 4). On June 8 I called the local hospital to let them know I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to know if I should come in. They monitored me for a couple hours and sent me home – just telling me to lay low for a couple of days. Eric insisted we go to the Cities so I could stay with my mom and be closer to the U of M – where we planned on delivering. I packed up and we headed to the Cities – now with my contractions 4 minutes apart. We dropped my daughter off at my mom’s and made it to the hospital and by then I was dilated to a 4. They immediately prepped me for my C section. Eric left to call his mom to tell her we were having the baby. He came back with tears in his eyes. I didn’t know what was going on. Eric’s dad past away 16 years ago, and June 8 was his dad’s birthday. At that time, I knew someone had plans for this baby. I went in for the C section –I was so calm through everything. I don’t know if it was God or just the drugs I was on! I’ll admit, I was kind of scared to actually see what our baby was going to look like. But as any mother will say, of course, he was precious.
Mitchell and I stayed at the NICU for 10 days. He had surgery on his back when he was two days old and then had shunt surgery two days later. That night the urologist came to visit me and Eric at 10:00 and told us that Mitchell had a spastic left kidney and no right kidney. I lost it! I thought I was prepared for everything and then this! That night we went back to our room – I took out my bible and tried to find some hope for our baby. We had many people praying for Mitchell. We took the weekend away from the hospital to spend some time with Megan and then came back on Monday. Mitchell was scheduled for another ultra sound to look at his bladder and kidneys again that day. I was there as the tech dotted out the measurements on Mitchell – so I asked him how he could measure something that wasn’t there – since we were told Mitchell didn’t have a right kidney. He told me “That’s it – the right kidney is right here.” I couldn’t believe it! When I talked to the resident doctor later that day he too was shocked and so was the urologist. They had no explanation. I saw the before and after ultrasound results and the only explanation was “a true miracle.” That was just one of many.
It was and is a long road but there have been so many people who have helped us so much. We were so fortunate to meet a family in town that had adopted a little boy with Spina Bifida. They have been such an inspiration to us and have helped us in so many ways. They have given us more information on Spina Bifida than any doctor, nurse or website! Some days I ask God “Why Mitchell”? – And then I say “Thank you, God for Mitchell”. There’s a reason for all of us on this earth, and if Mitchell’s reason is to bring people closer to God through his disability – so be it. It’s God’s will. As I’ve learned – Let Go and Let God. Eric and I have told ourselves that we’re just babysitting one of God’s children while we’re here on this earth. And we’re going to do the best job we can.
Mitchell is now 4 years old and is doing wonderful. He sees specialists on a regular basis just to make sure were doing everything we can. Mitchell is strong enough to use a walker and independently get around. He’s also working on using walking sticks. He goes to school four days a week where he is mainstreamed two days and then in a smaller group with other children with special needs the other two days. Mitchell is the light of our life. He always has a smile and brightens any room he walks into. He’s not shy and really likes to talk whether he knows you or not. The great thing is that Mitchell has many friends and the amazing part is that they see him for who he is and not his disability. It really shows that it’s the inside of a person that counts.
Moving forward 10 years, Mitchell is 14 years old! He now gets around using walking sticks the majority of the time. At home he doesn’t use anything – besides the help of the walls for balance. For long distances he will use a wheelchair but that has not been very often. Mitchell has had many surgeries to replace his shunt, straighten his legs and help him with his bowels. He is doing amazing. He is mainstreamed in school as a freshman at the local high school. He is also in adaptive snowboarding and sled hockey. In the summer he enjoys fishing and riding his bike. He is an amazing young man who loves to tell jokes and make people laugh. We never knew what a joy he really would be in our lives, we couldn’t imagine life without him!”
Mitchell’s Story with photos and story shared here: http://www.prenatalpartnersforlife.org/Stories/SpinaBifida_Mitchell.htm