Written by Vishakha Deora, of Teekri.com, Guest Blogger
I wear my rainbow-colored Teekri ring for a reason. It’s a symbol of strength and an ode to the baby we lost, and the amazing one we gained.
When we first found out we were pregnant, it completely took us by surprise. We had talked about starting a family but didn’t think it would happen so fast. However, we embraced the news and excitement, as I was still in school, getting my MBA.
While sitting in class one day, I got an incredibly painful, persistent cramp. After going to the restroom and discovering some spotting, I became extremely scared and called my husband and was rushed to the hospital. After a long night, we were presented with devastating news: at 8 weeks pregnant, we lost our baby.
Like many women who miscarry, it took quite a toll on me both mentally and physically, taking me some time to feel normal again. Even then though, the feeling of emptiness never went away.
After miscarrying, we were adamant about getting pregnant again, and once our doctor told us it was safe to try, we did. With that being said, that too became an emotional roller coaster. The first time around we had gotten pregnant right away… this time, it took over a year and considering fertility treatments. Low and behold, however, as we were preparing for a small vacation, I started to feel nauseous…
My husband was eager for me to to take a pregnancy test, and while I was hesitant, I did it… and guess what?! I was pregnant!! I’ll never forget the feeling; so hard to put in words: amazement, relief, worry, concern- but when we made it past 12 weeks, we started sharing the news and it became very real. Nine months went by in a blur, and before we knew it, we were in the hospital having our rainbow baby.
At first, everything seemed amazing! Being a mother was the most amazing feeling in the world!! Yet shortly after my daughter’s birth, I noticed that her eyes fluttered and she never seemed to focus. My husband and everyone else around me said it was normal, but my mother’s instinct thought otherwise.
At two months old, my husband’s friend, an ophthalmologist, visited us from out of town. I asked Charlie to look at my daughter’s eyes and he reaffirmed my suspicion: something was wrong. He called one of his colleagues (a pediatric ophthalmologist) in the area and got us an appointment right away. The doctor immediately suggested an MRI of her brain to see if there was an underlying condition. I’m sure you can imagine the pain and concern that brought me and my wandering mind.
When we received the test results, we learned she had suffered an in-utero stroke and a portion of her brain was damaged. Based upon where it was, we were told we were lucky. There would be no cognitive issues, but she could develop some challenges.
Soon after, we learnt her vision was severely affected and she had right side disability. At the age of 5 months, our baby was put into physical and occupational therapy. We were also told that she would not be able to walk independently and would need a cane or walker at a minimum… and maybe even a wheelchair.
This was something that we had never expected and weighed on us heavily.
Obviously, we decided to do whatever that could help make her stronger. When she was 3 years old, she was strong enough to start using a walker. This was a very difficult process. Up until this time she had never put pressure on her legs or feet. When we started walking with her, it would take an hour to go our neighbor’s house. But we did not give up… and neither did she. Within 3 months, she began walking with her walker comfortably. She would walk for hours on end with no problems. And that’s when we decided she transition to a cane.
But she hated the cane… literally despised it. And so, finally, we gave her two options: either use the cane or walk on your own. She thought about it for a minute and then said, “Fine, I will walk on my own!”
And that she did.
We started with working with her on the carpet. My husband would make her stand from the floor and then I would sit a couple steps away and ask her to walk towards me. She would fall, but only on carpet. Slowly, we moved to the hardwood floor and then outside on the sidewalk.
I still remember how I kept telling her she will be able to walk one day! I didn’t show it to her, but some days I would be so discouraged in my heart and cry all wondering if she would ever walk. I didn’t want my baby to have a difficult life.
Beyond our greatest belief, she slowly started to walk. It started with a few steps, but it eventually turned into step after step after step. And soon enough, she was able to walk independently! This was the best day of our lives as all our prayers were coming true! She was now five years old and able to do something the doctors didn’t think possible.
Today, she walks with a limp and has no usage of her right hand. She has taught herself to do day-to-day activities with one hand such as changing her clothes, washing her hair, etc. Her vision is extremely poor where they have to enlarge print in school for her. But guess what?? She’s now in her freshman year of high school, thriving in pre-AP classes, and flaunts straight As. The struggle will never be over, but she makes it seem so easy.
Our daughter has taught so much. She is the epitome of persistent. Usually, parents have to teach their kids these lessons, but this Rainbow Baby has gifted us the most precious lessons possible. We have learned to never take anything for granted, and to go through life with determination and a smile. This rainbow baby shines bright in our lives, and all the lives she graces.