Sunday, July 02, 2006

Why Not

Hat tip to Marcella for sharing this story.

Why Not! Believe in the Power
Of a Mother's Love

-submitted by Leigh Blatter
Sometimes life deals you a bad hand. The choices you make determine your character.

Leigh's story:

Early on a cold February morning, Valentines Day, I went in to labor. I was in labor twelve long hours when the doctor decided to break my water. Out came the placenta, but not the baby.

I was rushed to surgery and they delivered what they knew would be dead child. But he was NOT! I named my new son Theodore, Ted for short. My excitement was short lived as my own and my baby's medical problems became evident.

My liver was damaged and I was bleeding internally. My father came to the hospital to give me blood, and I was sent to ICU. There I learned the full extent of my baby's medical problems.

My baby was born with multiple birth defects, the most visible was a bilateral cleft lip and palate, with an opening to his brain. Specialists were called in and the hole was closed to his brain. But I was told he would never be normal, and I should put him in an institution because I would never be able to care for him. "Why Not!" I said, "Right, wrong or indifferent he is mine and I am not putting him away nor forgetting I ever had him."

I took my child home and cared for him. I had to feed him with an eye-dropper, then rub his throat to get it down, just like you would do with a baby bird. After 3 weeks, he was still losing weight. I was given a large syringe and surgical plastic tubing to feed him with. By the time Ted was six weeks old, his weight was up to nine pounds, eight ounces, so they were able to perform surgery to close one side of his lip. When Ted was twelve weeks old, he had another surgery to close the other side. This allowed him to keep food into his mouth.

I kept Ted close to me, even taking him to work. He lay in his baby carriage while I waited tables. People would stare at him, but he thought it was attention.

At six months old we took Ted to a special school for speech therapy three times a week. I worked with him many hours a day. My parents and I learned to say our words clearly and exaggerate motions with our lips as we spoke. This taught him the way the words should be said.

Ted learned quickly and began to overcome his disability. He excelled in his studies and soon he was talking as well or better than his peers. The baby they told me to put into an institution turned out to be a gifted child, and loved by all.

When Ted was three years old, the doctor told me he had rheumatoid arthritis and a heart murmur.

I never treated Ted as if he had any problems, so he never thought he did. When he wanted to accomplish something, I helped him foster a 'Why Not' attitude.

When Ted was nine. He was picked to be in a play because of his outstanding voice and excellent speech. This was a professional play brought to our town out of Chicago. They did not know of his birth defects, until he had won the part. He was the subject of many newspapers around the United States. He felt a little odd then because there was so much fuss being made over him. After all he was a normal boy.

He played baseball in high school and college and continues to play softball now.

Ted scored so high on his SAT's that he was in 'Who's Who' in his high school's nation wide book. He attended college, and is now a Correction Officer for the state of Michigan.

I call him my 42 million dollar man because that is what it cost over the 23 years of his life to have him repaired. And to me he has been worth every cent and every hour of caring.

From the moment I was told about his birth defects I believed that he was going to be all right, because of my faith in a higher power. He was born on Valentine's Day and is always in my heart. He is my pride and joy. His accomplishments have proved to remind me: 'Why Not' keep my faith. He also helps me to remember that when someone tells you that you can't do something you believe to be important, put your foot down and say, "Why Not!"

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