This is most certainly true:
Timothy's Birth Day
It is spitting rain today. Of course, a week-end day. So I am stuck inside on the first week-end in spring watching snow melt and rain drizzle wishing I could take a walk in sunshine. Maybe spy some brave crocus poking their purple pates above the white caps. Oh, wait. I can't walk much anymore anyway. I injured my knee a year ago (oh, wow, it was exactly a year ago today because this is my grandson's first wedding anniversary and I did some kind of irreparable damage to my good knee when I danced, i.e., shuffled around on the dance floor, with each of my three sons, a son-law and two, no three, of my grandsons at the reception). Instead of frolicking in the sun or dancing in the rain I find myself reminiscing.
Because this week will mark Timothy's birthday I start thinking of him. Beating all odds, he will turn thirty-four years old. Yes, thirty-four! Sure, lots of people turn thirty four every day. Not really a milestone achievement. But this truly is amazing. But then Timothy is amazing. He is sort of a miracle. (Well, not immaculate conception type miracle but all the same a miracle of lesser significance.) Maybe I should start from the beginning. (No, not the original beginning but Timothy's beginning some thirty-four years ago.)
(The rain is a steady, cold backdrop by now.)
My four children come from a broken home. A home I guess I helped break apart because I just couldn't tolerate my high-school sweetheart husband of sixteen blissful years sleeping with his police officer partner. I know, I know, terribly insensitive of me. I had issued an ultimatum to choose between her or his family. He chose her. This left our children without their firm foundation floundering in their teen years. They not only lost their once attentive Dad who had unlimited visitation, lived three whole blocks away but never, ever made it a point to spend time with them; they also lost me, their stay-at-home, room-mother Mom, who had to get a job. A job I had to work on evening shift the first few years. They were on their own or with their grandma after school until bedtime. This left a lot of time for mischief. May I point out I claim all the time that I wound my kids up with the Good Lord and turned them loose and for the most part they turned out terrific. All are amazing God fearing adults serving their families well. But we had a few rough times. Maybe the roughest involved Timothy.
(Storm clouds are brewing.)
My only daughter made a close friend who lived on the way to my work location. She would often ask to spend the evening there while I was at work. This was approved by the girl's mother so I consented.
I mentioned my ex-husband never made the effort to spend time with the kids so I was shocked one time when my daughter said she wanted to spend the night at his place. Imagine my surprise when I found out he didn't bother to get her to school the next day! Get ready for the riot act to be thrown! But when I started she was in tears.
The truth of it was her father took her to an abortion clinic to confirm her suspicion that she was pregnant. Pregnant! What? Where? When? How? Who?
(I can hear thunder rolling far away.)
All those questions indeed were relevant but compounding them was the fact dear old Dad thought he was doing me a favor by taking her to that sort of a clinic where he probably would have forced her into that solution had she not been too far along for that option at that facility. In his benevolence he had taken those first difficult steps perhaps sparing me from ever knowing the truth but since, alas, it turned out impossible to complete it was now totally my problem. He left me with the name of another far away clinic that would perform later term abortions and figured he had done his due diligence. And stepped far, far away from the problem. Thank you so very much for your help, oh, Wise One.
The what? She was pregnant but because baggy clothes were the 'in' fashion no one suspected. The where was, of course, her friend's place. The when? One of those summer nights. The who? The girl friend had a sixteen-year-old brother that evidently got too chummy. The how--you know.
The what do we do now? The boy desperately wanted her to have an abortion. I made him go with us to the far away clinic. If she was to do this he was to be a part of it. I wanted both of them to hear exactly what would happen to this little life they had created.
(The sky has blackened.)
The nurse practitioner informs us the pregnancy has progressed so far even they would not allow it but she can give me the name of another place that would still be happy to terminate... I put my foot down and explained to these children they were going to have a child and we better start preparing for that reality. I never saw such relief on my daughter's face. I knew she never wanted to kill her baby.
(The thunder is booming, the rain is drumming a whole symphony upon the roof.)
We make it through the next few months by getting her a tutor so she doesn't have to attend classes. She finally has regular doctor check-ups. The projected due time is upon us. Her OB takes a vacation but asks us to come in for stress tests every other day while she is gone. No explanation. It has been twelve years since I had a baby maybe procedures have advanced. Besides, she is so young they probably are just playing it safe. But by all guesstimates she is ten months along. And huge.
The doctor orders another ultrasound. She has returned from vacation but it is her day off. The technician asks us to wait around for a while until she calls the doctor in. This is the first clue I have that makes me suspicious something is wrong. When the doctor arrives she confirms there is a problem she does not feel expert enough to handle so wants us to go to a larger hospital an hour away. All she says is the head is enlarged and there is probable brain damage of an unknown degree. That's all.
(The deluge starts. Will it last a few minutes, a few hours, a few days or weeks. Only your weatherman knows for sure but he can't say. His is the only occupation you can get it wrong 50% of the time and keep your job.)
The next morning we arrive at the expert hospital. Might add here we wanted to have the father of baby on site but he was nowhere to be found. Doctors surround my little girl and start a barrage of tests. It is the first time I actually got to see her huge baby bump...and extra bump. She was always so discreet. Finally, they present us with options. None of them good. They ranged from killing the deformed baby in-uterus so it could be delivered naturally to doing a C-section and getting any kind of help as fast as possible to the fetus. We opt for C-section and immediate help. Duh!
Little Timothy, all eleven pounds and some odd ounces of him, was seizuring upon birth. The experts couldn't say if he would live three minutes, three hours, three days, weeks or years. Who knows maybe even thirty years? The problem was where the brain should be there was empty space. 'Hydrocephalus' means water on the brain. 'Hydranencephaly' means no brain. For whatever reason the city was devoid of neurologists that day. That's what the doctors ordered. They were prepared to send me and the baby to the next largest city to be examined by one (Timmy, not me). When a MRI proved him to be brainless they thought what was the point. We stayed. Robust Timmy was admitted into NICU with the teeny-tiny babies.
(There will be puddles to hurdle.)
At some point the father of the Timmy showed up but it was clear if he didn't want a baby ,he certainly didn't want a defective baby. His mother did offer to help in any way possible but unfortunately no way possible was ever found.
My daughter re-enrolled in her freshman high-school class. She went to school while I watched the baby. I slept when she got home from school. I worked the overnight shift. The boys raised themselves. She turned fifteen two months after Timothy was born.
Timmy did a spot-on impersonation of Tweety-Bird. He was equipped with a shunt to drain excess water from the head. Social workers started following his progress but it was soon evident he made so little he wouldn't fit into their programs. They started warning us he would have to be institutionalized to get the kind of help he would be needing his whole short projected life span. It would probably take a long time to find an opening in a residential setting so we better start applying.
(A storm doesn't last forever.)
We found a potential home for disabled children that was only one hour from home. When they had an opening they offered it to Timmy since he was so close. It felt like Christmas to us. Oh, that is because it was Christmas time and Timmy, being the youngest resident at nine months, got the starring role of baby Jesus in their holiday play.
Soon afterwards they recommended he have a feeding tube placed in his stomach. It had often taken a long time to get him to take his bottle. Every child has their quirks and since he was a special needs child I thought it was just normal for him. Talk about sucking, doctors determined he just didn't have the reflexes required. Besides, no one at the home had the time we took to get the job done. Years later he developed other difficulties and another tube was necessary to complete his nourishment. Everyone then lovingly called him 'Timmy-Two-Tubes' as he was wheeled about sporting two poles with apparatus attachments.
Timothy is a complete quadriplegic. Experts tell us he is blind and there is no connection from his ears to anything that would allow him to hear. And yet he responds exuberantly whenever he 'hears' his name. We often played a video for him called 'Timothy, The Littlest Angel' when we realized he liked it so much. One Christmas we went into a church that had a huge pipe organ. He was sound asleep but woke up and smiled when it played. That convinced me he at least knew vibrations so we insisted the staff play loud classical music to him. Just feel the beat. Anytime you hug him or touch him in any way he rewards you with the biggest, tooth-baring smile. All the rows. He has always been a joy to the staff to care for him.
(Must suffer the rain to have a rainbow, God's own promise of better times.)
Timothy has survived numerous hospital stays. At age ten he had a rod placed in his back to keep him upright in his wheelchair. He has had many replacements of his tubing as he has grown. He has respiratory issues and they want to put him on a C-PAP machine. We think that would be extremely difficult for him to accept so sometimes he sleeps in an oxygen tent. He has had COVID. The restrictions the home had to operate under for that period was very extreme taking away touch, the very language Timothy understands. Timothy has persevered through it all. We choose not to ever have him solely existing on life support so a 'do not resuscitate order' stands. That's a hard decision to make.
(Just as the rain brings blessings to the earth, the sun will surely shine again.)
So just how do you count a severely disabled baby a blessing to a barely grown little girl? That daughter of mine became a woman way too fast but she is an amazing one. She immediately took charge and made all the decisions for Timothy's care along the way. Just a few years ago he got to transfer to a local adult home. We get to see him much more frequently. She became a mentor to other young girls going through unplanned pregnancies proving there is hope and other options to abortions.
Even though she tried to work things out with Timothy's father it did not last. Instead she married an extremely supportive man who has been everything a husband and a father should be. She became the mother of four more children. She is raising them home-schooled and awesome. This summer her oldest daughter will make her a grandmother at the age of 48. But, hey, she had made me one at the age of 37 so turn around is fair play, right?
(Finding the good through the rain has been a rewarding adventure.)
Let's live a little, Timothy! I plan on visiting you on your birthday and, if you will let me use your wheelchair as my walker, too, we will explore the grounds around your home searching for daffodils and smelling the sweet blossoms of the cherry tree.
Happy Birthday! May God continue to bless and keep you always. Love, Grandma