Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Our Story (Quick Version)...
Remember when you were 20 and would think about your future? What would you do with your life? Who would you marry? How many kids would you have? Where would you live? Although most of us don’t fully match our hopes to reality, I can honestly say that my personal outlook at that age was not too far off from what I have now. Of course, I had no idea of what we would face with the birth of my second child, Elise, in 2004. Fortunately, all these years later, our present is just as good as any future I could have dreamed up. As crazy as that sounds, the story of our family, and our daughter’s incredible journey through a life with severe brain injury, is amazing proof to me that wherever you land in life, whatever cards you are dealt, the Lord is in control. He is our key to happiness, and our daily joy lies with Him.
My name is Ashley Haden, and I am married to my college sweetheart, Chris. We have 3 children: Lane (Lane-Brain), 10; Elise (Sissy), 9; and Ty (Ty-Bo), 4.
This is our story (in a nutshell)…
When I was 4-months-pregnant with my middle child, Elise, my doctor discovered by ultrasound that Elise was infected with Congenital Cytomegalovirus (cCMV). Almost everyone gets this virus by the time they are an adult, but it is usually only a serious matter if a mom gets it in her first trimester. Although I suffered no symptoms of CMV, Elise was profoundly affected. This insidious virus attacked her brain. Beginning at her birth, and continuing through the first few months, we gained the broader picture of how our sweet baby girl was affected.
Elise has a severe brain injury. She is deaf and blind. She also has Cerebral Palsy, which resulted in her not being able to sit up, crawl, or walk. Elise also suffers from epilepsy and extreme cognitive delay. She is my “forever baby” in the body of a 9-year-old. Elise is “full care”, which means that she will be fed, medicated, bathed, dressed, provided therapy, and most importantly, LOVED on by us, her family, for the rest of her life. Although devastating, this fact has solidified the meaning of unconditional love for me as her mom!
Bottom line: Elise was given to us by God and it is our responsibility and duty as her parents to provide her with the best life she can possibly have here on earth. He has also used our baby girl to touch so many people in our community, church, and family.
If we ever prayed for patience and strength, this is NOT what we had in mind. But that’s just it! Life doesn’t always turn out like what we have in mind. By no means has Elise’s life torn my family apart. It has saturated our lives with the need for God and all of His mercy. This is wonderful! We have been given an incredible task. A blessing disguised as a obstacle in our race of life.
With God leading us, we are ready for the challenge!
Posted by Ashley at 2:54 PM