On Easter Sunday, we were blessed to participate in cardboard testimonies at our church. If you’ve never seen (or heard of) cardboard testimonies, you can see an example here. It’s an incredibly moving presentation of people sharing something God has done for them, or something God has helped them overcome.
Our testimonies are powerful.
Here is Chad and my younger son, Logan with their original cardboard pieces.
When Logan was born, I was only allowed a brief moment with him before he was taken away to the NICU because of complications. I’d been scheduled for a c-section that Friday, but the Sunday morning before, I went into labor. He hadn’t been very active since the day before and it turned out it was because he was in distress. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck multiple times and he’d passed meconium in utero and had complications from that. Doctors said if I hadn’t gone into labor on my own, his life probably would have been over before it began.
At 5:00 am the day after he was born, a doctor came into my room: “Your baby is having seizures.” This doctor was trying to help my son and had no time for bedside manner. He immediately went into a litany of tests being performed, possible diagnoses and complications.
I won’t lie, I was scared.
The seizures continued and later that day, Logan was transferred to a nearby hospital with a better NICU and access to a better neurology department. I chronicled our week-long journey in real-time. But in the end, I sat in the NICU holding my newborn Logan while a neurologist told me that my baby had brain damage. They couldn’t say for sure if it happened in utero or at birth, but it was there. He said the damage was similar to what would be caused by a stroke and that if an adult suffered such damage there would be no hope. They would be a vegetable or dead.
He kept saying “we can’t know how bad it will be, only time will tell.” He said worst case is that my son would be in a vegetative state, require constant care for the rest of his life, might never be aware of his surroundings, never be able to speak, never able to recognize me as his mother or tell me he loves me. He might never walk or talk. He might have cerebral palsy. The list of potential problems and complications was seemingly endless and severe.
The hope offered was that sometimes a baby’s still-forming brain can compensate for such a loss. The best case scenario was that he’d have milder learning or physical disabilities.
As I cried into my baby’s sleeping head, clutching him tightly to my chest, I wanted this doctor to tell me it might be okay. I said “So the other parts of his brain might compensate so that you can’t even tell anything’s wrong?”
He was quick to correct me. “No.” This damage is there, and it is permanent. The only thing we don’t know is exactly how badly his life will be affected. It might not be very bad. But, he assured me, my son would have some sort of disability.
When I relayed this to others, I would put on my happy face, and I would dress it up. I would leave out the worst case scenario and focus only on the best. But I was there, alone in the moment when the doctor happened to come, and I will never forget the scary and uncertain prognosis delivered to me that day.
It was a waiting game.
But then he started to laugh.
And he started to roll over, sit up, and crawl.
And he started to walk at 10 months of age.
At 18 months, he recognized all his colors, even though he couldn’t really talk yet.
And at 2 years old, a switch seemed to flip and he went from not talking at all to speaking in full sentences, almost over night.
And slowly we watched our little boy grow, meeting or exceeding every developmental milestone.
And on Sunday we were able to share the rest of the story in the form of a cardboard testimony:
As he grows, I can share more and more.
At 4 years old, he started to read. And at 5 years old , he is reading on a 3rd-4th grade level.
He is full of life and continues to run and jump and play like any other 5 year old.