I guess my story starts the day my husband and I got married. It was 2004 and we were very young and very in love. We aren’t as young anymore, but we are still very in love. We had decided during our engagement that we were not going to wait to have children. We both wanted a family very badly. We had agreed that six was a good number for us! We lost our first baby to a miscarriage about 8 weeks after our marriage. It was challenging to say the least. It’s so hard when you fall in love with the idea of a little person that is half you and half your husband.
About three months after our miscarriage I got pregnant with our first child and son. He was a perfect little boy. So perfect, that my husband and I decided to add to the family again when he was 9 months old. I got pregnant quickly and the pregnancy seemed like a breeze. At my first ultrasound at 15 weeks the doctor confirmed we would be having a girl!! I was over the moon excited. She also said that she couldn’t confirm, but that she thought the baby might have some sort of eye problem. I didn’t know what to think, but I was upset. My husband and I prayed that night, and had a feeling of peace wash over us. I have experienced that feeling several times since then. In a way it is comforting that the Lord is watching over me, in another way, it made me fearful. Fearful of what would come after the peace. I knew there was a trial ahead of us, a life-changing one, which my 21-year-old brain didn’t want to comprehend.
We moved during my pregnancy with Makayla, the name we had chosen for our first daughter. I was unable to get into a new doctor until I was about 8 months pregnant. The doctor did another ultrasound right away. The ultrasound took over an hour, the techinician only said,”the doctor will speak with you in a moment.” We waited for hours, because the doctor had been in deliveries all day. We waited until 7 pm to find out that our daughter would be born with one eye. I was devastated and in shock. I cried most of the night, wondering how people would treat her and what her life would be like. Preparing for her birth was daunting. No one knew what to expect, not even the doctors.
I went into labor with Makayla on the morning before my induction. It was obvious that she was ready to greet the world. The labor went well. The moment she was born the specialty doctor and about 6 NICU nurses took her to the bassinet to examine her. My husband went over to watch over her and find out any information he could. He came back holding Makayla, with tears in his eyes. I held her for a moment, and whispered, “Open your eye Makayla, open your eye for mommy.” My husband leaned over and whispered to me, “Audra the doctor couldn’t see her eye…she doesn’t have one, she’s blind.”
They then grabbed her and rushed her away to the NICU for more tests, my husband and parents followed. At that moment in the hospital, I was alone. I was angry with God. Wasn’t I always obedient, didn’t I choose a good life? Why was he doing this to me and to my child?” The next few days in the hospital were hard, probably the hardest days of my life. Realizing that this was my future, a parent of a blind child. How was I going to help her? I didn’t know what I was doing. I told my husband that we weren’t going to have any more children, and that I couldn’t go through this ever again. We were done. My husband comforted me and told me to give it time, that we would find peace with her and with this trial. I felt with certainty that I would never change my mind…. never.
The next year of Makayla’s life was hard for me. I was depressed, I felt so inadequate to be her mother. I constantly asked myself why God chose me for this. Would I ever feel like my life would be normal again? God answered my questions with Makayla. She was always happy. She taught me gratitude, love, hope, faith, courage. My life was never that hard when I realized how happy she was even though she faced insurmountable trials. Makayla has always had a way about her that has made people fall in love with her. Her Spirit can’t help but spill out of her. She is so loving and generous. I learned what it means to truly love from that girl.
Needless to say my husband and I decided after she was 15 months old that we could handle this, and began to try for another baby. We had our second son 9 months later, our 2nd and 3rd daughters after that. None of them had vision issues and we believed that what happened with Makayla was just a birth defect that was a fluke, a one in a million type thing because that is what the doctor told us. We also thought our four other normal vision children were proof of that, Makayla was just special. We had found a good rhythm with Makayla and the other children and were excited for the learning experiences we had with Makayla.
About 13 months after our fifth child and last daughter was born, my husband and I prayed and knew it was time to add the last little baby to the family. I got pregnant quickly and we were both hoping for a boy. At the back of my mind, during the beginning of the pregnancy, I had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. I don’t know if it was mother’s intuition or the fact that I thought things were going so well that there was sure to be a bump in the road.
At my twenty-week ultrasound all my fears were pushed away. We were having a very healthy baby boy. We were so excited to have three girls and three boys, it just seemed so perfect. The doctor scheduled one more ultrasound in three weeks just to check growth, very routine. I was elated. I had been terrified of ultrasounds ever since Makayla’s and always had my husband go with me just to be there in case we got bad news. I was so thrilled to know that my baby was ok and healthy. So thrilled that at my 23-week ultrasound I brought my other small children with me while my husband was at work. I don’t know how else to explain what happened next besides retelling it:
“Audra, I am sorry.” That’s all the doctor could say to me, with tears in his eyes. “ I am so, so sorry, it has happened again…Hyrum will have no eyes.” I was in complete shock. My heart sank, any hope I had left after the ultrasound was gone, vanishing with my hopes for our sixth child and last son. I couldn’t hear much else after the doctor told me the news. I was too lost in a whirlwind of questions in my own mind. “Why…why again, Why now, Why Hyrum, hadn’t I overcome this with Makayla, why am I not handling this news better, why my baby?” I couldn’t handle this again, not my baby, NOT MY BABY. It was a fluke with Makayla it wasn’t ever going to happen again…. ever!” I sobbed freely, and my children sobbed too, not knowing why, just knowing that mommy was sad.
Our Hyrum was blind as well. But the Lord did something to me that day. He challenged my faith. I went home broken, I cried in my room all night. Why had God abandoned me? I was angry, I would never forgive Him for this, not this time. My husband did his best to take care of the children that night, but we were both just broken. The next couple of days were rough. I had come to realize that I still wanted to believe that God was still real, so I went to church. We left church that Sunday, still sad, but knowing that we would get through this. Every time during the next three months that I would become sad, someone would call, or drop something by for him. The Lord showed me through other people that I was not alone, that I was loved and that He was there for me through these friends. We felt countless prayers for our family being sent to us, strengthening us as a family and as a couple. The Lord was watching and helping us constantly.
Hyrum was born 3 months later, with no eyes. He changed our family. The overwhelming sadness was never there. It was joy and peace. Joy and peace from God. He was meant to be with us and to complete our family. All of his brothers and sisters came to see him in the hospital. They all sat around my bed while I was holding their new blind baby brother. Each one of them fell in love with him instantly. Cooing at him and saying how much they loved him and how awesome he was, it brought me to tears.
When I had Makayla I felt alone, with Hyrum I wasn’t alone. I can’t say anything else besides the fact that God worked not just one but two miracles in me. I remember the first time I prayed to feel God’s love as a small child. I wondered if I would ever tangibly know that He cared for me. I know now, I know He does. He has taken my greatest trials and made them a blessing to me.
Makayla is almost 8 now, and Hyrum is 9 months, life isn’t normal, but it’s our “normal”. There will always be struggles, this I know. It’s still hard to know that they won’t be able to do things sighted people can. But, they live and love and belong to us, that’s what’s really important. I know how inspiring they are to other people. I just hope that they know how inspired I am by them, and the fact that they call me mommy is the best part about all of it!
Story written by: Audra Divis
This article appeared first on Real Imprints.