Exactly one year ago, on December 22nd, Amelia was checked into Long Island Hospital and, as many people know, the next weeks and months of our lives were spent trying to find answers, seeing multiple therapists and wondering if our little girl would ever be normal and healthy.
Amelia was 8 months old at that point and had stopped rolling over or doing much physical activity. She had become a poor breast feeder and was not getting adequate nutrition but absolutely refused the bottle. The joints in her back were stiff so sitting up was almost impossible. Our doctor hadn’t seemed overly concerned and we kept hoping the situation would improve but it had become obvious things simply were not right and our little girl needed help fast. So we packed some bags and settled into our hospital room, not realizing exactly what lay before us and that, instead of spending Christmas in Atlanta as planned, we would be remaining in snowy New York. God knew Amelia’s physical needs were more important than any Christmas plans could be.
After being diagnosed with Failure to Thrive, the one and only diagnosis she was ever given, an ng tube was inserted through Amelia’s nose and down her throat for feedings. Her energy levels increased considerably, her color improved and quickly, she began rolling over. It was incredible how immediate the progress was. It was difficult to see her with a tube obstructing her tiny, sweet little face but seeing the difference in her was a comfort! We were discharged from the hospital on December 29th and soon after, an intense therapy routine began. In those first months of physical therapy in particular, Amelia made fast progress and was soon able to support herself on her stomach as well as sit up without help. Amazingly, her poor weight gain had caused the stiffness in her joints, something I did not know was possible. She began crawling at thirteen months and was walking by sixteen and a half months. None of the therapists predicted she would be crawling let alone walking that quickly after all her gross motor set backs! Their predictions had been that she would not be walking until 2 years of age!
While her gross motor skills continued to improve, her interest in eating seemed to be at a standstill and up until the last two months or so, she was still getting the majority of her nutritional needs met through formula. And yet, I can happily report that Amelia is blooming into an enthusiastic little eater, downing yogurt, rice, couscous, bananas, cookies galore, goldfish, cheese and other foods. For us, this is a gift straight from God! No one could make Amelia acquire an interest in food…we learned that the hard way through months of feeding therapy by a talented, kind therapist that brought about little progress. Now the time is right and I am continually amazed my baby girl is beginning to eat like a normal toddler! This morning alone, she enthusiastically ate cherios, yogurt and banana for breakfast.
This year has been more difficult than any other I have yet lived but through it all, I have discovered more first hand knowledge of God’s faithfulness! He has sustained our family and showered us with his love. He is our great physician and I have seen him bring my daughter from weakness and frailty to health, energy and joy! Amelia is a little girl that radiates joy in her whole demeanor and I see the difficulties she has been through have only made her a more resilient girl. Her brother and sister adore her and I think the months of seeing her in need of physical help and healing made them more compassionate. For a while, their needs really did have to be put in second place to hers but they got through that tough time and I am proud of them!
And how can I thank my husband enough for the man he has been this year? He has been my support every step of the way and given up so much of himself to help Amelia. For example, he used to sit for hours feeding her when we were in the midst of weening her off the feeding tube. One woman actually got tears in her eyes seeing my husband with his little, tiny precious girl in his arms, patiently holding a bottle to her lips that wanted food but were unable to feed efficiently. Whatever amount of time it took, he was there for his Amelia and was a picture to me of Jesus with us. He is our shepherd (as Ellie loves to say) and we are His lambs who He patiently helps and nurtures, enfolding us in His arms when we are in danger. He never lets us go and a good earthly father will be a symbol of that undying love. Rick is that father and I am blessed!
God works. God heals. God delivers. We bare testament to this and we will never forget His faithfulness! “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” -Isaiah 54:10