I had no idea what was going to take place in the labor room on June 10, 2005. The induction was planned, the nurses were ready and a doctor was on his way, when all of the sudden I felt the need to push. The nurse phoned the doctor over and over: “Hurry, hurry, the baby is almost here!”
My doctor barely sat down and Audrey was born, tiny and not breathing, blue and white, small as a couple of dollar bills, 3 lbs., 4 oz., at 37 weeks term. The NICU staff was there instantly. I didn’t even see them come in. Oddly, the Lord began to speak inside of me. “Lydia,” like I was hearing it with my own ears, “I’ve got Audrey. She will live. Trust me.” It was a soft yet knowing and confident voice Inflatable Ball.
Four days later a doctor’s report came: Trisomy 18. I knew what it was. I had already studied it and prayed over Audrey, prayed she wouldn’t have this terrible disease. The doctor put a book before us and said, “This isn’t easy. Your child has Trisomy 18. 90 percent die before birth, or moments after birth. The other 10 percent die before their first birthday. Bring in your family to say your goodbyes because your child will not live. She is considered to have no hope.”
Bobby and I wailed, shattered, and had to carry each other to the car so we could somehow make it home to tell our families.
Driving to my parents’ house was very quiet. I never thought your heart and body could break in that way. The whole family was present, and when they heard, they were shaken. No one understood. As a family we prayed and asked God for Audrey to live and not die. I was still in the fog of fear.
On the drive home is where faith and the power of God ignited! Our five-year-old son Noah spoke a word that brought life. “Mommy, Daddy,” he said, “Jesus has the power to drive out every yucky devil!” Then he just sat back and talked about who our Jesus was. And because of that out-of-the-mouths-of-babes moment, we began our journey of believing God for the impossible.
Much of the following two years was spent in the hospital, many of those times touch-and-go, but we also began to build some kind of life for little Miss Audrey Belle. She couldn’t eat, sit, move her arms, look at you, or have vocal sounds, but God did give her one thing: she was sometimes able to smile, which was a great blessing. Her in-home therapist mentioned The Little Light House, but I didn’t really consider it. Another therapist, Susannah, pushed hard and told me to get on the waiting list, so I did it to make her happy. I couldn’t trust Audrey with anyone. People didn’t understand what she had been through.
The call came that Audrey was accepted to The Little Light House. I said, “No, I don’t think I’ll send her there after all.” The woman on the phone said to please pray about it and she’d call me in a week. Oh, how I cried after that call. What if she got sick and I wasn’t told? They could set her in a corner, for all I knew.
Then The Little Light House called back. “Would you like to come to a guest luncheon?” I said sure. Then, amazed at what I’d done, I called my husband. He said, “Go!” My mom said, “Go!” A church friend said, “Go!” Then I called my mom back and begged her to please go with me to the luncheon.
I’m so happy we went! My questions were answered, and I toured the school. It was wonderful, with such love for each and every child, such care taken in the way they needed. The mobile kids moved around so fast. They had discovered how wonderful it was to walk, run and explore. Non-mobile kids still experiened the same and were loved without any difference.
”How much?” I asked. ‘Free,” they said. FREE? How? I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. They told me they received no government funding, just private donations from wonderful people who give their resources, time, money and specialties. “The Lord has always wanted it done that way,” they said.
Audrey has been attending The Little Light House for two-and-a-half years. She is able to use some sign language, focus with her eyes, bear weight through her legs, stand for up to two hours in her standing frame, eat tiny amounts of baby food by mouth, sit with support, crawl in a crawler, walk in a kid walk, and play with toys. She enjoys life and is doing new things each and every day. She has a long way to go, but with the Lord as her strength and The Little Light House helping us, I know Audrey will do all things through Christ who strengthens her.
I love The Little Light House. It has blessed our family in ways I never knew possible. Psalms 118:17 says, “I shall not die but live and declare what the Lord has done.” Funny how God changed a diagnosis of Trisomy 18 to a scripture from the Lord. So we declare: Audrey shall not die but live, and declare all the Lord has done for her!