Mrs. Downing?” the nurse said, as she called me to take my vitals and prepare me for one of the most exciting moments of my life… the ultrasound.
My mother, right by my side, waited patiently to see what news the ultrasound had to reveal to us. To our surprise, it was a girl! Excited as we were, I noticed that Taylor was already head first in the birth canal, which seemed a bit odd to me, but with assurance from the RN that babies tend to move around in utero, my mind was set at ease.
Off to Mathis Brothers Furniture I went, and within one hour of shopping I started having contractions. A hurried hospital visit on March 20, 2003, resulted in a 24 week delivery of the most determined, big-hearted little angel you have ever seen. During my emergency C-section, the doctor looked at me and told me what a beautiful little girl I had. Unfortunately, I would not see how beautiful Taylor was for another twelve hours.
Within minutes of delivery Taylor was rushed to the NICU weighing 1 pound 3.5 ounces and 11 inches long, with a life expectancy of 15%. She was immediately intubated, and a life-saving plan was established for optimum care. Taylor’s eyes were still fused shut, her skin was transparent and she had suffered brain bleeds on both sides of the brain. The Neonatologist explained to me all of Taylor’s diagnoses. She had Hydrocephalus, a grade 4 brain bleed on her right side, and a grade 3 brain bleed on the left (4 being the very worst). Along with seizures, Taylor had a valve in her heart that did not close and required surgery.
In more than enough words, the doctors told me that Taylor’s life expectancy was slim to none and her chances of being “normal” were not likely, so if I chose to pull the plug, they understood. As stubborn as I am anyway, this was definitely NOT an option. God gave Taylor to me for a reason, and he would be the one to make that decision to quote “pull the plug.”
So Taylor’s long five month fight in the NICU had now begun. In May, Taylor acquired Meningitis and was put in isolation. She was very ill, and the doctors told us to tell the family she wasn’t looking good and we might lose her. Miles away in Bixby, Oklahoma, my grandmother was suffering from Emphysema and wanted to come and see Taylor to hold her before her time was up. The next day my grandmother went with the Lord and Taylor started recovering from her illness. I believe to this day that my grandmother gave her life for Taylor.
After five long months in the NICU, five months filled with hurdles, Taylor finally came home. My family and I had looked into The Little Light House, and we put her on the waiting list. After almost two years our prayers were answered, and Taylor’s first day of school at The Little Light House was upon us. All of the therapists and staff members were so nice and so comforting, making sure all of Taylor’s needs were met, and that I as a mother had no reason to worry.
When Taylor first started at The Little Light House, she couldn’t walk or talk. I knew it was going to be a hard task and nothing short of a miracle for Taylor to ever do so. The staff at the Little Light House understood my wants and desires for my daughter, and they soon became a part of our family.
Taylor has grown so much in so many ways with the help of the Lord and The Little Light House. She is walking on her own; she is talking and recognizing words, letters, objects, and people. Taylor is learning manners and how to be a young lady. And anybody who knows her knows that she is definitely a character with a loving and fun personality. To be honest, I thought this day would never come. All I knew was that I had this blessing from God and it was my responsibility to make sure she had the best resources in her grasp in order to have the best life possible.
Everyone at the Little Light House is a BIG part of Taylor’s life, and always will be. It has been a long road with Botox injections to help Taylor walk, many ER visits from unexpected seizures, heart-wrenching nights watching Taylor in pain after a surgery in the hospital, and holding Taylor when she cried from fear of the hospital room knowing that something painful waits. Through all of this The Little Light House has stood by Taylor and my family. It gives you the hope we all so desire when going through trying times. The bottom line is that without The Little Light House doing God’s will, and my Mother who stands beside me through thick and thin, Taylor wouldn’t be where she is right now!