- She turned four this last January (2014) and had a little mermaid party.
- Grace had started preschool just the summer before. She misses school but has been taking her home school very seriously and is enjoying it.
- Her fav color is purple, though pink is a close runner-up.
- She loves kitties. Since she's started her steroids we think she acts like a cat too. She only wants to be pet when she wants and how she wants, and otherwise is a bit aloof (though recently she's thawing out again).
- She loves to talk. She'll chat it up with strangers and friends alike on topics like ninjas and princesses and her favorite foods. When she was a baby she wasn't very outgoing at all, in fact I had several strangers tell me they thought she was giving them the stink-eye. But really she was just a serious baby, always studying her surroundings.
- She's our rough-and-tumble girl, before ALL. She could ride her scooter balanced on one leg, climb to the highest slide without fear, swim the length of our pool and dive to the deep end, she loved tickling, running and dancing.
- She loves telling jokes and stories and playing intricate story-lines with her toys.
- She loves being read to and books in general.
- She loves hot dogs and mac-n-cheese and in order to get her to eat veggies we have to call them disgusting things like monster boogers and pretend to be horrified when she gobbles them all up.
- She hit the terrible two's long and hard, and only recovered from it a few months ago. She has an iron will that has been amazingly flexible since she was diagnosed.
- She used to be a terrible biter when she was a toddler. Thankfully, she outgrew it.
- She loves her brother fiercely. She won't let anyone bully him except for herself. They're the best of friends and loved playing outside together. Her cousins are also very close to her too.
- She was such a daddy's girl that she didn't say "momma" until she was nearly one.
- She loves her Grandma and Noni and her special time with them.
- She has a memory that amazes her daddy and me. She can recall details from events a year ago.
And this is a story only a handful of people know about her.
When I was in labor with Grace, it was hard and long, fourteen hours to be exact. After nearly an hour and a half of pushing the doctor told us Grace was in distress and she needed to be out immediately. Suddenly the room was filled with people yelling at me to hurry and to push harder. I was given a full episiotomy to try to help speed things up.
When Grace was delivered the doctor held her up for a split second for us to meet her. She was completely gray, her eyes closed, no movement or sound. He quickly handed her over to a team who began to resuscitate her. As for me, I was having a hard time breathing and was bleeding heavily, but even in my condition I could tell something was wrong. Really wrong.
The doctor wouldn't look me in the eye. The room which was very loud minutes before was totally quiet. And I knew that after a birth the baby should be crying, not quiet. My mom wouldn't let me see past her to where they had Grace and then it hit me. I remeber thinking, "I'm going to lose my baby."
A cold panic consumed me. It really is like everyone says, time just went into slow motion. I remeber the small shivers that started in my stomach soon rocked my whole body and then I started to go into emotional shock. It felt like a scream that was stuck in my throat, but quickly it was my whole body going into a frozen panic.
And then I heard Him. Jesus. I actually heard Him.
"I'm here. It's going to be OK."
I've heard Jesus' voice before, but this was with my ears. He was so tangible to me that I nearly turned around to look for Him. And in an instant the fear completely melted. Completely. Everything was still terrible but instead of a cold, hard fear I had an inexplicable warmth and peace, unlike anything I've ever felt before. Chad later told me he didn't hear Jesus, but he started to feel peace at that same moment.
A few minutes later Grace was breathing and crying and the whole room let out a sigh of relief. They let me hold her for just a minute before wisking her off to the nursery for close observation. She had no long term ramifications from the experience, she was completely fine. But I never forgot how Jesus came to be in the delivery room with us when we needed Him the most.
A week or so before Grace was diagnosed, God reminded me of that situation. That in my most frightening moment, He was there with me. And I told Him that if that was to be my only encounter with Him for the rest of my life, it would be enough for me. I am so grateful that He has not kept silent since...though I may never get to actually hear His voice with my earthly ears again until I go to heaven.
Maybe that's why even though I'm devastated by Grace's ALL, I'm not without hope. I know He will never leave us or forsake us. On good days I'm soaring with hope and on bad days my faith is challenged to the core, but one thing I can't forget was His voice and His peace. He was there on Grace's very first birthday, there to welcome her and to comfort us. He loves her and has plans to be with her through every step of this journey we're on.