Our Beautiful Daughter
Our Story with Dominique started on a very busy Sunday evening when I had just finished cleaning up the dinner dishes and I was about to get our boys ready for bed. I was running around all day "nesting" and taking care of the preparations leading up to her due date, which was still two weeks away. In all of the hustle and bustle I finally realized that the usual contractions were starting to get stronger and closer to each other. They were announcing the birth of our precious angel Dominique.
WHEN OUR PLANS DON'T LINE UP WITH GOD'S PLANS.
Two hours later my husband Pete and I were on our way to the hospital. When we arrived at Tampa General Hospital the contractions were only 2 1/2 minutes apart and by that time I switched gears from "to do lists to let's do this". I wasn't ready but Dominique was ready to enter this world and turn ours up side down.
When expecting a child we enter a time filled with hopes and dreams. Pregnancy in itself is a season of miracles. From the moment we find out that we are pregnant to the first ultrasound leading up to the big finale when we can hold and touch them for the very first time, we fall deeper and deeper in love. We search for the perfect name and already make plans for their future. It is a very emotional and intense time that prepares us for the huge changes lying before us.
But what happens when the big day arrives and all of our dreams and plans seem to be overwritten and erased?
Dominique was born with duodenal atresia, big holes in her heart and pneumonia. The specialists gathering around her were trying to determine on how to help her. She was rushed to the Intense Care Unit and we stepped into the 'faith waiting room' feeling helpless and desperate. We gained a deeper understanding of the meaning of totally surrendering our children to God. At this point we realized that this tiny, little girl was a survivor and a warrior.
THE POWER OF PRAYERS.
My hospital room became a very busy place for the following 12 hours. Doctors and specialists updated us frequently while our church, friends and family were praying for her. At the end of the day the cardiologist and gastroenterologist informed us that they could perform the bypass surgery for her duodenal the next day. Over 24 hours we experienced the power of prayer and were blessed to witness a miracle. Her pneumonia had disappeared and the holes in her heart had changed size from big to small.
A DIAGNOSIS DOESN'T DETERMINE WHO YOU ARE.
During the first few years of her life Dominique had several surgeries and we started early childhood interventions. By the age of five new genetic tests finally revealed that she has a chromosomal deletion called 1P36. Our special needs journey officially entered a category of kids who are on the autistic spectrum but about which no real documentation exists. This diagnosis did not determine her value nor her calling. It forced us to accept God's plan and to step out into a completely foreign territory.
Dominique will turn 16 in September this year. She has become a beautiful, sweet young lady with a very tender heart and sensitive spirit. In many ways she is like other young girls who like to dress up and play tea party. The words 'overcomer' and 'warrior' describe her very well. She overcame a heart failure right after her 9th birthday as well as two seizures when she was 13 and 14 years old. Progressing and developing any skill for her requires hard work and a huge amount of perseverance and dedication.
God has blessed us with a very social young lady who would be a social butterfly if her speech impairment didn't hold her back. Her compassion for others and love for exploring and learning make her unique.
One of her greatest gifts is definitely her beautiful smile that brightens up every room when she enters. Her smile is paired with a deep desire to engage with everyone everywhere we go. We call it her 'smiling and greeting' ministry. If you meet her, she immediately waves to you and says "Hi". She speaks volumes despite her severe speech problems by paying attention to the people around her.
We couldn't imagine life without her! We have learned to appreciate the little things in life that we missed before. Instead of chasing milestones we chase special moments and memories with her. I admire her strength and endurance and cherish her deep love for us, others and her best friend, Jesus. Our life has received a special touch through our special 'needs' child.
Have you ever prayed in your life or experienced the power of prayers?
Do you allow labels or words to determine who you really are?
Do you pause to soak in the special blessings and moments in life?