Eli and I really struggled deciding whether we should share some news regarding Karis on social media. With the way our culture is, we believe this information would eventually become necessary, so we have decided to share now. We want nothing, but God’s will. By sharing our journey and the process the Lord is taking us through, we want Him to receive the Glory. His will be done, no matter what.
It has taken a bit of time to find peace. I will admit there are still many days I wake up and don’t feel peace. I don’t feel hopeful. But, then I remember God is not good some of the time… He is good ALL of the time.
If God heals our daughter, we will give Him glory. If He chooses to use our daughter’s mild disability in her life for His will, we will give Him praise. Either way moving forward, we feel blessed knowing God is on our side. He is directing our path and making a way for our sweet daughter to develop into the woman He has created her to be.
Now, let me share with you what we’re going through. For those of you needing to be caught up to speed (I think most of you know already), Karis was born 4 weeks early. She was born with the cord around her neck, leaving her temporarily with low oxygen. The medical staff had to immediately take her to the nursery when she was born. For three days prior to her birth, she was not moving in my womb. She was having heart decelerations that were concerning, but not bad enough to cause doctors to rush us into a cesarean. When our doctors finally decided it was safer for her on the outside, they delivered her. On her second day of life, her blood sugar started to drop (she was unable to nurse due to a lip and tongue tie which we didn’t know at the time). She ended up with a mild case of jaundice and was under the bilirubin lights for a day or so. After, everything seemed fine and we were able to bring her home.
Since Karis’ birth, I will admit life has been quite hectic and challenging… but, oh so wonderful with our sweet girl. From discovering the lip and tongue tie after numerous weeks of nursing issues, reflux (at four months), and now this issue, we’ve had a rough go of it. So, here it is. Karis has always struggled with using her right hand. I thought she simply preferred her left hand. I thought it was normal to have a preference. I did not realize until recently this was abnormal. First of all, there is such a wide range of normal… it’s really hard as a first time mom to know much of anything. When I started researching this issue, I came upon the umbrella term Cerebral Palsy. Now, most people, including myself, immediately think of a wheelchair bound child who cannot use their limbs and cannot speak. But, it turns out Cerebral Palsy is a HUGE umbrella term. So, once I realized this was a huge umbrella term, I dug in further.
As I researched common symptoms, I found there are multiple types of Cerebral Palsy. Among them is Hemiparesis. Hemiparesis is weakness on one side of the body. You can still move the affected side of your body, but with reduced muscular strength. Health care professionals such as physical therapists and occupational therapists play a large role in assisting in recovery from hemiparesis. Treatment is focused on improving feeling and motor skills, which will allow Karis to better manage daily living as she grows.
We don’t have a medical diagnosis yet, but Karis’ right side is weaker than the left. She doesn’t play with toys on that side, she has a weaker right leg than her left, but thankfully it is not as weak as her right arm. Missouri is wonderful and offers a program called First Steps. An occupational therapist came and evaluated Karis and qualified her for therapy. We are so thankful her condition is not worse. Karis does not show any signs of any other issues. We are strictly seeing a physical delay and that is all! We are praising God she qualified for services because we are now not alone in the process of getting her well. We trust God will use therapy to increase mobility and strengthen her body. If He chooses to heal her along the way, we would love that.
Moving forward, we plan to get her an MRI to see if there is any identifiable cause. Having a medical diagnosis for Karis will allow us to receive the best treatment possible for her. God is faithful and we know His plans are for good and not for harm. Therapy is very effective, especially when it is started at an early age. Our therapist said it’s likely when someone walks by Karis down the street some day, they won’t even be able to notice her condition. This is so encouraging for us as her parents.
There are only about 3 out of every 1000 babies born in the U.S. with some form of Cerebral Palsy. I am not sure why Karis has this, but I do know God is good. What is meant for harm, God can use for good (Gen. 50:20). God is our Healer and our Redeemer. He destined Karis to be born. He has a plan and a purpose for her life. This is a part of her story and it is now a part of ours. God is using this to grow our faith. He is drawing us near to Himself and has reminded us that He loves our daughter more than we ever could. There is hope because of who Jesus is. We trust He will heal her, whether through therapy or through supernatural healing – that is up to Him!
We want to thank you for reading this. Thank you for allowing us to share where God has us in our journey. If you’d like to pray for us, we would ask you pray for joy in the midst of this trial, and additionally, strength, grace, patience, peace, and financial provision. This is a growing experience for all of us and some days, I don’t feel equipped to handle it. We covet your prayers and your encouragement.
The Machas (written by Kaleigh)
Again, thank you for taking the time to read our family update. As you can imagine, finding out about Karis’ disability was devastating. As a father, I imagine the best life for my daughter. To know she’ll always have it harder than her peers is heart wrenching. Being a doer, I want to just fix it. But I can’t. Now, more than ever, we’re learning our way through the different phases of grief. I’m naturally a rational thinker, but I went through a short time of denial. I’ve experienced anger and depression. Figuring out what steps to take while coping emotionally has been extremely stressful. I’m sure we’ll occasionally have to experience the difficult emotions again, but for now we’re holding onto hope in Jesus. He is the Great Healer, but more importantly He is the Great Redeemer.
Here’s what I know: God can heal her. I know He wants her well. I also know we live in a fallen world. I know if He doesn’t heal her in this life, she will be made perfect in eternity.
As a side note, we kindly ask you not to give advice or ask us many questions. Life is hard right now and the best way for you to support us is through prayer and comforting words. Thank you all so much for being a part of our lives.