Ed’s Cerebral Palsy

It was Valentine’s Day at about 1:30 that I began having pains with Ed. They took me to the little Catholic hospital. Our young doctor and his wife were expecting a baby the same time as we were. And that was correct timing. When I went into labor, my doctor was with his wife at an Oklahoma City hospital. Their baby died at birth. The nurses at the small Catholic hospital (and only hospital) in Stillwater drugged me to delay labor until the doctor could get back. When he did come many hours later he was so exhausted and despondent that he collapsed in the delivery room. Thank you Lord. There happened to be an old doctor doing something in the basement of the hospital. He hurriedly came and finished delivering our baby by brute force causing brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy. He realized the baby should have been taken by caesarian section since the baby was too large for me, but it was too late by then. We were both baptized in the delivery room since there was a good chance one or both of us would not survive. Now I didn’t know how to pray except to cry “Help” and this I did. Didn’t know the God to whom to pray, but thanks to Him he knew me.

Somehow in my inner me I knew our baby did not have a chance to live unless God intervened. My understanding of this as well as the understanding of his injury was small, but somehow I did understand that he needed to be in God’s care. Prayer and interceding entered my life. God met my challenge and taught me to trust Him through my little son. I have to admit there was very little else in my life I turned over to Him, but I had learned what He could do.

I learned more about prayer listening to the Mother Superior as she would take our son out of the incubator and take him into the room next to mine and pray over him and move his little arms and legs. I wish I could have heard it all.

Our son did survive and was a beautiful baby. His progress was very slow, but always forward. We did not realize that he had cerebral palsy until he was two year old. We were overjoyed as we realized what intelligence he had. He learned everything quickly, but his movements were slow and difficult and his speech was not very intelligible. Dorr went back to work. My mother and father were distraught. I went to mother’s until Ed had his six week check up. Dorr came on weekends. He finished training and we moved to Oklahoma City and had our “very own” little house. We could not find a doctor that really knew anything about what to do for a cerebral palsied child.

Also I had been advised by three different doctors not to have any more children. So when I found out a year later that I was pregnant, we were scared. The doctor that confirmed my pregnancy advised me to have an abortion. He said I might not have trouble in delivery, but felt I would need all my time and energy for our injured child. I realized abortion couldn’t be the way. So once more I had to call on God for help.

We made a search for the best obstetrician in Oklahoma City and talked at length with him. He looked me in the eye and told me not to worry, that no matter what would happen he could take care of it. It seemed crazy, but I looked back at him and said, “I believe you.” After a few months I had a fast and perfect delivery. Praise to God. We had another beautiful little son, Dana Michael on September 23, 1943, who was as healthy as could be and has been a joy, help and strength to us.

We had learned there were only three specialists in the U.S. who had training in cerebral palsy. But they were on the east or west coasts. When Eddie Max was about two we heard that one of the specialists would be in Wichita, so I hurriedly secured an appointment and was so hopeful.

After examining our son the specialist said, “If you want other children, which undoubtedly you do since you have this baby, I would advise you to put your injured son in an institution since he will never be anywhere near normal.” I was crushed and very angry too. I believe I must have walked out of that office muttering “God, let’s show him.” But there wasn’t much we could do. Remember this was fifty-four years ago, so again I had to cry to God for help.

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