Prom is a big milestone in any girl’s life. For some, it leaps past milestone and lands at miracle.
This past weekend my daughter went to her first prom. We spent weeks in preparation for last Saturday night’s event. Her date attends a gifted/talented boarding prep school 2½ hours away, so we arranged to spend the night there in town. She found the perfect dress and shoes, settled on her hairstyle, and made all the other decisions that go with such an occasion.
While it was exciting to be a part of it all with her, it was also bittersweet. I realized just how grown up my little baby girl is, and how hard it is to begin to let her go.
At the hotel beforehand, I watched as she was getting ready. She did her own hair and it was beautiful. She slipped into her dress and we did her makeup together. When she stepped into her 5 inch heels it took my breath away. I marveled at how exquisitely beautiful she has grown to be, how poised and mature.
I can scarcely believe this beautiful creature was once a tiny, barely-alive 18-ounce baby the doctors had actually wanted to terminate two days before her birth at 23 weeks gestation.
Marygrace Elizabeth came into the world unexpectedly on October 28th, 1995. She was not due to be born until February 8th, 1996. I had gone to my doctor’s appointment and my blood pressure was high. I felt fine, but the doctor had me admitted to the hospital to get it under control and monitor its readings. I assumed I would be there overnight and go on with my pregnancy, no big deal. Someone else had other plans.
A sonogram revealed that I was missing over 60% of the amniotic fluid. My blood pressure continued to rise, and when they measured the baby they discovered that she was alarmingly small for gestation. After two days in the high riskOBunit my blood pressure had only continued to climb. The baby and I were both in grave danger.
It was suggested that I terminate the pregnancy since the baby was so small and early. The doctors said it would be easier to just “try again” because the baby had no real hope of surviving, and if she did survive she would have no quality of life. I refused.
I have only vague memories of two days later when they told me my blood pressure was 125/118 and the baby’s heart rate was growing weak. I began having seizures and they said if she wasn’t delivered they would lose us both. An emergency c-section was done and I became the mom of a tiny, beautiful, 18-ounce, 11-inches-long little girl.
They gave her less than a 5% chance of surviving the night. She did. They then gave her less than a 5% chance of making it through the week. She did. They told me if she made it she would be deaf and blind, never walk or talk, and would basically be a vegetable. She spent the next three months and four days in the NICU unit with a plethora of medical issues. Last rites were read more than once. But she pulled through it all and came home at a whopping 4 pounds, 6 ounces and 16 inches long.
They told me to be prepared for a list of issues and delays, and that she would probably struggle through school and have a host of problems. Once again, they were wrong.
Marygrace, now 16½ years old and a sophomore in high school in High Honors classes, was recently declared one of the top 10% of scholars across the nation. She has an IQ of 146 and is a varsity soccer player. She is beautiful inside and out. She’s still tiny at 4’ll” and 98 pounds, but there is immeasurable energy, talent, wisdom and light packed into that little body.
My Marygrace is living, breathing, odds-defying proof that God exists, and that He performs miracles. I thank the Lord daily that He chose me to be her Mom, and I am beyond proud and blessed to say she is my child.
Shea Clarke was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and after a 10-year detour in Boston now lives in Aiken, South Carolina. Having left behind a life that had played out like a bad Lifetime movie filled with addiction, abuse, and depression, Shea has now been happily married for the past six years to her very own Prince George. She jokes that he was worth the wait after sorting through a great number of toads. Shea is Mom to Kayla (26) and Marygrace (16)–her princesses here on earth–as well as Olivia (b/d 6-23-07) and Alessia (born still 11-13-08)–her Angel Babies in Heaven. She is also Grandma to perfect little Lorelei, who doesn’t allow Autism to get in her way. A dedicated canine rescuer, Shea highly esteems all of God’s creatures and loves bringing hope to the hurting.
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