Bonnie sat holding Jim’s hand in the waiting room. The doctor’s words were still ringing in her ears. “We need to meet with you and your husband immediately. One of your prenatal tests has come back abnormal and we need to talk about your options”
Dr Steiner came out to the waiting room herself and called them back to her office. “Now, I don’t want to overly alarm you, but your alpha feta protein test came back abnormal. This could be a false number, or it could mean that the baby has spina bifida, cerebral palsy or another genetic disorder.”
Jim looked at Bonnie and nodded as if to reassure her that everything would be fine. “Dr Steiner, if you are telling us this because you want to give us the option of aborting our baby, we would never do that. We intend to have this baby regardless of whether it has any birth defects.”
Dr Steiner got up from her chair and walked around to sit on the corner of her desk. “I thought you would say something like that. If it is determined that the baby has birth defects, we can send you to a hospital that specializes in neonatal. We want to give you all the options and let you decide.”
Other tests were scheduled to determine if there should be cause for alarm. After another alpha feta protein came back with the same results, but the ultrasound revealed no physical abnormality. Jim and Bonnie decided to forego any further testing and planned for their baby’s arrival.
Corey was born on a rainy spring day. He looked fine. Jim and Bonnie were ecstatic to welcome their first born son into their family. Their daughters, 5-year-old Rachel and 3-year-old Hannah, were equally delighted with their new little brother.
A couple of months after his birth, they noticed that he wasn’t progressing like their girls had. He wasn’t following people with his eyes, he did not respond to noise, he was very lethargic, and did not cry the way their girls had.
At first the doctors thought he might be blind or deaf, but further testing revealed what they had feared the most. He had cerebral palsy, and it was only going to get worse. There was no cure for this.
He continued to grow, in fact, he grew to be over 6 foot tall. However, he never spoke other than his garbled way of communication, he never walked, he never became potty trained, and he never learned how to feed himself.
Every day Bonnie and Jim bath him, dress him, talk to him, prepare special food for him, change his diapers, and communicate with him using a form of sign language.
Often Bonnie will tell friends how blessed she is to have Corey. “He is the reason I get up each morning. He tells me, as only he can, how much he loves me. He forces me not to take myself too seriously. He has deepened my relationship with God, because I have to rely on Him so much. I just can’t imagine the person I would be without Corey in my life.”
Jim had a special bicycle made with a wheel chair on the front and a 16-speed bicycle for him to pedal. Often, you will see Jim and Corey with their bicycle helmets on speeding down the bike path and through the neighborhoods with grins on both of their faces.
“He’s my buddy,” Jim will say, grasping Corey by the shoulder and gazing at him with pride.
At age 21, Corey graduated from high school. All of his family were there celebrating as his aid pushed his wheel chair up to get his diploma. As the other graduates took off their caps and threw them into the air, Corey was grinning from ear to ear
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