Nothing ever prepares you for parenthood. No amount of “new parent classes.” No matter how many kids you have. No matter how many disasters you encounter as a parent, you are never prepared for the many curveballs that life, and parenthood, send your way. Add military life on top of that, and you are in for an even bigger surprise.

When my daughter was born, I felt every emotion that any new mom would feel. Excitement, unconditional love, pure joy. But something was wrong, and we knew it from the beginning. Doctors also knew, but they could not figure it out. It was not until 8 years later that we would finally be given an answer.

When she was born, her feet were bigger than normal, her hands were bigger, she had a red birth mark above her lip (which we refer to as an angel kiss!), and she was not reaching milestones at the pace doctors wanted her to. It came to the point to where I did not even want to go to another doctor’s appointment, because at some point, you start to feel your parenting skills are being attacked, and they are looking at you and your baby in a negative way. While this may not be true, this is a feeling that is felt, and I know many parents of special needs children feel this way after speaking to many parents in our situation.

Fast forward 7 years, we were stationed in Germany. We were loving every second of living there. We just had a new baby boy, and we were taking advantage of the chance of traveling in Europe. On my daughter’s 7th birthday, she collapsed in the bathroom as I was getting her ready for school. She was unresponsive for about 5 seconds, but it was the longest 5 seconds of my life. She finally sat up, confused, and had no idea what had happened. Panic ensued, I immediately called my husband, and he rushed home so we could take her to the hospital. They performed necessary tests, and informed us her brainwaves were “ not normal.” Again, I hear the “not normal” phrase, and I immediately burst into tears.

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