Ashley - Michigan

Ashley - Michigan

I guess I don't really know where to start, so here we go...I was young. 17 to be exact. After finding out I was pregnant from my month long relationship, I was determined to persevere and face the challenge "head-on". For years I listened to my mom talk about how having children at such a young age was detrimental to her now adult life. I made a pact right then, to never let my children feel my guilt of being such a young mom. Mom continued to pressure me to get an abortion. I remember telling her that "I love my baby already and there is no way I will even think of it". I moved out.

The pregnancy went fine...I guess. I remember being about 1-2 months pregnant and coming down with what I thought was the "common cold". After about 4 days I went to my family doctor. He said to take Sudafed and Tylenol. I agreed and went home to bed. I never thought of that day again until my baby was about 8 months old.
I then delivered my little angel on August 9th, 1989. I thought the labor was extremely intense, but felt it was my probably my young age and inexperience that made that much more difficult. Baby was full term delivered at 40 weeks and weighed 6lbs 12 oz. She was perfect in my eyes. We named her Ashley Nicole.

When Ashley was about 6 months old, I found myself surrounded by past acquaintances that also had babies about the same age as Ashley. I started to feel as if something may not be "right" with my baby..but blew it off to once again my age and inexperience. That was until the pediatrician noticed it too. At 8 months we were referred to a Neurologist who examined my baby. After completing his neurological testing, he handed her back to me and said, "Your baby will never walk or talk. You need to see a specialist at University of Michigan Hospital." My life was forever changed.

Ashley was a very sick baby. She had bacterial meningitis, many unexplained viral illnesses with very high temps which left her in the hospital about 5-6 time before she turned one. When we seen the specialists at U of M, it was found that Ashley was positive for CMV in her Torch Screening. Because I had never heard of such a thing..I was unsure what it really meant for us. They ordered PT, OT, and speech therapy to begin right away. They also told us that Ashley had a very small head size. MRI's were complete and showed brain damage that was related to the CMV infection. My dreams of having a "normal child" were lost.

After the grieving, anger, depression finally lifted, I began to accept what this terrible virus had done to my angel. I placed her in therapies, and found support in the local school system. She walked at 3 and could say about 3 words by the time she was 5. Although the prognosis was much worse, I continued to stumble with the guilt that I "had done this to my baby".

Years have passed, and Ashley is now 21 years old. She functions at about a 6 year old level, has many behavior problems, and is living at a group home. We are both happy with this move. I am now a Registered Nurse with a an 18 month old baby. God has blessed us with a beautiful little girl named Annaylse. She does not have Congenital CMV, and I have a new lease on life. I will never regret having a baby with disabilities. Although it is challenging everyday, the rewards are just as great as having a child without disabilities- but just in a different form.

- Shared by her mother, Christine