Matthew’s Story

Matthew’s Story

If you have read many of my blog posts, you may already know my husband and I have three children, two being twins. Two weeks ago I wrote on a dream involving the pregnancy of my twins before I knew I was pregnant. You can read that here.

By the time my twins were a year old, I found out I was pregnant again (can you say surprised!). Because of the problems I had with the twins, I spent most of the first trimester in fear of losing this baby.

One day around week ten or eleven, I felt the calming voice of the Holy Spirit say, “You will not lose your baby and it will be a boy.”

Surprised, I was like, “I won’t lose him? And he’s a boy?” Nothing like having the God of the Universe speak the fear right out of you. Fear had no place in me now… I thought.

Later the doctor confirmed he was a boy. But it wasn’t long before fear crept back into my mind.

Another day, the Lord dropped a question into my mind: “Will you still love this baby if he is not perfect?

After catching my breath, I thought, Yes. I will still want and love this baby even if he has a birth defect, illness, or genetic issue.  The Lord was preparing me for something, what, I didn’tt know. But, I had peace.

I told my husband. We waited and prayed for this little boy, yet to be born.

Michael was born early at six pounds. He was completely healthy. Mike and I thanked the Lord for him.

About the time Michael was four months old, my twins were twenty months. Their development was behind because of their prematurity, and Alexandria had just started walking.

It scared Matthew to try the slightest step and he didn’t crawl well either. We noticed he moved his little legs awkwardly as he tried to take a few steps with our help.

We made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon soon after.

Mike and I thought he may need surgery on his hips since he wasn’t walking. But we were not at all prepared for what the doctor told us. Matthew had Cerebral Palsy (CP). Now, this is not at all a death sentence, but we never suspected our little boy would have long term problems.

Cerebral palsy results from damage to part of the brain controlling muscle tone. Matthew’s legs and other muscles were stiff (from the nerves over firing) making his muscles stay in a state of contraction. We noticed Matthew didn’t smile as quickly as Alexandria did, or roll over, or scoot on the floor. He was behind her in every way.

Matthew would not get worse but could get better with therapy.

By his second birthday we began physical and occupational therapy. Matthew got some braces for his legs and a cool little walker. He got good with the walker, too. Children use a walker differently than you see older adults use them. His went around his back and was open in front of him.

He would take off down a slight decline and raise his feet off the ground like he was on a ride.

Matthew had to have some painful surgeries, too. He had surgeries which stretched his muscles to lengthen them. See, his bones grew long, like they were supposed to, but his muscles remained contracted. That surgery took place when he was four. It was hard to see him in such pain.

It was hard to see kids ignore him, when he couldn’t keep up. Sometimes walking past families in McDonald’s, I’d hear children asking their parents, “What’s wrong with that boy”, as they pointed to Matthew. I’d see the mother mouth, “I’m sorry” when she knew I overheard. It didn’t bother me. Children are children, mine did the same thing.

It’s important to teach our children about things like these. For children to ask questions about what they don’t understand, is normal.

It’s our job as parents to teach our children compassion and understanding for those different from them.

Although, Matthew’s twin, Alexandria became very sensitive to children with any kind of special need. She sought to become friends with the rejected and different kids in school. As a college student coming home from a trip to communist country, she was heart-broken how the government treated their deformed, and special needs children and adults. She couldn’t imagine Matthew treated that way.

From the difficult beginnings of his life Matthew always had good self-esteem. We never held him back from trying something. I remember as a toddler, he wanted to get on a small rocking horse which sat on the floor. He would try again and again to pull his little leg over the “saddle” of the horse… until one day he got it. He sat on that horse so proud and rocked it!

That’s how our son is.

Matthew is twenty-four years old and he is very high functioning. He has been to Israel three times, graduated from college with a degree in International Relations, he speaks Arabic, and works as a financial analyst.

Nothing has held him back.

My husband had a hard time with Matthew’s diagnosis as first. He prayed and prayed the Lord would supernaturally heal him. Mike took him to a local faith-healer when Matthew was just four. I stayed home. Not that I didn’t want Matthew healed, it was just that the Lord had been so faithful to him!

My Father’s hand was on this little boy!

Our pastor asked us once if we would want Matthew healed if it meant Matthew might change from the compassionate, tender-hearted, God-loving boy he was. We both answered NO. We loved the little boy God had made him, disabilities and all.

God has a plan and purpose for every man, woman, and child born on this planet. Every child has value and is loved by the Father.

For You formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and I know this very well. Psalm 139:13-14.

A Fight for My Babies

It was night, and I was in the middle of a forest when I saw him.

It was difficult to make out his features; I only saw darkness—evil. He had something in his arms. What was it? It was small but moving on its own. It was a baby! I knew it could not be his, and I feared he would harm it. As I walked closer to him, he ran.

I chased him for what seemed like hours in the humid night air. My heart pounded and my chest heaved, but I couldn’t stop until I had the baby. Not knowing what I would do once I caught up with him, I kept running. I prayed hard.

God needed to help me rescue the baby.

I don’t know why, but he stopped. Catching up to the man, I snatched the baby from him, although I can’t remember how. Then I just ran and ran with him on my heels. I ruined his plan, and he was angry. He chased me to exhaustion. Suddenly, I realized there was nowhere to go. I had come to a white fence too high to climb with the baby in my arms. With my back to the fence, I watched as the figure approach me—his arrogant eyes victorious. I didn’t know what to do.

I called out to Jesus; He was the only one who could rescue us.

As the evil one stood before me, trying to pluck the child out of my arms, I could only whisper the name of Jesus. I realized this man hated that Name. Although it was dark, I could see his body recoil. It made me brave. I shouted Jesus’ name with everything I had.

The Name terrified him and he ran as I pursued him, yelling Jesus’ name. I watched until he was out of sight.

Then I woke up.

The next day, I got up feeling nauseous. Since my husband and I were trying to get pregnant, and I worked in a hospital lab, my coworkers gave me a pregnancy test. It was positive.

Little did I know how difficult this pregnancy would be.

At eight weeks, I passed some blood. I panicked. I was sure I had miscarried. As the doctor did an ultrasound, he discovered I had twins and explained I passed nothing more than an isolated clot.

But it continued to go downhill from there. The morning sickness was terrible. I couldn’t eat anything but ice and lost weight for the first fourteen weeks of my pregnancy. The headaches and migraines were awful, too.

I passed out one afternoon at work while on my way to the bathroom. That freaked out my coworkers. The doctor told me later my babies had pressed against my abdominal aorta and temporarily cut off blood flow to my brain. It was the last time that happened.

At twenty-seven weeks, my water broke on my way to work. The shuttle driver, who picked me up at an offsite parking lot, drove me straight to the emergency room.

He was more of a mess than I was.

The doctors and nurses seemed amused by the shuttle driver’s reaction because I looked full term. Once I explained I was twenty-seven weeks with twins, they sobered.

Fear overwhelmed me. I called my husband to tell him the bad news: our babies were coming too soon. They transferred me to a different hospital which was better equipped to handle premature births.

As they prepped me for a caesarian section, the nurse informed me my babies would only be a pound and a half each and would stay in the hospital until their due date, which was thirteen weeks away. I prayed they would be bigger than the nurse claimed.

After their birth, Alexandria and Matthew were each a little over two pounds. A nurse told me I must have been farther along than I thought. But I knew better. Doctors and nurses rushed to hook them up to ventilators, IV lines, and heart and respiratory monitors.

One day, two weeks later, my daughter developed pneumonia in both bronchial tubes. The phone call from the hospital, informing us our baby was in critical condition, woke us at four a.m. We prayed the rest of the morning for her. When I got to the NICU later, she looked as if she were dying. Alexandria’s skin was gray from a lack of oxygen, and the doctor gave her a drug paralyzing her to prevent her from fighting the ventilator. God was faithful, though. He healed her tiny body and before long; she was as feisty as ever.

Another time, Matthew had stopped breathing after the doctor removed him from the ventilator. As I watched the nurse bagging him—forcing air into his lungs, his tiny lifeless body refused to respond. She called the nearby doctor for help. I stood, wanting to scream for someone to help my baby. Instead, I prayed—begging God to save Matthew.

Suddenly, it felt as though someone’s hands were on my shoulders and I felt peace I cannot describe. I heard the Lord’s assurance Matthew would go home with me as I sat back down in my chair. My babies came home after ten weeks at the hospital.

Matthew and Alexandria are now almost twenty-four years old. Although they had difficulties at times, they are healthy and happy college graduates.

The baby in my dream represented the babies I did not know I was pregnant with. At the time of my nightmare, we did not have a fence, nor was it in our plans to have one.

My husband had a six-foot white fence installed after I gave birth.

I realized after a year or two, it was this enclosure I had seen in my dream. The woods behind our property is where it had taken place.

 The Lord gave me that vision to prepare me, not just for the battle my babies would go through to survive, but to show me He would be there as soon as I called His Name. He had already won the battle; all I needed was faith.

Matthew 21:22 ESV says, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.”