Born Without Eyes
Monroe was born on her actual due date, July 17, 2013. I had no idea she'd be born without eyes! After the doctors performed a cat scan, it was confirmed that she was born with a rare condition called Anopthalmia. 1 out of 100,000 babies are born with this condition.
While Monroe was still in the NICU, my mother, grandmother, and I sat on the bed anxiously waiting for the pediatrician to read the results of the cat scan. As soon as I heard the words "no eyes," I burst into tears and went to bathroom, and cried for 15 minues straight. As the tears fell down my face, I felt this presence come over me saying this is completely out of your control and I immediately stopped crying. I heard my mother and grandmother still weeping, and felt a need to be strong for both of them.
I was still in complete shock during the first few weeks after Monroe was born. I waited for the "okay" to begin losing my baby weight and found exercise to be extremely therapeutic for me. Breastfeeding for 8 months was also a huge help. I took Monroe in her jogging stroller on a trail near our house, and listened to Gospel every single morning. I woke up looking forward to our walks, which turned into jogs. I also began taking different fitness classes as well. I have grown to love fitness, and it helped get me out of the house and avoid depression.
Monroe absolutely loves yoga and her tumbling class! She has so much character and personality. She says "hi" a lot to see who's around and when she hears new voices. She has made a huge impact on her teachers, therapists, friends, and family member's lives. Everyone who knows Monroe is positively impacted because of how genuinely happy she is.
We have participated in a number of community events with different organizations in the blind community. Many organizations have featured Monroe in their programs. When she was just a few months old, our church filmed a video sharing our story. The film received lots of positive feedback that I didn't expect. What I love most is that people became aware of her condition, and will hopefully teach their children to be more accepting of others with any "differences" or abnormalities.
We visit the adult Blind Center of NV, and Monroe brings so much joy to the members. She's extremely affectionate, and of course loves to feel faces and necks (voice vibrations), but she especially loves hugs! It's truly amazing how much Monroe has taught ME. She adapts in her own little way, and I feel I'm just there to make sure she doesn't hurt herself.
She started school a year ago, and I'm always told how well she communicates and gets around. She's extremely verbally aware, even quite demanding at times. To those other parents out there with visually impaired children or any other "abnormality," focus on the abilities that your child is capable of. I know that children feel our pain, happiness, body language, tone, and words. The sky is the limit. Become involved in your community, and remember you are your child's number one advocate!