What a gush of emotions the month of December brings as we remember December of last year. Anna was born, found to have a cleft palate, hospitalized at 6 days old, diagnosed with Pierre Robin Sequence, tube fed for 2 days in the hospital and finally discharged on Christmas Eve. It was a quiet and solemn Christmas last year.
This year, as the month of December came around, the feelings are so different. It is joy, hope, gratitude and love that fill our hearts this year. Anna has recovered well from her cleft palate repair surgery, is eating well (and loving her food, or our food more than hers) and growing well. She likes to reach for our hands so that we can assist her in walking around the house because she finds crawling too slow and probably overrated.
We celebrated Anna’s first birthday with a Rainbow themed party. I chose the theme as the Rainbow speaks of God’s promises and covenant to us. He is the One who promised us Anna and gave us Anna, and we know He will be the One Who will see her through her life. He doesn’t break covenants. As we have covenanted to give our lives and our children to Him, we know that we are in good hands.
John 10:10 tells us that the thief (which is the devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy. But Christ came that we may have abundant life!
We named Anna after Anna in the gospels who is a prophetess. The nature of a prophet is to declare God’s Word and messages to His people. With a cleft palate, one will not be able to speak if the cleft palate is not repaired. This all makes perfect sense if we understand what God’s Word is saying – the enemy is trying to steal and destroy the purposes of God in our lives. I was also born with a cleft palate, and yet my testimony is that now I am a teacher by profession and also teach God’s Word to His people. The enemy has not managed to stop what God wanted me to do for Him.
So when the paediatrician told us when Anna was born that she had a cleft palate, strangely a sense of peace washed over me as I realize this is a challenge Anna has to go through and overcome, and after that she will be speaking for the Lord!
When we say Anna is very special to us, it is not that we are biased because all our kids are special to us. We just have an extra soft spot for her seeing what she’d had to go through in this first year of her life – countless doctor appointments and tests.
At one year old, Anna is healthy, all the tests have shown that she doesn’t have any other problems. We are indescribably thankful to God for the grace He has given us for this journey and also for the days ahead. I believe this year’s Christmas will be a much happier affair than last Christmas!
I really wanted to take her first year photos and am thankful for a very talented friend who took these great shots for us. Here are some of Anna’s special moments with her brothers and us. And just to show the funny and very human side of her, I’ve also included some NG shots!
Amidst the smiles, there were also tears…
And check out this “I am not impressed” look when you zoom in to this happy family pic!