Imre was born with a traumatic brain injury called Porencephaly. We found out I was pregnant a month after I turned 19 at 26 weeks, and immediately were told something wasn't right with the ultrasound and they wanted to see me at Maternal Fetal Medicine. We had our appointment and were quickly whisked to another room where they explained that when I was only a month or two along I got a virus that attacked Imre in-utero. This caused him to have a stroke, and there was essentially a hole in his brain that had completely stopped developing. We were handed packets for two abortion clinics in other states (Abortion after 24 weeks is illegal in Wisconsin). When I told her I didn't WANT that, she rolled her eyes and said "Well, then your going to be carrying and giving birth to a dead baby, or he'll live for like 8 minutes. So...".
I laid in bed for 3 days because I was so afraid to move, to hurt him or cause something that in my mind was already inevitable. I spent every night of my pregnancy praying for guidance, praying that the kicks and dancing Imre was so good at would never stop- we had been given no hope at all.
I was induced with Imre on the 26th of December, 2014 and he was delivered via emergency c-section on December 27th. He wasn't taken to NICU, wasn't placed on any ventilator. They gave him to me and I just remember holding him and my husband, and as long as I live I will never ever forget the joy, and relief that I felt as he snuggled up to me and I realized that they had ALL been wrong about him.
I had always had a pretty good grasp on disabilty and special needs, both Joe and I had been a part of "Best Buddies" in high school and we had genuinely enjoyed it. I've always been a huge advocate for spreading love to EVERYONE, regardless of anything else. But when we had Imre, I would be lying if I said we had been prepared. But we talk about it a lot- Imre's disabilty has NEVER bothered us. Due to the Porencephaly, Imre is mostly blind and has Cerebral Palsy. He doesn't speak and we use switches and music to communicate. He uses a wheelchair and goes to a special school with lots of sweet kiddos with visual impairments like him! We wouldn't change him for all the money in the world. What we WOULD change is how people view people with disabilities. We have seen so much hateful ignorance, and as special needs parents you begin to notice it with everyone else, not just your baby or loved one.
Imre is not "retarded". We don't need sympathy or to hear "I'm so sorry". We're not! Every day we look at him and are reminded of what a superhero he is. He loves Johnny Cash and Ray Charles, he plays his keyboard and dances with me EVERYWHERE. He beat every single odd that was stacked against him, and he does it all with the most gorgeous smile. And every person with special needs deserves that happiness- every person PERIOD deserves to be that happy. I wish everyone in the world had a fraction of the beautiful energy and positivity Imre has- it could truly change the world. I always tell my babies, "It's nice to be nice and you should LOVE giving love." I hope more people hear stories like ours and realize that we are all SO much more than just our abilities and just what we look like. We were given no hope, and if no one takes anything away from our story, please take away that there's ALWAYS hope. If you open your heart and not your eyes, I promise you the world is a really amazing place. Trust me, Imre sees all of it. And we wouldn't have ever seen any of it if it weren't for him.