Today is Audriana’s 17th birthday! She was born today, January 31 in 1993 at 1:06pm in Pasadena, CA. It was Superbowl Sunday, and the big game was in Pasadena! I remember the hospital gave me a rose rattle when Audriana was born, to symbolize the Rose Bowl and Superbowl Sunday.
Audriana was 8 pounds 6 ounces and 22 inches long. I remember being very surprised that I had had a girl. And so, so happy! Her fingers were so long…the first thing I thought when I looked at her was that she would be a piano player one day.
Audriana has always been very headstrong and independent. As a little girl, she would always say, “No…I do it!” whenever I tried to help her get dressed, or if I tried to boost her up in her car seat, or just about anything else.
As most of you know, her life changed on February 17, 1997 just after her 4th birthday, when she was severely brain injured in a car accident. That truly was the worst day of my life. As her mother, I was completely heartbroken. Like we parents tend to do, I had had her whole life “mapped” out and planned in my head, all my expectations and plans for my little girl. They were just shattered in one instant. She was in a coma for 8 days and they couldn’t tell us if she would wake up or not, or even if she did…would she be in a vegetative state? What would her quality of life be? Although I was very grateful that she survived, I was so sad that her once perfect brain had been “wiped away” just like that. It was so unfair. What would her life be like? It was so hard to see her like that, when just a few days before she was running around, learning to tap dance, enjoying her preschool days, learning to write her name, etc.
She had two brain surgeries and one plastic surgery reconstruction on her face, and spent 6 weeks in the ICU and 3 months in a rehab hospital. She came home after those 3 months not able to walk, not able to talk, not having control over the right side of her body, her vision was impaired, and she had to learn the most basic things all over again. But she was a fighter. She has always been a fighter and so strong and stubborn and independent!
We did rehabilitation therapies with her in our home for the next 3 years. We worked with an institute in Philadelphia and would fly her back there twice a year for evaluations and to have her program updated. Over those 3 years she worked very hard and we worked very hard with her….and she learned to walk again, she learned to talk again, and slowly our little girl came back to us. And today, she is in the 10th grade, she goes to the movies and the mall with her friends, she is very active in her church youth group, she loves Starbucks drinks, is a HUGE fan of the Twilight series, and is a great big sister to seven younger siblings!
Of course, this is a very long story…..but my point today is that I am so extremely proud of my daughter, especially on this day, her 17th birthday! Audriana has endured so much and has come such a long was in her recovery. I believe that her brain will always heal and that the future is a bright one for her. She has plans of going to college and working with special needs children, either as a teacher or teacher’s aide.
Happy Birthday, Audriana!
I love you so much!