RFTS Parent Spotlight…Read & Be Inspired!

Welcome to the RFTS “Parent Spotlight”. This is a new feature on our website and one that we hope will inspire and move you.  We are all on this journey together. Every couple of months we will feature a different family, child or parent who wants to share their story about their CP journey.  If you would like to be included or know someone who should, please contact us and let us know.  You might be featured in our next  “Parent Spotlight”!

Our first-ever parent spotlight in 2010 featured Kristi Trotter of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Kristi is an amazing wife and mother of three children.  Here is her story in her own words.  Prepare to be inspired!

My name is Kristi Trotter and I am a mom of Isabella Grace, a beautiful little girl with cerebral palsy.  We also have two boys, Nate is nine, and Ben is six and a half years old.  Isabella is Ben’s twin and was ‘twin B’ or delivered second.   The strength to overcome the details of her birth has taken immense effort.  I delivered the twins naturally, Ben or ‘twin A’ was an easy delivery and surprisingly we were to find out that a vacuum suction was used unnecessarily on Bella.  It fractured her skull and the bleeds on her brain from this injury caused a lifelong diagnosis for her.  Not only was she not developing the same as Ben or gaining weight, but she was extremely inconsolable, and that stayed with her for the first few years of her life.

The disappointment of missing our ‘celebration’ of the twins’ birth has been a life changing experience for my husband and I.  I had become jealous of other moms who don’t have children with special needs, and feel sad because Bella won’t have certain experiences in her life that a typical developing little girl would.  My strength has come from several sources, my faith being at the center.  I knew that this ‘happened for a reason’ but also got tired of hearing that from every other person I talked to.  People could empathize with my situation, but not really associate with my frustrations.  This has been part of the learning curve, I didn’t choose this for my life, but I needed to embrace it to make it a positive situation.

Isabella is today a happy, social little girl, who is fully integrated into Kindergarten.   This took a lot of extra work with the school system, but it is where she is meant to be.  She has a para professional that assists her one on one and we get respite help at home.  She walks with a walker and talks using some verbal, sign and the assistance of her Springboard Lite communication device.  She still has a certain degree of irritation/frustration only at home, when we don’t understand what she wants.   Bella is tiny like a lot of other kids with CP, she has eating and drinking issues, but we can grind a lot of food to make it possible for her to eat a greater variety.  Bella is in Daisy Scouts, basketball, swimming and jazz dance.  At 6, we are finally conquering potty training.  She also has her weekly physical therapy and speech appointments.  Bella has had only two surgeries, strabismus surgery on her eyes and a bilateral osteotomies to correct hip dysplasia.

We are about to celebrate something very exciting that will bring a lot more joy to our lives and the lives of many other parents.  We have established Iowa’s first Reaching for the Stars chapter.  I met “Reaching for the Stars” in the summer of 2007 at the CP Conference (in St. Louis, MO).  I couldn’t believe the connection I felt with their ideas and experiences.  I knew at some point in my life I needed to do something to contribute in a bigger way, to look for more medical research for this underfunded diagnosis.  I would not have believed it would happen this fast.  But I am overjoyed to know that all of our extra energy in caring for our daughter, and appointments to assist her development, would amount to a greater effort to make changes for her and other children with Cerebral Palsy.  Along with a group of parents and volunteers, we organized a wonderful fundraiser to raise money for CP research.  The information is at our website www.crreachingforthestars.comI am faithful knowing that Isabella Grace was meant to be exactly who she is and that I was meant to advocate for her.