LIVING WITH AUTISM
‘OK God, let’s do this’
Friday, March 16, 2007
Pleschette Davis-Moore clearly remembers
the "poor you" look the ultrasound technician gave her before hurrying to get the doctor who’d only say he saw birth defects before sending her away.
Another ultrasound, this time by a specialist with high-risk pregnancies at Loyola Medical Center, showed two lumps on her baby’s neck—a possible sign of Down Syndrome. It also showed an omphalocele—the baby’s liver and intestines were outside his body.
With the risks explained, the specialist urged Davis-Moore to take time to think about ending the pregnancy. "No thinking necessary," she remembers responding.
A few appointments later, doctors found a heart defect and by 35 weeks, the omphalocele had grown. Davis-Moore picked Sept. 15, 2000, for a cesarean section and Derec entered the world at 6 pounds, 9 ounces, 19 inches with more birth defects than suspected. The list would give anyone pause: tracheal mylacia, bronchial pulmonary dysplacia and multiple holes in his tiny heart.
Still, Davis-Moore’s faith held strong.
"... God spoke to me and told me that my son … would not die."
Derec, who would remain on a ventilator for three years, became the most joyful child during his five months in the neonatal intensive care unit, Davis-Moore says. He finally came home April 18, 2001, his grandfather’s birthday. Multiple surgeries followed. Not only did Derec survive, he thrived.
Fast forward to January 2005 and another challenge: autism. "I was unmoved and I think my response shocked the teachers. I just looked up toward heaven and said, ‘OK God, let’s do this.’ "
Derec, 6, of Oak Park, remains the happiest child around, his mom says. While life isn’t easy, it’s doable, says Davis-Moore, who works in Chicago Parent’s advertising department.
"I tell you my story not as a tale of woe but as one of encouragement to the parent struggling with a sick child or the single parent trying to keep it all together. There is hope, only trust and believe."