Three-month-old baby Joshua continues to defy all odds.
Five-year-old Shiloh steals a kiss from baby brother Joshua while in mom Rebekah’s arms.
miracle. “Everything started to turn around. He started getting a lot better,” said Justin, fighting back tears. “He opened his eyes for the first time and was squeezing our hands. It was amazing.” A few days later, nurses removed the ventilator that had helped Joshua breathe since birth. “He just started breathing on his own,” Rebekah said. The baby doctors said would never make it was living. LaBonheur’s neurosurgeons next wanted to make sure Joshua could take a bottle on his own. Doctors feared some of Joshua’s brain connectors might not function correctly. One connector tells him how to suck, while another tells him how to swallow. “When nurses gave Joshua his first bottle – he took it fine,” said Rebekah. On Jan. 7, Joshua was released from LeBonheur. “Doctors said Joshua would be in the hospital for three months,” Justin said. “But in just three weeks, we were on our way home. It was wonderful.” Joshua still has follow-up visits with a neurosurgeon and ear, nose and throat specialist. At the end of March, the infant turned 3 months old. “We still don’t know if he can hear,” Justin said. “He has failed some of the hearing tests, but one of the sound tests did show brain waves. So there’s a lot of hope there.”
Eyesight is also an issue. “We don’t know how well he can see,” Rebekah added. “When they did the test, they said his eyes were only 40 percent developed. We won’t really know how much he can see until he gets older.” He is more normal then anything, according to his daddy. “He acts like a normal child,” said Justin. “He sleeps, eats, cries and poops like a normal child.” Normal is a word the family rarely hears when talking about Joshua. “The hospital sends a physical therapist nurse by the house each week and she says he has normal movements of his arms and legs,” Rebekah said. “We were told such horrible things in the beginning, so it’s such a relief to hear normal things.” The three will meet with doctors soon to discuss Joshua’s next surgery that would enlarge his skull with hope of pushing his brain back inside the skull. The family moved to Saltillo in August 2013 to be closer to Rebekah’s larger family. “We hated to move away from all of our friends and other family at Tate Baptist Church, but this was the best thing for our entire family,” said Rebekah. Friends are another blessing for the family. The Byrds received hundreds of phone calls, text messages and Facebook messages during and after Joshua’s birth. “Our friends have been so good to us,” she said. “I’ve had some friends who have even brought us some home cooked meals.” It was hard on Justin accepting help. “I’m an independent kind a guy,” he said. “We had to set our pride aside and learn how to accept the blessing. We have always been the one to give and never the one who received stuff. It’s been a big adjustment.” “Prayer gave me hope when I needed it most,” Rebekah said. “Looking at Joshua now, it’s truly a miracle he is with us. He still has a long road to go, but we trust the Lord already knows what his journey will be.”
“Prayer gave me hope when I needed it most. Looking at Joshua now, it’s truly a miracle he is with us. He still has a long road to go, but we trust the Lord already knows what his journey will be.” Rebekah Byrd
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