The courageous Donna Cavanagh with her daughter Cecilia (8) and sons Waylon (6) and Wyatt (7 months).
Donna had very healthy, typical pregnancies and uncomplicated vaginal deliveries with her first two children. Her third pregnancy, however, was anything but. She was told early on via routine screening that her son has incompatible with life. At 12 weeks, they tested nuchal translucency and learned that his result was irregular but inconclusive. Around 20 weeks, she had an anatomy scan and learned he had enlarged ventricles in his brain and holoprosencephaly with severe midline deformities on his face and body including missing parts of his brain and his nose. The doctor said she should terminate her pregnancy because her son would have no quality of life if he lived at all. She left thinking that was their best option and she wanted to protect her older children. She scheduled her "interruption of pregnancy" but sought out further testing at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She says this was the best thing she ever did. The new scan showed the parts of the brain they were told he was missing as well as his nose and they learned he did not have holoprosencephaly but that he did have ventriculomegaly which would eventually lead to hydrocephalus. She and her husband fought over what was the right decision but ultimately chose to continue the pregnancy. Wyatt was born 6 weeks early via cesarean and he spent 8 weeks in the hospital. He has hydrocephalus, polymicrogyria, endocrine problems and is blind, but he's here. Wyatt has also just been diagnosed with infantile spasms, one of the worst forms of childhood epilepsy. Wyatt has had 9 brain surgeries and has a shunt, he's begun therapy to help his development but Donna says that due to the seizures and/or the medication, he's regressed. She's had to balance caring for her older children with caring for Wyatt, who has spent more of his life in hospital than out. Donna says that this has been the hardest year of her life but it's also the best, that during it her family has come together in ways they were previously struggling.
Donna has struggled with her body and the way she's looked for along time and has begun to notice her daughter does too sometimes. She says it's hard for her to instill in her daughter that she needs to love and accept herself the way she is, if she doesn't own it herself. Since Wyatt's arrival the last thing on her mind is getting to cross-fit or how she wants to be in her previous size and she she doesn't want to think about those things anymore. In order to teach them, she's realized she needs to teach herself and she's ready to feel good about her. Her children boost her up and make her feel better. She tells them all the time, if she didn't have them she would just be Donna, and just Donna wasn't much fun. "I feel like some empowerment is needed in my life. I feel deflated, physically and emotionally and I shouldn't, I should be proud of myself and what my body has created but I need a push and no one is going to push me, it's got to come from me."