Story by Lorita OLeary
(This story was originally written in 2010)
Mariah Evans, one of the triplets born to my niece Melanie and her husband Mike Evans in Virginia, turned nine this April along with her brother Ethan and sister Savannah. Mariah was the largest but eventually the weakest of the triplets. Because of a prolapsed umbilical cord during pregnancy and possibly labor, and attorneys belief that there was negligent prenatal care while Melanie was hospitalized, Ethan and Mariah were born with Cerebral Palsy.
Melanie said it started “with the fact that I had only one ultrasound for monitoring the entire 4 weeks I was in the hospital in preterm labor and ending with the fact that Savannah was the only one of the three who received oxygen at birth, and she is the only one not affected [with Cerebral Palsy].” Mariah suffered severe symptoms and had more problems than her brother Ethan. In her early days Mariah spent much of her time in the hospital and had several operations. Doctors told Melanie and Mike she would never walk or talk.
|Triplets - Ethan, Savannah, Mariah|
Her triplet sister Savannah was normal in every way and a bundle of energy. She looked just like her mother did when she was her age. Her brother Ethan who was also born with Palsy could now talk in whole sentences, hold his head up and will possibly walk one day. He’s a very smart little guy with a high IQ and gets around in a motorized wheel chair.
|Mariah & Ethan|
Mariah could not hold her head up or move around like her siblings although she is very alert and understands all that is said. The Palsy seemed to affect her muscles most. What is evident is her happy and lovable spirit in spite of her handicaps. Since getting on Facebook my mom and I have come to realize how many people Mariah has touched.
When Mariah was around two-years-old the whole family, including my sister-in-law Wilda and her entire family except her oldest daughter Crystal, up and moved to Savannah Tennessee where they bought a twenty acre farm. The property was inexpensive and had a large house, a duplex and a trailer house included. Mike’s parents also moved there from Virginia and they all shared the property. After they got there they built Wilda a three bedroom pre-fabricated house with an attached porch on a section of the property.
While there, Mariah always had nurses to help her and she had physical therapy to exercise her muscles daily. Her parents eventually got her a special wheelchair as she got older that helped to hold up her head. She loved her wheelchair as she could now sit up and see what was going on around her. It allowed her to be more involved with the family. From that point she blossomed. Mike and Melanie had two other children before the triplets – Jeremy who is a couple of years older and Andrew who was ten years older. All the children loved Mariah and helped her in any way they could.
|Savannah, Ethan, Mariah with older brothers Andrew & Jeremy|
After several years Melanie and Mike decided they wanted to move back to Virginia. They prayed about the move because it would disrupt all their lives as they were quite established now in Tennessee. They had not sold their previous house in Virginia but had rented it out. One day shortly after they had decided they were going to move in October they got a call from their tenants telling them they were moving and would be out on October first. Melanie and Mike hadn’t even told them about their plans so it was obvious to them that God had answered their prayers.
|At the Beach|
Now, moved back into their home in Virginia which they always loved, Melanie had to make new arrangements for the triplet’s care. Melanie’s older brother Scott had come back to Virginia with them and moved into the bungalow on their property. Melanie found out she could get government subsidy for the triplet’s care so she could now pay Scott to help out. Eventually her sister Crystalee, who is a trained caregiver, offered to help also and did so until she had two children of her own. But it has always been a family endeavor based on a strong faith in God. That family also extends out into the community now since Mike sometimes takes the pastor’s place in his absence. Because of this they have many supportive friends from their church.
|Mike & Melanie with the gang|
One day I was looking at Facebook, where we can keep in touch with the whole family daily, and Melanie had a short video clip of Mariah walking. We were so excited we had to turn that video on to see what was happening. Soon we saw Mariah taking baby steps with the help of her mom Melanie. We could hear her squeals of delight as she put one foot in front of the other, a big smile on her face, as the rest of the family cheered her on. Mariah looked so determined and proud. Mike held the camera, giving words of encouragement as Melanie moved back and walked Mariah toward the camera again. One of the most moving moments of this brief video was when her sister Savannah briefly appeared on the screen as a blur of excitement pushing Melanie and Mariah back to their starting point so they could walk toward the camera for a third time. You couldn’t see Savannah’s face but you could tell how thrilled she was because of her sister’s accomplishment.
So, that made two blessings we experienced that day – the first because we were able to see this at all across all those miles, the second because everyone was so happy to witness what we would never have expected – Mariah walking. In the past we wouldn’t have been able to share this event on the same evening as the rest of the family – Mariah's miracle brought to us by modern conveniences.
|The triplets just celebrated their 9th birthday|
Mariah "WALKING" tonight!! Please excuse my yelling, but needless to say she made me one proud enthusiastic mommy! Hahaha! Thanks for watching! (click the link on "Walking" to see it)