This Little Miggy Stayed Home: Special Needs Spotlight: Brayden

Friday, January 25, 2013

Special Needs Spotlight: Brayden


My name is Jessica Garwood.  I married my husband Devin Garwood in February 2004.  We had our first child, Brody in 2005.  We knew we wanted to have more children so we started trying right away.  Unfortunately I was unable to get pregnant.  We tried different fertility pills and different doses but nothing was working.  We finally decided to go to a specialist in 2011.   Shortly thereafter we were both excited when a pregnancy test came back positive!  We had our first ultrasound to see if I was for sure pregnant.  Well, not only was there a baby, there were two!  The doctor said that there was a third sac but it did not make it.  We were kinda relieved because two babies would be plenty!  I had a normal pregnancy besides ALL the morning sickness ALL the time.  I had Brayden and Bryson the afternoon of April 3, 2012.  Brayden was born without his left eye--we were told he just stopped developing.  He also has significant hearing loss and thus wears hearing aids. 


Miggy:  Can you take me back to the day you knew your son was going to have these extra issues--partial blindness and hearing loss?  Do you remember how you felt?  Can you compare those first thoughts and feelings with how you feel now? 

Jessica:  We found out about his eye two days after he was born.  He was born on Tuesday April 3, 2012.  We kept asking the nurse about why he wouldn’t open his eye but no one would tell us.  Finally the doctor came in Thursday and told us it just stopped developing.  I was heartbroken at first because I thought it was something that I did.  The doctor said it was just "bad luck" and was nothing we did.  Today has been much easier than it was 9 months ago.  Brayden is a very happy baby and is taking everything wonderfully.  With his hearing he wasn’t passing any of the newborn hearing tests.  We finally had to go to Wichita where they do a longer test called an ABR that when we found out he would need hearing aides.

Miggy:  Explain how your child’s specific special need affects your day-to-day life?  

Jessica:  We have to put a "conformer" in braydens eye to help the bones grow correctly.  We have to always make sure it’s in his eye since he likes to pull it out and him or his twin brother Bryson could put it in their mouth.  His twin likes to pull his hearing aides out too.  We have to be a lot more cautious with all the extra items he has to wear. 
Miggy:  What are the biggest worries you face for your child?   

Jessica:  Just being able to get help.  We have been denied disability and had to get a lawyer to fight it. I want him to be able to get the best help he possibly can so he can somewhat leave a normal life.  I want him to be proud of who he is. I guess it’s good that it happened as a baby since he does not know anything different. The kids at church LOVE him and no one treats him different because of it.  

Miggy:  Now for a lighter question, have you ever had any funny conversations/moments you never imagined due to your special needs situations?  

Jessica:  I never thought we would need to tell his twin to "stop pulling your brothers hearing aides out or don’t pull at his eye" 

Miggy:  How can people best approach or respond to your child?  Is there something you wish other people knew so as to avoid awkward or hurtful situations?  

Jessica:  I know people are going to want to look and wonder what happened.  I would rather people ask then just stare.  I find it easier to be ok with it when they ask if they can know what happened instead of just blurting out "what happened to his eye!"  Some days are harder.  A young guy at Wal-Mart was just starting him down, it made me upset that he has to go through that. 

Miggy:  What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming a special needs mom?    

Jessica:  To be patient and take it in stride. Some days have been hard and especially since we are fighting with disability.  I have to realize that some things take time and that Brayden is a gift and we are grateful he is in our lives!

Miggy:  If you could say something to the mom who just starting on this journey of special needs, what would you say?   What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time?  

Jessica:  Don’t blame yourself. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when the doctor told us.  The same thing, don’t blame myself. I didn’t drink or smoke and took care of myself. Some things just happen. 

Read more about our family here


I want to thank Jessica for sharing her cutie-pie Brayden with us.  He is a doll!  I have to say I find myself a little partial to kids born with 'missing parts' so to speak.  :)  I really like what Jessica said at the end and it's a good reminder to all us moms--it's not our fault.  I think most of us wonder if we did something wrong and like Jessica said... things happen.  We can't change the past or our children's conditions, but we have everything to do with shaping their future and helping them see themselves for who they really are and what they are really capable of.  Thanks again Jessica!  

As always if you or someone you know would like to be a part of the spotlight please email me, or have them email me directly, at thislittlemiggy at gmail dot com.  

Have a great weekend!  
(I think I need a better Friday closing... 'Be kind to one another' is taken, but I'll think of something...)


  1. that is one adorable family.

    Thank you of posting about this little boy. How lucky he is to have such a strong and loving mum and dad.


  2. There are programs in each state for assistance for special needs. Granted each state is different and some have more to offer than others, disability is not the only thing out there. Also disability is biased on the parents income until a child is 18. I heard all the time from well meaning people that I should be getting it for my son, but the fact was, our income though low was still too high. I do find it odd though that you didn't just "automatically" get it becuase every time I tried for my son, I would be ask if he was blind and told, "if he was blind yes, no matter what he would automatically get help." Never understood that one at all. Good luck to you and aren't boys the best!! Fun times in your house for years to come that is for sure.

  3. Anonymous4:22 PM

    Don't blame yourself. Couldn't agree more.
    Baby Brayden is adorable.

  4. Thank you for these spotlights. I love them so much. I have a baby with special needs, and it's so heartening to hear about other babies like him. It makes me feel not so alone when I see the seas of no-health-problems kids around me.

    Brayden is darling! I laughed at his twin pulling out his conformer and his hearing aids. That will make for some hilarious stories when they're older.

  5. I love how you said not to blame yourself. so many people blame themselves unnecessarily. Whether you believe in him or not. I believe Brayden was sent to you for a reason with this disability so that he could have a loving family to take care of him. Good luck and he is seriously adorable!