When she was born, she was beautiful, but doctors and interns kept coming in and checking her legs and it was soon determined that she had congenital hip dysplasia (the ball and socket in her hip wasn't done cooking since she was three weeks early). This meant she would have to be fitted for a brace to keep her legs in a position that imitated the womb so her joint could develop properly. Marty had this same condition when she was a baby and it led to her being in a half body cast for a good part of her toddling years, so we were a little uneasy about Julia's condition.
At the age of two months, Julia couldn't hold anything down and started losing weight when babies are supposed to be gaining. After a trip to the doctor, they admitted her to Stanford Hospital because she was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis. A surgery was scheduled to fix the problem and then she was fitted for her brace.
There were several follow up appointments for her hip and also for the original concerns when she was still in Marty's tummy. We were told to watch her at certain stages of her life, and if she was advancing normally, then no need to worry.
Julia has grown into a beautiful and active young lady. When she was in kindergarten and turned out to be the tallest girl in the class, I remembered her backstory and the genetics counselors "offer," and it made me shudder. When she does cartwheels and backbends I recall the brace that held her legs in captivity when most babies that age are kicking their feet just because.
Two years ago I was asked to speak at a High School Christian Club's event The gym was full of public school students and I was asked to share something about God that would possibly speak into these students' lives. I decided to tell Julia's story, from genetics counselor's office to that day, and I had brought a special guest with me. I pulled my daughter out of school to be my sermon illustration, and after the kids heard about her rough beginnings, I had Julia walk up and join me in that gym. As she did, the high school students started applauding and some were wiping their eyes.
Afterwards, one of the leaders of the Christian Club told me that a friend had said he didn't really believe in God, but after hearing Julia's story and seeing her walk up there, he was starting to believe. She was already ministering as a 7 year old (and even before that).