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Michael's 40th Birthday

Michael’s 40th birthday is actually this Saturday, the 25th. Happy Birthday to my empathic, kind Michael.

Who would have thought that we would be here 40 years later with a mature Michael, especially after all that he went through to get into this life?

40 years ago I had a C-section scheduled for Feb 28. Michael is our third child. I didn’t know that any of my children had Myotonic Dystrophy (DM) but my first child, Warren, ended up being delivered C-section because the labor wouldn’t progress. The doctor did an X-ray and said that I wasn’t a large enough woman to deliver him so they delivered Warren by C-section at the last minutes of the day on Jan 29, 1978.

I didn’t believe that the doctor really needed to do a C-section, he had just gotten back from a vacation and I figured that he wasn’t patient enough at delivering Warren. I decided that I would try to deliver my next pregnancy vaginally. I went to all of the required Lamaze classes with my midwife, intending to have my next child, Andrea, at a birthing center. Andrea was born 2 weeks later than her due date. I was very unnerved, thinking that I would never give birth to her. On the morning of Andrea’s birth I started to bleed, I thought that my water had broken but it was blood. Andrea ended up being delivered by C-section (even after all of my work to have a vaginal birth) because she was Placenta Previa. Thankfully she was delivered and we were both healthy and safe.

When I got pregnant with Michael, I had decided to surrender to giving birth to him by C-section. It didn’t seem safe to continue trying to have a vaginal birth. On the 25th of Feb. I started into labor with Michael, so we went to the hospital. I didn’t make it to the previously scheduled delivery date of Feb. 28. Within a couple of minutes of Michael being born we were told that our baby was grunting. We didn’t know what that meant but they took him away pretty quickly. He was diagnosed with Hyaline Membrane Disease (HMD). HMD is also called respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). It is a condition that causes babies to need extra oxygen and help breathing. It’s most often seen in premature babies and typically worsens over the first 48 to 72 hours. Michael was only delivered a few days early but they still labeled him as pre-mature. And, sure enough he worsened by 48 hours. They transported him to the nearest children’s hospital where they were equipped to deal with his condition. Michael ended up being in the NICU for 28 days after his birth. He was then released to come home but with oxygen. He was on oxygen for the first several months of his life.

I can remember everyone being concerned about Michael while he was in the NICU and about whether he would develop normally after such a hard birth.

Once Michael was off of oxygen, he seemed to develop normally, or so I thought. But because of his problems at birth they had him seen by specialists in the Children with Special Healthcare Needs program. That meant that every 3 – 6 months he was seen by a team of doctors, neurologist, psychologist, nutritionist, etc. He graduated out of this program when he was 5. Michael was a happy, interactive baby. It seemed that the only deficit that Michael had was his poor speech, which wasn’t noticed until the age of 2 ½. The Children with Special Healthcare Needs program sent a lady to our home every month. She brought new supplies and taught me and Michael how to use them to teach him to make sounds that would help with his communication.

Other than Michael’s delayed speech, he seemed to meet all of the normal milestones of development. He started kindergarten along with all of the other children of his age.

When Michael was 14 years old he was diagnosed with DM which started us on our journey of understanding what had been going on with him since his birth.

Even with his speech problems, Michael graduated from The University of Utah in Mass Communication. He now writes for his blog at

Here’s an example of Michael’s writing:


Superman: Want to join the mile high club? Without a plane?

Batman: I do some of my best work at night.

Batman beyond: Once you go bat, you never go back.

Green Lantern: Everybody is going green these days, I can show you why. (Give in to peer pressure!)

Green arrow: These arrows aren’t just for shooting.

Aquaman: I can get you wet! (His pick-up lines never work L)

Daredevil: This staff/cane can do some amazing thing!

Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards: I can bend my body to be any shape you like. Are you SURE size doesn’t matter? (Bend me, shape me, anyway you want me!)

Human Torch/Johnny Storm: I thought I was the hottest thing around here. FLAME OFF!

Iron man: My armor isn’t the only part of me that’s hard as iron!

Wolverine: Ha! Iron man might be hard as iron, but I’ve got Adamantium, ALL OVER and due to my healing factor some women have trouble keeping up with ME!

Hulk: Hulk Smash!

Groot: I am Groot!

You can message Michael on Facebook at Mikeel Woodbury to wish him a happy birthday.

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