Like any little girl, Andrea Capaldo likes watching television, getting her nails painted and enjoying simple things like suckers. Her mom Brenda Hummel says, "She is my little blessing. She was born 11/19/07, normal pregnancy, normal birth."
But, when Scooter, as she is called, turned five months old, she started having seizures. Doctors diagnosed her with a form of epilepsy called infantile spasms. Hummel says, “The doctors said the prognosis is not good. I needed to know exactly what that meant. Are we not leaving the hospital with her?”
Doctors told Hummel her daughter may never walk or talk. But, in the last year, Hummel noticed changes in her daughter. She started a blended diet of real food fed through a g-tube. And, doctors put Andrea on a new seizure controlling medication while weaning her off another. Hummel says, “It was like a cloud lifted. I didn`t realize how much of a sedative it was until we stopped it."
Now, she's taking steps in her gait trainer and making more sounds. Hummel says, “I am hopeful she will walk. I`m hopeful she will say mommy one day. I`m hopeful she will have every opportunity every other child has, but, I`m also, reality tells me we may not get that, and I`m ok with that.'
Hummel says she tries to see the world through her daughter's eyes everywhere she goes. One day she wanted to play tennis with her son and daughter, but Andrea wasn't able to get into the courts because of the skinny entrance. She went to the Grimes City Council last fall and already this spring they've added a wider wheelchair accessible entrance.
Hummel says, “I`m just trying to make any little change I can.” She’s documenting the changes on a website called I Think Good Thoughts. She shares Scooter's progress and videos of activities like cheerleading and dance. She also includes resources for other parents of kids with special developmental or healthcare needs. She says, “A learning experience for me. I found my passion. She is my why.”
The single mother works full-time outside the home, while raising two kids and spreading the message motherhood isn't always what you expect. She says, "And if you're lucky enough, that child may just be the teacher teaching you who you should really be."