Tot With Spina Bifida Defies All Odds by Crawling, Despite Doctors' Belief She Never Would

21-month-old Poppy Cox is learning how to stand on her own and take her first steps, despite her family being told she may never be able to use her legs.

Every parent celebrates the first time their baby crawls, but the milestone was all the more special for this Oklahoma family, who were once told their daughter would never be able to due to her spina bifida.

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Meet 21-month-old Poppy Cox, of Broken Arrow, the baby defying all odds after being diagnosed with spina bifida while she was in the womb.

Her mom, Jordan Cox, told that she found out her third child would be disabled at her 20-week ultrasound.

“It was definitely a dark day, just leaving with the uncertainty,” Jordan said. “We walked in pregnant with a baby and felt like we were finding out we were pregnant with a diagnosis and that was just really devastating."

Doctors explained their baby’s spinal cord was not developing normally, and said it would likely cause her legs to have little feeling, and limited mobility. Doctors even said little Poppy may never be able to crawl.

Weeks later, doctors performed neo-natal surgery on her baby, where they were able to take little Poppy’s backside out of the womb, operate on the affected part of her spine, and place her back into the womb, where she continued to grow for the duration of her mom’s pregnancy.

Although doctors called the surgery a success, Jordan said they were still unsure how her daughter would be affected once she was born.

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"One of the hardest parts about being pregnant with her was feeling scared of her,” she said. “Most of the time when you’re pregnant, you’re excited for your baby to be born and you can’t wait to see them, and I just remember being scared of her [and] all these issues that we have no idea what it will look like."

Little Poppy was born premature in April 2015, and for the first year, the entire family worked hard to help her reach her milestones.

“For a really long time, everything was very stressful,” Jordan said. “Just knowing we have a special needs child, that just seems so hard.”

But, little Poppy never gave up, and even her siblings pitched in to support her every move.

Jordan said she recalls her 6-year-old son, Gavin, lingering around during Poppy’s bath time, and moved her legs around the water, exclaiming: “I’ll splash your legs for you, Poppy!”

“It was really sweet and a great way for her to know that she’s supported and encouraged, and has lots of cheerleaders in her life,” the mother of three said.

One day, at about 14-months-old, little Poppy started to crawl — not just with her arms, but with her legs as well.

“It was the moment my husband and I both felt like, ‘This is going to be really good. Our lives are going to be great. Her life is going to be great,’” Jordan said. “It just felt very rewarding to see that — especially as a surprise milestone.”

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Today, Poppy continues to do physical therapy twice a week, where she works on standing up on her own, and even taking her first step, which her mom calls a nod to her namesake.

“Her official name is Gabrielle Poppy Cox. We wanted to call her Poppy Cox because 'poppycock' means nonsense, or rubbish,” her mother explained. “We think back to the day we were diagnosed with spina bifida and just how sad we were when our joy felt so stolen. Her little life just says ‘poppycock’ to all of that. We’re going to be happy."

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