Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One year ago today...

Leigh and I started a blog. Here's how it all started.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately... It's been exactly one year. One year ago today my life was flipped completely upside down. Seriously, I can recall the day's event as if I were watching it on a 52" HD TV. It's still that vivid in my head and will be one of those events that stays with me forever.

I remember the hours before the ultrasound feeling so excited!! To the point I couldn't concentrate on anything, I couldn't sit still, I was just soooo anxious to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. Admittedly, my fingers were crossed for a boy :) Finally it was time and Leigh and I made our way to the doctor's office both very anxious yet giddy. This was going to be great...and it turned out it was, the ultra sound nurse confirmed what I had been hoping...A BOY!!!! At this point the smile on my face extended passed my ears, and Leigh was the the same, tears of happiness from us both.

We left the office practically walking on air, we were SOOO HAPPY. In fact, at the time, it was one of the most emotional highs I ever felt. Throughout all the excitement we found that we were pretty hungry, and what better place to celebrate than a local Wendy's!! haha. There I was paying for our Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers when Leigh's cellphone rang and she said "Huh, it's Dr Lagrands office...I hope nothings wrong" After the conversation on the phone the only thing we knew was that they wanted to go over the ultrasound images with us. That's all they would say. At that moment my heart fell onto the floor of that Wendy's. (I still can't and might not ever return to that Wendy's, even driving by it, I get a weird feeling).

I remember returning to the doctor's office and having to wait in a room, the very room that 20 minutes earlier I had feelings of complete blissfull happiness. That feeling was gone, and wouldn't return for a long, long time. I was praying so hard that it was a technical error, like something went haywire with the ultrasound machine and they lost the results and we'd have to do it again or something. I was praying for a "Hey guys, sorry to have you come back, but these stupid PC's crashed again and we lost some of your ultrasound images...we gotta get a MAC." type response from the Doctor.

He opened the door and with the ultrasound in hand, he almost immediately spoke the words no parent wants to hear,
"This is not what we want to see." That's what he said, those exact words, I'll never forget them... ever. He then started showing us the ultrasound and talking about how my sons head was shaped like a lemon and that this was a sign that he may have spina bif-a-something. I didn't know what he was talking about and felt the inside of my body and head erupting into the most horrible fear/panic/hurt/anger I have ever felt. I remember the print off he handed me explaining what spina bifida was, and on it was every possible horrible/awful thing you could imagine. I still couldn't make sense of it. He explained that he didn't see a hole in the spine, and therefore we'd have to go to another specialist to look closer in the morning. He assured us that whatever it might be, this would not be a "normal" baby. I remember holding Leigh tightly trying to comfort her, trying to be strong, wondering how we were gonna care for a baby like this.

Devasted. Afraid. Scared. Angry. Pretty much every emotion that didn't involve joy or happiness we felt that afternoon. My darkest day.

The next morning we went to the specialist where she gave it to us straight.
"Your son has spina bifida." It was confirmed. It was our new reality.

A year ago today we were told our baby may never walk.
A year ago today we were told our baby may have brain damage.
A year ago today we were told our baby would have bladder and bowel issues.

A year ago today...we were given the option to terminate the pregnancy.

I cant even begin to describe the emotions I feel when I start to wrap my head around the possibility of living my life without my son, and the fact that the option to give up on him came up so "casually" from the doctor. Ughhh, it gives me a stomach ache just thinking about it. Speaking of stomach aches, I had one continuously for months after finding out about Grey's spina bifida. It just lingered with me everywhere. I wanted to feel normal again. But as with most things, time heals. And this was no different. The feeling of despair and anger slowly turned to hope. Hope is a powerful force, more powerful than I realized.

If I were to measure the amount of growth I made in this past year as a person I'd say it crushed the Richter scale. I was knocked down to my lowest low and had to rebuild. I kept some of things in me, but dropped a lot of things that were getting in the way of making me a better version of myself.

And so I sit here today watching my son (a son whose head isn't shaped like a lemon, and a son who doesn't have brain damage) crawling, laughing at his winnie the pooh piano, playing with his mom, and it makes my heart burst with love!!! I thank God every single day for my family, and for His perfectly crafted gift to us, Greyson Neal Gibbs.

thank you all for your love,

Andy, Leigh, Grey


The Burnetts said...

I found your family's blog through the babycenter site. My son, Nathan also has SB. As I read your entry today, I remember having those EXACT same feelings, as our story was very similar. As hard as that day was, I can't imagine living one second without him! We are enjoying every minute of every day as he just continues to amaze us. Your little Grey is pretty amazing too! Just wanted to say hi and let you know you are not alone! :)

sarah said...

I am a big teary mess right now. that was beautiful! What a heart felt post.

I swear we all need to make a book and then in stead of the doctors saying things like "your baby is not normal" he just hands over the book of all our stories to the parents and says something like this: "Congratulations! You get to live with a miracle. It will be hard, but it will be worth it. now go home and read about all these families whose lives are richly blessed because of their sweet child that just so happens to also have spina bifida."

You two are amazing!

Lacy said...

Have to agree with I was reading your post and how our story was almost exactly like yours the day we learned of our daughter's SB. What a powerful thing it would be for all us SB parents to get together and write a book for all those people who had the exact same appt. happen for them today. Showing them there is HOPE and how blessed we are to raise these miracles.

Mariann said...

beautiful story (one I can relate to). Our location was a McCallister's Deli. Hate that place. Thanks for your blog.

The Dugan's said...

Tears streaming down my face at 6:30 in the morning! Very well said. Our kids are amazing and through this journey hope, faith, and love are what keeps us going. You guys have an amazingly adorable son and are doing a great job!!

amberWIRE said...

Thank you Andy and Leigh - for sharing your life, your Gray with us, Thank you for your open and honest posts, and for letting us in on your miracle.

Joanna and David said...

It's amazing to think about - and even more amazing to LIVE the same experience and think "yes! that's exactly how it went". I thank God for Greyson because it was this blog and his adorable, sweet face that I saw just 2 weeks after we heard Jet's diagnosis. We had first been told we would lose Jet at birth (based on where they thought the spinal opening was) but the next day we were granted the miracle of the doctor's telling us Jet would live. I was still reeling and looking for answers went I joined BabyCenter. Then God granted me the second miracle of my pregnancy - finding Grey. It was on the exact day Grey was born that I found your blog and read your story and checked RELIGIOUSLY every day for more pictures...more sweet baby boy...more hope for my own baby's future. I felt an immediate connection and love for Grey. It was like seeing my little boy's future when I felt so helpless to do anything. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that you guys made this blog. Watching Grey and how perfect you were together swept away my clouds of doubt and inspired me to create my own blog. :) To this day I consider Grey my and Jet's guardian angel. :) He is certainly heaven sent.

Holli (and Mark) said...

How beautifully written. If I hadn't gone through such a similar experience, I would definitely have a very real idea of what walking in those shoes that day might have been like from your post. You and Leigh are inspiring and because of finding your blog many months ago, we were able to navigate a little better our own journey, you gave us so much hope. We are still regular followers and love to watch Grey grow, as if we know him. It also kind of gives us a little window of what might be coming down the road for us with Alex. Thank you, thank you, for sharing your Grey with us!!! Blessings!!!!!


Meinhardt Family said...

Wow! What an incredible I've ever read. Greyson is such a lucky little man to be given to such amazing parents. Keep up the great work guys!

Ciaran's parents, Jon & Wendy said...

Andy, Andy, Andy...WOW!!! That was great. I remember the day also...and I will never forget. Thank you for writing that. My husband isn't exactly the writing kind but I'm sure you put all of his emotions into your post. Thank you!

Holli (and Mark) said...

I'm sitting here at work reading this entry right now (and wishing I wasn't in such a public place). This brings me right back to the day that Holli and I learned the same about Alex. The feelings (and tears) well up as if it was just yesterday. I wish I could go back to that day and give my wife and myself just a glimpse of Alex as he is today. It would have taken so much pain and anxiety away.

He is such a blessing to us both.


Kari said...

wow thanks for sharing.

Supernatural Botanicals said...

Tears everywhere. Very touching. That's what having faith is all about. Love that!