My story begins Athens, Georgia, where I met my husband and love of my life, Andy. He told his fraternity president that he had never met a girl more beautiful in his life (or at least this is what he tells me!) to which the guy replied, “So, why are you talking to me?” “I ran out of things to say!”
It took two years for us to get together. He was the greatest risk of my life (read about it here) and I thank God for nudging me to take the chance. While Andy was in dental school, I worked as a news reporter/anchor at WISTV and WJBF.
Andy was on an Air Force scholarship for dental school and after we had our first child, Violet, we moved from Georgia to Las Vegas for his one-year residency program. We traveled every chance we got and it ended up being the absolute best year of our lives. We couldn’t wait to find out where we were heading next—and then we got word that our next assignment was in the middle of nowhere New Mexico.
We were crushed. Not only was it a place we didn’t want to go, there wasn’t a grocery store there, let alone a TV station for me to work. But, the same day we found out that we were moving to New Mexico, we found out that we were unexpectedly pregnant. It seemed so poetic—I thought God was telling me to be a stay at home mom.
Eight days after arriving in New Mexico, the doctor found soft markers for Down syndrome on our 20-week ultrasound. When we got the official diagnosis, we were completely devastated. We didn’t understand Down syndrome then, now we do. Our son has been one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever received.
Unfortunately, Anderson had a heart defect that didn’t correct itself and had to have open-heart-surgery at 5-months-old. Once he recovered, we had a year of peace.
We decided we wanted another child close in age to Anderson, so we tried to get pregnant. Sadly, that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and we were heartbroken once again.
We got pregnant quickly afterward and were so relieved to hear the heartbeat on the first ultrasound. However, our 14-week appointment revealed something terribly off. After weeks of not knowing what was wrong, doctors finally diagnosed our unborn son with posterior urethral valves—a very serious and sometimes fatal condition. They also diagnosed him with clubbed feet.
Where our pregnancy with Anderson was classified by grief, our pregnancy with Preston was filled with anxiety, as every appointment seemed touch and go. We moved states during the pregnancy for Andy’s orthodontic residency and I ended up having to live away from my family to deliver our son, Preston, in a bigger city.
Preston has one non-functioning kidney and requires a lot of medical care, but he is so much better off than anyone ever expected—a miracle baby.
Our entrance into parenthood has been tough, but through it all, we have wrestled with and clung to faith. We’ve grown as individuals and as a married couple. Although I wish I could take away the pain my boys went through, there has been good in the midst of the hard, beauty in the face of ugly and hope even in the darkest of places.