Starting at the beginning of this year my wife and I didn't exactly start trying to have a child but we stopped not trying. It finally felt like the time to start working towards adding to our family. Even though I expected for us to find out the good news the gravity of the change didn't really sink in until one day in May. Around the middle of May my wife had an appointment scheduled and luckily things worked out with my work schedule that I was able to go with her to that appointment. We got the news that we had been expecting and it was a huge emotional roller coaster.
Just finding out news that I'm now fully responsible for the care and well-being of another person is a bit overwhelming and changes your perspective on things. Coupling the emotions of that news with the issues my grandfather was going through at the time made it kind of bittersweet. For those that don't remember, my grandfather had fallen and broken his left hip and left shoulder. That was a truly wild ride because my wife and I didn't feel that the time was right to share our good news with my family because the focus really needed to be on the well-being of my grandfather who was in bad shape.
The doctor even came in and essentially told the family that my grandfather most likely wouldn't make it through the weekend, let alone the surgery needed to repair the bones that were broken. I mentioned before how my grandfather is my biggest inspiration and it's truly amazing how strong that man is. He's had multiple heart surgeries starting about 40 years ago, as well as a back surgery or two and now he's having to deal with a broken hip at the ripe old age of 93. After a lot of back and forth between the doctors and my family the decision was finally made to try and fix the bones as soon as he was stable enough to attempt the surgery, even though the odds of him surviving the surgery was probably in the 10% range due to his weak heart. It amazes me to find out how medical technology has changed and how amazing the doctors and surgeons are. The surgeon that performed the procedure recommended that we only fix the hip to limit the time that my grandfather was under anesthesia which made perfect sense given his age and risk. He was able to insert a rod and screws through two inch long incisions and did all of this about 10 minutes when the surgery was projected to take about 20-30 minutes. My grandfather is still recovering and I don't ever expect him to walk again but getting to still have him around is amazing. Did I mention that he's strong? Sometimes stubbornness is a good thing.
Anyways, back to my original story. Finding out that my wife was indeed pregnant was amazing and scary all at the same time and sent all sorts of thoughts through my head. Will I be a good father? How do I raise our child? Are we really ready financially and emotionally to go through a pregnancy and at least 18 years?
My biggest fear with the pregnancy is that besides being there for conception pretty much everything else it out of my hands. Sure I can help out a bit more around the house to help out my wife but she has to carry our child all by herself. I can't lighten her load and take the baby off her hands...errr...stomach for a few hours. It's essentially up to her and the miracle that is child birth.
Fast forward to almost 2 weeks ago when my wife went to the doctor to find out the gender of the baby. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go to the appointment with her because I was actually heading back to work that same day. The plan was to have the doctors find out and put the information in an envelope and we'd have a gender reveal party. I got a call from my wife with her crying rather hysterically and I knew something had to be wrong. She finally calmed down enough to explain to me what had happened. Our child has a congenital diaphragmatic hernia or CDH. Essentially what it is is that the diaphragm doesn't completely form which allows some of the abdominal organs, everything but the heart and lungs, up into the chest cavity. The lungs not having space to fully develop is the biggest issue with CDH. I immediately turned my car around and went back home to spend time with my wife and try to learn more about what it is that is affecting our child.
It's pretty rare with about 1 in 2,500 babies being effected with about a 50% survival rate after birth. The worst part about it is that there's essentially no known cause for CDH. Best case scenario is 2-3 days in the NICU followed by one surgery and then a few days in the NICU for recovery. That was absolutely heartbreaking to learn that our child will be needing at least one surgery within the first few days of its' life when neither my wife or I have had a surgery in our 61 combined years. But the great thing is that there's some absolutely amazing hospitals in Houston. We know that we'll be delivering at Texas Children's Hospital which is one of the best children's hospitals in the country and deals with several cases of CDH each year. We'll be meeting with a big team of doctors next week to have them run some more tests and get a game plan ready for how we'll proceed. Obviously there's a lot that can change but it feels good to finally be moving forward instead of being stuck in limbo with nothing but the worst case scenarios running through our heads.
This past weekend we ended up having the gender reveal party and we found out that we're going have a BOY!!!! And his name will be Lucas Dean. We're both excited to be having Lucas Dean join us in late December, at least that's his projected due date. But we're also both terrified of the unknown since most of the action and issues with CDH don't occur until after the pregnancy. For now we're taking it a day at a time; some better than others but never without hope.