Monday, March 12, 2012

Our Happily Ever After

Okay, this time I have an excuse to go nearly a month without posting.  I didn't want to put it out there in the blogosphere before the trip, and all my energy (other than that spent fighting one helluva sinus infection and, oh yeah, growing another human) was spent on preparing for our trip to...Disney World!

That's right, folks, the little miss, Super Dad and I took a rare family vacation with just the three of us and went to see Mickey Mouse live and in person (in mouse?)!  We had an amazing time, and I'll regale you with tales, bargain tips, and lots and lots of pictures later...but first I want to take a few minutes and tell you what it meant to us to be able to take such a trip.

I am 15 weeks pregnant now.  15 weeks and 2 days, actually - almost exactly as pregnant as I was four years ago when we first learned that something was wrong with our first pregnancy.  The doctor called with abnormal results from an AFP screen - the same test that I will be having done at our appointment on Wednesday.  The elevated numbers indicated that there *might* be a higher risk the our child would have spina bifida. 

Spina bifida, huh?  Not what you want for your child.  You want a beautiful, perfectly closed spinal column with no mysterious bumps or openings.  You want your child to learn to walk naturally, unimpeded by such a significant disability.  When you dream about the 10 perfect fingers and the 10 perfect toes and say that you don't care what gender the baby is, "as long as it's healthy," you don't dream about spina bifida.  Those test results were a blow.  But that was just the beginning. 

Spina bifida, we decided, we could handle.  It would certainly  not be ideal and definitely not the path we would chose for our child.  But we knew and know teenages and adults with spina bifida who are spirited, determined and fully independent - even more so than many of their non-disabled peers.  Even if our child's case fell on the more severe end of the spectrum, we would work with them, love them, shuttle them to therapy and do whatever it would take to enable them to reach their fullest potential.  And besides, there was this organization called the March of Dimes that helped kids with spina bifida.  That worked to fortify our country's grain sources with folic acid so that fewer kids would have to face the challenge of a compromised spinal column.  They helped families cope with the difficulties of disabilities related to birth defects like spina bifida.  And their website was the first one I turned to when we started to consider the potential diagnosis. 

But then we saw the specialist, and what we thought was a devastating potential prognosis quickly turned into a lethal one.  You know the story; when the doctor saw that Becca was already 2 weeks too small, she told me that my little girl was going to die.  Worst case scenario shifted from a VP shunt and life in a wheelchair to...nothing.

Nothing.  That's what we came to expect for our little girl's future.  Of course, we still hoped and dreamed and prayed and sang and started this blog, but as far as actual expectations?  Nothing.

No first cries.
No first smiles.
No first steps.

No pigtails.
No kindergarten.
No graduations.

And certainly no family vacations to Disney World.

We didn't give up.  We did everything we could to give her a chance.  But we knew that whatever life we did get with her was gravy, as we like to say in the south. 

People like to say that Becca is a miracle.  I'm not going to dispute that.  But my understanding of the most miraculous part of it all is that as we didn't give up on her, this child that we had already come to know and love, neither did thousands and thousands of people who had never met her.  While we were singing our "Grow, Grow, Grow" song -- and in the decades before Becca even came to be -- doctors, nurses, researchers, fundraisers, parents, neighbors, kids collecting dimes enough to stretch to Washington were working to save her.  Our Itty Bitty.  And I truly do understand that work -- all of that work -- to be miraculous, inspired by God and brought to fruition through the gifts given to these people through God. 

Because people like President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to use their substantial power to benefit others, Becca is alive.  Because people like Dr. Mildred Stahlman care enough about the babies they would never even meet but whose lives they would save, Becca is thriving.  Because our every day heroes like Drs. Prince and Weitkamp and nurses Millie, Heather, Leigh, Stacy and Carla, who believed in the tiny fighter the had before them when it would have been easier to write her off as another non-viable fetus, Becca is the spunky, tenacious girl she is today.  And because of people like you, who take a few minutes and a few dollars to pay it forward to benefit the itty bitties of tomorrow - like the one I'm carrying right now! - Becca got to meet the princesses. 

Our family is living our happily ever after.  And we hope that continues to be our story as we move through this second pregnancy.  As with Becca, there may be challenges, but we know that whatever life we get -- all of us -- is gravy.  Our family is fortunate, lucky and blessed beyond measure by our little girl and the love and support of our great cloud of witness.  And so this year, at the Nashville March for Babies on Sunday, April 22,

We march because every family deserves their happily ever after.

Please join us, physically or in spirit, by becoming a part of Itty Bitty Becca's Team at

Any size donation helps, and the more who can join us on the day of the walk, the merrier!  We'll be selling t-shirts soon, and if you have a small business, leave me a comment with your contact information, and I'll fill you in on some awesome sponsorship opportunities - starting at $150!  
As loyal readers and dear friends, you have walked with us through the tumult of the past 4 years and into our happily ever after.  I hope that you will take this chance to continue walking with our family by joining us or donating to our team's goal.  Your support truly does make a difference - to me, to John, to Becca, to the little booger in my belly, and to the thousands of babies born each day too sick and too soon.  Thanks.   


  1. Way to make me cry.
    Big tears.
    At work, no less.

    You're right; every family deserves their happily ever after, and I'm so unbelievably glad that you're getting yours, even if it doesn't look exactly like you dreamed it might. She -- and you and John and the lil'bit and all the people that saved her life -- make my life better.

    Love you!

  2. Beautiful. You've made me cry, too. I'm so happy for Itty Bitty Becca and the connection we have because of itty bitties. Love you guys and can't wait to walk together on April 22!