It was the coldest winter Boise had seen in nearly 30 years, so needless to say we were more than ready to jet set home to San Diego for our Engagement Party in early February. To everyone’s surprise there were actually three of us making the trip this time ! I had found out we would be expecting a little bundle of joy come October and couldn’t wait to share the news with all of our family and friends.
I set up a photo shoot for us, siblings, parents, grandparents, and extended family for just before the party and pulled out a onesie just as the group photo was being shot. It was the second time I’d ever seen Jesse cry (looking back I think they were tears of fear). Parenthood! Messy, exhausting, blissful parenthood was coming our way ! It was the happiest day of my life to date.
As the news spread and baby grew we decided it was time to head back home. Being the first grandchild on Jesse’s side and with our immediate families all back in San Diego we decided that was where we needed to welcome her into the world.
Fast forward a few months, a thousand mile move, living in my parent’s motorhome while closing escrow on our first home and re-establishing our careers, our lives came to a crashing halt in June. After work we had gone to our 26 week scan (the exciting one where they check all of babies organs and confirm the gender). A 45 minute appointment quickly turned into three hours and we were making the half hour drive home with inconclusive results. The next morning we were right back in for another ultrasound with hopes they could get the view they needed of baby. Another long appointment followed by an even longer waiting period. Then the specialist came in.
And so began the worst day of my life.
Brooklynn was tentatively diagnosed with Esophageal Atresia. All I could hear was a loud ringing as if a gunshot had just gone off and the distant sound of a doctor saying diagnostic words I never knew existed. The tears were unstoppable and the guilt was crashing over me like a title wave. It had to be my fault right ? I was her home, I was her safe place to develop and I had failed her. I surely had to have done something to cause this. (Later as the shock wore off and I came to understand her diagnosis and the fact that nothing I did or didn’t do caused this, I began to release myself of blame.)
So with four words hand-written on a piece of paper: Esophageal Atresia & Tracheoesophageal Fistula, we left the doctors office, took the rest of the day off work and went to the saddest meal of our lives, where we sat and cried in silence holding hands for over an hour.
The weight of that day was almost unbearable.
This changed every image we held in our hearts and minds of what first time parenthood would be. We looked up those four words while driving to see the next specialist a few days later and were immediately hit with the severity of the condition and it’s rareness. Some scary statistics came up in that initial Internet search and we decided at that point to put our trust in those who know what they are doing. For peace of mind we had to trust. It was the best decision I think we could have made. Life was going to be scary enough from now on without the added fear one bad Google search can leave you with.
Over the next six weeks the appointments became biweekly and her birth plan was put into place. Due to the need for immediate attention after birth we would have to deliver at a hospital an hour from our new home. Seven weeks and three days early our sweet baby girl made her arrival into the world the night before our baby shower. (Surprising, considering I am habitually a half an hour late to everything – she must get her punctuality from her father.) There we were in the middle of August two scared kids watching our little 3 pound 4 ounce baby girl being whisked into the NICU to begin her fight. It wasn’t what this moment was supposed to be. The happiest day of my life was equally the scariest.
Upon Brooklynn’s arrival (and the cancellation of a shower for 65 people – oops!) the outpour of support from family, friends, acquaintances, our employers, even complete strangers, was breathtaking. Overnight it seemed, every person we knew, or knew someone who knew us, had reached out in love and support. It was a true testament to the goodness in people. We received care packages with gift cards for restaurants local to the hospital so we wouldn’t’ have to worry about what to make for dinner after the hour drive home at 9 p.m. We came home to our lawn being mowed and our weeds picked. We were given as much time as needed from work so that we could spend every single day at the hospital holding her. If we even mentioned something that we still needed to get to prepare for her arrival home it would show up at our house. People invited us into their homes to ease the burden of the long commute, my employer gave us a gift card that helped to pay for hotel stays by the hospital for her surgeries. Volunteers and staff alike would read to her and hold her hand while she slept after surgery. Our hearts were so full in the most desperate of times.
We soon came to realize Brooklynn’s journey home was the biggest lesson in love we had ever received. And so is born Love Lesson Clothing.
We were blessed to have so many people to support us on our long NICU journey. Not everyone can say the same. That’s where we hope to step in! We aim to pay forward our lesson in love to those who are in the midst of their journey. With every onesie purchased from our store you are helping a mom spend one more week with her hospitalized child instead of being forced back into work while her child fights for their life, you are helping a dad fill up his gas tank to make the drive to see his child after another long day of work that he would have rather spent in that hospital room. You are helping alleviate the worry of a car payment or a cell phone bill or a warm meal. You are truly giving someone the best lesson in life; a Love Lesson !
I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for not only reading our story but for sharing in someone else's through your purchase.
I hope that you are always surrounded by love.