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As any mother does on her kid’s birthday, my mind is reflecting on the now four years we’ve had with Jack.  Of course I can’t believe how BIG he is and that he can now do big boy stuff like ride his bike, say his letters, and aim his pee mostly into the toilet water.  However, my thoughts have also turned introspectively, and thus I’ve felt compelled to blog transparently about the very beginning with Jack.


Jack was desperately wanted from the conception. He followed our miscarried baby, and our hearts were oh so excited once we knew we were pregnant again. We anxiously awaited passing that 12 week mark and then the ultrasound to find out the sex of our precious bundle.

When our world tilted...
4.5 years ago, chasing the heels of the announcement of “Its a boy!” I heard the word cleft for the first time {outside of a Smile Train commercial}. A small word that turned my safe world upside down. A few days later, a specialty clinic confirmed Jack’s bilateral cleft.

The next statement I recall hearing was “We have to first give you the option of  termination.” This was Emanuel’s first option for my very alive and active 24 week old baby inside my body that we had just intimately viewed in 3D.

I was stunned. My mouth said the right answer, “Absolutely not.” {I thought, I AM a pro-lifer, I believe in life!} But I felt my dry throat tighten and mind flash to the possibility of not having to face this. I have admitted this to very few, but feel compelled to share this today. {Also after the termination suggestion, we were then peppered by a geneticist with questions like, “Sooooo, are you guys related?I know we look a bit alike, but come on! Really???}

After that day, I grieved the loss of not having the”perfect” baby. I hurt deeply and privately. I cried much. These things I hate to even say now, because I love Jack so desperately. As the birth of Jack came closer, I came to terms with the cleft. We educated ourselves and prepared the best we could. To regain a sense of normalcy  I had maternity pics taken and shopped boutiques for his coming home outfit. {I couldn’t decide, so he had 2} We welcomed him with open arms; the minute he was placed on me… well, the rest is history. LOVE.

My heart today is for the  young mom who has stumbled onto our page, for the family who just heard the word cleft for the first time and is googling bilateral cleft, OHSU, Dr Kuang, Dr Garfinkle, NAM, or Doernbecher, and just in case there is even one woman sitting at the crossroad where I sat not long ago. Know this: your baby is a precious, important, and valuable person. You will grieve, and you will face challenges, but life is worth that. While my heart aches for all that our little guy will still face, more than that, my heart overflows with gratitude that I get to be Jack’s mama.  Choose life!

Happy birthday to sweet Jack and his BiG smile!

{Guess what he’s getting? The updated bat cave-to those who know him well, this may seem redundant, but we’re pretty sure he’ll love it!}

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Monday, Jack, Maddox, and I trooped up to Doernbecher for Jack’s follow up after his recent ear tube surgery. Results are in…Normal hearing!  His test was the easiest it has ever been-he even went in the creepy sound proof room all by himself.   Of course I rewarded him with a cake pop. (Max too, since he didn’t cause too much destruction to the lobby) For some reason I had gotten myself all worked up about this surgery and the success or failure of it. It’s crazy how fear can take hold so quickly and so strongly. I’m so thankful Jack is hearing well; his speech work can continue to progress.  I’m also thankful for my Lord, my awesome hubby and my girl friends who know just how to bring me into a sense of calm during these seasons.

Oregon has been good to us–SUNSHINE clear into October–wonderful {and not so normal}!  We have enjoyed this as our schedule has returned to a new normal as well.  {Hurried morning bowls of cereal, quick kisses good bye at school, snuggly boys to read to or take walks with, and mounds  of school work to grade}  Inserted into the mundane was a visit from my sister-in-law Miwa and nephew Isamu. He and Max got to share a fun birthday complete with pinata–so cute {and crazy–we have 4 boy cousins, ages 1,2,3, and almost 4}.  THEN Our nephew Chandler visited us during Sept, so we were able to squeeze in one last summer-ish vaca.  to Sunriver. LOVE!

Thank you to all of you who prayed for Jack!  Now go drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte, admire the changing leaves,  and soak in this season!