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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.

So…

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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