One year ago, I slipped out of work a bit early to meet Kelly at Dr. Lagrands office to find out the sex of our new baby. There was some excitement and anxiety building around the discovery, I know Kelly was hoping for a girl and I was leaning a little that way myself, so that I could have more leverage when it came to saying 2 kids is enough!
When the ultrasound tech said, "it's a boy!", there were mixed feelings; however, none of the feelings would compare to our emotions a few long moments later, when Dr. Lagrand came into the room and said, "We need to talk, this baby has a spina bifida." "Woah, what? What's that?" I had heard the name before but had no idea what it really meant. One thing I did know however, was that life would probably never be the same again.
The next few weeks were filled with research, sadness, dispair, and very tough choices. Should we go forward with the pregnancy, or not? I know for me, the one big question was, will the baby have good cognitive ability? It wasn't just a choice for my own welfare, but we had to consider the baby's welfare, Zander's life, and the family's. It seems so long ago now, but I know there were many hard days. I kind of let myself go, started not caring about some things, gained a bit of weight, drank a lot more. I felt like I needed to "live-up" the next few months before the baby came and our life was forever different.
In what may be one of the very few, lucky breaks, I feel I/we have ever gotten in my life, Kelly's dad passed along some information about a MOMS study. It took several weeks of research and screenings, but we were invited to Philadelphia to have a chance at partcipating in a landmark study investigating the differences between prenatal and postnatal repair of myelomeningocele. After Kelly went through all the tests and interviews, we were told we could participate. Somehow, we were randomly selected to have the prenatal repair. I knew the summer was going to be a whole lot different than planned.
An experience we never thought we would have, Philadelphia was great. We had awesome support from our friends, family, and co-workers that allowed Kelly and for a big part, Zander to stay in Philadelphia as required by the study. I was able to spend several weeks at a time throughout the summer in Philly to see Kelly and Zander. We did a lot of fun things, the Art Museum, Children's Museum, Franklin Square, Delaware River, Smith Playhouse, Reading Market, Eagles Game, Phillies Game... I could go on and on.
September came and Grayden William Goff was born. A little early, but thanks to the great staff at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Grayden was well on his way to where he is now. Grayden is awesome, always smiling, rarely crying, kicking and moving his legs all the time, rolling over, cooing/talking, and so many other things that baby's do. I know he has a positive outlook already on life, and he will try his hardest to keep up with Big Brother Zander and do all the things our family likes to do. It is crazy being a Dad of two boys, but I think everything we have done in the last year has been worth it. Like any parent, I will probably always worry, but life isn't that much different than it used to be. I am looking forward to many more years with Grayden, Zander, Kelly, (and yes, probably one more) ,jope!
Fall Fest at Tri-Ponds
5 days ago