It's been a year since Grayden and I were undergoing surgery to repair his lesion on his back. Wow one year! I can't believe it's already been a year.
A year ago as my mom, Austin, and I walked from the hotel down to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia my mind was racing in a million different directions. I was scared out of my mind, but also very thankful that we were allowed the opportunity to participate in a surgery that was opening the door to a possibility. It was the most difficult decision that I have ever had to make in my lifetime thus far. I was so worried about Zander at that time and remember him being my primary concern. I was so concerned about what our life was going to be like and how all of this was going to impact his life. As I was wheeled into the operating room I was so extremely sad for Zander, feeling like I was going to miss out on his life and worried his life was going to be consumed by Grayden and everything that came with him; and on the other hand I was feeling like we were doing the best thing possible for Grayden. I was so torn. I was so worried about being away from home, being away from my friends and family. In a way I was being selfish because I kept thinking "this is going to ruin my summer". I also worried about the extreme. "What if we didn't make it through?, What if Grayden is faced with extreme prematurity and has to deal with that on top of SB?,"
A year later as I reflect back on what the year has brought to us. I can tell you without a doubt that we made the best possible decision for our family. Philadelphia and the surgery brought unexpected benefits. We got to spend such quality one on one time with our closest friends and family. I have always had a strong relationship with my parents; however if it is possible we became closer. And as for Zander, he did not lack for attention and he was allowed experiences he would not have been otherwise. He may not remember them, but we have vowed that we will travel to Philadelphia often so that he can grow to love the city that holds such a dear place in our hearts. The summer of 2010 was one of the best summers of my life. I can tell you that last year at this time, I would not have ever guessed I would be saying that. Surgery was difficult, but I recovered well and fairly quickly and the bed rest that I thought would be unbearable was not as bad as I thought.
I will always be forever grateful to all of the mothers who went before me on this journey to help me make my decision. I can't say without a doubt that I would have made the same choice if we were #10 versus #175 in the study. I will also always hold a dear place in my heart for the staff at CHOP and the care that we received there. From the moment we walked through the doors until the minute we walked out with Grayden in our arms we received top notch care and always felt as if they were taking care of us as if we were their own family members. One of the biggest differences we felt there was that they truly opened the door of possibility. Even though, they had numerous families coming to them in the same situation with the same diagnosis we were treated as individuals and as if we were the only family they were working with at the time. We never felt like we were placed in a box, the box of "L4 Spina Bifida diagnosis; therefore we do A, B, C." Grayden will write his own story of what he will do. This is Grayden's journey and I'm excited to travel it with him as he paves new paths.
A little clip of Grayden "exploring". Of course, he will never show off all of his tricks when I get the camera out, but it shows you a little glimmer of how he is getting around these days. He is rolling like crazy and starting to pull his knees up under him while he is on his tummy.
For those of you that missed this on facebook, Grayden discovers his waving hand.
Grayden truly brings us joy every minute of every day. A year ago we wondered what our life would be like with him in it, a year later it is impossible to imagine what our life would be like without him!!
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