“When an oyster is hit with trauma – a foreign body that invades the sheltered life it lives in its safe shell, it takes action. It builds upon that painful intrusion in its life, adding layer upon layer of iridescence, until it creates a pearl. An object valued for its depth of beauty, the pearl is the beautiful hope born out of the oyster’s pain. Just like the pearl, we can be inspired to take action in our own lives to create beauty and hope out of times that are traumatic and painful. We can create something strong that will be admired by all we let see it, for the depth of its many layers, and the beauty of its strength. Whether it is illness, loss, pain, or trauma, we can transform what life brings us and use it to move forward with wisdom and grace.” – Strength of Heart, by Judy Fredette
Our beautiful hope was born many years after our infertility journey started. After two surgeries, one round of IVF, an amazing support group, lots of ups and downs and almost losing hope of a successful blastocyst making it to day 5, we transferred one perfect embryo on January 31, 2016. After the dreaded two week wait, the doctor called to tell us – it was a BFP!
After a joyful and uncomplicated pregnancy, we delivered a healthy baby boy on October 26, 2016. It was one of the happiest days of our lives.
Unfortunately, four and a half months later, my husband and I learned difficult news in March of 2017. Our son had suffered a perinatal stroke (yes, kids have strokes too), damaging the left side of his brain, leaving the right side of his body weaker. He developed seizures due to the brain injury, and we have been up and down the East Coast visiting the best doctors in the country to determine if hemispherectomy surgery is the right path forward.
While we have received diagnosis after diagnosis – infantile spasms, epilepsy, spastic hemiplegia (cerebral palsy) – eventually, I stopped listening. My son is more than these words and I choose to not let them define who he is and what he is capable of, but instead, let him blaze his own path forward. You can read more about the ten things special needs moms want their doctors to know.
For nearly 6 months, our son has been seizure free and is developing with the help of occupational and physical therapy. Our doctors have stated that perinatal stroke is quite common, occurring in 1 in 4,000 live births. Despite the odds, Alex continues to prove all of his doctors wrong and is growing and thriving.
If you have a child who has received a diagnosis, you are not alone. If you are battling infertility, you are not alone. There are so many of us that know what you are going through, and we are here to help. I want anyone who is struggling to find this blog as a beacon of hope, as it is not just about infertility, or special needs, but about overcoming obstacles, finding joy and pursuing healing. Please reach out to me anytime.
This blog is dedicated to my son, Alexander, and all of the mothers and families who have battled infertility &/or the special needs world. It is an arduous journey, but one that has helped me see how strong we all are, how amazing our children are, how big our God is, and how much good there is in the world.
I have an army of support and more mama warriors and friends then I ever imagined. I am grateful for the amazing women I have met along the way, and I am always wanting to help other bloggers and writers.
We will continue to write our story, sharing our heartaches, joys and triumphs.
It is my wish that you are able to take whatever difficulty you are facing and discover your own beautiful hope along the way. Follow our blog and on Instagram.
– Christine, Alex’s mom