I am going to try to get all of this out at once. It has been a long 10 months and I have gotten more information than my brain knows how to handle.
Shep was born in my 38th week of pregnancy. His delivery was flawless. I pushed for about 13 minutes and he was healthy and happy. He was my biggest baby – weighing 7 lbs and 11 ounces. He was perfect. He still is.
Right around 2 months old, Shep stopped growing. He was far off the charts and started to decline. Lab results, scans, visits to radiology, and lots and lots of tests would follow – all coming up fairly inconclusive.
Around 6 months old, I had to stop nursing because his weight went down again and I was devastated. But he finally started to grow! All the months of testing yielded no answers, but we were seeing growth and that was all that mattered.
But, as life usually does, it kept going and dishing out the trials.
At Shepherd’s 9 month appointment, just a month ago, we were faced with a new challenge. While Shep was now growing, his development had fallen to the wayside. Our doctor was quiet as he examined Shepherd. He would bend a leg, grunt, and then type something into his computer.
After what felt like hours, but was likely only a few moments, our pediatrician started to walk me through what he was seeing.
Shepherd had fallen behind. He wasn’t doing what he should be doing. And we needed to take action.
So, over the course of that doctor’s visit we discussed a lot of options. We talked about different reasons for a delay. They ranged from simple laziness – to the possibility that our son would not walk. From general weight issues interfering – to his brain not developing properly.
I wept. I asked our doctor every question I could think of and couldn’t get him to assure me that nothing was wrong.
So, after a month of waiting, today was the day. Today was the day we took the next step.
Today we met with a pediatric physical therapist as well as an early childhood development specialist and got some answers.
Shep is delayed pretty significantly in the gross motor skills department and in his understanding. But they are confident that his brain is perfect. That he will not have any mental disabilities. That he will walk eventually.
But this all comes with time. Lots of physical therapy and developmental therapy, possibility of braces for his feet for a short period of time, and many more challenges lie ahead.
We are in for the long haul.
Anyone who has ever had the chance to meet Shep will tell you that he is one of the happiest most loving babies. He will snuggle and smile all day long. He is smart and aware. He is strong. He is alert and full of personality.
He has eyes that will suck you in and make you fall in love. The deepest blue. The widest open.
And. The. Dimples.
Oh, the dimples.
We aren’t done fighting this battle, but man are we excited to get going on this next phase.
HE IS GOING TO BE STRONG. HE WILL WALK. HE WILL KEEP LEARNING AND GROWING.
And we are so blessed to get to be his parents.
I can’t wait to see what he does when those tiny legs are strong enough to bear the weight of his body. When he is able to put one foot in front of the other.
What will he conquer? What mountains will he climb? How will he impact the world?
This road will not be an easy one for us. There are quite a few days, weeks, months, possibly years left for us to walk this out. We are not completely at ease with the sliver of doubt that will remain until this is all over. But, ultimately, I cannot imagine getting a better result after todays assessment. With appointments every week (and they come to ME – at HOME), we will only pay a small amount every month. We cannot imagine how this situation could be any better, aside from the obvious lack of any issue at all.
I want to thank you.
I have been reminded during this time who our true family is. Yes, some of you are biological family, but friends have stepped up like family as well and we are overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed by the people who have reached out to us during this time.
We have learned a lot. We have noticed when people didn’t reach out and it has caused us some pain, but the overwhelmingly gracious presence from those of you who have been a constant these past few months is all consuming. You have made us feel loved and you have encouraged us when we couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But while I say thank you, I also need to ask that you don’t stop now. Shep still needs the prayers. I still need them.
I cannot imagine what our lives would look like without the incredible support we have been given. I hope that what has been given to us will be returned to you ten fold.
And can I just say – WAY TO GO, SHEP!