Today? It’s Bittersweet

Today is July 18, but you already know that. What you probably do not know is what it signifies for our family. Eleven years ago today, July 18, 2005, we handed over our 7 week old baby boy to a huge medical team for an exploratory surgery to determine if he had biliary atresia, a pediatric liver disease. If the team found that he did have biliary atresia, they would then proceed to do a corrective surgery.

Three hours after the surgery began, our surgeon Dr. Wesson came out of the operating room to tell us that Landon did have biliary atresia. It was the worst moment of my life- while the surgery is corrective, (and praise God Landon’s done phenomenally well in his 11 years of life) it’s not a pretty disease- we have attended the heart-breaking funerals of two babies with this disease along our journey. It is almost a surety that Landon will have a liver transplant at some time in his life.

The surgery lasted until the evening- a total of 9 long, long hours.

This is the photo I carried around during the NINE hours of Landon’s surgery.

This journey has been bittersweet in every sense of the word-

Bitter because our intro into parenting was HARD. Of course, everyone’s first few months (years?!?) are hard. On top of the no sleep, learning about a new little life, and the incessant demands that automatically come with a new babe, we spent weeks in the hospital, plus crazy amounts of outpatient visits/labs/tests when we weren’t in the hospital. Add in the worry that comes with knowing something is wrong with our baby, but not knowing exactly what was wrong for almost 2 months- it was HARD. It’s still hard- knowing that our son. has. a. disease. (that no one yet knows the cause.)  His life will be different because of this disease.

But it’s been so, so sweet too. We know SO many amazing people that we would have never met if it weren’t for this journey. We have an empathetic compassion for parents with sick children that we wouldn’t have had without experiencing it ourselves and been able to serve a countless number of families going through similar situations. We are part of a beautiful church that was created with both the patients and caregivers in the largest medical center in the world in mind.

So while we wouldn’t have chosen this journey for ourselves, there are vital parts of our lives that are irreplaceable because of it. And that my friends, is very sweet indeed.

PS Today, coincidentally, Landon has to have labs drawn. He had them done a month ago and some of the numbers weren’t good- so we’re repeating them. We would love your prayers today, that the numbers will be back to normal. Thank you friends.

PPS If you want to read more details about our journey and how God sustained us through this trial, I wrote a short book called His Grace is Enough. It’s only 99 cents on Amazon- you can get it here.

You can also read Landon’s first blog post here by clicking hereWhy I’m a Miracle.

About Kelli Hays

Kelli Hays is a wife, mother, writer, and friend. She has been blogging since 2008 and loves sharing inspiration for the everyday woman!