My husband David, and I came into 2009 with great excitement as we learned we were pregnant. Little did we know we were about to enter the biggest personal crisis we had ever experienced in our five-year marriage.
At thirteen weeks pregnant I opted in on the down syndrome testing. I had no concern whatsoever our pregnancy would be anything but perfect. Having read you could learn the gender of your baby as early as 14 weeks, I took a leap I might find out early what our little bundle was going to be. When the doctor was sent in for our review, we were shocked to learn that baby Wilson had a problem…
Gastroschisis was the diagnosis. A birth defect effecting one in about 2,000 births. With Gastroschisis, the child’s intestines and sometimes other internal organs are left exposed through a hole in the abdominal wall that does not close up during gestation. You can imagine our utter speechlessness. How could this happen? There is no known cause for Gastroschisis. It is simply a mystery.
It brought little comfort to know that children born with Gastroschisis have a very high success rate of survival after undergoing immediate surgery to put the intestines back in their abdomen and close them up. We were still reeling over the news that we could lose our firstborn to this horrific diagnosis.
Through the prayers and support of an intimate group of friends and family we powered through our 37-week pregnancy standing on faith that our daughter was going to survive.
After five weeks in the NICU survive she did! Our little fighter found her way out of the hospital and into our home in 33 days making her mommy and daddy so proud. I knew, just knew that things would get better now that we had her home. In some ways they did, in some ways it became harder.
As all of you moms out there know, parenting is probably the hardest thing that you will do in your life. I found that out right away. Things became more complicated over what I like to call the three years of misery. It seemed we faced challenge after long challenge and lost a lot of what we had worked so hard to accomplish.
The one thing we had now though, was perspective. It’s amazing how almost losing a part of you can lead to seeing the world through new eyes. Eyes that saw for the first time that no matter what you lose or gain, if you have your family and your health, you have the World.
It was through this new found perspective I learned to be brave again. Brave enough to believe that anything could be possible. My daughter fought one of her biggest battles the first 33 days of her life. It was my turn to start fighting for my life too.
Since I was eight, I have been in love with traveling. When asked my dream job, I always answered, “ To have my own travel show.” Yet for 10 years in the entertainment industry no one had created a show for me to audition for.
In January of 2011, I was almost 28 years old, seven years married with an almost two-year-old. I made up my mind. No one was going to hand me my dream job. I was going to have to create it.
It was through our roughest years that strength and faith came. It was by watching my child fight for her life that I truly learned to fight. It was through losing so much in our own personal crisis that I learned what is really worthwhile.
Today I have “Like Love Want Need” a weekly Travel and Lifestyle TV show. We have just completed our 10th episode and are currently in pre-production for more. I do what I love every day. It’s not always glamorous, and it is a fight many days, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I hope my story can be an encouragement to you all. Know that today is your day. Sometimes the biggest dreams start with just one step every day. Sometimes our biggest successes come from our biggest challenges.
What will be your biggest Success?