“Your baby has a birth defect.” 

Umm, excuse me? That big, fully formed, full-term baby? The beautiful boy with the pouty little lips, gorgeous blue eyes, and full head of hair?  

It had to be a mistake. 

But it wasn’t. Hidden deep within this perfect-looking child, something was terribly flawed.  

I never wanted to have my babies in a hospital. I reasoned: hospitals are for sick people, not healthy mothers and babies. But as we passed through the NICU doors—and were greeted by the long, sad hallway filled with sick babies—the irony of my strongly-held principles seemed to slap me in the face.

I was humbly forced to face the harsh reality: my beautiful, naturally birthed baby wasn’t born healthy. He was born very, very sick.

But still, I spent a few days in denial. When can we go home? I badgered the staff. Certainly, this was a simple fix, and we could both leave soon. Be at home together again. Snuggle, breastfeed, give him a bath. I couldn’t accept that this was how his first few weeks would be—tethered to machines, lying alone in a hospital bed. Away from his family, and away from me. 

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So, I cried. For days and days, the tears poured out. I’d never known a heartbreak like this. The sheer agony of going home without your baby. 

My son had a birth defect, and the reality of it cut through me like a knife. 

He had a birth defect. A treatable, likely even curable, birth defect. We know now just how lucky we are—lucky that Hirschsprung’s disease would not define my son, and one day soon, this would all just be a memory. A long, terrible dream that mercifully had an ending. Every nightmare does.  

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And I may never understand why God chose my family for this. Why any of us are chosen for our suffering—for infertility, miscarriage, the betrayal of a spouse, or the disappointment of an unfulfilled dream. But this suffering won’t define or defeat us.

My son had a birth defect. And still, God is good.

He gives beauty for ashes and has a marvelous plan for our story. Our suffering won’t be in vain, and I can trust that His perfect plan will be revealed in due time. 

My son had a birth defect. And still, God is so good

Originally published on the author’s Instagram page

Katy Dodds

Katy Dodds is passionate about wellness, building strong relationships, her faith in Jesus, and finding a healthy balance in life. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education, and currently teaches children with dyslexia. Katy lives with her husband, daughter, and two oversized dogs in The Woodlands, Texas.  Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.