“The prognosis isn’t good…”
“Your son isn’t expected to live…”
“If he survives, he won’t be able to eat or drink on his own. He will have a poor quality of life…”
Amy and Shelton had heard it all. Pessimistic doctors, discouraged nurses, mystified specialists. It had come to a point where every time they walked into a hospital they were prepared to receive more bad news. There were so many opinions, second opinions, suggestions and comments that the outside world was trying to impose on them about their newborn son. But Amy and Shelton tuned them all out. After years of trying for a baby and 7 failed fertility treatments, they had won their prize. He was in their arms. He was breathing; he was alive. He was perfect.
When they looked down at their infant son they only saw one thing: a fighter.
In the years to come, the world would have more labels for Dalton: 16p13.11 Microdeletion Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Diplegia, Low-functioning autism, Epilepsy, ADHD, Social anxiety, Impulse control issues, and Cortical blindness.
Each diagnosis hit the new parents like a truck. Each brought another level of grieving, mostly for the life they had expected for Dalton, the independence he may very likely never achieve. They received each blow like any parent: they steeled themselves for the worst, they fell apart, then they looked at Dalton, and they picked themselves up kept moving forward.
“To have a little bit of an answer as to why the things that were happening, were happening. In a way – it was a relief,” Amy told us. “Knowledge is power.”