Lacey Buchanan, a wife and mother of two children. Lacey’s first child, Christian, has a rare syndrome that presented itself before his birth. Lacey shares the journey of his life, from finding out the diagnosis, to dealing with limited treatment options and ultimately learning to see God through the entire process. She has written a book about her son’s journey called “Through the Eyes of Hope”.
Unexpected Blessings: Lacey Buchanan Sees God Through Tragedy – Jesus Calling Podcast Episode 28
Lacey Buchanan: If God had asked me ahead of time, I would have said no way, not me. No sir I am not strong enough. I’m not putting my child through… No no no. But, you know, we really do genuinely appreciate the path that we’re on and the journey that we’re taking. We wouldn’t trade Christian for anything.
Narrator: Welcome to The Experience Jesus Calling Podcast. Today we speak with Lacey Buchanan, a wife and mother of two children. Lacey’s first child, Christian, has a rare syndrome that presented itself before his birth. Lacey shares the journey of his life, from finding out the diagnosis, to dealing with limited treatment options and ultimately facing criticism on social media from those who thought she shouldn’t have gone through with the pregnancy. Leaning on God during it all, Lacey created a video to answer these detractors and to inspire others about the joys and heartbreak of her experience, which ultimately garnered over 6 million views. She has written a book about her son’s journey called “Through the Eyes of Hope.”
Humble Beginnings and Plans for the Future
Lacey: My name is Lacey Buchanan. I am a mom to two rambunctious little boys, a wife, the author of Through The Eyes of Hope. I am a newbie law school graduate, not yet practicing in that trade, but I hope to do that soon. In the areas of disability advocacy and education.
I am a first-generation college graduate in my family. My mom and dad live right down the road from me. My family is very close and we intend to stay very close figuratively and literally. I always say, you know, they started me out on a great foundation and, you know, I was lucky to have such a wonderful start in life.
I went to church some with my grandmother when I was growing up some with my parents. So we weren’t one of those “every Sunday at church” type thing. But I did always, you know, know about church and know about Jesus. In fact, I tell people I felt the calling to follow Christ when I was nine years old. I was pretty young actually. I remember it very, very vividly. I actually started going to church on my own when I was about 15.
The first time I ever set foot in a church, that sort of set that into motion, was the day I met my husband Chris. So I always kind of joked that I met Jesus and my husband on the same day. So we started dating over the summer and continued. It was his senior year of high school that coming up year, so we continued dating through high school and college and got married while I was in college.
I’ve always wanted to be a mom and I’ve always wanted a bunch of kids. I’d always grown up dreaming about finding the love of my life and things like that. So being a wife and a mother was a huge dream of mine. But because I am very driven, having a career; that was always something I wanted too.
A Peace that Surpasses Understanding
So we found out that we were pregnant right before our two-year anniversary. We weren’t planning a pregnancy at the time. We were pretty excited but also like first time nerves, it was all new.
But immediately we knew that there were issues going on, so there was also some just some anxiousness and nervousness about what was going to happen with the baby because things weren’t progressing the way that they were supposed to. My progesterone levels were low; all those numbers that you need. They were they were all low and dropping and they just said, “we’re sorry, but you’re probably miscarrying.”
As things progressed, the initial worries that had come along, they sort of resolved themselves, and so we thought that we were having a pretty typical, normal pregnancy from there on. Then at 18 weeks, we went to have the anatomy scan where they tell you the gender of the baby. We were so excited to find out that we were having a boy.
When we went back the following week for another ultrasound they told us that the baby definitely had a cleft lip and palate, which is kind of what they had said initially they suspected. So they just needed more ultrasounds to confirm it. “We’ll do more ultrasounds and we’ll be able to tell more.” Unfortunately, that was never really the case as he got bigger. We never did get a good clear picture of what was going on with him.
At that point in time, it was peace that passes understanding, really.
We sat down in a conference room with a group of doctors one day, and they handed me a list of different possible things that they thought might be afflicting our son. And they said, “don’t Google it.” But of course, you know, we did. It was really honestly best guess at that point.
I look back on my pregnancy and I remember happiness. I remember maternity pictures and I remember feeling his little kicks and watching my belly move, It was honestly a really happy time and we spent a lot of time in prayer for Christian. We had a lot of friends and family who did the same. At that point in time, it was peace that passes understanding, really.
READ MORE: Reba McEntire Finds Peace In Jesus Calling
The First Few Moments with Christian
Christian came into the world on February 18th, 2011. We were nerve racked.
We were so nervous because they told us there was a chance that he wouldn’t live. I had to have a c-section for his health, for his benefit. So, I’m laying there on a table and I can’t move. That really stinks. I’m laying there and I can’t move I can’t do anything. I’m helpless.
So I had two surgeons and one of them she says “here he comes.” So the moment of truth is coming. Then another one says “happy birthday.” Within just seconds I’m holding my breath and praying. Within seconds Christian starts screaming which is what we wanted. That means he’s breathing on his own. They were afraid he wasn’t going to breathe on his own.
Those first few cries were just beautiful. So here I am, I’m laying on the table, and I’m wiggling what I can; just my shoulders basically. So I’m wiggling and I’m asking questions and I’m like “who does he look like? What color’s his hair.?” I just wanted to hold him and of course, I couldn’t. So they take him over to the little incubator to check him out, and I send my husband over with him.
Coming to Terms with Reality
I got to see Christian for just about three or four seconds when they held him up over the blue curtain for me. I’m telling him, “his cleft is not as bad as they said it was going to be, is it? It’s not that bad.” He came back over to me and he said, “it’s worse.” I didn’t really know what he meant by that because I hadn’t really seen everything that he saw. By the time they got me taken care of and everything was fine, they got Christian taken care of and wrapped him up in a blanket. They were getting ready to rush him off to the neonatal intensive care unit and they let me him up next to my face for just a minute. They put him up next to my face for a minute and I talked to him. I couldn’t hold him, so that’s all I could do. Then they rushed him off to the NICU. I didn’t get to see him again for about eight hours.
I remember just feeling almost numb, like this can’t be happening. This is your worst nightmare. You can’t hold your child; you can’t comfort him. you can’t feed him. I didn’t even get to change his diapers. I wasn’t getting to do all those things that I had waited nine months to do.
When he was four days old is when they confirmed that he was blind. I think he was about two months old or so when they finally gave us a diagnosis overall; the big picture–what happened and what it’s called. Tessier Cleft Lip and Palate is a very different and rare type of cleft lip and palate. It took them a while to name that diagnosis.
I remember just feeling almost numb, like this can’t be happening. This is your worst nightmare.
They had told us that initially he’s probably going to be intellectually disabled and they were doing a lot of scans: MRI, CT scans– all that kind of stuff to try to see what was going on internally. It’s so funny, one side of his brain when he was born was larger than the other and that’s sort of what they base that finding on. That sort of worked itself out as he got older, which I think is just the strangest thing.
Learning to Slow Down
Of course, he developed slower than a kid with vision would, but we’ve come to find out that he does not have an intellectual disability.
One of the unexpected blessings I feel like that Christian brings to me is he moves a little bit slower than everybody else. For obvious reasons, he can’t see what’s in front of him. He has to navigate with his hands and with his ears. Just in general, Christian moves at a slower pace than everybody else. That has caused me to have to slow down and go at his pace.
I’m a type A; I’m an organizer and I’m “go go go” all the time. I like to stay busy. Christian has had to sometimes teach me to sometimes slow down and appreciate the moment for what it is.
Narrator: Though Lacey and her family faced so many obstacles in their journey with Christian, the rewards of life with him have been worth any struggle. Lacey likes to say that “God does not guarantee a life without trouble, but He goes with us in whatever comes.” A reader of Jesus Calling, she relies on God for her strength and finds hope for each day as she spends time daily in His presence.
Listening to God with Jesus Calling
Lacey: I actually read Jesus Calling; it’s probably been three or four years ago now. I love to read and I love books. I also love a good deal, so I’m constantly perusing yard sales and thrift stores and things like that. I picked up a copy of it–it just caught my attention and I grabbed it. I knew it was one I was going to read it all the way through.
So one verse that really has stuck out to me every time I read it; I think it’s from July 9th. It says:
“Stop worrying long enough to hear My voice. I speak softly to you in the depth of your being. Your mind shuttles back and forth hither and yon weaving webs of anxious confusion. As My thoughts rise up within you, they become entangled in those sticky webs of worry. Thus My voice is muffled and you hear only white noise. Ask My spirit to quiet your mind so that you can think My thoughts.”
That passage is special to me because as I mentioned earlier, I’m a planner. So often I plan all these things out and they don’t go the way that I expected or the way that I had hoped. I just get so caught up in the busyness and the frustration of everyday life that I can so relate to that drowning white noise of life. This passage is something that I need to be constantly reminded of. Those worries are secondary to being able to be still long enough to listen and let God speak to us.
Trusting God During a Troubled Pregnancy
For somebody that’s facing a pregnancy where they’re being told “hey the child is going to have some sort of health issue” and things like that, I always tell people it is scary.
I feel like there’s a mourning process that you have to go through when something like this happens. Even if you haven’t lost a child, something has been lost and that’s generally the hopes and dreams that you had for that child are lost. They’re rewritten into something that you didn’t choose.
Having a child with special needs it’s not the destination that you chose but it will be so beautiful. It will be a journey that you probably never would have chosen, but that nonetheless is still just amazing. I don’t even really have words: amazing, just life changing.
Christian is he’s a goofball. He loves to tell jokes. He loves to make people laugh. He is just joyous. He is a ray of sunshine and it’s so funny because I can see people’s wheels turning when they see Christian for the first time, there’s a little bit of like a shock factor because they’ve never seen somebody like Christian. Then they see him laughing and being joyous and for a moment I can see them working out in their head how having Christians disability and having the hardships that he has, can be intertwined with such joy. It’s amazing to watch Christian live that and be that. He teaches me just to be more joyous and not complain about stuff that’s just not important and doesn’t matter.
Narrator: Lacey’s book “Through the Eyes of Hope” is now available. Visit “eyesofhopebook.com” for more information.
Narrator: Next time on the Experience Jesus Calling podcast, we visit with Rory Feek. Rory and his wife Joey comprised the popular country duo Joey and Rory. In 2014, Joey was diagnosed with cancer. The couple set about packing as much life as they could into the next two years with their daughter before Joey passed away in 2016. The story of their love and faith is told in Rory’s new book, “This Life I Live; One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed it Forever.” Rory will share some of that story in our next episode.
Narrator: Hear more great stories about the impact Jesus Calling is having all over the world. Be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling Podcast on iTunes. We value your reviews and comments so we can reach even more people with the message of Jesus Calling. And if you have your own story to share, we’d love to hear from you. Visit JesusCalling.com to share your story today.