To me that promise means so much.
My own marriage has been through some pretty trying times over the past few years. But we made that promise almost seven years ago now to stand side by side. It certainly hasn't been easy, I've watched as my husband teeter on the brink of death far too many times. I've watched my husband's eyes well up with tears as he tells me the name he likes best for our unborn son, because he's not sure he will make it through the next surgery to meet him.
By the grace of God, Justin has survived 9 heart surgeries. I am a better wife, mother, and photographer because of what I have witnessed in my own marriage. We are not perfect, we argue about who's turn it is to take out the trash. But by God's grace we are still here, and we are thriving!
We live on a farm and ranch just south of Tioga, ND in our renovated 1928 farmhouse. Justin's mom owns a greenhouse that is in our backyard!
click the arrow learn how we got here!
We met shortly after I moved to Tioga, ND from Kansas. He was wearing a KU hat. I had just moved from a deep KSU area so of course I had to give him a hard time! He also happened to be my best friends older brother!
Justin and I got married in 2012 in Tioga, I got the flu the day before our wedding, and barely remember any of our wedding day. Sickness and in health!
Skyler was a busy toddler who kept us on our toes, she just started Kindergarten and is loving it!
Justin was born with an aortic stanosis. In the spring of 2016 we learned he would have to under go a valve replacement. He went into surgery on July 7, 2016.
We actually found out I was pregnant the night before Justin's first surgery! We we pretty excited and a little nervous!
Just before Christmas in 2016 Justin started getting sick. He ended up with an infection that was attacking his new heart valve. After a six hour drive to Fargo, ND he was rushed into surgery to replace the valve that had become dehisced. It was pretty scary. We left the hospital on December 22, 2016 and spent Christmas with a new gratitude about life!
Unfortunately that second surgery wasn't the end. The infection was still running ramped, a pet scan at mayo showed that his graph was compromised by infection again. This time around they replaced his valve, his aortic root, and the arch. This was the longest surgery clocking in at about 11 hours.
After all the replacements and things moving around Justin required a pacemaker which he is now 100% dependent on. By this point it was the end of February, and I was approaching my due date with Grayson.
Justin was discharged from Rochester on March 5, 2017. It's a two day drive home so we made it home on March 7th. Grayson made his arrival on March 9th at 8 am!
I looked pretty funny sitting in my hospital bed hooking up Justin to his IV antibiotics.
We spent the early summer of 2017 adjusting to being a family of 4 and just thanking god that we were all home and healthy!
In September of 2017 Justin's incision started draining. He went back to Mayo in October and had his wires removed from his sternum in hopes that the wires were causing the draining.
In January of 2018 we found ourselves back at Mayo Clinic. They went in for what was suppose to be a debriment and just clean out the valve. It should have been a two hour surgery. Grayson and I waited in the waiting room for about 6 hours just the two of us. When he landed in the ICU I met with the surgeons. This time the infection was in his bone. It was slowly eating away at his sternum. The only option was to remove his sternum. I sat there next to his hospital bed once again but this time it was just me and a our ten month old baby. Justin's mom was getting on the train that evening. I had to give consent for them to preform two more surgeries over the next week. The entire time Justin was intubated and sedated.
They next surgeries moved his omentum from his abdomen to around his heart, this acts as a cleaning mechanism and helps to protect the heart. Next they did a pectoral flap where they pulled his pectoral muscles up and off his chest and brought them together across his chest to essentially create one large peck muscle.
2018 started off a bit crazy, but has been pretty good over all! We started renovating Justin's grandmas 1928 farmhouse. We replaced all the flooring, painted every wall, and finally moved in early in the fall just after harvest!