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!
I'll never forget how that pit in my stomach felt when I got the call from my husband that his heart surgeon wanted to see us in Fargo first thing the next morning. I was just finishing up a photoshoot at a pipeline grand opening and had to keep my phone off, so it didn't interfere with their electronics. I had hustled to the car to get out of the 20 miles per hour wind which had brought the windchill down to - 25 that December afternoon. The sun was starting to set, which happens pretty early this in western North Dakota during the dead of winter. My camera batteries were dying; it was so cold out, and my hand was numb from holding my camera without a glove. I had the heater on full blast as I turned on my phone and listened to the voicemail that popped up.
My husband Justin had gotten a heart valve replaced just six months ago in July, the day after we found out we were pregnant with our second kiddo. In the past couple of days, Justin hadn't felt great; we thought maybe he was just getting sick. But the worry I could hear in his voice on that voicemail shook me to my core. I drove home, packed my bags, and Justin, and I started the seven-hour drive to Fargo on icy roads.
The next morning we headed to the hospital for an echo before meeting with his surgeon that afternoon. We waited for what felt like hours in the waiting room before we were finally ushered us back to speaking with the surgeon. She cut to the chase, his new valve was dehisted and was no longer completely attached to his heart. There was an infection that was eating away at the stitches holding the valve in place. He would be going into surgery the next morning. He was admitted to the hospital right away. As we sat in his hospital room, just the two of us as we waited for surgery the next morning, my whole world came to a screeching halt.