When Unexpected Curve Ball Hits Your Family!

3d render baseball through broken glass.

One week before our 2nd anniversary our first son, Steven was born! I had no ideal I could love someone so much until I laid my eyes on that precious baby. Wow, what a gift to be a parent! Steven came into this world 4 weeks early. I had went in for my 8 month checkup swollen and exhausted! They ended up sending me to the hospital for bed rest because my blood pressure was so high and I was border line toxemia. That was on a Saturday. Then on Sunday they came in to check me out. I could see ankles that I hadn’t seen for a couple of months and my legs actually had some definition again! Unfortunately my blood pressure was actually slightly higher even after the bed rest.  They wanted to do a c-section the next morning.  That wasn’t part of our plan to have a c-section with our first pregnancy, but I was more than ready to have this baby!

A couple days after Steven was born, the doctor came in and said he truly believed Steven was early because he did show some signs of being pre-mature. He said “I just can’t write 9 lbs 2 ounces and pre-mature on the same page”.  So he said “between you and me, just know he was pre-mature and remind us of all of this when and if you have additional children”.  I said “well between you and me, how much would he have weighed if he had been full term?” He said “probably close to 11 lbs” …ouch! I said “Can I tell you how thankful I am that he’ll do the rest of his growing outside of me!”.

Rick & Steven 1986

When Steven was around 5 weeks old, I noticed that his eyes seem to really wonder, more than normal. I wasn’t sure if he was focusing on anything or if he even should be yet. I got a little flash light and shined it on and off his eyes a couple of times. His pupils didn’t seem to react like I thought they should. So I played in the mirror with my own eyes and the flash light, then again on Steven’s.

I called our pediatrician and he said he would look at Steven’s eyes at his 6 week checkup.  The pediatrician was checking Steven out and was pleased with everything. Then I reminded him to look at Steven’s eyes.  I immediately saw the concern on his face while he was examining Steven’s eyes.  Our pediatrician was in his 50’s at the time. He was always thorough and knowledgeable, but also very laid back. Seeing his concern instantly made me feel like I had just taken a hard hit in my gut. It was the quiet confirmation that we had secretly feared but wouldn’t let surface.  He then looked at me calmly and said “I do see why you have concerns, but honestly his eyes are still developing”. He said specialist usually won’t even look at them until babies are at least 3 months old.  He ask us to bring Steven back in at 3 months and decide then, what was next.

At 3 months we knew for sure Steven was not focusing on things. The pediatrician agreed he needed to see a specialist.  We were so anxious for the next appointment, of course being a specialist it took 4 weeks to get in, ugh! Steven was now 4 months old and the specialist agreed something was wrong.  He said because of how young Steven was they would need to put him to sleep to run all the test they needed to do. So 2 weeks later that testing was done.  The lady doctor that did the actual testing, ask for Rick and I to step out of the waiting room into the hallway.  I knew that probably wasn’t to give us good news. Immediately I could tell by her expression and demeanor she was going to give us some tough news.  She started talking, saying a lot of big words. She could tell we weren’t understanding anything she was saying.  She then explained, think of Steven’s eyes like an old TV set when it’s not getting good reception. You can turn the brightness up or down, but you can’t make anything out in the picture.  Now that we understood. We were both quiet just taking in what we had just heard. I ask if there were any type of surgeries that could correct or at least help Steven’s eyes? In a discouraged voice, looking down she said not at this time. She then perked up and tried to encourage us that new breakthroughs happen all the time and that eventually someday there maybe something.

This was our first major curve ball to hit our family. This type of news can shatter a family. It can also make a family stronger. We’ve all heard it many times, it’s not what happens to us as much as it is how we react to what happens to us…

1) Did I still believe God was in control? I certainly knew I wasn’t!  2) Could God possibly love our son more than we did and still allow this to happen?  3) Did this change many of the hopes and dreams we had for this new precious baby boy?

We had never even been around anyone that was blind and now we were going to be raising a son that couldn’t see. We all get unexpected curve balls at some point, life happens… What is a curve ball that has hit you or your family either recently or in the past? Please share below in the comments.

Next blog post I’ll talk a little more about our reaction to this news, these 3 questions and how we came to our answers.


  1. Sherry


  2. Shelly Davis

    A curveball hit our family when we learned my husband had colorectal cancer at the age of 46. They don’t normally screen for colon problems until the age of 50. The doctor said his tumor had likely been there and growing for 2 years by the size of it. He was praying one day and felt the Lord speak to him to go to the doctor. He had been feeling really tired but we are on the go a lot so didn’t think much of it. After a very long surgery using the

    1. pam@pampatten.com (Post author)

      Shelly isn’t it amazing even in dark times we can still see God’s hand on us?! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Carol Biggs

    I know Steve from MSB, you couldn’t ask for a nicer young man, you must have handles that curve ball just fine!


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