Lacey met her husband, Charles Buchanan, when she was 15 years old in Woodbury, Texas. They dated throughout high school before tying the knot in 2008.
The young couple enjoyed their newlywed status and spent their time traveling, “hanging out, enjoying life.”
They were surprised to get pregnant in 2010, but embraced the happy news excitedly. Lacey didn’t let the upcoming baby stop her from pursuing her dreams of attending law school in Nashville.
However, the Buchanans stumbled upon on some road blocks around week 18 of the pregnancy. The doctors were concerned about the ultrasound and decided to take a second look. Suspicions were confirmed, and the doctors diagnosed Lacey’s unborn child with a “bilateral cleft palate and lip.”
The couple’s immediate thoughts revolved around rhetorical questions, as Lacey wrote in a blog:
How could this happen to us? Why did this happen to us? We’re good people, why do we deserve this? Where was God in all this and why did He let our child have something wrong? What were we going to do? How were we going to watch our son go through surgery? How would this affect his life? So many questions. So much heartache.
However, looking back on that initial diagnosis, Lacey said:
Little did we know that the worst news was yet to come.[…] I would celebrate if all Christian had was a cleft. I would be relieved.
The Buchanans didn’t let the news get them down. For them, termination was not an option, so they just hoped for the best. Lacey told The (Lafayette, LA) Daily Advertiser:
“We were just thinking, ‘We are so in love with this baby.’ We just want him to be okay.”
Christian Buchanan was born on February 18, 2011, breathing. When he came out crying, Lacey was “super excited, ecstatic, crying,” for his tears meant he was living.
However, the infant was born with more issues than just a cleft palate.
Five years ago today, I handed Christian over to nurses for the second time in anticipation of surgery. I thought…
Lacey wasn’t able to see Christian for more than a second after the birth, only glimpsing that his eyes were covered by gauze bandages. He was almost immediately whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
When the bandages were removed, doctors revealed Christian’s full diagnosis: a Tessier cleft, in which the “3, 4, 5 quadrant” of his face was affected.
Christian was born without eyes.
Lacey and Charles were told that he had “bits and pieces of his eye structure, but nothing was fully formed or in the correct place.” According to the Daily Advertiser, doctors told them:
“Your child is blind, and there’s nothing we can do.”
Christian spent 28 days in the NICU, a time that Lacey described on her blog as, “like watching someone you love be imprisoned.”
Today is the six year anniversary of the day Christian came home from the NICU! My mama heart had ached to hold him,…
I know Christian had to be in the NICU, and he needed to be there. But at the same time, I hated it. I wanted him home. I wanted to have a normal baby, and a normal experience. I wanted to take him to visit family, and cuddle up with him at night. I wanted to hold my baby and not have to worry about ripping his IV out. I wanted to lay beside Christian and not hear the constant beeping of his monitars [sic]. I wanted to be with him every second of the day.
Christian was in and out of the hospital for the first few years of his life. Once he started healing and becoming stronger, Lacey said he started to become more like a “typical baby.” Despite being behind because of his blindness, Christian was a happy babbling tot.
Sorry for the radio silence for the last few days! We spent all day yesterday traveling home from my conference in…
Numerous surgeries and therapies later, Christian has budded into a charming kid. Lacey and Charles are hell-bent on raising a strong boy with the ability to overcome the challenges life is sure to throw at him. Lacey told the Daily Advertiser:
“We want him to know it’s never going to stop him. We will never make him think he can’t do something because he’s blind. We don’t want it to matter to him, so we don’t want him to think it matters to us.”
And while Lacey appears optimistic and strong now, six years into motherhood, this wasn’t always the case. In a blog post from the early months of Christian’s life, Lacey recalled learning a hard lesson on a regular shopping trip to Walmart.
"A mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired. It need not be deserved." – Erich Fromm
Rather than smiles and admiration of passersby, Lacey would notice “people walking by [her] buggy and slowing down for a second” with looks of confusion or disgust plastered on their faces. She recalled:
The first time it happened I wanted to run out of the store, forget my groceries and go home. But I didn’t. I fought back the tears and finished shopping.
Lacey and Charles struggled to overcome the judgmental stares and remarks from others, but have accepted that their little family is just slightly unconventional.
And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Life with Christian is not an easy one, but it is a highly rewarding one. In 2013, Christian was blessed with a happy healthy baby brother, Chandler, who absolutely adores his older brother.
We made it through our doctor's appointment with very few tears! That's not the usual for us, so I appreciate when…
In the past six years, Lacey has adopted a new outlook on life and has learned to see beauty in unexpected places. She wrote:
I know without a doubt that when I look at Christian and Chandler, I see beauty beyond what others might expect or understand. I don’t want to be like the rest of the world. I don’t want my kids to be like the rest of the world. That seems boring. Who wants to be average? Mediocre? I want my kids to reach for the stars. I want them to dream so big that who society says they should be can’t hold them down.
While there are times when Lacey wishes Christian’s life could be “as simple and easy as possible,” she has learned to make the best out of even the hardest times.
I wouldn’t trade Christian’s sweet Eskimo kisses for anything in the world. He is worth every heart ache that raising him brings.
She added that her faith in God has helped her through the rough patches, saying, “I would go through that a million times more if it meant I got to have Christian. I’m so thankful I get to be his mom.”