HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Brody Simpson came into the world May 8th, 2015. He was a little early, but his mom and dad, Lacey and Jason, were ready for his arrival. What they weren’t ready for is what the doctors told them after he was born.
“That first thing was wrong and then they found this and then this,” Lacey Simpson told us. “It was just a day full of doctors coming in, bad news after bad news.”
Brody was perfect in the eyes of his parents but his health was not. The biggest problem was a heart defect that needed immediate attention. That included surgery. Without it, Brody wouldn’t live long. “They say God’s timing is everything and it’s true because I mean, He knew exactly what was going to happen. He already knows Brody’s story and he came early so we would have a Brody and Brody would have a story,” Lacey said.
Brody’s story began in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. Two days later, he was flown to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. Not knowing Jason was there for his son, families who recognized him were asking about the weather. But that was the last thing on his mind. He told us, “I kinda got some funny looks to start with until we all started realizing okay, he’s here, that’s his son and what we’ve heard on Facebook about a problem or some health problems with Brody, this is much more serious than it sounds.
Family and close friends knew that it was touch and go with Brody. And because they didn’t know what the future would hold, Jason and Lacey weren’t saying a lot publicly. “Initially we didn’t want to put out a lot of information because we didn’t know. We didn’t know if he would be here through the weekend,” says Jason. "We didn’t know if he would make it to Birmingham. So we didn’t want to share a whole lot until we knew what was really going on ourselves.”
They got through those dark days with a lot of prayers and tears. Lacey says she still cries a lot. “I felt like I was going to wake up from a bad dream but I never did. And you just take one step at a time.”
While the toughest surgery is behind them, that being the operation to repair Brody’s heart which was about the size of a strawberry, they know they still have a long road to travel with their little boy. Lacey said, “You just hate seeing a little guy go through so much. He’s so little and you think things like that happen other babies, not my baby. You know, this won’t happen to me and then we’re in the hospital watching him fight for his life.” Glancing toward her husband, she added, “You just pray a lot you lean on each other. I’m so thankful we had each other."
Jason says he feels likes they’ve weathered one of the biggest storms of their life. “Yeah, up until May 8th, April 27th was the worst day of my life. Thankfully we didn’t lose him. We were very blessed that we did not lose him. But that was probably the single scariest day of my life.” Jason remembers the conversation they had with a doctor in the Regional NICU. “The moment after the cardiologist left the room to tell us that he was going to have to be flown to Children’s, I said, 'this is one of those moments that can either cement us together or it can crush us. And we’re not going to let it crush us.'” Instead he said, “We’re going to let it cement our family together.”
Both Jason and Lacey say they have shed a lot of tears long the journey but they’ve also experienced the power of prayer. “I learned that prayer is a whole lot more than just asking for thing,” he told us. “Prayer is being quiet. Prayer is trying to listen and trying to understand what’s going on. Of course it is putting out a request but it’s listening for why you’re getting the answer that you’re getting." And in Brody’s case, those prayers were answered. “We’ve got him home. He’s healthy and he’s improving but he still has a ways to go and we understand that,” said Jason.
The Simpsons are Christians. Both say the journey they’re taking with Brody has changed their faith. Jason said, “You can spend your whole life wondering why but the real question is what. What now?” Lacey added, “Or what can we learn from this? Or what can God use? What good can come from this? That was like my thing, God is we have to walk down this path, make it count. Make whatever happens count.”
They knew their son was getting the best medical help he could get from doctors and nurses in Huntsville and Birmingham, but his future was in the hands of a much higher power. Lacey choked up a little when she told us, “Having to really give your child to God because he might not be here, that’s a completely different thing. And it’s a whole new level of faith because you’re saying okay, here he is. Are you going to let him stay with us or is he yours right now? It changes you and you feel guilty almost because you do get to come home because some babies don’t get to come home.”
After Brody’s heart surgery, they wound up in the same room where another baby didn’t make it the night before. Jason described it by saying, “It’s like lightning hitting all around you and you don’t know when it’s your turn. You don’t know if it will be your turn but you live in a state of fear and peace at the same time. It’s one of the strangest feelings ever because like Lacey said, you give them to God and you know that whether he stays or whether he goes, it’s for God’s glory.”
The four weeks Brody spent in the hospital before coming home were a walk of faith for their family. Jason said, “You live in this state of fear of it being you because you don’t want to go through the pain of it but you also have this peace knowing that if it is you, it’s going to be okay, that he’s going to be okay. And that God will bring you through it.”
Both Jason and Lacey will tell you the fact their son is here today is nothing short of a miracle. They’re most thankful to God but know there were angels among them in Huntsville’s Regional NICU and Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham. “There are surgeons, there are doctors. There are nurses. There are people at Children’s who God uses to work miracles. And they know that,” Jason told us.
Lacey says those doctors and nurses share something in common. “They know how to take care of the babies but they know how to take care of the parents too,” she said. “And there’s lots of hand holding for sure.”
While Brody still faces several surgeries down the road, doctors say he looks good and now that he’s stronger and bigger, he’s ready for what’s ahead. “We’ll see where the road takes us,” Jason said.
“We know we’ve got one that’s coming soon and another that will follow that by a few months but we still have a few things to figure out about him.” Lacey added, “We pray it’s sooner than later but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m thankful for that, very thankful.”