Porter's Story

In October 2011, Seth and I learned that our unborn son, Porter has a condition called Trisomy 13 or Pateu's Syndrome which is not compatible with life. We chose to let God decide when Porter's life will end. These are the lessons we've learned from our Heavenly Father through the life of Porter Gray.
Isaiah 46:4

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


If you had told me this time last year that we would be planning the birth and the death of our newborn son, I would not have thought it was possible.

All we new as of July 2011 was that Campbell was going to be a big brother and Seth and I would be parents again! Excited to get another chance to use our experience with Cam on a new baby and prove we'd do even better this time! Oh the joy, that comes with a new baby! New beginnings, precious tiny mouth and nose, fingers and toes.

In October, we went to an ultrasound to screen for neural tube defects. We always said we'd never end a pregnancy because of the results of these tests, but rather prepare us mentally for the possibility of a special needs child. I'm a nurse and have worked in the hospital setting as well as the clinic. Part of that role is exuding confidence as you do your job to put patients and families at ease. During the ultrasound, I saw that flicker on the techs face. That flicker of, "this isn't good, but I can't be the one to let the cat out of the bag" look. I chose to ignore it, but noticed this tech wasn't as chatty as most during what is usually a happy routine visit. Sure enough, Dr. E walks in and says those words that made my world come to a screeching halt. "I have some serious concerns about your baby." Have you ever received bad news and literally, everything around you becomes background noise? You're trying to listen but your only getting about every 3rd or 4th word?

Trisomy 13 or 18. That's what I heard. I looked at Seth and the only thing I could do before weeping like a woman who had just heard a fatal diagnosis of a child was say, please call our friends. We know an amazing family that lost their little boy to trisomy 13 two years ago. They were the only ones that I could think of that day and I thought, how did they survive?

This is our story, this is the journey we are on. Why did God allow this to happen? I don't need to know. Honestly, I trust him so fully and completely, that I don't need to know the reason. I'll talk about this in future posts, but for tonight I wanted to share something that God has laid upon my heart. If I could guess, I think we were chosen because he knows I wear my heart on my sleeve and will share my joy, my pain, my good, my bad and my ugly with anyone if it glorifies Him. I'm honest about my feelings, and I don't think this is always a bad thing.

There is one thing I hope this experience and our love for Porter will teach others. We are made perfect because of love.

The moment I saw Porter on the ultrasound, I knew I loved him fully. When I discovered his brain, heart, kidneys, and other organs were "broken" and that he was deformed from two cleft palates/lips, and extra fingers and toes, my love for him did not change or lessen. To me, he is perfect. He was happily playing in my tummy. Touching his face, kicking his legs and stretching his arms just like any baby would. His heart is beating, he is alive in me.

Now think about this portrait for a minute. What do we really look like on the inside and outside for that matter? Are we ugly according to this world's standards? Are we ugly in the inside? Broken on the inside from people that have hurt us, or living with sin, shame, or anger? Some of us are so broken, that the world has given up on us or chosen to treat us as outcasts. Have you ever thought, "That person can't be helped"?

Why is it that God hasn't given up on us? Perhaps because he sees us for who he created us to be. The "perfect" you. The one he intended for you to be. Beautiful, blameless, holy. You are his Porter. He  loves you with all of his heart in spite of our ugliness.

Hebrews 10:14 (The Message) says "It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process."

His son, Christ Jesus. The prophecy fulfilled. We are alive in him. Made perfect. By him.

I pray that by opening my heart and soul to you as we love Porter for who he was created to be, that you will see a glimpse of God's love for us.

Welcome to my heart. Let the journey begin.


  1. Love it!!!!! So glad you started a blog. Will be praying for you & following along!

  2. Very beautifully said! Thanks for sharing your heart.

  3. Absolutely amazing Love!!!!! This is a beautiful "Heart" you have written and will follow along as well. Strength can be found on many levels through this journey for others to find comfort and hope in related paths....believe me I have! Much love to you and I lift you all up in prayer! Ginger

  4. Your strength amazes me, woman. What a gift you are to all of us.

  5. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart. I have a son born with heart defects and can totally agree with the fact that I recognize he is made perfectly despite "defects" . . . praying for you!

  6. Oh Jeannie--this is SO beautiful. How blessed Porter and Cam are to have you for their mom and Seth is to have you for a wife. And I am so proud to have you for my friend. Lots and lots of love to you.

    Leigh Ann

  7. You guys are inspirational. A wonderful testimony to trust and faith. I've known precious few folks personally who truly live their faith daily and those that do are the finest people I've known - true witnesses for Christ. Thank you Jeannie and Seth and Cam and Porter for reminding us what God offers us.
    and Cam is welcome on our lawn....

  8. I'm so glad you started a blog! Porter has already touched so many lives, and will continue to do so! Praying fervently for y'all!

  9. I am SO glad you started a blog! My blog has helped me in ways I never knew it could. Praying for you, your family, and Porter!!

  10. Jeannie you are such an amazing woman, mommy, wife and friend. I can't wait to read your posts! I am simply amazed! Thanks for everything! Such a fantastic testiment to who you are Jeannie!! Thank. You.

  11. Love it, Jeannie!!! I know that you always say that you and Seth are not brave but you ARE - not just for following your convictions but to share this journey with the world. I am proud to call you a friend and look forward to reading more! Love, Liz

  12. Thank you for sharing so eloquently what you are going thru. While my days of child bearing are over your courage and thoughtfulness touch my heart. It doesn't surprise me because it is typical of you and Seth. You know you are precious to us. We love you, Johnnie and David

  13. Jeannie, you are just amazing and inspirational. Your courage and love is awe-inspiring, thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us. Love, Rupal

  14. Follow your heart. You are amazing! A blessing to all who know you!