{Turning Tragedy into Thanksgiving} Grayson’s Story.

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill


Grayson joined the Hill preemie club when he arrived six weeks earlier than his due date. While he did stay two full weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), he had endured few complications.

A few months into Grayson’s precious life, I started noticing that his hands and feet were slightly purple in colour. They would at times be purple with more intensity than others, but purple nonetheless. This disheartening observation prompted my mention of this to Grayson’s paediatrician. The doctor assured me that Grayson’s off-coloured feet were just poorer circulation, which is quite common for babies his age. This made sense to me and we carried on.

At eight months of age I mentioned to the paediatrician that this purple-feet thing was not going away, if anything, it was gaining intensity as time passed on. At this particular visit the doctor saw Grayson’s feet for himself and ordered an echocardiogram right away. We were scheduled for this appointment a few weeks later and it was from those results that we learned Grayson was born with a condition called: Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease (BAVD). To simply things, this condition develops in utero and is when the aortic valve has only two cusps as opposed to the necessary three cusps.

Our paediatrician suggested that we give Grayson until his first birthday to develop a third cusp (sometimes this can happen during the natural growth and development of a child) and then retest with another echocardiogram. If at the echocardiogram we learn that nothing has changed, the doctor would refer us to a paediatric cardiologist in a city two hours away.

We waited. We prayed. We also asked many of our close friends and family to join us on the battle ground and pray along with us.

Grayson’s first birthday approached and we watched for signs of healing. Another echocardiogram was scheduled for the first week of October and we anxiously awaited the good news.

Near the end of the echocardiogram, I asked the technician if she was able to see a third cusp.

As I held my breath, she turned to me and said:
No ma’am. The heart looks the same to me as it did in May

Exhale, Mandy. Exhale.

I texted my husband as I walked out of the hospital with tears in my eyes. He began to look into the condition known as BAVD and what that would mean for our precious little boy. The journey ahead was nothing to anticipate with joy or thanksgiving.

Grayson was also battling quite a cold during this time of diagnosis so I made an appointment with his paediatrician for the following day to possibly get some antibiotics. While we were there the nurse excitedly told my husband and I that she had just received the echocardiogram report and would give that to the doctor so he could go over the results with us as well during our visit.

My hubby and I sort of exchanged glances as if to say: We already know the results.

Well, weren’t we surprised when the doctor came in with a peppy little smile and announced that Grayson’s echo was …great!?

Great?! …..What?!
“How is a diseased heart …..great?!” I asked.

The echocardiogram showed that the heart is in good health. The aortic valve is fully developed with three cusps.” (To which he showed us in print on the written report).

I’m sure several moments passed before I sputtered out….but the tech…..she said there was no change….that there were still only two…..two cusps?

The doctor shrugged and said, “Perhaps the technician did not see the third cusp, but the specialist picked it up in his analysis of the imaging? Nothing to worry about, he’s all there.

And with that the most incredible joy washed over me. God healed my baby – of this, I am certain. I could almost see God rolling up the long and painful journey of hospitals and surgeries and throwing it away like an old tattered carpet. He gave us the most wonderful gift; a miracle.

I love the way God works, because He didn’t reveal His power on the day we were expecting. No. God waited for the moment that would completely take our breath away. A moment unexpected. A moment set aside for His glory to be revealed. (Romans 8:18)

God doesn’t bless us, for us. Blessings from God are certainly not about us. Instead, God’s blessings reveal more of who God is, giving us glimpses of His incredible character and to shine a light on His faithfulness to us.

We all have so much to be thankful for. Let’s give God the glory for our many, many blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.




  1. Thanks Mandy for this testimony. I have enjoyed praying for your little one and your whole family. Happy Thanksgiving to you all today.


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