Unexpected Parenting: Finding Joy When the Sonogram is a Diagnosis with Katie Butts


Sonogram and diagnosis are not two words any of us want to hear in the same sentence.

How do you handle the fear that comes with a sonogram diagnosis? Katie Butts knew her child had “limb differences” before she knew he was a son. Even before she knew the right lingo for limb differences, she and her husband determined to celebrate the arrival of this child they loved already while he was in her womb.

Now their family fields honest questions from curious kids with joy and humor. Of course, kids have questions. All moms know this truth.

“Will’s blades have flames on them, so we’re not exactly subtle,” she laughs. Blades are fancy prosthetic legs that athletes use. Her active, joyful son puts them to good use.

Change of Plans, Change of Prayers

“My mom will tell you it was an answer to prayer for her because, standing outside our room, she heard laughter. Of course, that was after the epidural,” Katie laughs.

Katie posted a sign on the hospital door warning people not to offer sympathy. “This is a baby we’re celebrating,” the message went.

A Second Sonogram Diagnosis 

With their doctors’ assurance that the condition was not genetic, they prepared for the birth of a beautiful second baby, only to be told that she, too, had unrelated medical conditions.

“She does not have limb differences. They’ve never been able to find links between their conditions.”

The Power of Celebrating

With hearts filled with gratitude for their adorable children, over ten years later, their family is still celebrating. She handles their family’s differences with unity and humor.

With experience that includes children’s hospitals, diagnosis, surgeries, travel, appointments, and insurance, how does this busy mom find energy to encourage other moms? “I’m a professional napper,” she claims.   

You might assume that their double surprises would overwhelm and discourage their family, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Instead, their two beautiful, active children find ways to connect with others in all walks of life. They both do so with their own unique brand of graciousness.

“If its Will, he’ll usually challenge them to a race and beat them,” she says of her son’s ability to start a friendship in almost any setting. Ellie’s approach is less dramatic, but every bit as loving.

Oh, the Stories!

Katie shared some hilarious stories in a recent broadcast of Fireside Talk Radio. Like the lady at the airport who scolded her harshly for putting her baby in a bag upside down before realizing it was just two baby prosthetic legs. Oh my!

Mainly, though, Katie shares great advice for all moms. She names beloved women who came to comfort her when she was on the floor vomiting with grief. She counsels all moms to seek out women who understand their journey.

Community and Companionship for All

“We allowed people to come into our sorrow and heartache and our celebration. Let people in,” she says, adding, “They’ll carry you when you can’t stand up.”

Katie may know the world of children’s hospitals, a world most of us never want to know. In the process, though, her family epitomizes the daily decision to celebrate life with joy.

Happy Mother’s Day to you, dear reading friend, with joy to all.

May I pray for you?

Dear Good Father, who knows our every need and loves us: When life surprises us with the unexpected, we can find ourselves hurting. We want to isolate and lick our wounds, even turning away from You. We often find it hard to imagine how You can turn sorrow into joy in our present circumstances. Give us patience and stamina, O Lord, as we trust You today. Teach us to laugh and find joy in the unlikely places. Surround us with companions who hold us up. Fill our heart with gratitude as we mirror the Savior in our suffering. In His name, we pray. Amen.

We love to hear from you…

Have people stepped up at the just the right moment in your parenting journey? How were unexpected needs met? When crisis hits, how do you find comfort?

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