Finding out you're going to become a parent is one of the most life-changing moments a person will experience.
It is a very exciting time, but as with any major change, it comes with some fears, anxiety, and a set of worries - What if something goes wrong during the pregnancy? What if complications arise during labor?
These are all very legitimate questions that expecting parents are forced to think about from the moment the double lines appear on the pregnancy test.
For Sara Heller, one of her worries was that the man she had started dating just two months earlier may not want the baby. Still, she told him the news anyway, and he turned out to be the "most supportive, most genuine, most 'perfect' partner."
Little did she know that her biggest worry was yet to come.
During their 24-week ultrasound appointment, an OBGYN informed the parents-to-be that their child, whom they planned to name Brody, would be born with a "common birth defect" - a Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate.
The couple were referred to a high risk OBGYN, who ordered more tests to determine whether or not the baby had other conditions. Unfortunately, the results returned positive for a rare deletion of chromosome 9.
"She [the OBGYN] explained to us that Brody may have some developmental disabilities, epilepsy, low bone mass, facial deformities BUT there was no telling which line on the spectrum of any of those he would lay on," Sara recalled on her blog Cleft Connection.
The doctors asked if Sara and Chris wanted to terminate the pregnancy, but "without hesitation," the mom and dad-to-be knew they would be keeping the baby.
They didn't care that he would look different, and they were already doing research so that they're prepared to offer him the best and proper care when he arrives.
"This new information didn’t change how we felt about our son and we certainly didn’t love him any less."
On October 7, 2016, Brody was finally born, and from that moment on Sara and Chris were no longer anxious about showing him off to the world and telling his story.
They wanted to spread awareness of his conditions so that other families can know that they aren't alone.
"It is OK to be proud of your baby no matter the circumstances. We wanted to change what ultrasound/newborn/first year pictures on our Facebook/Instagram accounts looked like. We wanted to spread awareness of cleft lips and palates," Sarah told Heart Eternal.
Despite the challenges that came with caring for Brody, including the negative comments on the internet, Sara and Chris soldiered on.
The family were generously gifted $1,000 by a kind stranger, and they were able to put the money towards Brody's treatment.
Brody was eventually able to undergo surgery to correct the deformity, and nowadays,he looks like any other happy and healthy two-year-old kid.
"This experience has shown us just how strong the cleft community is. We've been contacted by people all over the country," Sara added. "They are praying for us and asking us to reach out if we need anything."
The toddler still has a few complications, including some trouble eating, and will likely need to undergo more surgeries, but he is doing better as each day passes.