NJIB - February 2019


FEB. 2019 Honoring My Wife’s Tremendous Courage on Our Path to Parenthood LifestyleLedger To the Strongest Person I Know

boy. It’s not uncommon to hear a thud against a wall in our

My name, Michael, has a valiant meaning. The archangel by the same name was God’s protector, dutifully standing by his side. I’ve always taken this meaning to heart, so protecting and supporting my family has always been my top priority. Many people notice that the age difference between my eldest daughter, 7-year-old Lia Grace, and my eldest son, 3-year-old Jack, is a bit significant. Under other circumstances, four years might not seem like much of a gap. But when you consider that we had the twins, who are each nearly 1-year-old now, after having Jack, it’s a unique spread. For my wife, Lisa, and I, those four years between Lia Grace and Jack were some of the most trying times of our lives. Physically, for me, it was nothing. But for Lisa, it was a grueling four years in which she had multiple miscarriages, in vitro fertilization, and intravaginal insemination treatments. Having to watch my wife struggle through the emotional and physical pain of trying to have another child and knowing I couldn’t do anything to help was heartbreaking. It was a period of learning to live through difficulty, and while we had a wonderful support system to lean on, our ability to rely on each other truly helped us through. During this period, I constantly worried that I would do or say the wrong thing. I wanted to be there to support Lisa, and I wanted to see my family grow. But as a man, there’s only so much you can do or say. There’s only so much I know and can relate to. But Lisa made me feel important and worthwhile. She knew being able to protect her was important to me, and she made me feel valued. In hindsight, I know I did all I could to support her.

home and subsequently hear Jack’s voice echo out, “I’m okay!” He’s added joy to our lives, and Lia Grace has taken to the role of big sister wonderfully. When Jack was becoming a toddler, my strong, courageous wife asked me if I’d be willing to have another kid. Our two children were the greatest accomplishments of our lives, and I knew I would love to add more. But I told Lisa I couldn’t make her go through those four years of pain all over again. We decided to leave it in God’s hands instead. You all know how this story goes. Lisa soon ended up pregnant again, and to our surprise, it was with twins! Michael and Michele arrived nearly one year ago, and they’ve been the perfect addition to our growing family. Michael is still wearing his helmet to help shape his head, and Michele had to wear one for a short while, too. However, they’re both happy, healthy babies, and our two older kids have been so supportive of their mother. Watching each of them grow into a little person has been a fascinating experience. But I cannot say enough about the strength and willpower of my wife. Lisa is the definition of a supermom. Even our neighbors say so as they watch her strolling down our apartment complex hallways with two babies in seats and a 7- and 3-year-old in tow. So, to the woman who battled through every obstacle in our way to parenthood, showed tremendous resilience, and continually makes our family stronger, thank you for making me the happiest, luckiest man.

–Dr. Michael Russo

Then, three years ago, we had our miracle baby, Jack. He’s been a phenomenal light and has grown into a hilarious, rambunctious little

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