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First Fathers Day a tough journey for one dad

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POSTED: June 22, 2009 9:09 a.m.
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Sarah and Steven Laboy share a light moment.

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Steven Laboy sat next to his wife Sarah with one leg folded under the other on a double-stuffed couch at the Ronald McDonald house in Savannah on Friday night.
He beamed as he recounted the day he found out, at the age of 24, he was going to be a father.
 “I was like, ‘oh, my God. What did we get ourselves into?’ ” he said chuckling. “And then I thought, ‘Am I ready for this?’ ”
“He kept saying take another test, take another test,” Sarah said.
After three more tests and news from the couple’s doctor that Sarah was expecting twins, Laboy said reality set in quickly.
“I was scared. I was nervous. I was excited,” he said.
“Now it was like, forget am I ready for this,” he said, “I started to wonder, ‘am I good enough to handle this?’ One kid is a lot of responsibility. But twins? I don’t know if I can do this.’ ”
Sarah said she never doubted that he could.
 “I did not have a question whether he was going to be there for our kids. I was confident in him,” she said, “Confident in me? Maybe not, but I knew he would be a great father because he has always taken care of me.”
Then the couple received more unexpected news — something that no mother or father, young or old, could have prepared for.
“When Sarah was about 14 weeks into her pregnancy, she was told that one of the twins had been diagnosed with Hydrops Fetalis,” Steven’s mother, Marisol Gomez, said.
Hydrops Fetalis is a condition that occurs in pregnancy due to an accumulation of fluid in the fetus. In most cases, the fetus suffering from the disease will have a high mortality rate.
“They told them the chances of survival for baby Josiah would be slim to none and that if they did not perform a selective [abortion], the chances of his brother Donovan surviving would be zero,” Gomez said. “For the first time, I think that is when I really saw my son go from being a boy to a man. He absolutely took
the reins on this thing.”
According to Gomez, the couple opted not to have Sarah undergo the prodecure.
Steven told the doctors, “Pretend I am a millionaire. You tell me what I can do and where I can go and I will take my wife there.”
Within 48 hours Steven and Sarah were in New York meeting with specialists, getting tests done and trying to figure out how they could save their boys, Gomez said.
Weeks later, with doctors insisting the twins’ status was still the same, Gomez said her son maturely kept his faith.
“He was a rock,” she said. “It was all about protecting Sarah, protecting Donovan and protecting Josiah. It was completely selfless.”
Steven officially transitioned into fatherhood at 8:24 a.m. on June 7 when baby Josiah’s journey ended, and baby Donovan’s began.
Despite what Steven and Sarah had gone through with the birth and death of Josiah, Gomez said the couple was calm and willing to accept what they could not change.
“When the twins were born, I never saw hysteria. I never saw anger. All I saw was a young couple holding their son and thanking him for what a hero he was,” she said. “It was amazing. It still amazes me.”
Steven said he will always remember the first time he saw “his boys.” 
“It was a feeling I never felt, that pride … that pride of being a father.”

 

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