Thursday, September 25, 2008

The First Days

" 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.' " Joshua 1:9

The first month meant a doctor’s appointment (or two) every single day. Terms like, “ocularist (which the computer always thinks I’ve spelled wrong), developmental pediatrician, occupational therapy, physical therapy (therapy of every kind it seemed!) and surgeon, surgery, CCS, tactile defensiveness, conformers” became our new world. Depression, guilt, and fear seemed to be new encounters for me as I tried to make sense of a “new” life, MY new life.

Really what it meant was grieving the loss of the dreams Mike and I had for our family. It's a feeling I know many others have shared with me once they've experienced a loss of some kind. People asked how we moved on, but to me it felt more like starting over.

While no one could ever have prepared me for the road I would now be on, no one could have prepared me for the outpouring of love our family would receive. It really is easier to give than receive, but there are times in your life when you really must receive if you want to live. The blessings came in all kinds of packages: prayers, meals, cards, phone calls, e-mails, babysitters for Lauren, gifts, name it. It came in the form of God, family and friends! Believe me, while the road feels lonely at times, we have always known we are not alone.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Delivery Day

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

With nine months of a nearly textbook pregnancy completed, March 28, 2003 was set to be one of the most exciting days of my life! I knew I’d be induced with our second daughter at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital in Fountain Valley, CA…where my mom is a nurse in the post-partum ward of the hospital. (That’s the place you go after you’ve brought that “adorable-to-only-the parents” new person into the world and you’re “recovering” from the all-natural birthing process.)

We dropped our older daughter, Lauren… nearly 2 at the time…off at Grandma Bev’s and Grandpa Russ’s for the day. We figured we’d call Bev when the time was close so she could share in Taylor’s arrival. We also figured Mike would be picking Lauren up and having the night at home with her while I shared the first night with Taylor. Things change! Taylor didn’t seem to really want to start her life in the “real world.” I figured, “Second baby…this will go fast!” Labor is nothing fast (except for my mom who had eight kids, and by baby number five… it really was fast!).

Anyway, I was induced and was under great care with my nurse who happened to be a good friend’s sister-in-law. It’s amazing how quickly a delivery nurse can bond with a nearing delivery mom-to-be! And mine was absolutely the kindest, gentlest, most wonderful nurse on the planet. I had no idea just how invaluable she’d become.

Mike and I spent the day “enjoying” our anticipation. The pitosin was dripping, Mike and I were laughing with my mom, the nurses, visiting with family who would stop in, and things were slowly getting ready for Taylor's big arrival. Now, this was child #2 so I knew when to ask for the epidural, and believe me, I wasted no time in taking care of that! My wonderful nurse held me so tenderly. I will always remember just how nurturing she was and how confident I was in her arms. Even with that gigantic belly (well, I was never really gigantic, but I sure felt it!) I easily trusted her.

The day really did seem to go exactly as I thought it would…except of course, I figured I’d be drinking a vanilla milkshake at lunchtime with Taylor comfortably resting in my arms. It was getting closer to delivery time, Taylor giving in to the idea that she was coming out like it or not…into the light as I thought.

Finally, it was time! Two pushes, and Taylor was here! I remember asking Mike over and over, “Isn’t she beautiful, Mike? Isn’t she beautiful?” She had a folded ear and was kind of "different" looking. The thought never occurred to me that anything was seriously wrong. I just thought she looked a little different because of the entry gate into the "real world." I didn’t realize it right away, but she also had a 10-cm umbilical hernia which we later nicknamed Mount Vesuvias. It was gigantic! I remember my mom quietly asking Dr. Fraser, my OB-Gyn, a few questions. It never really dawned on me until much later that my mom was asking the doctor some specific questions, and I do mean MUCH later.

No one quite realized what we were dealing with in Taylor right at her birth.We had no idea what was going on at the time. Taylor’s APGAR scores were in the normal range, and she was screaming loud and clear, “I’m here, people! Now I’m hungry!” What a gift! (I had told myself from the third trimester on that if Taylor wasn’t a nurser, it would be OK for me to do my best and not force the issue.)

That hour in recovery with Taylor was the best gift God could have given us. Mike and I sat in the room enjoying our precious new gift. She came out suckling like no other, and nursing was what I had envisioned it to be. It was actually easy! The bond was instantaneous which I had thought about from early on in this pregnancy. I just didn’t think there would be any possible way to love a second daughter the same way or with the same amount of love I had for Lauren. How wrong I really was!

Monday, September 1, 2008


"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

It seems that everyone has their “IT” moment…you know the one that changes the course of your life as you’ve known it. For many of us, it’s losing someone so special it’s unimaginable you can ever trudge through life the same again. For others, it’s devastating medical news. It’s...fill in the name it...
For me, it’s having a blind daughter.

In July of 2002, my husband, Mike, and I had just put in an offer on a new house which would more than double the current mortgage, we were selling our home, and we had a bouncy one-year-old, Lauren, with tons of energy. Life was great!!! Four days into two escrows, I realized I was a little "off" to say the least.

When I got pregnant with our first daughter, Lauren, two years earlier I was off the pill for a couple of months, and we got pregnant within three months. It was such a gift, and I say that knowing there are many couples out there who have had unbearable heartache trying to conceive.

When I found out I was pregnant with our second, Taylor, I was in disbelief. Mike and I “refrained from pregnancy-inducing activities” during the days with any chance of conception. Now, I know something happened on one of the multiple days right after that window (OK...obviously, I know what happened). Within a few weeks I felt nauseus, tired beyond tired, and just overall yucky for a few days. You would think I would have been smart enough to put the pieces together then, but I figured we were just so crazy getting our housing stuff together that my body was just totally worn out. Not quite!

I figured I’d better take the test just to be sure. Positively positive.