Monday, May 17, 2010
"The Story of Owen"
Okay, so here it is. A very personal story, but one I want to share. God has worked miracles and given us blessings through Nate and you've heard a lot of those stories. But, you see, God also gave us a HUGE blessing with the life of Owen.
When Nate was about 1 1/2 years old, Trey and I started thinking about having another baby. But, of course, knowing SMA is genetic, the chances of having another baby affected with it was 25%. To us, too big of a risk. So we looked into other options. I had just been to the SMA Convention and learned about a procedure called PGD (pre-genetic diagnosis). Basically, you do in vitro fertilization. Then the embryos are sent off to a lab to test for SMA. The ones that aren't affected are sent back and those are the ones that will be implanted. The SMA affected embryos will either be destroyed or sent to a lab for research. You can look at this two ways. 1) We need research to find a cure; or, 2) That's a Nathan - that's a life!. I felt strongly about both, but leaned heavily towards #2. That is where my heart was the whole time. But I convinced myself that sending them for research was OK. So we started the process. About half way in, things weren't doing what they were supposed to do in my body, so we had to quit this cycle and had the choice to start again with my next one. After tons of money wasted and my gut & heart telling me this wasn't the right choice, we moved on.
We let things be for awhile and then about a year later decided to try donor insemination. Trey and I discussed this at length many times. He wouldn't be the biological father. But it didn't seem to matter to him or to me. It's just like adopting right?? For about a year, month after month, I went through the insemination cycle. Nothing. Then, it happened, I got pregnant! However, about 7 or 8 weeks into my pregnancy, I started having pain. I had an ultrasound and found out it was an ectopic pregnancy. I underwent surgery, which wasn't successful. Had to go back in for another treatment to "rid" my body of the fetus that was still in my tube. The dr. told us the chances of me getting pregnant again were very slight. My one tube was now severely damaged with scar tissue and since I had an ectopic pregnancy already, the chances of having another one was a lot higher in either tube. Trey and I were very upset, but had to tell ourselves, that it just wasn't meant to be. The baby probably had something wrong with it, or this wasn't God's plan. To be honest, I don't think Trey or I ever felt comfortable with the method of donor insemination anyways. I just convinced myself it was the only way because I WANTED ANOTHER CHILD DANG IT! Selfish me, again.
So now what? Of course, we had always thought about adoption, but knew we would not be the type of family first on the list. Because we had a handicapped child who required so much care, the chances of getting accepted for an adoption was next to none. And foreign adoptions were out because one or both of us would have to travel overseas and that was not possible. We had never really talked to anyone with an agency, but just from what we had heard, and read, we knew it would be nearly impossible to adopt. But, we started seriously looking into it again. Gathering information, getting ready to contact some agencies to see if there was ANY WAY we would qualify.
And then, guess what I do find out - I'M PREGNANT! What ????? Now, let me just say, without getting too specific, Trey and I were VERY careful. Since doing the donor insemination, I had to do an ovulation kit every month for a year, so believe me I knew EXACTLY when I was ovulating. And I did not get pregnant during that time. And the fact that I had scarred up tubes. Unbelievable! Of course, our first reaction - a combination of shock and happiness. Second reaction - don't get our hopes up, it's probably ectopic again. Also there was a lot of anxiousness at first - what if the baby has SMA??? The doctor even mentioned terminating the pregnancy. Are you kidding me!!! No way! SMA or not, this was meant to be. This was how it was meant to be! And we had an advantage if the baby had SMA, we knew all about it and how to care for a child with it, etc. It didn't matter. After the first ultrasound showing everything was where it was supposed to be, relief set in. It was not ectopic. That's all we cared about. We chose to forego any in utero testing for SMA, because we had faith and didn't want to risk anything. Again, it didn't matter. So testing would be done after birth. It takes two weeks to get the results. But to tell you the truth, the moment the dr. said "you're pregnant", I knew everything was going to be okay. A complete miracle from God. I just knew it! So, God took control of our "baby" destiny. He always had a plan, and that was for Owen to be a part of our family. We had to go through a lot to get him, but it was worth every minute! God gave us another redheaded, blue eyed, STRONG, SMA-free baby boy. What would we do without our Owen? Owen's middle name is Bennett. We chose that because it means "blessing or blessed". And by the way, the name Nathan means "Gift of God". So God gave us a Gift and a Blessing in two redheaded boys.
Owen and Nate have very different stories. But God had His hand in both their lives and for this we are very grateful. We are the luckiest parents!