Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cloud Slide Show Presented by God and Nate

Here I go again. I wasn't going to post this, because it's another SIGN. Yes, I know. My birds, rainbows, swan, clouds, etc., etc.. It's over the top. But I had scribbled down notes from something that happened to me the other night that I don't want to forget. Knowing I will eventually lose this piece of paper at some point in time, I want to have it here, SO I REMEMBER!

One of my many nights, outside, crying by myself, asking questions to God and Nate. Talking to them, and praying. I was so upset because I needed to know he was being take care of. I KNOW God and Jesus are taking care of him. My head and heart know this. But I just wanted to see it. See that Nate was okay. Taken care of like I took care of him, or of course, better than I took care of him. You see, I knew Nate and how to take care of him better than ANYONE else. No offense to Trey (who is the best dad EVER!), but I was with him ALL THE TIME. And the care he required was intense. I knew every little thing about him. And now, it's out of my control. God and Jesus are taking care of him. But he's healthy now, so they have it easy - LOL :) So as I'm crying, questioning, asking to know that he's okay, the slide show appears. It was a windy night, storms were on their way, so clouds were passing by quickly. Each cloud picture stayed for about one minute and then the next would appear. So, here's what I saw:

First, a heart (Nate is loved)
A cross (Jesus is with him)
A rainbow (Nate's Rainbow)
A person with a strong body (Nate is now strong)
A house (God's home - Heaven)
Then a hand was holding on to the house (Nate is holding hands with Jesus in Heaven)
A smiley face (He is happy)
And then a tone of birds fly by.....

The End.

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!

Therapeutic Writings

This blog, and writing, have become my "therapy". It's a good way for me to express my feelings and get them out instead of just laying in bed crying and thinking and thinking about things (which I do also sometimes).

The past few weeks have been a blur. The first week after Nate passed was horrible. Emotionally draining. Cried more than I've ever cried. Then when company left and life began again, I got busy. Busy playing with Owen, going out to eat with Trey, planning trips, taking Owen out and about, to neighbors houses, running, going to the gym, shopping, etc. I rarely would allow myself time to stop and think. Because I couldn't. I still have a hard time going back into Nate's room. Haven't watched any videos of him yet. Pictures are even hard. During the last few weeks, I hate to say it and I feel so guilty, but I'VE also enjoyed being "SMA free". I didn't think about Nate being gone, only SMA being gone. Owen has been able to do things that he couldn't do, Trey and I have been able to do things we couldn't do and plan things we haven't been able to do. No machines, no treatments, no pulse ox alarms, no nurses, no therapy. Stuff that consumed my daily life. But now that a couple of weeks have passed, I am thinking okay, I had my break and now where's Nate. WHERE IS HE! I want him back!!! I will give all the freedoms up in a heart beat to have him back! But that's selfish. It's been selfish of me to enjoy these freedoms, but also selfish of me to want him back because HE would still have SMA. I could deal with it, but apparently Nate couldn't anymore. I still can't believe he is gone forever (at least from earth anyways). In my mind, it's going to get harder over time, not easier. The longer he is gone, the more I will miss him. Everybody says, time heals. But I just don't think so. I guess I have no choice, but to move on, life keeps on going. I cannot say Nate is dead or that he died. Haven't been able to since that night he passed away. See, passed away is so much easier to handle. Dead and died - way too final, too harsh of words. HE'S NOT DEAD! He is still living, just somewhere else. And he continues to live in me and in Trey and in Owen!

Trey and I are still planning our quick getaway to Vegas this weekend. I hope and pray we are able to enjoy each other and have a good time. I don't want to spend it feeling guilty and crying the whole time. I have a feeling we will have fun and then we'll get back home and I'll have a couple days (or more) of sadness/guilt/depression.

I forgot to post awhile back that Trey and I picked out Nate's Memorial Marker for his grave. That was very difficult. We also got a bench with his name on it. Hopefully, they both will be ready by Memorial Day. I haven't visited his grave since he passed. Not ready. But once the plaque and bench are out, I'll be there. Crying hysterically I'm sure. The grave site is beautiful. We wanted to make sure Nate was by the water and he's pretty close to a beautiful water fountain. There are lots of ducks and geese around. It's very peaceful. I will be sure to post pics of it when we go visit.

I got a call today from a girl who is a member at First Baptist Church. The same church where my b/f/f Michelle goes and where Gayle Crist is a member (she's the one I met in the nail salon who had been praying for me - see previous blog post if you haven't read this story - it's a good one!). The call was from Megan and she does articles for their monthly newsletter. She wanted to do a write-up on Nate and on the story of me and Gayle meeting. Of course, I said yes! The more people who know about Nate, the better. His life is worth sharing with EVERYONE! He affected so many people while here on earth and it seems even more now that he's an Angel In Heaven! I'm honored to have a story written about God's work and Nathan's Life.

That's about it for now. I'm sure in the coming days I'll ramble some more :)
Attached is one of my favorite pics of Nate, which will also be on his Memorial Marker.