Happy AND Healthy?

I went to a Parent Advisory Board at Amplatz last night.  It’s the first time that I ever pulled into the parking garage and had a hitch in my breath.  The hitch that said, “I hate this garage”.

Nothing personal about Amplatz Parking Garage.  It’s actually a brand new facility that opened a couple of weeks after Owen as born.  What I really hate is what the garage represents.  Those times when Owen was admitted when we’d wearily pull into that garage night after night after night.  230 nights worth.

That feeling of dread was palpable, but at the same time, it felt really far away.  It then occurred to me, he’s done it.  It’s been a year.  Technically, he spent a night in the hospital in October, but it was less than 24 hours so is only considered “observation” not an admittance (that’s what the Ped says, so I’m sticking with it).

I never thought it possible.  After spending 230 days of his first 53 weeks in the hospital, can it be that he has gone an entire year?

I often see or hear people say, “My son was born at X weeks and only Y pounds, but today he is a happy and healthy Z year-old”. I’ve never been able to say that.  It’s pretty hard to call a child who is oxygen dependent “healthy”.

But you know?  He’s almost there.

In his last hospital stay, Owen missed a clinic appointment with surgery for his g-tube change, so his surgeon came to the PICU to do the change and train me how to do it.  He asked “why is he here”?  I explained that it was MORE respiratory issues and the surgeon looked so confident when he said, “This will get better.”  He knew me well enough to know my look said I didn’t believe him and he looked me in the eye with the arrogance of a surgeon and said, “it will”.

And you know?  It has.  Owen has not been on oral steroids since Christmas.  Not one dose of prednisone in 2013.  Not one.  Amazing.  I actually don’t even have any in the house right now; the bottle we kept on hand has expired.

Of course, because of my battle with the jinx, this disussion has me a little on edge, but it’s important to celebrate.  Owen deserves to be celebrated for how far he has come.

Owen does still have health concerns and sees lots of specialists, but the first year of his life the focus was on keeping him alive.  The second year we got to focus less on health and more on development and look how far he’s come.

He loves saying words!

He’s walking with a walker that he just got on Tuesday (video from day 1)!

It’s kind of hard to believe that this guy

Owen, 2 Weeks old, eyes finally open

Is now this guy

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I’m still not sure I’d say Owen is Happy AND Healthy, but he’s definitely happy and getting closer and closer to healthy.

Oh, and here’s Owen’s message to the fellow two-year-olds that see him at school and say, “Look at the baby”…

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The Infertility Heartache: Dawn’s Story

I’m really pleased to share this guest post by Dawn Tautges Running, a high school classmate of mine who is in the midst of her struggles with infertility. I know there are many readers who have had a similar journey who will relate to Dawn’s story and for those of us who didn’t have infertility as a struggle, there are is a great lesson to learn, and I bet, you’ll have other ways you relate in your own life.

Hello ANRC Readers!

This week is National Infertility Week. When Tatum first offered to let me do a guest piece on infertility, my first thought was hell no. I had two reasons. One, I’m nowhere near the eloquent writer that Tatum is and two, we know quite a few of the same people and I wasn’t sure I wanted a lot of people to know that my husband and I are having problems with fertility.

But isn’t that exactly what this week is about? Improving the public’s knowledge of infertility and trying to get rid of the stigma that seems to follow those of us dealing with it. 10 to 15% of couples experience infertility meaning that they’ve been trying for a year without success or for 6 months if over 35 years old. About 1/3 of the time it is female infertility, 1/3 male infertility and the other 1/3 is either a combination of the 2 or unexplained. We have been trying for a year and a half and even though I was 35, we had to wait until we got married to get health insurance that would cover going to a fertility specialist.

One of Tatum’s posts spoke of things people say to families with preemies and how even though they probably don’t mean to be, it comes off as insensitive. Those of us that have problems with fertility get the same thing. My personal favorite is being told to just relax or stop thinking about it and trying and then we’ll get pregnant. And all I’m thinking when I’m told that is if that’s all it took, we would have gotten pregnant in the first 6 months we were trying. And it’s impossible to stop thinking about it when you want something so badly and it seems like every other day there’s another announcement on FB of somebody else being pregnant. Although I’m extremely happy for those that God blesses with a child, it feels like I’m being stabbed in the heart every time I hear of another woman I know achieving pregnancy.

I belong to a infertility forum and one of the threads on there is “infertility is”. Here are some of the things women have posted:

“feeling alone”

 

“wondering what we did to have to go through something so horrible”

 

“crying like a baby every month when you get your period yet again”

and the list goes on and on.

There have been times as I’m driving to work in the morning where I am literally screaming at God asking “why?” Why us? There are people out there that should not have children, who abuse them and hurt them and then there’s us, both with good paying jobs and a warm house with plenty of love to give. However, as I’m screaming at Him, I am also doing my best to keep faith in Him, knowing that it will happen according to His plan. I just hope that His plan has it happening soon.

If we don’t conceive naturally this cycle (I’m in that dreaded 2 week wait) and I’m not expecting to, we will begin IUI next month. IUI should eliminate the problems that we know of that our causing our infertility so I’m hoping and praying that it works. There is still only a 20% chance though and we only get to try 3 times before moving onto IVF or adoption.

More than likely, you, or someone you know has dealt with, or is dealing with infertility. I know that this is usually a situation where you just don’t know what to say when you find out that someone is dealing with it. My advice, just give them a hug and tell them you’re there for them if they need to vent. Please don’t tell them to just relax and it will happen!

We are lucky enough to have a strong support system in our families and close friends, (I know many don’t have even that) but it’s also sometimes hard to look at my 2 sisters with their 9 kids put together. If any of you reading this are dealing with infertility, know that I’m praying for us all to have our miracle baby one day!

Thank you Tatum for letting me get my feelings and thoughts about this subject out instead of holding all of it in!

Shortly after getting the early read of Dawn’s post, I saw this Q & A from Carolyn Hax, about why “Just Relax” is a “thoughtless” reply. It is a great reinforcement to Dawn’s comments above.

Thank you, Dawn, for your courage in sharing your story. I know you’re going to touch people today who needed to hear it.

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