Thursday, January 1, 2009

Roll Back the Clock

A little about me. I have lived in Dallas all of my life except for my college years when I attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. I was in Fayetteville for quite a few years doing victory laps. After I finished college I moved back to Dallas.

My husband, John, and I went to the same high school but did not know each other because he was a few years older. We met in Dallas in 2000 and I knew from the miute I met him that I would marry him. Pretty cliche, I know, but it was true. I fell in love with his laugh.

We bought our home in 2002 and were married in November of 2003. Our wedding was an absolute blast and a real blow out for his friends because they were sure he would never make it down the aisle. We had a wonderful honeymoon in Maui and returned back to Dallas after 10 glorious days.

In January I didn't really feel like myself. My head was very groggy and I was oh so tired all the time. I took a pregnancy test and we were surprised and very excited to know we would be expecting our first baby in October. I had the regular sickness and spent many months with my head over the toilet. Other than the nausea, the pregnancy was fairly uneventful and I happily spent the months planning the nursery and awaiting the arrival of our daughter, Mary Catherine.

Let me tell you, Mary Catherine had her daddy wrapped right around her finger from day one. Every day when he came home from work he would ask "where's my girl" but now was meaning where was Mary Catherine, not Mommy! He is such an amazing father!

John has one sister that is two years older than him. I have one sister, Brooke, who is seven years older, a brother, Rob, who is five years younger than me, and a little sister, Windy, who is thirteen years younger than me. Almost 21 years between my older sister and my younger. Same parents! Make for a pretty wild household but I wouldn't have it any other way. That being said, we knew we wanted to have our children pretty close together. I had my heart set on having my babies eighteen months apart but God had other plans for me. I had three miscarriages before we welcomed my son home in October of 2006. Up until the first miscarriage I had never really experienced a great loss like that and I had no idea that it would ever happen to me. I was devastated. After the first came another, and then another. I was furious at my body and did not understand why this was happening. After the third miscarriage my OB tested my blood and I tested positive for anticardiolipin and antiphosophilipin syndromes. I was actually relieved to know that there WAS something wrong because at least there would be a plan of action.

So I began to take heparin injections and finally was able to carry another pregnancy. Again I was sick and hung my head over the toilet for a few months. Thank God we had gutted and remodeled the house in 2005 because I had a much nicer bathroom to spend my first few months in. During the second trimester I began to relax a little and think that I might actually bring a second baby home.

Fast forward to his birth....our son John "Walter" was born on October 5, 2006, exactly one day and two years behind his older sister. It was a scheduled C-Section and we checked in early on the morning of the 5th and awaited what we thought was going to be a normal birth. Big mistake.

As soon as my OB took Walter from my stomach he said something was wrong. Immediately a team ran in from the NICU and grabbed for my sweet baby who was blue. The last thing I remember was someone saying there was something wrong with his leg. After that point I remember nothing for about 3 days.

My son was immediately taken to the NICU where he remained for a week. He was intubated to assist with his breathing. He could not eat. And his leg looked like he had elephantitis. It was so awful and so surreal to see my baby lying there in the NICU looking so huge compared to the other babies but being so sick and not having any idea what was wrong with his leg.

At one point, the head doctor told my husband that he was fairly certain that Walter was born with lymphoma. John was doing his best to look out for me as I was a tad bit fragile at this point, and he decided he would not tell me this until the doctors had decided for sure what was going on. In the meantime, though, the doctor came to my room with his concerns. I remember my father was in the room and I began to scream. I tried to sit up and tore open my staples from my C-section. I just looked to my father who had crumpled. I was absolutely terrified and felt that God had forsaken me.

Soon began a battery of testing to try to determine what was wrong with my son. Doctors came from all over to see this baby who was born with such a bizarre condition. They took him away every morning to do more and more MRIs. After five days the doctors told us they believed he was born with Klippel Trenaunay. This is a vascular and lymphatic congenital condition that spontaneously occurs in utero and will not go away. At this point, as long as my sweet baby was going to live, I felt I could handle anything.

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