Thursday, October 26, 2017

ACL ... blessings!

It's been a while.  Too long!  Lots has happened in our home over the past few months.

We had a family friend, Joe, stay with us for about 3 months.  That was seriously so fun.  He's 18, so an older brother to the kids.  He took this role nicely and actually helped to make the house even happier.  The kids all loved him here and when he left, there were some heavy hearts.  Mine included.  He went back to VA to be with his peeps, but the time here was priceless.  Love you Joe!!

4 weeks ago I had surgery to give me a new ACL (which I had torn playing bball a couple of years ago) and to fix my meniscus. 

If any of you reading this has a jacked up knee and needs surgery to fix it ... DO IT!  Here's why.
20 years ago I did the same thing to my left knee playing soccer.  I blew out my knee completely.  Had what people call the "unhappy triade."  It sucked.  Surgery sucked.  Physical therapy was forever.  I had crutches for weeks, a brace for months, and I had chewed through half my bottle of pain killers before I was able to go to regular Tylenol.

It was a nightmare.

So when I found myself in the surgery center, cap and gown, ready to have another go at it (my other knee this time) I was ... floored.  How'd I get myself back into this again???  And a bit frustrated knowing the road to recovery would be long and arduous.  But I had to do it.  I even felt compelled to get my knee fixed.

My last memory was walking with the nurse to the operating room, seeing the anesthesiologist and 2 nurses, and my "bed."  It oddly felt like going to execution table.  I laid in the bed, freezing.  That room is an ice box.  Last thing I heard a nurse say was, "we'll get you warm."

Then it was, "the surgery is over Erika."

I had some weird reaction I remember.  I was rhythmically slamming my arms down beside myself, then fold them across my chest, then slam them down again.  I can remember that.  And I couldn't stop. 

They gave me Benadryhl.  SOOO random!  Benadryhl. Apparently it worked though.


Long story short.  It's 4 weeks today from my surgery.  Guess what I did today?  I went on a 6 mile bike ride and did a short pilates workout.  And I can bend my knee so that my heel can ALMOST touch my bum and straighten my leg to where the back of my knee HITS the floor.  Oh, and I only had 3 painkillers the entire time!


I'm walking not only without a brace, but almost without a limp!!

Night and day from 20 years ago!

Point I'm making is ... medical technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the past 20 years ago!  When I went in for my post op, my doctor basically told me that if I were to resume my regular activities (running, bball, soccer, racquetball, etc) I would need a total knee replacement in about 20 years.

Bring.  It.  ON!  In 20 years it'll either be the 2nd Coming anyways or if not, a knee replacement will entail a dab of lavender essential oils or some quick sprinkling of glitter or something.

So.  If you need an ACL repair and aren't really wanting to.  Do it.  You'll be sooo glad you did!  Big girl is gonna be back to playing some big girl bball in a few months!!!  I can't WAIT!

Lets see.  What else besides the knee?

Kids are doing great.  Gosh I love being a mom.  Repeat, I love being a mom.  I didn't say "I rock being a mom" nor did I say, "Being a mom is easy" or "I finally figured out my role as a mom" or anything along those lines.  I just love my kids.  They're all so different, all so funny.  All so freaking head strong.  I'm not here to mother them.  They hardly listen to me.  I'm just here tell them everything I know, make sure they know how to clean, remind them to brush their teeth, and hug them.

I drop them off to school and they do their thing.  And I simply pray that they ... make decisions that will make the world a better place for all those who meet them.

Gideon does this.  Every single day. 

You know what I dislike?  When people refer to Gideon as having problems, being handicapped, special needs.  I'm not being overly sensitive.  Heck, people can say "retarded" around me and it doesn't phase me in the least.

Because I literally see Gideon as nothing but great.  Just like I see all my kids.  They're great.  ALL have imperfections, but all are great.  Gideon has his greatness and his imperfections in different areas than the rest of the kids.  But at the same times, my oldest has his greatness and imperfections in different areas than the rest of the kids.

Do you see the point I'm trying to make? 

Gideon may not kick a ball as hard as his brothers, but he can make a room erupt in laughter faster than anyone else.  That's why I feel like Gideon most perfectly completes our family.  It's like, every single gap is filled with him.  He softens his siblings like no other.  His siblings make him scream and race through the house like no other.  If there's ANY yelling in the house, Gideon cries and everyone rushes over to comfort him.  It turns into a laugh fest.

OK, I'm getting super tired.  I'm working on a quilt now.  I can't WAIT to see it done!  It's going to a dear friend in VA.  I can't wait for her to get it.  It's gonna be the biggest quilt I've ever made.  I love this lady so much.  I can't wait!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Lessons at the pool

We're a family of soccer, pool, church, fun, and arguments.  Plain and simple. 

The other day I was chatting with a friend, Kris.  We got to talking about Gideon.  And I shared with her something I feel like I need to share here.

The summer before Gideon was born was, to put it mildly, H.O.T.  It was even too hot to go to the pool sometimes.  But we'd go.  Of course.

I remember one specific family that summer.   It was a couple with a younger daughter, maybe 10? She had SOMETHING going on. Cerebral palsy?  Autism?  I don't know.  But I can specifically remember always seeing them at the pool and always watching them. 

 I weird mom watched that couple with the girl.  They would carry her in the pool, letting her lie on her back and float and swirl her in the water.  There was so much love and concern for their daughter.  What hit me most was the thought, "that little girl has bonded her family stronger than most families."  You could tell her parents were 100% invested in her, which made them invested in one another.  What also hit me was, "that little girl was a very elite and valiant and special spirit, so her mission here on Earth is a protected albeit powerful one."  And I was hit with the realization that her parents were, as well, strong and mighty spirits who came to Earth to help this elite spirit experience mortality, in her complicated body. 

Strength.  It was strength that I saw most in this family.  From the daughter, from the father, and ESPECIALLY her mother.

And I felt respect and admiration for this family. 

And as I rubbed my belly, knowing I was carrying a boy who was, as per his ultrasound, perfectly healthy, I thought, "That's great for them, but that's just not for me."

You see, I'm not cut out for that kind of a life.  I was almost strangled by a guy with special needs when I was 7, so I grew up fearful of any and all folks that were "handicap."  I never could have a normal and comfortable conversation with someone with special needs.  Or with their parents even.  They were all on a different level from me.  I recognized they were on higher levels even.  But quite frankly, a level I had zero interest in.  Zero.

When Gideon was diagnosed with Trisomy 21, my world stopped.  It stopped spinning.  But it only stopped because it needed start to spin in another direction.

I IMMEDIATELY recognized the powerful spirit that is Gideon and that resides in his perfect little body.  I also IMMEDIATELY recognized the love and trust that both he and our Heavenly Father have in me, to take care of Gideon here on Earth.  And what I recognized even sooner, and feel every single day, is the KNOWLEDGE that Gideon and I were very, very, VERY close in the pre-life.  Every time I hold him, my spirit burns inside.  My spirit recognizes Gideon.  It's such a powerful feeling.

And I am warming up to the truth that, just like that mother who I watched from a quiet distance, I too am strength.  I saw her strong spirit as she held her daughter in the pool.  Her fiercely loyal spirit.  The past almost 15 months, I am learning that I have a strength that I simply didn't recognize before.  The strength to do what is right for Gideon.  For all my children.  The strength to question doctors and therapists.  The strength to clearly recognize for my children, the Lord's hand in their lives.  The strength to feel comfortable with other "severely elite spirits and their moms."  And most importantly, the strength to change.

Gideon gets me.  He understands people.  He's interested in his siblings.  He's loving and patient and happy and kind. 

If we're going to label Gideon as being "handicap" or a child with "special needs", I would suggest we are ALL handicap or we ALL have special needs.  My world spins in another direction as I recognize that I actually have more issues than my son!  I'm prideful, I'm impatient, I don't do everything I say I'm going to do.  I have a hard time forgiving.  I can blow people off. And as I recognize this about myself and SEE this as a handicap, I'm humbled.  I'm softer.  And it makes me more accepting of others.

Oh my gosh how Gideon has opened up a new level of life.  And new sphere that was always there but that I never, ever, EVER recognized before!

And then it hits me.  I have now joined in the ranks of parents who, in my mind, years ago, were "at that level" that I wasn't cut out for.  And I realize it's not about being "cut out for."  It's all about being gifted the KEY to that level to open the door to experience life in a way that REALLY lets you experience life. 

Having a child with Down Syndrome is a gift.  From Heavenly Father.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

He's 1!

Normally when I blog, it's because I get totally ... "compelled" to write.  Like, I HAVE to write or I'll go crazy.  Tonight, it's not that.  It's just because Gideon's 1.  And it's a such a happy, content feeling. 

So I really don't know what to write.  It's just been a good day.

Last week I got to go to VA.  VA is quite easily, my "home."  When I was there I felt like I fit into the area just like a puzzle piece.  So many times I was saying, "I can't believe I'm back here!"  Being with my friends and coming into step with them, synched perfectly, like I had never left, was SO COMFORTING.  There are, without a doubt, people you associated with, laughed with, BONDED with, in the pre-life and meeting back up with them is simply nothing short of a blessing and tender mercy from Heavenly Father.  I'm lucky that I get to enjoy mortal friendships with people who I bonded with before this life.  It's a blessing.

When I came back, I could tell that Gideon couldn't quite "place" me.  He acted like, "I know I should know this lady, but HOW?!"  We're back to our old ways though.  His eyes on me the entire time I'm in the same room with him and if someone's holding him and I'm close by, he turns towards me, leans towards me, and lifts his arms ever so slightly.  And I get him and we both get all happy and kissy ;)

There's something that came to mind the other day.  Gideon has seriously dulled the "bad" that's in me.  He's softened me.  He's relaxed me.  Simply put, Gideon has made me a better person and has made our family kinder.  If every family had a member with down syndrome, that family would just be better.  If every family in a society was made "better", think of what would happen to said society?

The thought came to me then, "the society who welcomed and cherished their members with down syndrome would be a better society.  And would thus create a nation that was a super power."

Babies with Trisomy 21 need to stop being aborted.  It's like eating the meat but tossing the marrow-rich bone.  Eating the avocado but tossing the nutrient packed seed.  Not many people get the value in bone marrow or in the avocado seed.  But those who DO, those who know how to cook with marrow rich bones or know how to access the goodness found in the avocado seed, THEY'RE the ones who are healthier, better off.  Education's the obvious key.

Which is why, again, I want the world to know Gideon.  I want to educate doctors and nurses.  They need to be able to give the news of "you're expecting a baby with Trisomy 21" with excitement and even reverenced awe.  Expectant mothers and fathers need to know that they just won the golden ticket.  They were just blessed to get a NEW normal which would open their eyes, minds, and hearts to so much understanding you simply couldn't get any other way.

I know I'll touch upon this topic again, but I'm exhausted.  It's been a good day.  Just wanted to say that what this all boils down to is this.

Gideon is a gift.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

10 mos old

I don't know what it's going to be like to have a child with downs.  I don't know what it's going to be like to have a teenager with downs.  I don't know what it's going to be like to have an adult with downs.

But I do know what it's like to have a baby with downs.

Gideon thus far has been an absolute joy.  He's love.  He's smiles.  He's relaxed.  He's low stress.  He's calm.  He's self entertaining. 

He comforts.  He's "chill-lax."  He's infectious.  He communicates. 

He's perfection.

When he's happy, like really happy, he's does this "booty-scooting" thing, minus the actual scoot.  Just rocking.  When he's meeting someone for the first time, he stares.  They will not get a smile.  He's just studying.  If he's more shy, he'll put his head down and find the floor to be uber interesting.  If he wants you to pick him up, he every so slightly raises his arms.  He's learned that it's all he needs to do.

If he's WAY excited, he'll boot-scoot AND clap AND put his head down, then up again, then down and have this amazingly cute/funny/hilarious smile.  If he's frustrated, he wipes his face with his tiny fingered hand.  If he's tired, he whines. 

If he sees me, it doesn't matter what he's doing, he won't take his eyes off me.  My kids will at times tell me to NOT come around Gideon cuz he's laughing and playing with them and they know if he sees me, he'll simply, get distracted.

What a ginormous ego boost he is to me!  ;)

I get so much done with Gideon because he's just happy to be playing at my side.  He loves playing with my fabric scraps.  He loves playing with paper and those envelopes with the plastic windows.  That sound really gets him.

I was Facetime talking to my brother Samuel this AM and Samuel goes, "Let Gideon meet my puppy!"

Have you seen "Bedtime Stories" with Adam Sandler?  That guinea pig and Samuel's puppy have twinner eyeballs.  Gideon HAD been staring at Samuel but when eyeballs came into view, Gideon just looked away.  He looked down, he buried his face in my arms.  Samuel and I were laughing so hard.  Gideon doesn't like large eyeballs apparently!  ;)

He's who the kids ask for first thing in the AM, even on school days.  "Is Gideon awake?"  If he is, they get so excited and he responds with smiles.

A favorite activity is letting him "attack".  They'll put their head in his face and he'll grab hair and try and "eat" their faces.  Oh my gosh!!  Kids will have scratch marks on their face from his nails where he's grabbing so hard to "eat" them, but they'll be laughing soooo hard.  And there's Gideon, just looking around, happy with the reactions he's caused.

Needless to say, Gideon is fun.  He's a literal piece of Heaven in my home.  I look at him and seriously don't see "down syndrome" but rather, I look at him and think, "I can't believe I get you!"  I say that all the time! 

The kids are forever telling him and each other how "popular" Gideon will be when he's in high school.  They're already talking about whether or not he'll play basketball or wrestle.  He's definitely gonna play soccer.  They want to see him run track.

I absolutely love and am so grateful for the immense BOND my kids have with this child.

YEARS ago I heard a father say, regarding his daughter who had ... something.  It wasn't downs but she was non-verbal and walked around and just stared.  I can't remember what it was, but anyways, he said, "The best way to raise your teens is with a sibling with special needs."

I remember believing him but wishing I hadn't heard him say that because I wanted nothing to do with having a child with any type of "special needs."  More recently, when I was pregnant with child number 7, I was playing the piano for a Primary program.  I was super super  SUPER nervous, but had a calming experience.  I literally felt, right beside me, the presence of 2 kids.  A girl who simply brought me calm and comfort, and next to her was a small boy.  He was smiling and I had this feeling that he was just ALWAYS happy. 

I told Matt that I thought #7 wasn't going to be our last because I felt "a girl comfort me."  I purposefully left out the 9th child.  For 2 reasons.  I couldn't believe we'd actually have NINE kids and his joy actually scared me because I thought, "would he have down syndrome?"  Because down's kids are known for their constant happiness.  I thought, "that's just my weird thinking cuz I can't stop having kids so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."  And, "I don't want any kids that aren't "perfectly healthy, across the board."

Yes, my honest thoughts.

Now that I've been REUNITED with Gideon, I realize REALLY how LUCKY.  No, not lucky, but rather BLESSED BEYOND COMPARE that he's mine.  And I'm his. 

I can tell that Gideon was an elite before this life.  He was one of Heavenly Father's most valiant, noble and wise.  And we were close!!!  I was bonded, before this life, with someone so valiant, noble and wise that he gets Heavenly Father's protection here on Earth.  He can't be tempted by the devil.  He's divinely protected.  I walked with and had very personal relations with this type of spirit and we get to be together again here on Earth.

I'm so grateful for this knowledge and for knowing it's true. 

Now what do I have my sights set on?  I want to adopt a baby with down syndrome.  Maybe even more than one.  Because they are Heaven on Earth and I want to be an active and intimate part of that. 

I want the world to know Gideon and I want the stigma around trisomy-21 to be a positive, exciting one.  Because Gideon is pure positive.  He's pure exciting.  He's pure joy.  He's pure love.  He's pure.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The strength that comes with Gideon

On August 4th we left our kids with my parents and took Gideon to Sacred Heart to get his pre-op testing done in preparation for his big horking open heart surgery on the 5th.  They told us to plan for 5-10 days.  I planned for 2 weeks.  The day went smoothly.  The hospital had some deal with the Madison Inn where we only had to pay $10 to stay in a pretty nice hotel that was just next door to the hospital.  I basically took in every minute I had with Gideon.  This is a picture I took of Gideon in the hotel that evening with a special shirt a friend of mine made for him sitting in front of an extremely special quilt.

 After all his testing and blood drawing (miracle #1 for the day, his blood draw was a 1st time success!) we went back to the hotel.  We crossed paths with an older couple who saw Gideon's O2 and feeding bag and asked, "Heart surgery?"  Come to find out, their kid had surgery when he was a baby.  He was now in his 30s.  I sorta felt like that was Heavenly Father just giving me a little "things will be OK pat on the head" type thing.

We got up around 5AM to get him to the hospital.  That was about 1% exciting and 99% horrifying for me.  I'm so uber practical.  I knew how big of a surgery he was going to get and the practical side of me just trumped the faithful side of me. 

I had an interesting experience when his surgeon walked in.  He came in just to say hi.  He walked over to Gideon and patted Gideon's back and listened to his chest (every single time anyone with a white coat came in, they did that.  Listened to his chest.)  When he first patted Gideon's heart, I had the strongest feeling of a literal hand over my head, turning my eyes to stare at the surgeon's hands and then the softest yet firmest voice in my mind saying, "Pray for THOSE hands."  So I did just that.  I stared at his hands and said the most desperate silent prayer, "Heavenly Father, the hands that I'm staring at right now, please guide them through Gideon's surgery.  Put Thy hands over those hands and guide them."

Then Dr Warrel left and then his anesthesiologist came with Molly, the nurse who would be with Gideon through the surgery.  And they took him. 

Matt took this picture.  I had started crying already.  Gideon was sleeping.

The surgery would be 6 hours.  Matt and I sat in the waiting room for a lot of it.  I wasn't hungry.  We played some card games that a friend gave us and I started knitting.  I thought, "I'll knit washcloths while we're at the hospital.  See how many I end up with."

While in the waiting room I met a lady who married the kid brother of a guy that my TX friends all had crushes on (well, most of them anyways) back when I was around 14.  Small world.

Then God sent me a tender mercy by sending in a mom with her 12 year old son who had down syndrome.  He reminded me of what Gideon might be like when he's 12.  He had brown hair, Gideon's ears, and a basketball player on his t-shirt.  He was on a little lap top.  He started giggling and hid his face behind the laptop, whispering stuff to his mom.  She looked up and told me, "he thinks you're pretty."  Then about 15 seconds later, he whispered something again, giggling.  She then said, "now he wants to marry you.  He's very fast with the ladies."  He started giggling yet again, motioning for his mom to lean in for another set of instructions but this time she said, "you tell her yourself!  I aint your wing man!"
Of course it was hilarious, but of course it got me all emotional because I wanted that so badly to be Gideon and me.  Gideon a ball player and me telling him I aint his wing man!

15 minutes post the 6 hour mark I started to panic.  Yup, I did.  Especially when the nurse came in and simply said, "things are great!  Still working on him though."  WHAT?  This was when she was supposed to say they're closing him up.

It would be TWO HOURS later that we'd get that update.  Gideon was on the bypass machine for a total of 8 hours when all was said and done.  His nurse Ami later told me that when she was told she was getting a baby who was on bypass for 8 hours, she said "I was apprehensive."  I found out later on that sometimes babies don't survive the surgery Gideon had.  To be grateful actually that he had downs.  The saying goes, "you can't kept a downs baby down" in the PICU.

Seeing Gideon for the first time was hard.  They had to paralyze him and he had so many tubes coming out of him and wires going into him.  But to be honest, as hard as it was, I wasn't emotional.  I was relieved.

The next 2 days he was passing with flying colors.  I wondered if we'd be out in 5 days, but I had a sense, a feeling, that I needed to just sit back and buckle up.

Long story short, Gideon started going down hill after the 3 days.  We ended up at the hospital for a total of 24 days.  And in those 24 days, I have to say, I had never before seen God's hand so clearly in my life.

When I was pregnant with Gideon, the adversary worked so hard on me.  Harder than I had ever EVER experienced in my entire life.  I had the craziest thoughts going through my head, the darkest feelings, the most desperate of days.  And then Gideon was born.  A spirit so elite in the pre-life that he didn't need to be tested like most of us do here on Earth.  And my 24 days in the hospital were filled with so many tender mercies and experiences testifying to me that God exists and loves me, so many "coincidences" that were so incredibly coincidental that you had to believe "there are no such things as coincidences, the Author just chooses to remain anonymous." 

A lady from my new ward called me.  We had never met but she called because she knew what we were going through and sympathized.  "I had a baby who needed heart surgery, we lived here but I had to stay up in Spokane with 3 kids at home.  I know exactly what you're going through and my heart just breaks for you."  Then she shared with me how, during a certain experience, she was reminded by an impression in her mind, "I have carried you through this."

That struck me so hard. 

Because I am sincerely so weak.  My trust in Heavenly Father and my faith are so weak.  But the Lord doesn't fault me for it.  Rather, He has so lovingly placed people in my life these past 6 months who have been His angels.  His angels to carry me, to hold my head up, to help me put one foot in front of the other.  He'll lead me to people who will say things that I need to hear, He'll give me experiences that prove, with out doubt, that He's aware of Gideon and my feelings.

Heavenly Father is so patiently strengthening me through Gideon.  He has put women in my life who have passed through similar and even tougher trials than this one.  The strength that I see in these women.  In my eyes they stand shoulder to shoulder with those mothers in the Book of Mormon who taught their sons to have faith.  These mothers sent their sons into battle.  None were lost.  The faith and power of these mothers brought about the miracle of "moving mountains."  It's a blessing and a privilege to know modern day "mothers of stripling warriors."

I feel so loved by Heavenly Father.  I know He's real.  I know He answers prayers.  I'm a standing witness, proof, that I don't have to have perfect faith in Him or perfect trust for Him to love me.  I just need to work at it.  I just need to have a desire.  He's taken that desire of mine and worked mighty miracles in my life.  And as time goes by, I know my faith and trust in Him can grow and grow and strengthen and strengthen. 

And I feel so strongly that Gideon will be a big part of that growth and strengthening.  I think that's a huge aspect of our eternal relationship.  I think Gideon strengthened me in the pre existence.  I think he held my hand and led me to greater things than what I could have done on my own.  I sense his strength as I hold him.  I sense that he's an "older spirit" than me.  It's just my privilege that I get to be his earthly mom.

Gideon came home on August 29th.  Healthy and well.  The doctors are happy with how his heart looks.  We're not out of the woods yet, we still have the possibility of another surgery down the road.  In the mean time, I know I'll continue to strengthen my relationship with my Heavenly Father and those angels He's put in my path.  And in the mean time, we'll enjoy Gideon.  He is an elite spirit and an extremely loved baby.

P.S.  I ended up making 12 washcloths

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

5 mos as a mom with a child with downsyndrome

Last month I was in the grocery store with G-man.  Just the 2 of us.  He was in his stroller, hooked up to his feeding and O2 tubes.  I just had to grab a couple of things.

We were in line in front of a lady with 4 kids.  They were all close in age and super well behaved.  She still looked disheveled.  I guess the totally "hands on" moms look worked.  This is no job for the prissy!!  ;)

She noticed G-man and asked me what was up. 

It floors me that I am now the mom of a child who gets "the looks" from strangers.  Floors me.  F.L.O.O.R.S  M.E.  I totally see what it's like now to be on this side of the fence.  And I can say, in all honestly, that I WANT people to ask me.  Because I KNOW they see him.  He has tubes.  He looks a bit different.  A bit gorgeously different, but different all the same.  I want to tell the world about him, not have him be some curiosity fodder.

So she asked me. 

And I told her. 

All about his heart I told her.  How he has a handful of things wrong but seeing doctors who will operate on him etc.  Come to find out her oldest son also had open heart surgery.  Come to find out, we share cardiologists!

And that's as far as the conversation went.  Just his heart.

Nothing about his having downs.

I couldn't.

Because I knew if told her he had downs, I'd start crying.  I knew that if she saw me crying, she'd think that I was sad that he had downs.  I knew that she'd think that maybe I felt I was cheated.  That life sucked to be a mom with a child with downs.  That I was stuck with a burden for the rest of my life or his. 

And quite frankly, I didn't have time to explain my tears.

I had time to explain my tears though to a teller at our bank.  I've gotten to be good friends with her actually.  I was at the bank a few days later and we got to talking.  She knew all about G-man and I knew all about her youngest brother who is now 52.  Both have that extra chromosome.  I told her about my experience at the grocery store.  And to her I explained my tears as they came pouring out, right at her desk.

"I couldn't tell her because I knew I'd cry.  And I knew she'd think I was sad.  But I'd have cried because having a child with downs is so special."

We both started crying actually.  She shared with me the intense bond her own mom had with her baby brother.  How they had such a special connection.  How when she passed away, he KNEW even before anyone told him.  How during her last days, only he could bring her out of her lucidness, how she would always ask for him and only him.

Having G-man as my son is the most special thing that has happened to me.  It's a constant spiritual experience.  It's an awareness that he did some pretty amazing things in the pre-life that granted him protection here on Earth.  When I hold G-man, every fiber of my being tells me that he's older than I am, that he's more advanced than I am.  I can already tell he's more patient.  I can already tell that he's more accepting and loving of others than I am.  I can already tell just as he took me by the hand in the pre-life and helped me do who knows what, he will continue to take me by the hand in this life and help me to do who knows what.

It's such a special privilege, blessing, to have him.  Which explains why it's so hard for me to tell people about him, about the REAL him, because it's so special.  It's almost sacred.

And this further explains my complete and absolute mental and emotional condition as we hit the 10 day countdown to his surgery.   Be it known, I'll be a complete mess.  I know how I'll handle it.  I'll go into survival mode more than ever before.  I won't visit friends, talk on the phone, nothing.  Cuz it's how I deal.  I'll escape to my quiet place in my mind as I try and distance myself from my reality.  The reality that I could possibly lose G-man and not have him with me.  I know this is a complete lack of faith.  It is.  It's also how I try and protect myself from what could be the greatest pain I'd ever feel. 

I'm too afraid of thinking of hoping for a future with him because a future with Gideon, a heart healthy Gideon, would be like having an angel accompany me here on Earth.  It would be just so awesome!

If you're reading this and if you've been given the news that you are pregnant with a baby with downs, please don't take this as bad news.  If you've been given the "opportunity" to choose between keeping the baby or aborting, believe me when I say, you are carrying a literal angel and you will know this the minute you hold your baby.

Shame on our health care system to address these pregnancies as "oh, I'm sorry, but ..."  Health care providers should hand golden tickets to moms carrying babies with Trisomy 21.  These moms should be applauded, should even be admired.  Because we get to raise angels.  And we get to experience a bond with these special babies that no other knows.  I have a close and special bond with all my kids.  But with Gideon, it's different.  It's beyond an "intense desire to protect."  It's more like, ... he completes me like no other.  We are each others.  I am his and he is mine.  It's like the most intense love story ever. 

He lets me soothe him like no other.  He cries and when I hold him, his calming down is practically immediate.  When I'm angry, all it takes is a few seconds with him, holding him, and my anger ebbs.  A tiny smile elicits a belly laugh from me.  Gideon and I have a connection.  It's a heavenly connection. 

Moms who have kids with downs will understand this connection.  Don't abort.  You will lose out on so much.

It's only been 5 months and I've learned this much about Gideon.  I pray and pray and pray that I get to keep him for so much longer. 

He's my buddy.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

1st miracle

We have 3 huge massive issues on our plate. 
#1 ~ Gideon.  He's not an issue per say, he's actually quite perfect.  It's his heart.  I've written plenty about that and will write more I'm sure.
#2 ~ Selling our house in VA.  This is a huge financial issue.  Because as long as we have it, every month we're paying mortgage on it along with our rent here.  We've had 2 contracts so far on our place.  And we've been totally screwed by the inspector these would be owners have hired.  I'm not going to go into detail here, but he truly has screwed us.
#3 ~ Have you ever tried to find a place to rent here?  If you have more than 2 kids, it's next to impossible.  If you have 9.  Well, all of a sudden a snowball's chance in hell looks pretty good.

This post is regarding point #3.

Not only did we hate where we lived, (well, hate is a strong word.  The house was great, but really, only if you had max 2 kids) but our landlord was ready to have us out.  We were probably there "against code" as the house really was too small for 11 people.  She let us know that she had already found tenants and we needed to be out by the end of June.

And we were in May.

And between Matt and me, we had literally turned over every stone, wood chip, leaf, and twig looking for a place to rent.

Nothing.  Literally, nothing.

Because who wants to rent to a family of 11.  And we were running out of time.

It was over the course of about 3 days that I kept having this "feeling" to post on FB that we needed a place to rent.  I seriously ignored it because we don't know a ton of people here, so not a bunch of people on my FB from here.  On around the 3rd day, I specifically remember walking down our tiny hallway towards the living room and that same feeling came, "post it on FB."  I headed straight for the computer and updated my status.

About 5 minutes later I got a private message from a friend of mine who I met thanks to sports.  See how great sports are?!  Sports never fail!!  ;)  Her son played football with mine and her daughter plays soccer with my daughter.

She messaged that they were buying a home and moving out of their rental and that the house would be perfect for our family. 

Long story short, we moved into our new rental June 18th!!!!! 

Besides the fact that the kids love it and the "lemming syndrome" has vanished, this house is proof that there is a God, His "thoughts are not my thoughts, nor His ways my ways."  His timing may not be my timing, but when it comes down to it, moving here is a testimony to me that His thoughts, ways and timing are WAY better than my own.

Come to find out, this home was basically the home that God had in mind for us all along.  When I wanted to find a larger place to stay a year ago, this house wasn't ready.  So we had to stay put.  And wait.  It was basically ready for us at the moment that we really needed it.

The location allows for the kids to access the bike path quickly and safely.  There's over an acre of land the kids can play on.  The house is far from roads.  It's in a very quite spot. 

Enter Gideon.

There's a separate living area downstairs that allows for guests.  ie Grandparents who need to stay for long periods of time to help because of Gideon.  The house is designed in such a way that if anyone is sick, it's quite easy to stay on opposite sides of the house to better protect Gideon from getting sick.  It's so important that Gideon not get overheated.  This house is one of the few in this town that has central air.

I don't think there were many homes in this town that could have been more perfect for Gideon than this one.

I find it so very interesting the Lord's hand in our rental stress.  He knew we'd have Gideon, so He had us wait.  Then He whispered into my ears for 3 days, telling me to put it on FB.  And my friend just so happened to be on FB to read my post.  Even though I was literally going out of my mind, even having emotional crying spells because of the stress of being in such a tiny house, Heavenly Father made me wait because He knew what we would REALLY need.

And it ended up being more perfect that I could have even imagined.  Heck, there's even a cherry tree here!  He knows that's one of my all time favorite things to eat!!  And it's not fattening!   Quite the contrary!  ;)

I think He's trying to teach me that it's OK to trust Him.  More specifically, to trust Him with Gideon.  That has been my biggest thing these past 5 months.  I need to be able to trust Him with my Gideon. With HIS Gideon.

I was thinking the other day, if our other 2 stressers, Gideon and the VA house, get taken care of as well as Heavenly Father took care of the rent situation, then everything will be better than OK.  Everything will be perfect.  More perfect than I can even imagine.

I need to trust Him better.  He's ever so patiently showing me that I can and should.