Thursday, April 15, 2010

A look back...

She hasn't always been this cool and sophisticated...

As I returned back to work this week, I guess I didn't anticipate how much I would be traveling down memory lane. When I first stood in front of my high school students, I had a couple of choices. One, pretend that I had had a normal maternity leave and that nothing was wrong so that I could continue to work toward "perfect teacher" who's life everything is wonderful and doesn't seem to be touched by the ugliness in the world and therefore, not very human. Or two (this is the option I went with), I could use this as a "teachable moment", being totally honest with my students and hopefully allowing them to learn a life lesson by hearing a first hand account of a mom who was told that her baby was going to be less than "perfect" and that the doctors would totally understand and support if abortion was chosen. I did not choose to abort my child because I believe that God created her just the way He wanted her-perfect in His eyes. Who am I to question that? I can't lie and say that it wasn't a struggle while I was pregnant to always accept the Down Syndrome diagnosis graciously. There were times when I wondered if I would love my baby- this terrified me. But now that I'm on the other side of this experience, I am overwhelmed by how much I love my beautiful baby girl. And, I told my students, that I hope that parenthood is a ways off for them yet, but when it comes their turn that they should never let someone tell them that their baby is "worth less" because of some sort of variation from the normal. Because no matter what, they will love that baby with such strong emotions that it will scare them at times.

Anyway, I allowed myself to be more vulnerable in front of my students than perhaps ever before, but God brought me through all of this and if I didn't share with my students the miracles that I have seen and help them learn from it as well- I would be failing in my job as their teacher. All of this to say, as I stood before them and told them what has been going on in my life, I really started to look back and marvel at how far we have come in the last almost 10 weeks. So, I have posted some pictures to help dictate the journey that we have been through:

This is a 3D ultrasound we got of Addison around 33 weeks.

This is my last "belly shot" picture as I posed in Addison's room, mostly finished, at the end of my pregnancy.

This is one of Addison's first pictures. Born 2/6/2010 at 10:40pm, weighing in at 7lbs 14 ozs, 19 in long. You'll notice that a lot of her weight is fluid in her head and stomach. I got to hold her very briefly before she was cleaned up while they were cutting the umbilical cord, but, once they cleaned her up, she started to turn a dusky blue. They immediately put her on oxygen and whisked her off to the NICU to determine what was causing her need for oxygen. By the time I was all cleaned up and ready to hold her again, she was gone.

Here I am visiting her in the NICU two days later. After holding her once the morning after she was born, we were told that we couldn't move her anymore since it caused her to need even more oxygen and caused her stats to drop dangerously low. She was in isolation and was hooked up to all kinds of machinery.

One of the night nurses took this picture late at night when she had to change the cpap. For the longest time, this was the only way we could see her face without being covered by the breathing apparatus.

Finally, one morning we came in to see her and they had upgraded her to a nasal cannula. We were sooo excited we could finally see her face! Isn't she beautiful?

Valentines Day. Her first time wearing clothes. (-: This is the onesie that I bought the weekend I found out that something was abnormal with the pregnancy. I determined there was nothing I could do to change things, so I bought her some beautiful clothes because it felt like I was doing something for her.
First family photo
After many weeks in isolation, they finally put her in the room with all of the other babies. Next to all of the premies, she looked a bit like a giant. (-: She got upgraded to an isolette and then to this crib. Each step presented progress!

After 5 weeks of wondering and waiting and praying, she finally got to come home! We first had a care conference with 10 doctors/nurses/therapists gathered together and her pediatrician on conference call to discuss all of her future appointments and her different health needs. It was extremely overwhelming. After that was over, we got to take her home for the very first time. So exciting! Once we finally got her all set up with her carry home oxygen tank and monitor, we started taking her toward the car. The monitor kept beeping and we couldn't figure out how to shut it off, so we ran quickly toward the car with her wagon beeping away. I'm pretty sure it looked like we were stealing a baby. I promise she is ours. (-:
We held a welcome home party for her, inviting Aaron's family to come meet her for the first time. I had high hopes of making a fancy cake decorated like one of the books that Aaron faithfully read to her every night in the NICU, but after cleaning my house and taking care of Addison, I had 30 seconds to throw a few halfhearted decorations on the cake I had shaped like a book. Oh well, it was a delicious cake....better luck next time.
Aaron on the floor with Addison while Mmom Smith was practicing CPR on the blow up baby that came with the DVD. (Sounds like an exciting welcome home party, huh)

One of her first baths at home. I end with this picture so you can see how far she has come. Her skin color is no longer yellow. She has gotten rid of most everything that was attached to her in the NICU. She merely remains on the oxygen. She does have a g-tube, not because she can't eat by mouth, but because she works so hard to breathe, they didn't want eating to be one more thing for her to work at. They wouldn't even let me give her a bottle in the NICU until I finally snuck one in. After yelling at me, they realized that not only was it OK for her to take a bottle, but she seemed to really enjoy it and very shortly after that she really turned a corner and came home much sooner because of it. I'm not saying I know more than the doctors, I'm just saying I know my baby better than they do. We will hopefully be getting rid of the oxygen after she has her heart surgery this summer to close up some holes in her heart. Despite her still lingering physical problems, she gets better and more alert every day. She is such a determined this pictures to her first ones and see for yourself what a fighter she is...she has come so far.

This is a very brief clip of the journey that we have been on the last 10 weeks. So many people have been praying for us and for Addison, and I am here to say that God has been so good to us! I am so excited to continue to see Addison grow even more beautiful every day. I am the most blessed mom ever to have the best baby in the world!


  1. Praise God for how He is working in and through your life. Your testimony is such an encouragement!

  2. Deanna, she is beautiful! David and Emilie have kept us up-to-date on Addison's progress and I just found your blog today. Your courage and strength comes from God is an awesome testimony to His grace!

    Rachel Klink (David Woodworth's sister)

  3. You've had an amazing journey, Deanna! Praise the Lord, what a testimony, especially to you students! You are still in our thoughts and prayers!

  4. Deanna,

    Thank you so much for sharing your amazing journey with us. Your story and testimony is a wonderful reminder of our awesome God. You'll never know how many people are blessed by sharing how the Lord is working in your life in this way.

  5. Have so enjoyed reading your blog and sharing in your wonderful story. You all are doing a wonderful job and I know God is there in all the ups and downs. You have a precious little family and we are continuing to remember you in prayer. God bless you all.

  6. To God be the glory, great things He hath done!! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Deanna! It brought me to tears! Happy tears!


Thanks for reading about my Everything and Nothing. I would love to hear from you!