Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Year

Summing up 2010? Extremely difficult. So much happened. So much changed in our lives. We were blessed beyond what we thought would be possible in the birth of our daughter. In 2009 when we received her diagnosis, we thought our lives were ending. In 2010 when she was born, we realized that the really great part of our lives was only beginning.

2010? Here is a summary of our lives this past year (if you make it all the way through, you'll deserve some sort of special award):January
I was put on bedrest due to high blood pressure. I had been having contractions since I was 25 weeks pregnant, so we fully expected her to come early.
I sat on my couch for three weeks, very impatiently waiting for Addison to finally join us (and worrying about what our lives would be like once she was here).

When I was 39 weeks pregnant, I was induced- February 5th. Addison was born February 6th at 10:40pm.

She spent the remainder of this month (and most of March) in the NICU.

The last week of Feb, she had her first surgery to put in her G-tube. We were told at this time that it would be close to a year before she would be able to eat fully on her own.
12th- magical day. The day we finally got to take Addison home (this was actually quite an overwhelming/interesting day which I'll go into more detail as we approach the anniversary)

This month our home was invaded by oxygen cylinders, nasal cannulas, g-tube equipment, and an amazing baby!

During the month of March we had so many doctor's/home nurse visits/therapy appointments I can't recount them all here.

March 25th was the day that I wrote my first ever blog post. (-:

On top of dealing with all of the medical stuff and a still very sick baby, I went back to work on the 12th. My mother-in-law watched Addison for two weeks and then my Mother flew out to watch Addison for the next two weeks.

Addison got her g-tube switched out for a Mic-Key button. (worst appointment of our lives)

April was a month of survival. One day to the next. Some days I would teach a class, run Addison to an appointment and then go back and teach another 1.5 hour class. She had A LOT of appointments- following up with her many health problems.

11th was her first heart surgery. We arrived in Boston on the 10th. Yes, mothers day. My first mothers day was not spent with flowers and warm fuzzy feelings. It was spent with raw fear that a surgeon was cutting into my daughter and "fixing" a hole in her heart. They chose to go in through her side and close just one hole because they had high hopes that the other hole would close on its own. We were pretty much promised that we could come off of oxygen after this surgery.

We didn't. But at this point, I could take her off of oxygen for a couple of hours at a time. You have no idea how much of a relief that was to be able to run an errand with just a baby.

My baby sister Andria arrived in May and was our live in nanny until the end of my school year. Love you, Andria!
Continued with all of the appointments, therapy visits and home nurse drop ins. Still on oxygen.

I finally finished up work on the 18th and immediately had guests from Minnesota. We loved visiting with our friends Evan and Sheila and their daughter Tava! So much fun.

As soon as they left, my other brother and sister came and all four siblings were together.

June was a fun month, although I don't think I ever quite got to recover from my school year.
Addison got her Mic-Key removed (after hours, days, weeks of patiently working with her and her bottle)! YAY! This was a huge step for us. The surgeon was really, really mad at us for getting it removed so early. We were supposed to have it in at least for a full year. I fought to have it removed because Addison didn't need it anymore and I knew that it was just getting in her way. I'm really glad that I fought for this, although it was hard to feel the disapproval of the surgeon.

I got more and more frustrated with each passing day that they wouldn't take us off of oxygen. We had a heart surgery in Boston to get rid of the problem! They made promises to us that they didn't keep.

Also, in July Chubbs' life was spared once again- not due to medical stuff, but to a clutsy mommy. I don't think I've still forgiven myself for this.

OK, I'm going to admit to something here that I've only told a handful of people about. Mostly because I'm pretty sure that no one will actually read this far down in the post. Early July, I started writing a book. I have faithfully and consistently given this book, many, many hours of work. The story is now finished at 80,000 words. I now am working on editing and finalizing the wording. I have poured my heart and soul into this book. My dream is to get it published in 2011.
For some reason, going back to work in August was much harder than going back in April. I think probably because in April I was still numb with shock. Although I had a busy summer, my senses were able to somewhat revive themselves to start feeling normal emotions again.

In August, Addison turned six months, I turned 26, and Aaron and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.

Nichola, our PCA joined our team in August. She has done a wonderful job of working with Addison while I am at work or when I take a day to just write.
September was a very busy month at school, I worked almost twenty hours a week on my book, and I played in a musical up at Stowe (this included many hours of practice inbetween my "jobs")

We saw yet another hearing doctor who still proclaims that Addison has hearing loss. I don't believe it. I just don't.

We received a call to schedule another heart surgery in Boston with the hopes of getting Addison off of oxygen completely. By this point, dealing with a baby on oxygen seemed like the most normal thing in the world to us. But, our dream was to get rid of it. This surgery meant that I had to miss the last three performances of my musical. This caused me a lot of stress.
October began by traveling once again to Boston for a heart surgery. sigh.

October also began by the catheterization surprisingly fixing the problem, making the surgery unnecessary. What a huge, amazing answer to prayer!

However, we were still on oxygen. Just at night now. Yay, now I only had to worry about my baby strangling on cords in her crib was while I was supposed to be sleeping.

We came back home from Boston and immediately jumped back into a busy work/writing schedule. No break for this mom.
November began with me playing in another musical on top of a busy week at work. This only only lasted one week, but was every day from 7 to 10:30 at night. Needless to say, it was exhausting on top of exhausting.

At the end of the week, Addison had her sleep study, which finally resulted in us being able to take her off of oxygen!!!! Read about that here.

The rest of November included a lot of working and writing.
Addison took her first flight to Milwaukee to spend a week with Grandpa and Grandma Sanford. I left her there and took the train down to Chicago where I attended the Midwest Band Clinic.

We met Addison's cousin Lauren for the first time and spent lots of time with my family.

We returned just in time for Addison's first Christmas. She went skiing for the first time. (-:
And this brings us to now. I have confessed to you all about how stressed and under the weather emotionally that I have been feeling lately, and looking back on my last year, I guess I can see why.
There is a lot that I'm not including on the above list, such as-
Heavy financial strain due to all of Addison's extra expenses and my extra month of lost work due to bedrest. A husband who works at least twelve-fourteen hours a day, six days a week as he is running his own business and it is still young. A roller coaster between loving my baby and struggling with everything that was going on in my life. Self doubt at work and the soothing therapy of writing my book.

I don't have any profound words of wisdom or a witty saying to wrap up this startlingly revealing post. But I would just like to say, the year 2010 changed me so much.

I became a mother. I love being a mom.
I discovered that I love to write. I never really had anything to write about before now.
I was stretched to a new level and found myself doing things and keeping schedules that I never before thought possible.

My eyes became opened to a new world of having a child with special needs. A world where physical imperfections and labels mean nothing. A world where love is all you need to parent your child. A world where stereotypes are thrown aside and babies are embraced wholeheartedly for exactly what they are- perfect, wonderful creations of God. Dare I say it? Just as wonderful. and perfect. As all of his other creations. No more. no less.

Addison. I love you.

This blog has been a wonderful solace to me this past year. I know this sounds dramatic, but I'm not sure I could have made it without being able to be totally honest with all of you and hearing your amazingly encouraging words in return.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Also, cannot possibly type this kind of post without mentioning that "God is good.....all the time."

Happy New Year, everybody!


  1. Wow Deanna, what a year! And just knowing that what you wrote was probably just the tip of the iceberg...You are amazing! Addison couldnt have chosen a stronger, more capable, loving Mom! I cried when I read about your first Mothers day, I cant even begin to imagine what you went through...And if you have a book you are publishing I want to read it!!! You have a talent for writing and your blog has helped me through my first year with Russell :)
    Happy New Year Deanna, may it be your BEST one yet!!

  2. Are you kidding??? Of course we'll read to the end of your post! Thanks for sharing your heart and your life with us; I can't WAIT for your book! How cool is THAT???!!!! :)

  3. can't wait to get my hands on that book!!:)

  4. Congrats on your book! That is a HUGE accomplishment! I need to write my year end post, but there is just so much that happened this year I don't know where to start. Happy New Year!

  5. I just found your blog and I loved reading about your last year!! Addison is beautiful and it sounds like she is an amazing blessing!

  6. Your days must have 36 hours. it's amazing what you archive every day. Have a wonderful New Year. The world belongs to the brave.


  7. That is WONDERFUL, Deanna! Pre-order mine!


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