Thursday, January 21, 2010

525,600 Minutes

Ken and I are big Broadway fans, although we don't get to see shows nearly as often as we'd like. To be honest, I don't even remember the last thing we did see together... it may have been Spamalot, but I won't swear to it.

One show I wanted to see, but we didn't get to, was Rent. The music was always so catchy when they ran commercials. One song is entitled Seasons of Love, and it has one of those tunes that gets stuck in your head. I could only ever understand a few of the words, but the ones I did get hit me hard. Here is some of it.

"525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of love."

So, why this song, and why today? Well, Andrea's whole saga really began a year ago today, January 21, 2009. On the 16th, Ken and I, with Mom and Dad, set out for what we thought was going to be a "routine" 20-week ultrasound. On the plus side, we learned we were expecting the little girl we were hoping for. (Already having a pair of boys) On the other hand, the doctor was extremely concerned about the size of the baby. Instead of a "20-weeker", she was closer to 18. We went from elated to terrified in minutes.

It was the recommendation of the doctor and geneticist that we have an amniocentesis to rule out potentially fatal genetic problems. After talking with everyone, and much soul-searching, we opted for the test. I have to admit, I have heard horror stories about amnio. I'd rather not have one again, but it's not the worst thing I've ever been through. The spinal block before the c-section was more painful. The doctor got the fluid he wanted, and sent us home with orders to rest for the weekend and be careful about lifting or moving things.

All seemed positive - especially when the geneticist called Tuesday with preliminary results showing that things looked mostly good. No scary fatal problems. It all fell apart on Wednesday, January 21, 2009. I was at work, still being sort-of careful, not doing any heavy lifting or moving, when I felt something wet. I called the doctor's office, and was told to come right in. I left my school in tears at 1:30 in the afternoon, and didn't come back until almost a year later.

That was the beginning of the most stressful, anxiety-producing year we have ever lived through. In the doctor's office, they discovered that I was indeed leaking amniotic fluid. There is nothing that can be done for this, except to take it easy and pray. I went home, put my feet up, drank gallons of water every day, and tried to stay positive. A week later, we were back for another ultrasound and discovered that the fluid was coming back, at least a little. We went on this way for 5 weeks - one ultrasound at a time - until February 24, 2009, when the doctors felt I needed to be in the hospital until Andrea's birth. For better or worse, that hospital stay was much shorter than I'd anticipated. Less than 50 hours after I was admitted, Andrea was born.

So, how did we measure the year? Just like in the song..."In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife." We got through parts of it, literally, minute by minute. Late evening phone calls struck terror into our hearts. In the NICU, every day of Andrea's life was acknowledged and celebrated. We had very few setbacks, and she proved herself to be a fighter. When we learned that she would, indeed, be coming home, we were in a state of shock. We never allowed ourselves to believe differently, but it seemed like too great a gift to actually accept.

Now, here we are, 525,600 minutes since the odyssey began, and we have a normal, healthy 7 1/2 month old baby (her corrected age). She rolls all over the place. She almost sits up unassisted. She pulls up, locks her legs and stands if we help her balance. She eats baby cereal and foods, and even gets the spoon into her own mouth. She can hold her own bottle, but tends to be lazy about it. She reaches for things she wants, and shoves most of them in her mouth. She pulls my hair - something Kenny did as a baby that caused me to cut it all off... we'll see how much longer I last. She watches everything, and misses nothing. She laughs. She babbles, blows raspberries and sticks out her tongue. She loves her brothers, and they love her. What more could we ask for?

To help others have the same happy, blessed, fortunate outcome we had, I am participating in the March of Dimes "Walk for Babies" on Sunday, April 25, 2010. Andrea will be with me, celebrating her life. If you have been moved by her story and would like to support my efforts, please click to donate. If you decide to donate, please take the time to read what I've posted on my personal page at the March of Dimes. Some of it is redundant, but some is pretty meaningful, and it explains why I feel so strongly about participating. Whether you choose to support me or not, please consider forwarding this post to your email contacts. I'm hoping to raise $1,000 - so I need 100 contributions of $10 each, or ten contributions of $100 each. (Or one of $1,000... LOL!) Seriously, every penny helps, and it's those who supported the research in the past that allowed for our miracle to be here today.

As always, we thank everyone for their support - emotional, physical, psychological, material.

"We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers." 1 Thessalonians 1:2


  1. I really liked todays post!!!

  2. Thank you :-) I had to find some way to explain what we went through. It has been a year I really DON'T want to repeat!

  3. SO well-written, and such an awesome reminder of how much can happen in a year. I have been truly blessed. Each year of my son's life (we're up to six now) has passed in blissful simplicity. I am so glad Andrea is doing so well. And I am so proud of you for being so strong through it all. I know, when you're placed in a situation that demands it, you find the strength, but seeing how you're using your tough experience as a catalyst for helping others makes me so proud to call you my friend.

  4. P.S. You might get some blog visits from California. I posted a blog about this on our school website. You can't see it (as an outsider), but I encouraged people to read about your miracle and sponsor your walk if they feel so led.

    God Bless!