I Have A Say Thanks to My Mom and Dad!!!

Being the oldest of 11, I am so thankful, especially now, for my Mom and Dad saying "yes" to life! Growing up, we never had a ton of money. My Dad was a high school chemistry teacher and my parents decided from the beginning that they wanted to have one of them home with us. My mom gave up her teaching career, and raised me, followed by 10 others! My Mom also taught all 11 of us at home for part of our childhood before we would head off to Nativity Catholic Grade School. My Dad worked long hours, eventually earning other degrees so that he could first become dean, then principal, and finally, when I was a sophomore, he was named Roncalli High School's first president. My Dad and Mom both sacrificed SO MUCH for us.

I remember, even as a young person, getting stared at by people, and I remember the comments they would make. I can still hear a dental receptionist asking my Mom "Are these all yours? You know how children are made right?" followed by a real insidious but ditzy chuckle, followed by a secretarial gum crackle. My Mom and Dad were always tight budget wise, and I'm sure at times ached with a desire to not have to take bags of clothes from other families so that we could have clothes. I'm sure my Mom and Dad had desires to simply go to Nordstrom and buy us and give us all our own new clothes and Gameboys and Reebok Pumps etc. I'm sure they at times really wished they could just get a new car and not have to drive a fifteen passenger van around. I'm sure at times they wanted really badly to just go to a restaurant and sit back and enjoy a big expensive meal instead of having to cut coupons and craft together economic meals on the stove.

But they chose life for us, and they chose sacrifice for themselves.

I often think about that ditzy secretary now when our family gets together almost every weekend for dinner to laugh and hang out. Some of the siblings might be out of town or busy with other obligations, but inevitably, all weekend long, every weekend, our family gets together. Sometimes, when we're out at a restaraunt, I see the couples who are alone with each other. They hardly talk to each other and the loneliness is palpable. A part of me feels bad that we're having so much fun with our 8 tables shoved together, telling stories, laughing good hearty and healthy laughs. Sometimes I wonder if one of the couples sitting in the restaurant quietly and solemnly is that dental secretary - who now has piles of money and can eat wherever she wants, but doesn't have hardly anyone to share it with. My heart breaks for the people who are alone, especially the ones who are alone because, when they could have been having children, they instead bought into the contraception lie and lived for themselves only.

I have a say today, and so do my ten younger brothers and sisters, because my parents chose life. Mom and Dad - thanks a million!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Amber Has End Stage Kidney Failure...And She Has a Say!

I have a say because I am a woman. I have a say because I have End Stage Renal Disease. My children have a say because I chose them above what was thought to be the "best choice".

I have had Chronic Kidney Disease for the last 12 years. During these twelve years my kidney function has gone from 95% to 14%. Yes, you read that right, I am currently at End Stage Renal Disease.

I had 2 children while my kidneys were still "good". In 2002 I spent a month on bedrest at home and 6 weeks in the hospital, trying to get my oldest here safely. Again, in 2004, we spent 3 months on modified bedrest (I had a toddler) and my 2nd was born safely. Getting them here was not easy, I had a PIC line to receive treatments, labs every few weeks, Bio-Physical Profiles once a week towards the end. Many things that some would consider it a "hard pregnancy", yet I knew in my heart that we would pull through. People have gone through worse. I was not Catholic at the time and I was told that having more children would not be in our best interest.

I converted to Catholicism in 2005. In May 2005 I had a large Pulmonary Embolism (bloodclot in my lung). The ER doctor had tears in his eyes when he told me. He wasn't even going to look for that. But my nephrologist (kidney doctor) insisted he do more than an X-ray. My family doctor pretty much told me I would have died if I waited any longer. My guardian angel sure was looking out for me.. But I was in the hospital for a week.

In 2006, we were preparing for dialysis. I went through the class and everything. It took me 3 years to go from 25 percent to 20 (in 2009). I've been mentally prepared for kidney failure for a long time. Many people don't have that blessing. Some people have instant failure, so they feel bitter and don't understand. Some people didn't know they had a problem, and are angry. Some people refuse to do certain things to help themselves get better. I've not had the problem. I'm not bitter at all. I've been ready for a long time. Willing for the next step towards transplant. Praying for peace, knowing it's inevitable. Praying for a miracle, even for the miracle of medicine. My husband and I were happy with the 2 children we were blessed with, both would be considered miracles. We decided that we would adopt or try for other children after a transplant.

In 2009 we got a real surprise. I was pregnant. We found out fairly early. I was terrified. I was on coumadin because of my clot, I had 20% kidney function. I didn't know what would happen to my child. I went to my high risk doctor, prepared to hear him yell at me. After all he said it wouldn't be wise, he did help me get through the other two, but warned me not to try again. When we got there, he told us we were 4 weeks pregnant. Really early. He told me that he thought an abortion may be the best thing. "No baby, in your condition, will make it to a point of viability." I told him, "No, Doc. If you can't/won't help me, I will find someone else". He then told me, "Okay, let's get you as far as we can. I am saying 20 weeks will be as far as we get."

Wow, 20 weeks. Well the baby would have a chance, no matter how small. We took our chance. I was terrified. I loved my baby and the thought of not being able to carry him or her was sickening. They told me I may have to start dialysis as soon as the baby was born. We went to the doctor, did everything he told us to do. Every week the baby looked great, my blood pressure stayed stable, my labs fluctuated between 19%-21%. We were trucking along. When I got to 25 weeks, the doctors were in shock. I just kept telling them, let's try another week. Everything looks good. Let's keep going.

My baby ended up being born at 38 weeks gestation! The doctors were amazed. They never would have guessed that. I got very tired of hearing "You aren't going to make it to X week" then we passed that week! Every day I prayed "just one more day God, let him grow for one more day".

Today he is a wonderful little toddler who adds joy to all our lives! All 3 of my children are healthy. Unheard of, unthinkable.

I have a say, because I trust myself and God enough to tell the doctors "Lets try anyway".


    ...mark my words. Mark my words.

  2. Amber, what a beautiful story! Thank you and your husband for trusting God so completely. I pray that your testimony will touch many hearts and save many babies. I'm praying that the right kidney donor will be found for you. God bless.

  3. wow! i've been reading these for a few weeks and this is by far the best one i've read yet!!