For the first time that I can remember, my son told me that he didn’t have anything in mind for his “wish” list. He doesn’t read my blog so I can tell you that he has a big surprise coming. He is 17 and soon will be leaving home for college and beyond. I get teary eyed when I think of it.
Of all the things I’ve done with my life – giving birth to and bringing up Alex…was the best. Alex represents the best of me – for sure. Jim has two other kids – Carrie and Rich whom we love dearly. I think all three of them do a good job showing off the best of Jim.
When Alex was born, it was in a swirl of drama. Following a lot of intensive visits with specialists, his birth was induced. We didn’t know what the outcome would be. My sister Dolores, stood in for Mom. I was so scared. – as I went through transition during labor, all I could think of was would he survive.
I had trouble getting pregnant – had 2 bouts of Endometriosis and other issues. However, on our 10th Wedding Anniversary…I was 2 months pregnant. I cherished every moment of the pregnancy. I loved being pregnant. Before the Internet (1994) – I purchased so many books about such that they took up all the space on my armoires and end table in the bedroom. At 19 weeks though things went terribly wrong. For every week after that the news was worse than before. There were discussions about extreme measures…Going to San Francisco for in utero surgery for a shunt to relieve the pressure on the kidneys. In addition to that – Christmas 1994, Jim held me while I cried so hard, they thought that Alex had Trisomy 18 or 21.
We prayed so much during that time. I remember my sister Mary Jo, gave me an Agnus Dei from the Carmelite Sisters. It had a relic in it. I was given a prayer to say daily and to wear it over my heart every day. I did – still do. Thanks to the skill of our pediatric urologist – Dr. Lynn Teague as well as others, Alex continues to thrive. There were a lot of bumps along the way though.
At 7 weeks, 3 months and then at 18 months Alex underwent some significant surgeries. The last one mentioned was 4 1/2 hours long and because of the nature of such – landed him in the Missouri University Hospital and Clinics journal. A procedure that had only been performed about 4 times that year at the University. His doctor that began following his condition before birth, was wonderful. Dr. Teague took on the challenge and always was straight forward with us about the risks and such – but was always so reassuring. He had a large family and I remember one time talking to him at home over the phone and hearing all the commotion with the kids and the dog barking in the back ground…etc. I told Jim, “He is just like us.” It was a frightening time though. Alex had a “Vesicostomy” for 18 months – a hole in his stomach that allowed his bladder to empty into his diaper. The ICU nurse told me she had not seen that before. He required special medications and care due to the exposure of the internal organ and positioning of the hole. He couldn’t be submerged in water that covered the hole, at some points we had to use a syringe and catheter to draw out urine for measuring. Dehydration caused him to have additional hospitalizations. I always felt like I was going to lose him at any moment.
That didn’t happen.
Alex grew into a beautiful and wonderful boy and now teenager getting ready to leave home. Dr. Teague continued monitoring Alex’s progress and preformed another surgery on him in addition to the others mentioned. However, a few years ago, we received a letter that he was moving and would be leaving the University. He was going to move back to be near the rest of his family. When I read the letter I didn’t just cry, I sobbed. How would we – Alex make it without Dr. Teague. Also, my brother Greg who had developed some problems was being treated by Dr. Teague and had the first surgery of his life with him. We went to see him one last time and it was tearful to say the least. We gave him a gift to remember us by, hugged and then left.
But not so fast, last year Alex began raising money for a trip to Europe with People to People. Dr. Teague, even though he was far away, and had not seen him for a while, was one of Alex’s biggest sponsors. We will always love him where ever he goes.
We have been blessed so much over the years and are so thankful for such. Alex is getting a car this Christmas. Not a new one…but one that he really liked and mentioned to Jim. To Alex that will be grand. To us…having him to give it to, is the best.
There was a lot more to all of the ups and downs and we had a lot of support from our families. Thanks to all – for everything. Our wish this Christmas…to have many more years to spend with Alex.
Have a great night.