Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Kennedy medical update!

OK first off, Kennedy is getting yet another new pediatrician. Her ped misdiagnosed yet another staph infection. It wasn't MRSA this time thank God, but she was broken out in spots all over her little body. He tried to tell me it was Eczema. @@ Anyway, I've heard wonderful things about this new doctor and I'm very excited to meet her!

Meanwhile, at Vanderbilt, Kennedy had her upper GI yesterday. They did this because during her endoscopy last month they found she still had food in her stomach. She hadn't eat for 13 hours, so she shouldn't have. Her GI doc was concerned that maybe her stomach is not emptying right. All that to say, I'm still waiting on the results. LOL But if I don't hear from her GI soon I'll give him a call.

And back at Blanchfield today, she went to the Cardiologist and he decided that we need to get Kennedy's surgery on her vascular ring done sooner rather than later. As of the last time we saw him he wasn't TOO overly concerned and we decided to wait until Frank gets home. Now he's saying that may not be what is best for Kennedy.

SO he put in the referral for a Vanderbilt cardiologist (right now she sees a military one) and first they will do a heart catheter and run a bunch of other tests (I know another sedated echo for sure... which hopefully they'll do the same time as the heart cath). We should get the referral in 7-10 days and then we can go from there.

Kennedy is up to 19 lbs 4 oz and is 29 inches long :D.

ALSO all 3 kids had dentist appointments today and their teeth all look great! NO Cavities! YAY!

Anyway, so some good news, some nerve wracking news and some news unknown... what more could you ask for? LOL I'll keep you updated as I know more!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

We hope you all had a blessed day and had time to reflect on the real meaning of Easter.

Dare I say it? We are all WELL here... no one's sick, no one's hurt, everyone's happy... now if I were superstitious I would say "knock on wood", but I'm not, so... ;o).

Two weeks ago I was asked to speak at our local MOPS group about faith and how God can bring us through tough times, so of course I spoke about Kennedy. I thought I would share what I wrote with you all. I hope you enjoy it.

My name is Renee Garcia, I am 27 years old. I am an Army wife and a mother of three. I was born and raised in California and became a Christian when I was 8 years old. I went to Christian schools from Kindergarten through college where I met my husband. We were married my sophomore year and a month and a half later found out we were expecting our first child.

Our daughter Kassidy was born in November 1999, and exactly 2 years later we had a son, Kameron. We had a rough first few years in our marriage. Money was tight and my husband Frank was bouncing from job to job. In 2002 he had the idea to join the Military, so we prayed about it and started looking into our options. A few months later he was signed up with the Army and getting ready to go to boot camp.

While he was at AIT in Virginia we decided it would be a good time to try to get pregnant with our 3rd child. We hadn’t yet been able to actually plan a pregnancy, and we wanted our kids close in age, so we thought now was as good a time as any. He came home one weekend for a break and a few weeks later we found out that our baby was on the way. Life was perfect. We thought we had it all figured out.

After AIT, Frank came to Fort Campbell and was sent directly to Iraq. When he got home he came and picked the kids and me up and we drove half way across the country to Clarksville to start our new life. We settled in quickly, made friends, found a church home and waited for the arrival of our second daughter, Kennedy. Life was good. Everything was going according to our plans. I had dreams of my 2 daughters being best friends. I knew they would look alike and I could dress them alike. They could do each other's hair and play with dolls together and one day share clothes and secrets and talk about boys! They would be each other's best friends. Kassidy and Kennedy would have the sister I always wanted in each other! I couldn’t have been more excited!

Before we knew it, it was May and I went into labor. We called our friends and family from the hospital and we were ready to begin our journey as a family of 5! A few hours later Kennedy was born. Every thing went fairly well and we settled into our room and started making the phone calls telling our loved ones she had arrived.

Then a pediatrician walked into our room and sat on the end of my bed. That moment was the last time I ever felt "normal". The next words that came out of her mouth will forever be etched in my mind. "Mr. and Mrs. Garcia, we have reason to believe that your daughter has Down syndrome." I immediately thought, "No, it's a mistake. I'm 25. This kind of thing doesn’t happen to 25 year olds, it happens to 40 year olds!" My next thought was "My baby’s going to die." As the doctor pointed out Kennedy's physical features that made them think of Down syndrome, my heart and my dreams for my kids shattered into a million pieces. I knew that nothing would ever be the same again.

I cried for what seemed like hours. I just knew that my daughter would never have friends. She wouldn't go to her prom, or college or get married. She wouldn't play sports or read books or be able to tell me she loves me. I didn't even know if I should name her "Kennedy". Kennedy was the daughter that I dreamed about. She was the little girl who would be a miniature version of Kassidy, the little girl who would want to date her big brother's friends. That baby was not the baby I had given birth to. That was not the baby I held in my arms. This baby was someone else. Still, everyone already knew her name, so we signed the birth certificate and moved on.

Beyond my grief over my daughter, I had to deal with the grief of my family and friends. Some tried to be strong for me. Others cried with me. I cannot count the number of times I heard "God will never give you more than you can handle." I remember thinking "Well that’s a lie!" After we got out of the hospital my mother and I scrambled for any information on Down syndrome that we could find. Unfortunately, most books were outdated and depressing. Things were not looking good.

Along with my tears came anger. How could God do this to me? He knew all my plans, He knew the baby that I wanted. How could He do this to her? Didn't He know all the struggles she would go through? Didn't He know that she was going to have to work SO much harder than everyone else to do things? I just didn't understand.

During the next few weeks Kennedy and I got to know each other. While I mourned the daughter I was expecting, I was fascinated with the daughter I had. She was kind of cute, and she made faces like Kameron. She loved to snuggle in next to me and sleep. It wasn't long before I fell head over heels in love with her.

Kennedy is now almost 2 years old. She is beautiful and smart and funny and silly and very stubborn. She steals Kameron's toys and plays with Kassidy's dolls. Every time I give her a kiss she yells "OW!" She does have to work harder to achieve things that comes so easily to other kids, but that makes every milestone a celebration in our house! I am so excited about her future. I can't wait for her to go to school and play with her friends, I can't wait for her to learn to read and write, and share secrets with her sister, and one day get married. I can't wait till the day that she tells me that she loves me.

When Kennedy was born I had to let go of one set of dreams, but God showed me that I can have new dreams. In Kennedy, He has given me a love so pure, so unconditional that it's beyond anything I can even comprehend. It's been a hard road for Kennedy medically, we have almost lost her twice, but she has shown everyone that she is a fighter. God has her here for a reason and every time someone new falls in love with her, every time her story touches a life, that reason becomes clear.

I often think about that line "God will never give you more than you can handle" and I think I was right: it is a lie. I could never have handled this on my own. It is with God's strength that I get through every challenge in my life. The good news is that God will never give me more than He can handle, and with Him guiding me I know I can overcome anything that comes my way.

I have a lot of guilt from those first days of Kennedy's life. When I should have been rejoicing, I was hurting. When I should have been celebrating, I was mourning. But now I wouldn't change Kennedy for the world. She is perfect just the way she is... while I am sorry for the sorrow that surrounded her birth, I’m so glad I have the rest of her life to make it up to her.

As for my plans and that baby I dreamed for? I just thank God that in His infinite wisdom He told me "no". He knew that His plans were more perfect for me than I could have ever dreamed. Sometimes God's greatest gifts truly are unanswered prayers.

PS here are some recent pictures! Easter ones are at the bottom, enjoy!
All these toys and she plays with a box!

Here's your bottle baby, drink it all!

Time to burp!

OK My turn!

OK, I got in... now how do I get out?!

OK so the other night I was sitting here at my desk and I saw Kenn in the living room crawling back and forth, back and forth. I thought "what the heck is she doing?" FINALLY I went out to check and found this:
She was crawling over to our shoe rack, grabbing a shoe, crawling back and putting it on our table! LOL

I think I'll put these cups up here too...

Oh stop Mom! You're embarrassing me!

Fun at the park

I do believe she is calling me a loser! LOL

We're going on an egg hunt!

Oh look, I see one!

That one's mine! Get away!

Got it!!!

So what am I supposed to do with this thing??

Hang on, it's dirty right there.

A fish kiss from me to you!

A visit with the bunny!

Kass and Kam checking out their stuff from the bunny. I'm no fool, I slept in!

My pretty Easter dress!

You're so silly!

The 3 KJ Kids :)

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

On the mend!

The Garcia Family is on the mend! Thankfully the Lord had mercy on me and I was only sick for about 24 hours. I don't know WHAT it was and I don't care, I'm just praising God that it's GONE! LOL

Kassidy and Kameron went back to school yesterday and they both seem to be doing fine. They even went to soccer practice and made it through! Kennedy went back to therapy this morning... and she has 2 tomorrow and 1 the next day. She's getting into everything and stealing Kass and Kam's toys, so you know she must be feeling better too! ;)

Thank you so much for all your prayers for me and the kids! That was a long, hard week for all of us and I pray we never go through that again!!