This year I had so many nominations for the Giving is Awesome. It was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make all year...SERIOULSY! My heart goes out to all the families who are facing hardship this year and throughout the previous years. There are two stories that I am going to share with you. I was so torn between the two that I have decided at award both families instead of one like I had originally planned.
The first family was nominated by Carolyn P.
Here is the story:
I would like to nominate Adam and Alisa Parker of Columbus, Ohio. They are the parents of pre-mature twins (Andersen and Ava) born at 26 weeks in 2005.After four months in intensive care in three different NICU's, they arestill paying off their share of the hospital bills that ran over $1,000,00000. Here are some of the things Andersen and Ava faced in their first months oflife: 1. Jaundice that had to be continuously treated withphototherapy
2. Many blood transfusions
3. Both had to have their Patent Ductus closed via surgery(heart) at Children's
4. Andersen had a Level II IVH, Intraventricular Hemmorageof the brain, on one side
5. Both had ROP (Retinopothy of Prematurity) in their eyes,Ava Stage 3 requiring laser surgery, Andersen's resolved
6.Ava developed glaucoma and had another eye surgery
7. Ava could not bottle feed and had to come home with afeeding tube. She didn't get it removed until she was two years old
8. Andersen has a slight hearing loss in one ear
9. Ava had a third eye surgery to remove a cataract andmost recently her 4th to remove a membrane in her eye (her fourth occurredin August 2009) .. Almost 4 years after her birth she still faces challengesAlthough the twins are doing well, they still have some minor problems. Avawill continue to be monitored for her eye problems until adulthood.
Adam lost his job of 8 years due to the insurance expenses paid out by hiscompany on the twins. It took 5 months to find another one. They desperately need a larger house but at this point that is not an option Even after all they have been though, Adam and Alisa still feel that they are very blessed with their children's progress. So many premature babieshave very severe handicaps and worst challenges than they have.
They were recently selected by the March of Dimes of Central Ohio to be theAmbassador family for the year 2009. They spoke selfishly at many venues(corporations, churches) about the effects of prematurity and to raiseawareness of the need for research to help prevent prematurity without anycompensation to them.
They have raised over $15,000.00 for the March of Dimes since the kids wereborn. The March of Dimes is very near and dear to their hearts and they havebeen very dedicated as volunteers to help raise money for the organizationyet at the same time, still struggle to pay medical bills from the twinstraumatic birth. It would be wonderful for someone to "give back" to them Alisa works for the National Kidney Foundation and her passion is non profitwork, helping others. Although they have taken many pictures of the twins, having professional portraits is well out of reach for them.
Story #2 was nominated by Kelly B. Please visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/clearfield to read All of Jessica's entries.
Here is their background story:
Our journey with Eva Genelle began on October 28, 2008 when my family Doctor informed me at a routing check up that I was expecting my second child. Dan was to return from an out of state trip that night. I decided to keep it from him until we met at the airport that night. Hannah and I took a trip to Babies R Us to buy her a "Big Sister" shirt. When Dan came through the gate, I was video taping the reunion. I had Hannah tell Dan to look at her new shirt. It only took a second for him to realize that we were expecting another baby. We were thrilled!On February 18, 2009 we were all thrilled to have the 20week ultrasound and find out that our baby was healthy, thriving, and if we were welcoming a boy or a girl. Hannah joined us that day to learn if she was having a little brother or sister. As the ultrasound tech was looking at the screen, she kept saying that she was having trouble seeing the baby's head and getting a good measurement. She left the room and returned with another tech. As they both stared at the screen, Dan was trying to keep Hannah occupied as we had been there longer than expected. As I was listening to the techs whisper, I heard the word "defect". My heart dropped and all I could say was "Dan, something's wrong". That was the worst moment of our lives. We sent Hannah to a friend's house and the Doctor informed us that they found a cystic hygroma, a heart defect, and a bi-lateral cleft lip. They informed us that all of these abnormalities in conjunction with each other mean a fatal diagnosis - usually Turner's Syndrome or Trisomy 13 or 18. We were sent that day for a Level II ultrasound with a maternal-fetal specialist. The worst part of the wait for me was not yet knowing if my child was a boy or a girl. The first thing I asked when we got to the specialist's office was to tell me the gender. We learned we were having another daughter. Unfortunately, the Doctor suspected Trisomy 13 and told us that it is "incompatible with life". Those words stung so badly, as Eva was most definitely alive. I saw her beating heart and I felt her moving. She had life. We agreed to an amniocentesis that day. The wait for the results was agonizing.We learned that our daughter was missing a part of chromosome 4 and had some other material in it's place. That led to genetic testing for Dan and I. We then learned that Dan has a balanced chromosome translocation between chromosome 4 and 18. Eva had inherited an imbalanced translocation and had an extra piece of Ch18 in place of the missing Ch4. The prognosis was still fatal, as Trisomy 18 is also considered "incompatible with life". We agonized over the decision to deliver Eva at 24weeks or continue to carry her to the end. We decided in the end to allow God to do His work and to let Eva show us what she is capable of and what her life will hold. Here we are at the end and Eva has proven to be a fighter and God has proven to be Good. We look forward to Eva's arrival on June 8, 2009 via C-section, as Eva is breech and not budging. Eva has beaten the odds by surviving this long. We are hoping and praying she continues to beat the odds upon her birth and that we are blessed with time to hold our sweet little girl, get to know her and to introduce her to her big sister and others who love her and will always cherish her. No matter what Eva and God have in store for us, we are thankful for the last 36weeks we have gotten to spend with her. I will cherish the memories of this pregnancy always, even the "bad" ones that were filled with morning sickness, headaches, a trip to the ER, back pain, bladder kicking, you name it, I've had it. Eva has definitely given her Momma a run for the money. I would expect nothing less from my little girl. She definitely takes after her big sister already. Thank you all for the love, support, thoughts and prayers. They mean more to us than you could ever know.