I know I've talked about Great Strides, and my good friend Dana and her husband and son several times, but here I go again.
Dana is the kind of friend you want to keep a secret so when you do have the chance to get together you don't have to worry that someone else has discovered her and already has her booked. (But I know I'm too late for that.) We met in a Bradley birth class in the summer of 2010. Paul and I immediately clicked with her and her husband. We all thought the same videos and discussions were awkward and/or didn't apply to us, we both got nervous when we had to turn in our food charts for the week because we knew the big red bad-food-choices marker was after us, we'd stand in the instructors driveway every week after class and chat for a bit, and we even texted each other on the same day to see if we'd cover for each other because we were both missing the same week and didn't dare call the instructor. Needless to say, Dana made my 3rd trimester, and the birth class bearable. We were both expecting boys, who both came late and just 3 weeks apart. We both had jobs but planned to quit to be stay at home moms. We both have good husbands who thought the birth class was kinda weird but totally stood by us every week.
Dana had the textbook bradley delivery. Every step of the process we'd been taught, every step of her birth plan she'd laid out, aside from being a few days late, it all went as planned. Hearing her story gave me confidence in the process. I mean, we had so much in common and we took the same class. Why wouldn't I have the exact same birth experience?? Well, we all know how that went. And if you don't know, here's the short version: I went into early labor, and three hospital visits and 54 hours later Garrett was gassed out with pitocin and an epidural.
But I'm backing up a bit to a week or so before Garrett was born. Dana's baby, not quite 2 weeks old was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. I remember receiving the texts from her that they were having some tests at Primaries because of some feeding issues and struggles with weight gain. I remember the text about CF being a possibility. I remember asking my small group to pray for them before the results came back. And I remember the text that J did in fact have CF and was being admitted to the hospital. I cried and cried. I prayed hard for them, and I thought a lot about my boy who was days away from being born. After I pulled myself together, I realized that I didn't even really know what Cystic Fibrosis was. Dana and I had only known each other for a couple of months, but I knew it was the start of a life-long friendship and I knew I wanted to be educated on this disease and the challenges her family would be facing. I was past due and had nothing to do before Garrett was born so I spent a week learning everything I could about CF. It was overwhelming and pretty devastating to read about, and I was heartbroken that Dana was reading all of the same stuff I was, but that it was directly affecting her life. She called me from the hospital to catch me up, and I sat on my bed and fought back tears as she told me the whole story. When we hung up I just laid there and cried until Paul came in to check on me. I just remember sobbing and saying things like, "She's so amazingly strong and optimistic. She's already an incredible mom. I'll never be as strong as her." (And for the record, even though I was a pregnant hormonal mess at that time, two and a half years later, all of that stuff is still true.) And two and a half years later we're still close (even closer) friends.
Our boys are friends, too. Even though they don't know it yet like we do. I so wish we lived close to them. Whenever I'm homesick for Utah and complaining to Paul about it, with the hopes of a pro-California pep-talk, my complaining almost always includes something along the lines of: I wish we lived next door to Matt and Dana. Or, I wish I could just send Garrett over to play with J right now. I'm a strong believer in not comparing our kids to other kids because there's really no point. Kids are so different and they grow and learn at such different paces that I think comparing them to others usually just frustrates and worries moms. Having said that, Dana and I do it with J and G every time we talk. Our boys are so much alike. We've worried about the same stuff. Shared the same thoughts and ideas about stuff. Laughed at the same stuff they do. And at the end of it all we reassure each other that our boys are both just fine.
Great Strides 2013 is right around the corner. Great Strides is a 5K fundraiser through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This is the 3rd year Dana has formed a team for J, and I'm happy that it's worked out all three years with our schedule that we've been able to, and will be traveling to Utah to be a part of it again this year. The CF Foundation has come so far. Even in just the past couple of years, they have tested and are testing some remarkable drugs that are effectively treating the underlying causes of CF, not just the symptoms. It's thrilling, really. I pray, and I'm confident that there will come a day that J (and so many others), will just have to take a pill every morning to treat the disease and he'll live a long and full life. I look forward to the day when Dana and I are talking and we can say, "Remember those first few years of treatments and hospital stays?" And, "Look how simple it is now." Then I'll probably say, "I wish Garrett was as polite and nice as J." And she'll say, "I wish J would break up with his girlfriend and date Addie." But until then, we'll do all we can to support them in this fight.
And if you're not the 5K-ing type, just register for the team and come hang out with me. Paul and I will be sponsoring a booth this year, 'JJ's Sweet Shop'. Selling treats to raise more money for Jason's Journey to help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
For the link to Jason's Journey, click HERE.
(Register by April 1st to get a t-shirt.)
Thanks for reading.