If you follow me on Instagram, you see a lot about my life as a mom. It's been an incredible journey, and this is how it began.
JANUARY 2015: 3 months pregnant, I came across an amazing opportunity to return school and get my master's degree for free. I started working on my grad school application. I fully intended on going back to school in the evenings and working full time during the day with a new baby, knowing that it would be crazy but so knowing it was my chance to get my masters before life got in the way.
FEBRUARY 2015: At our 20-week ultrasound, we received news that no expecting parents want to receive. Our baby was diagnosed with Spina Bifida, and potentially Trisomy 18. We were unsure of the prognosis and had several doctor's appointments with specialists. My emotions went crazy and my husband and I were going day by day, learning about what was to come. It was a very stressful and chaotic time, and when I look back on it all, I don't know how we did it, honestly.
MARCH- APRIL 2015: I got a long-term sub, quickly scheduled the remaining IEPs I had for the year, and left for San Francisco to see if we qualified for fetal surgery. After 3 days of testing and meeting with a million doctors, we decided to go through with the surgery. At 25 weeks and 6 days, I had fetal surgery to repair baby's open spinal cord while he was still inside me. Basically, this is a C section but they sew the baby back up inside you and he keeps growing. I still can't wrap my mind around it. While I was in California recovering, my husband purchased and moved us into a new home. I came home after a month and I was on bed rest until I delivered.
MAY 2015: Meanwhile, I took the GRE and was accepted into the master's program. One of the biggest risks of fetal surgery is preterm delivery, so I planned to temporarily re-locate to Salt Lake City so I could deliver at a hospital that had the specialists we needed. However, I didn't make it that far. At 32 weeks, I had a placental abruption, and baby needed to come out. There was no time to transfer to another hospital, so we stayed at our local hospital and had an emergency c-section. Evan was born and life-flighted to Salt Lake. We were in the NICU for a month and are finally home. I obviously didn't return for the rest of the school year and had a long-term sub take over my classroom from mid-March through the end of the year in May. Because of the intensive medical needs that Evan had, especially during the first year, I decided that my best option is going to be to work part time. I split my classroom with another teacher. I was so nervous to give up control of half of my classroom. I know some of you can relate with me here. As educators, we tend to be overly obsessive and feel the need for things to be exactly our way and perfect. I knew that this is the best thing for my family. I couldn't work full time and go to school full time and be there for my son and his doctors appointments. It was an experience that helped me grow so much as a teacher. I learned to increase my communication skills and adult interaction skills for this to be a positive experience (for both me and the other teacher). My students had the opportunity to learn from two great teachers and two sets of eyes and minds to give them opportunities that I couldn't on my own. We were able to build a really great special education program. I also had more time to work on TpT and make new resources and start this blog. After the first year, I went back to work full time and my son has grown into an amazingly smart and determined little boy. I have grown so much as a teacher now that I have the experience of being a parent of a child with a disability. It has been an amazing experience, and I look back on it now and am so grateful that we were able to go through this journey.