2014: A Year Without Babies

I’m going to jump on the end-of-the-year blog-bandwagon and post a little about 2014.

The best way I can describe 2014 is a year without babies.  I had a baby in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013 and this is the first year that we were married long enough that I did not have a baby.  This is my first year that’s not a Baby’s First Christmas.

Kevin and I are Catholic, married, fertile and of child-bearing age.  The Catholic Church permits the use of NFP (natural family planning) for serious and grave reasons.  (See here, here, here, here, here, and here.) We are grateful that we have access to NFP, but disheartened that we had reason for NFP. This next baby, due in May, 19 months after Baby5 is my biggest distance.  On purpose.

2014 started off with news that has changed our world, rocked our very being.  My son Vince, now almost 3.5, had an MRI appointment scheduled for 1/2/14.  We had the other kids sleep over their grandparents the night before and took Vince into Children’s Hospital, leaving before 5:30 a.m.  We were doing the MRI because Vince had a small lump at the base of his skull.  The surgeon wanted to find out exactly what it was before he removed it.
“It’s not a big deal,” the pediatric surgeon, the primary doctor and the MRI scheduler-people all said.  “When you get to it,” they added.

The day before Vince's surgery a friend came here to take family pictures.

The day before Vince’s surgery a friend came here to take family pictures.

Surprise! They found a brain tumor, a totally seperate thing than he had had the MRI for originally.  The brain tumor was the size of a golf ball in his left frontal lobe and ended up being a polymixoid astrocytoma.  Our entire focus changed.  We took Vince 500 miles to the closest other real Children’s Hospital in Kansas City for a second opinion.  They agreed with the first docs and Vince had his brain tumor removed March 7th.  The surgery went remarkably well and Vince had no neurological effects from the surgery.

Vince continues follow ups.  He continues speech therapy, too.  His latest follow-up was inconclusive.  They were unable to tell if the tumor was coming back or not. There is nothing to do but wait and pray.  In March, he’ll have another MRI and if the tumor is coming back, he’ll need chemo.  Even as I type these, I can’t believe I’m writing about my own child.

Of course Vince and his tumor have dominated us this year.  I’ll give you a few quick takes on other 2014 happenings…

1. I bought a pregnant pig.  Her name is Mouse and she is a sweetheart.  She had her babies in June and we’re raising some of them for meat.  They’re still around because I don’t know what I’m doing and their weight gain has been slower than it should have been.

2. My garden failed. Again.

3. We finally refinanced our house.  We had issues with that, just with the house itself, like that our well was on a different property and that kind of crazy stuff we don’t have control over and banks don’t like.

4.  I finally got my propane stove.  Have I ever mentioned how much I hated the electric coil stove I used to have? When it finally broke beyond repair and we were without an oven for four months, someone gave us their old oven and then that broke, too.  I got a propane stove and the oven spased out and rather than Whirlpool sending a repairman to my rural area, they credited me back and I got yet another new stove.  In the past 12 months, I’ve had four stoves.  I hope this last one is a keeper.

I know it's Wal-mart, but the Wal-mart in Goodland Kansas is pretty dinky and just not worth the trip.

I know it’s Wal-mart, but the Wal-mart in Goodland Kansas is pretty dinky and just not worth the trip.

5. I went grocery shopping in Kansas once.  I hate Colorado.  I remember lamenting that in 2012, I never left the state.  In 2014, I left the state three times- one quick trip by plane to New York and New Jersey to visit my ailing grandmother and one quick trip in August into Kansas to go grocery shopping. And of course there was Kansas City Missouri and Kansas for Vince’s second opinion.  Pathetic travelling.  I know.

I really don’t know what else to say.

2014 was a miserable year, a year dominated by Vince’s brain tumor, a year without babies, a year so bad that we actually had a reason for NFP.  I wish I could leave it behind, however, Vince will have followups for this the rest of his life.  Pray for good results!

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