Jarod James

Jarod James

Monday, May 23, 2011

YOU CAN......

Dear Little J-rod,

Every day I drive by the same baseball fields. The ones my brother and I played at when we were growing up. From T-ball to fast pitch to little league baseball; we were always there. So many memories have been created and I hope that many more will be created by you and your sisters.

So a little “history” on how you got your name, Jarod…. When I was pregnant we had the hardest time deciding on a name. I can’t even think of a name that Daddy suggested but finally we decided on Jarod. Then it was how we will spell it: Jared, Jerod, Jarod, ect. I wanted to spell it Jarod because I could envision you running around the bases and saying run J-rod run! I know it’s silly but when you live and breathe sports as a child it never leaves you and those crazy little things come to mind.

A few days ago I was driving by the fields and my eyes filled with tears seeing all the little boys playing baseball. I was thinking about how you will never play there…  I will never get to say run J-rod run.. Wait?!?! Did I just say that? I even went as far as saying to daddy that I was sad that you might not ever play on those fields. I just gave you a preset limitation or a stereotype. Something I said I would never do. You haven’t even had the chance to say you don’t want to play sports or that you can’t play. Which by the way the word “can’t” isn’t even allowed in our house! 

So tonight I dressed you in your little baseball jammies and told you that you CAN do whatever you put your mind to. When I was growing up there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do that I put effort towards. G-dad and Oma raised me with the mindset that I could do it. I was one of the most determined kids I knew, I still am actually. There isn’t much that scares me besides being home alone!  

So Baby J, I am writing this for you tonight. I want you to know as you grow up that you CAN do whatever you dream of doing….. Your Dad and I will cheer you on the entire way. No preset limitations of anything, I want you to reach for the sky. If you want to swim then swim, play basketball, hockey, baseball, tennis, golf, or whatever it may be, I know that you CAN do it. You will have enormous amounts of support and fans. There isn’t a person in your life that loves you that won’t stand beside you every step of the way. So from this day forward I make you a promise that I will never say you can’t do something because I for one am your biggest fan!

Love Mommy

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A partial update..... So much to update not enough time!

I wrote this in the morning of the day my Soldier, Hero, and Best Friend came home.

Sitting here staring at the clock… Counting down the minutes until I can wake up the kids and get them dressed for an exciting day. Today is the day we can finally be a family in the same household again. No more carrying around a cellphone every waking moment or setting it on the shower ledge to avoid missing that morning phone call. It’s a brand new chapter in our crazy and adventurous life.

20 months ago I had no idea where I would be today or what life would be like. Honestly I thought we would be in Colorado and that was about as far as I had gotten. I moved to Colorado for the sole reason that we were hoping to get stationed there again, but we changed our minds. It wasn’t a failure though; I went to college there and became a Dental Assistant and met some of the best friends you could ever ask for or need. After I graduated I realized that I needed and wanted to be closer to my family; plus I was pregnant with Baby J and needed to have a support system around.

I called my brother and asked if he wanted to be my room-mate for a year and we found a house together. He was the best room-mate you could ask for except that he thinks dishes and silverware are disposable instead of washing them! I was never scared though knowing that my 6’5” brother was in the first room that the boogey monsters would encounter! My girls loved him and it gave them the interaction with someone besides me all day every day. My parents were only a few hours away and visited more times than I can count. My mom and dad were two of my biggest support system through everything.

My mom must have visited two to three times a month. She cooked us real food instead of McDonalds…. I might have been on a cooking strike these last 20 months. I hope I still remember how to cook! The girls sure love their Oma and miss her lots! She is probably our biggest fan…..

I can’t forget my Aunt, Cleana… Actually she is my great-aunt. Everyone thinks she is my Grandma. Which is fine, I don’t mind having an extra Grandma figure. She made this journey to Washington with me and has helped us in endless amounts of ways. She is a very special lady.

So I’ll skip ahead a little bit to this journey to Washington State….. 1200 miles in a car with three children three and under; sounds crazy right? Actually they did amazing! They watched a zillion movies, ate a ridiculous amount of HEALTHY snacks, and we all laughed a whole bunch.  A few hotels and then the keys to what we call home now. I couldn’t be happier in our new home. It is a perfect fit!

The girls and I have been taking nightly walks around the neighborhood and we have met several of our neighbors. Everyone has been very nice; but one has a unique connection with us. As I was backing out of the driveway one day I noticed out of the corner of my eye a mother pushing a stroller with two little boys. The boy in the back appeared to have Down syndrome but I convinced myself that there was absolutely no way possible that there would be another child with Down syndrome in the neighborhood! I mean really what are the chances of that? So as I got to know other neighbors and mentioned to one of them that my son had Down syndrome; she went on to tell me how another MILITARY family here on our block also has a son with Ds. I honestly cannot even describe the feeling I got inside as I took in what she just said.

It took me a few days to build up the courage, but one night on our evening walk around the neighborhood, I knocked on their door. And out comes the little guy….. He is so cute! His face was bright yellow from sniffing flowers in the yard and he was so happy. I was holding Baby J in a backpack, so I took him out and turned him towards her and said I would love for you to meet my little guy. He has an extra chromosome too. It was almost an instant bond between the two of us. I didn’t know if we would ever end the conversation. I was so excited to have a friend in the neighborhood that gets” it”……..Not to mention a friend for Baby J to grow up with!

The next day her husband stopped by to introduce himself as well and we talked for a while. He is thrilled to have someone else in the neighborhood that is not only military, but has a family life that relates to theirs. We are hoping for some sunshine so we can invite them over for a BBQ and fire.

I wish I could fit everything I want to share into this one post but I know I should leave some for another time. Maybe the stories about how we all of a sudden owe the Army a ridiculous amount of money because they have been overpaying us for 20 months and we had no idea... What a Welcome Home preset, huh?

The girls reaction on this lovely day was absolutely priceless! They were beyond excited. Maddalyn sang Happy Birthday more times than I can count while waiting for her Daddy. It wasn't really his Birthday but she didn't care.

Portlynn was instantly a shawdow to her Daddy... She had a grin on her face the rest of the day. I think its still on there too... Probably even in her sleep!

Our Family is complete... FINALLY

What a day it was for these kiddos

My best friend and I.....

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A visit to Great-Grandma's place


My grandma has been there since the day I was born. We have laughed together, cried together, argued, but in the end I was very close to her. She now lives in an assisted living home and has Alzheimer's... Sometimes she remembers me and other times I'm her sister. It isn't always easy to go visit her because every visit she cries except one. One I will never forget....
The first time she met JJ....

She told him how much she loves him

She was singing to him

She thought he was the most beautiful baby boy ever

She was looking around to see if there was anyone there that she could show him off to.

She even smiled for the picture!
Crazy thing is I've taken the girls to see her many times and she LOVES them so much but she still cries every visit. Something about this visit was just different. She was so happy! She has no idea that he has Down syndrome and it was great to see her look at him and love him unconditionally without analyzing his characteristics. She just saw him as a sweet little baby and nothing else.

I'll have to track down the pictures of her and the girls. They were taken on someone else's camera.

Statistics..... are just statistics and nothing more..

From the minute JJ was born he was not following the normal statistics for children born with Down syndrome. He could lift his head the day he was born, he could squeeze your finger, ect. All stuff that "should of" taken him longer according to STATISTICS... Thankfully JJ is an individual and NOT a statistic. They weren't even sure that he had Down syndrome because he was TOO strong and because he cried when he received his first shots. They gave us a 50/50 chance that he had it or didn't. I knew he had it; all the lab work did was stop the speculation surrounding us from others. Typical children roll over by 3 months of age... Baby JJ rolled over at 5 weeks 2 days and I couldn't be more proud because it goes to show he can do whatever he wants at his own pace.

Each milestone is a celebration.... On a milestone chart for typical babies; JJ has hit every single one. I know this may not always be the case but I don't want to compare him to statistics his whole life. I want him to do things on his own time and not because he is suppose to or not suppose to yet. He is an individual just like any other baby and that is how he should be treated.

I remember the day we were leaving the hospital and we had a new nurse that day. I never knew people could be so cruel... Her words were "These kinds of babies"..... Wow.. These kinds... She was classifying him as a kind? I thought he was just a baby that was born with an extra chromosome? That is when I realized that Jared and I would always raise him the same way as our other children. He shouldn't be treated any different then they are just because he has a little extra special something. He should have the same opportunities in life as any other child in this world. I am confident that he will do great things and continue to amaze us all every day!

To end this I'll ask that you all click on the link in my previous post to pledge to end the use of the R-word.


Oh and do you want pictures?!?!

Teddy bears dressed in baby brothers clothes!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Geneticist

Normal male cell pattern is the above picture

So today was the day that we got to talk to the Geneticist so that she could explain how it happens. I say "we" because I brought my mom and the little man! Jared wishes he could of been there and I know he would of enjoyed the massive amounts of information she gave! It was actually quite interesting. There are three types of Down syndrome that baby J could have; Trisomy 21, Translocation, and Mosaicism. He more than likely has Trisomy 21 but it is possible that he has Mosaicism. It would require further testing to determine that and it is optional. Both Trisomy 21 and Mosaicism have the same exact physical, emotional, and medical treatment. Trisomy 21 cell pattern looks like this  

There is always an extra chromosome 21 on each cell within the body. Instead of 2 copies of chromosome 21 there are 3.. Guess that’s why it’s called "tri"! Mosaicism is a very rare form of Down syndrome, she said about 3 percent. It is similar to Trisomy 21 but instead of every cell having a third copy of chromosome 21 only some cells do. They have no way of telling what part of the human development Mosiacism would cause. Heart, brain, ect... It could vary greatly. In order to rule out Mosiacism they usually test around 30 cells, for some reason only 5 of his were tested. She plans on calling the lab that the test was done with to see if any further evaluation was done or if we would have to have new blood taken. All five of his cells that were tested showed the extra chromosome 21.

We can be extremely thankful that it is not translocation Down syndrome. The Geneticist was almost 100 percent positive it is not translocation because of the original lab results. In translocation the pattern of the cells would look much different than his do. Translocation is when that extra copy of chromosome 21 is attached to another chromosome; weird and complicated. Either parent can be a carrier of translocation and in turn have a child with Down syndrome as well as pass the gene on to their children. Portlynn and Maddalyn would of been at risk for being a carrier as well

So basically it is a fluke that Baby J was one of the lucky little guys to be born so special. There is absolutely no medical science that could prove why it happened. Neither Jared nor I fit the criteria for at risk. Just somewhere along the line something didn't divide right (look up cell division for Trisomy 21 if you want details). She said that is was something that happened before conception and they just haven't figured it out yet. In the future if Baby J ever needs lab work done I will ask that they draw extra blood to rule out Mosaicism to kill our curiosity. We will wait thought until he actually needs blood work done; no need to torture the little guy :)

Did I confuse you yet?

And now some picture from this morning :-)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A perfect fit for Baby J

My face may be different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As god in heavens
Looks down from above
To him I’m no different’
His love knows no bounds
It’s those here among you
In cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I’ve chosen
Will help me get started
For I’m one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I’ll do as you do
But at my own pace- author unknown