I'm already 3 days behind...I'm going to have to play catch up in the days, weeks and months ahead if I'm ever going to share 365 days of 2011 with you! (LOL...that's for you Matt...I know how much you loved that in 365 Days of Kathryn!!!)
Blogging...something completely unheard of 5 years ago, but now a craze that has swept the internet. You can find blogs on just about any topic with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. It is the information age, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that one person's information is valuable to another.
My first experience with following a blog came in late 2009. My youngest sister, Kristen had gotten married in February and in the fall, she and her husband Matt found out that they were expecting their first baby. Since Matt and Kristen lived in Sioux Falls away from family and friends, Kristen decided a regular blog post would keep everyone informed of the progress in her pregnancy. Kristen is the BEST writer! I envy how her words can make you feel like you are living a "day in the life". It was so fun to keep tabs on the Ritchies through the blog...we got to watch a growing belly, see a nursery come to life, and finally, share in something that would change my life.
In January 2010, we found out that Baby Ritchie was a girl! But unfortunately, the excitement of learning I was going to have another niece was clouded with a diagnosis of a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). Baby Ritchie, now better known as my niece Charlotte (aka Charley, Chuck or Cha Cha!), has Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. Shortly after her birth in May, Charley would have two open heart surgeries, and as recent as yesterday, she had her third. She's just shy of eight months old. My sister's blog updates Charlotte's progress and shares life lessons that warm my heart when I read them.
For those of you that know me and my family, you know that there are four of us girls. I am the oldest, a CPA turned IT geek, Lindsey, a teacher turned stay-at-home mom, and Angie and Kristen, the brainiac Pharmacy Doctorates. I call them all the time with questions about dosing meds for my kids or myself, what meds can be combined, etc. It's so handy having two doctors in the family!! I, on the other hand have never had a love, or for that matter an understanding of science/biology. Unless I can read it on WebMD, I generally glaze over!
Charlotte's disease has changed this part of me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to pursue a medical career, but I am now AWARE. I'm starting to understand the anatomy of the heart. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I have a healthy heart like most of you and just take for granted that it works. I'm also very aware of CHD. Prior to Charlotte's diagnosis and following Kristen's blog, CHD was not a part of my life. I have two very healthy boys of my own and not once during my pregnancy or after their births did I think about a heart defect, but CHDs are a reality. They affect 1 in 100 babies (I didn't know that until Charlotte either...). Babies that families anxiously await and prepare for just like I did mine. Babies who endure more that most adults do in a life time. Babies who sometimes come to this earth for just a short time and then are called back to God.
I laughed in the hospital waiting room with my family yesterday. I wanted to blog in the New Year, but quite frankly, I didn't really think I had anything important enough to share. Let's be honest, I won't have something like CHD to share in every post, but who knows, maybe something that I share will touch you in the ways that I have been touched because of the craze of blogging.
If you have time, check this out http://littlemissritchie.blogspot.com/ and any of the blogs that are linked to this one. You won't regret learning what I have.
Up next...Wordless Wednesday (Inspired by my sister Kristen). Stay tuned!