Tuesday, March 11, 2008

For Tricia

About a month ago, I discovered Nate's blog, Confessions of CF Husband. His story is amazing and you should really check out to blog to get the full effect, but here's the abstract: Nate's wife, Tricia has Cystic Fibrosis. While preparing for a lung transplant, she discovered she was pregnant. Against the advice of some doctors, they went ahead with the pregnancy. She delivered a baby girl, Gwyneth, at 24 weeks. Gwyneth is now thriving the in the NICU and Tricia is back on the transplant list. Tricia's husband, Nate blogs every day to share the accomplishments of both "his girls."

If you know my history, you can see why this blog intrigues me. As a wife of someone with CF and a sister-in-law of a lung transplant recipient, I can relate to Nate and Tricia on some level. I have also ridden the "NICU rollercoaster" with my preemie daughter. I look forward to reading their blog every day because amidst all of their challenges, they remain very faithful and positive. And Nate is an example of the spouse I strive to be - he has accepted the reality of Tricia's illness and embraced the role of "CF Husband." His love for her is unquestionable. I hope that my own husband is able to feel that love from me.

Anyway, another blogger and CF Husband regular has challenged other moms out there to share their joys of parenthood with Tricia. Since she is still very weak from the pregnancy, Tricia remains in the hospital while she waits for her transplant. Gwyneth is in the same hospital and Tricia recently got to hold her for the first time. The list I am sharing with Tricia come from my perspective - that of a mommy of two preemies.

My List for Tricia

  • Being with your little one at HOME with no hospital staff (a litte scary at first, but you will enjoy the quiet)
  • Holding your baby without monitors going off
  • Thinking in ounces instead of cc's or grams
  • Not having to think about your child's adjusted age
  • Celebrating every milestone, no matter how small, because you know how hard it has been
  • Realizing that the NICU is a distant memory
  • Reassuring the dog that her tail will not be pulled anymore
  • Singing Wiggles songs in a bad Australian accent
  • Getting wet drooly kisses on the cheek
  • Hearing "Mommy, I poo-pooed in the potty. Want to see?"
  • Hearing my husband say to his asthmatic son: "You think once a day on the nebulizer is bad? I have to do this twice a day! And it takes me half an hour! You only have to do this for ten minutes!" (Keep in mind my son is only two years old)

Nate and Tricia - I know that I am only one of thousands of readers you have in the blogosphere, but know that I am cheering and praying for you. I appreciate your efforts to make people aware of Cystic Fibrosis and premature birth.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

News from the field

When I left Ecuador for the last time in 2005, the government was considered moderate and relations with the United States were a priority. Things have changed a little bit. How I long to go back and see for myself what is going on.

From msn.com:



BOGOTA, Colombia - Hundreds of Venezuelan troops moved Tuesday toward the border with Colombia, where trade was slowing amid heightening tension over Colombia’s cross-border strike on a rebel base in Ecuador.
The Organization of American States scheduled an emergency afternoon meeting in Washington to try to calm one of the region’s worst political showdowns in years, pitting U.S.-backed Colombia against Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez and his allies. Colombian and Ecuadorean officials, meanwhile, traded accusations in the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.
The escalation of tensions was triggered over the weekend when Colombia troops crossed the border with Ecuador and killed Raul Reyes, a top commander of the Colombian FARC rebels who had set up a camp there.
Chavez, who sympathizes with the leftist rebels, condemned the killing and angrily ordered about 9,000 soldiers — 10 battalions — to Venezuela’s border with Colombia. He warned Colombian President Alvaro Uribe that any strike on Venezuelan soil could provoke a South American war.
Colombia’s defense minister said Monday that he would not be provoked into mobilizing troops in response.
President Bush said the United States will stand by Colombia and criticized Venezuela’s government for making “provocative maneuvers.” Colombia has received some $5 billion in U.S. aid to fight drugs and leftist rebels since 2000.
Retired Venezuelan Gen. Alberto Muller Rojas, a former top Chavez aide, told The Associated Press the troops were being sent to the border region as “a preventative measure.”
Soldiers boarded buses and trucks at the Paramaracay base in central Venezuela Tuesday morning, and battalions also were moving out from the northern state of Lara, pro-Chavez Gov. Luis Reyes said.
The Venezuelan military has been tightlipped about troop movements. Venezuela’s armed forces include about 100,000 troops, Muller Rojas said. Colombia’s U.S.-equipped and trained military has more than twice as many.
Colombia to seek trial of ChavezUribe said his government would ask the International Criminal Court to try Chavez for “genocide” for allegedly financing the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, the country’s main rebel group. He cited a reference to a $300 million Venezuelan payment in documents found in a laptop the Colombians said belonged to Reyes.
The biggest losers from the killing of Reyes appeared to be the hostages that FARC rebels have held for years, pending a swap with rebel prisoners.
Ecuador and France said they had been communicating with Reyes, trying to secure a hostage release, when Colombia’s air force crossed the border to bomb his jungle camp. Along with Reyes, 20 other rebels were killed.
“I’m sorry to tell you that the conversations were pretty advanced to free 12 hostages,” Ecuador’s leftist president, Rafael Correa, said in a nationally televised address. “All of this was frustrated by the war-mongering, authoritarian hands” of the Colombian government.
French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani confirmed that France was in contact with Reyes as well, and that “the Colombians were aware of it.”
Colombia said documents in Reyes’ laptop indicate that Correa’s internal security minister met recently with a FARC envoy to discuss deepening relations with Ecuador, and even replacing military officers who might oppose that.
Publicly, there had been no indication of even preliminary progress in securing the release of any of the 40 hostages the FARC wants to swap for hundreds of jailed guerrillas.
Those hostages include three U.S. military contractors and former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, a dual French national who has become a cause celebre in Europe.
Saturday’s raid followed right on the heels of last week’s release by the FARC of four hostages to Venezuela’s justice minister, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin. The minister said the raid proved the “intent of the fascist Colombian government is to hamper the handover of hostages, because that is the path of peace.
Several Latin American leftist leaders have suggested the U.S. was intimately involved in executing the raid that killed Reyes. Colombian military officials have said U.S. satellite intelligence and communications intercepts have been key to putting the FARC on the defensive.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command would neither confirm or deny American military participation. “We do provide intelligence support to partner nations but I can’t get into details on operations,” Jose Ruiz told the AP from Miami.
Another victim of the crisis may be border trade worth $5 billion a year, most of it Colombian exports sorely needed by Venezuelans already suffering milk and meat shortages. Ecuador also depends on some $1.8 billion in trade with Colombia.