Two and a half years ago, Matt and I received some news that would change our lives forever. We found out that we were pregnant with our second child. We had just gone through many discussions at great length about how we didn't think we could do it again, how we were concerned that having another child would take away from all of the care and attention that Lila needs, and how we didn't have another ounce of energy in our bodies to give to another child. Our final decision was that we would not be having another child. Until God intervened and over rode our decision! Just goes to show that you can't plan anything in life :-)
God rocked our world! We cried a ton (for about a month), started frantically making appointments with the genetic specialists at Stanford (because we still did not know exactly what was wrong with Lila at that point), and even called our trusted friend/Pastor, Gary, to help us turn around our thought process into a positive. Gary laughed at us! He made us realize that this is a blessing, and there will be nothing but good that comes out of having this child. Lila and this new addition would teach each other so much throughout life, and learn to lean on one another for support and love. Lila would teach this little one that not everyone is the same, and some need more help than others, meanwhile this little one would go through life being more excepting of others and will see the world much differently than other children.
As Matt and I began to accept the good in this situation, we jumped into researching stem cells and cord blood banking. I had not gotten 100% into the research of what the stem cells could do to help Lila, but I knew the promise was there. Matt and I talked at length and decided that this was something we needed to do, and knew that this was the light in this pregnancy. With the help of our loved ones, church family, and friends, we were able to save the baby's cord blood for Lila.
Fast forward....we now have this beautiful little girl, Nora, who is 17 months old and has a vocabulary like no other. She learns so much from Lila, and Lila is learning to have more patience, to eat with a spoon and fork by herself (because Nora is already doing it), and to use her words more readily without prompting (thanks to Nora's modeling). So, Nora has been an amazing blessing to our wonderful family, and we now know that we were making the wrong decision by planning on only having Lila.
Now that we have the cells, what are we waiting for?....A few months after Nora's birth, I began researching everything there is to know about stem cells, what types there are, where they come from, what they do in the body, what types of studies have been done, etc. Over the course of a year, we have now researched the risks vs. benefits, spoken with doctors in many different countries performing stem cell treatments, spoken with 6 different families who have already done stem cell treatments with their children, and have become a part of multiple on-line support groups surrounding alternative therapies for our children with CP. Each and every one of these elements has led us to the decision to give Lila a stem cell treatment using Nora's stem cells.
Over the past four months we have gone through a whole slew of blood work between the girls, paperwork with Cord Blood Registry, and now need to rid Lila's system of heavy metals. It has been a long, exhausting four months, but all worth it!!!! BECAUSE......
All of this hard work, and belief that there was a reason Nora came into our lives, has come to fruition....Lila and Nora are a blood type match AND HLA match!!!! WWWoohhooooo! We couldn't be happier and are moving forward already with treatment plans. We have just spoken with Dr.Lopez in San Diego (Regenerative Medicine Institute), who works with a team of 18 doctors just over the border in Mexico, and are planning to schedule the treatment for mid-June. Yes, that is not more than 7 weeks away, but it looks like it can be done!
Thanks for all of the prayers and support. This is only the first step. Once the we return from the treatment, we will have lots of therapies to do every day in order to allow the stem cells to work at their optimal level. Baby steps :-)