Thursday, January 14, 2010

This time last year: #3


Since Nate just turned one, I want to take some time this month to share some of the emails I sent this time last year.  I didn't start blogging until March, so these are writings that haven't been on the blog. 

2/5/09 An email I sent to friends about 5 weeks after Nate's birth.

Hi friends,
I've really been wanting to write to give you an update. It seems I barely have a free moment in my day and when I do have time I just want to read or chill. I know you are all praying for us and can feel it!

First of all, a bit of an announcement. We have changed Braylon's name. His name is now Nathan Graham Paskins. This was a tough decision for us, but there are 2 very good reasons. First, if he has challenges with speech, he may not be able to pronounce Braylon clearly and since many have not heard the name, they may end up coming up with something else. You can imagine the frustration this could cause. The second, and just as important, reason is that we feel we need a name with meaning. Nathan means, "Gift from God". We want our son to know that is how we view him and we also need to be reminded in the challenging times ahead that he is our Gift. Already, with just a day of calling him Nathan, I have a deeper sense of connection with him.

It's hard to believe 5 weeks have passed since our lives changed dramatically. We are doing pretty well, but also recognize this is a lifelong journey we are on. Feelings will ebb and flow. I think we are through the shock and now just feel like we're going through the normal adjustment of having 2 kids. Nathan is very easy still - he sleeps, eats and poops and is extremely cuddly. I am only getting up once in the night, so I'm very thankful for that. I am still pumping and bottle feeding and may just need to keep that up (I've mastered the skill of pumping and doing just about anything - even driving).

Cody is presenting more of a problem right now. He is very 2 and a half! He knows how to push all of my buttons and is showing a lot of aggression. He growls and hits just about anyone. I'm hoping he is just working through the adjustment of having a brother and will return to the sweet boy I knew before he turned 2. His mood can go from great to terrible so quickly and I'm losing my temper with him a lot. I'm trying to get back to reading "Love and Logic", but have mostly been reading DS books lately.

Our support system continues to be amazing. Thank you for all of your devotions/words of inspiration you've been sending me. It really helps me to know I'll have those to look forward to each day. Please know that even though I don't respond directly, I am reading and appreciating them. Our family and other friends have also been great. Mom has jumped in and is really helping. Bob's mom visited a couple of weeks ago and my Dad was here today. We are receiving meals 2x/wk and people here (many from Baby Boot Camp) are trying to do that for many months to come. We have begun to connect with the Downs community and have met up with the family from our church who has a 3 yr old with DS - we really like them and are glad to have them around. Unfortunately, they are moving to a different county to get better services for their son.

That brings me to another subject. We have begun to learn that the services available for Nathan are not nearly what we'd thought. For example, when my cousin (who has DS and is now 12) was a baby, they sent therapists to her house 2x/wk. Now we will get 1 or 2x/mo. So, we are going to need to get a lot of private help. Our insurance will cover some, but not all, so it will definitely be a financial challenge to provide him the help he needs. For example, our insurance will cover 10 speech therapy visits/yr, but we will need many more than that. Also, they don't cover speech therapy for developement of oral motor skills, which is something we will need. We know God will provide the resources we need when we need them and are trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves.

I have found many great resources, but probably the most helpful at this point has been reading the blog a friend sent me.  If you have time to take a look, it's
If you don't have time to read much, it would be great if you could at least read this:

Thanks again for all of your prayers and encouragment.  I hope that we will all grow and learn as Nathan does.

Love and hugs,


  1. Hi Danielle, I wanted to let you know I am keeping up with your blog. I love hearing about how everything is going with Nate's development and your whole family. Say Hi to Bob for us! We have lots of family and friends in Portland and we'll let you know when we make a visit.

    Meg, David and the girls

  2. I too read your blog regularly. I'm touched that you mentioned me in your email to your friends and family. I will always feel a sense of connection to you and your family after walking with you during those difficult first few months. I can't wait to see you again!

  3. I read your blog also, but my phone doesn't allow me to comment, and I don't always have net access on my comp.

    First - your boys are so handsome!

    Second - I have most of the same feelings you have toward DS. I still have days where I just curl up and cry at the thought of the future for my children (especially Lauren, my 2yr old w/DS).

    my internet is getting weaker, but I am definitely going to be commenting more! I love your blog and your boys!

  4. Hi Danielle,
    I read your blog regularly as well. It is a great way for us to keep up on your families lives. I know we did not see you much when you lived in SF but we do miss not living close to you. Please continue to keep us updated on your life!

    PS - I think your boys are so handsome too!

    -Amanda (and the rest of the Jensen fam)

  5. Hi Danielle - I have been reading, but got an iphone that I have been using to read, but haven't figured out how to post comments on it yet! I wonder how you feel when you read these e-mails? Are you surprised in how far you had come in just 5 short weeks?? Also, I never knew you had a cousin with Ds. Would love to learn more about him. Lastly, I think that Nate is the perfect name for your sweet, adorable, loving gift from God.