Frequently Asked Questions

Did you and Mr. Andi know that Nathan would be born with Down syndrome?

No, we didn’t. I had multiple ultrasounds during my pregnancy, due to my high-risk classification, but none of the soft markers for Down syndrome were present. We declined additional prenatal testing, because we knew that we would not abort and our experience with Sarah Kate had already taught us that you can’t prepare for everything. We have never regretted our decision not to test.

Do you know what caused Sarah Kate’s cerebral palsy?

Yes and no. Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the brain that occurs either before, during, or shortly after birth, and it is very common in preemies. Sarah Kate was born 10 weeks early due to a placental abruption, when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. The cause of the abruption itself is unknown. Following her birth, she was diagnosed with a Grade 1 intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding in her brain), which is not typically considered serious.

I read on the blog that Sarah Kate had a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). Who was her surgeon and what else can you tell me about SDR?

Dr. Oakes at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama did the procedure. Although Dr. Park at St. Louis Children’s is a dedicated SDR surgeon, we were confident in Dr. Oakes’ ability because at the time of Sarah Kate’s procedure he had been performing SDRs for almost two decades. Additionally, we felt that because the after care (i.e., the year of physical therapy) is such an important piece of the SDR puzzle, we wanted her to have the procedure at a facility that offered a comprehensive approach to SDR, which Children’s of Alabama did. We were fortunate that we lived close enough to Birmingham that we were able to take advantage of their program. You can read the play-by-play of our SDR experience here or visit St. Louis Children’s Center for Cerebral Palsy Spasticity for information about SDR.

Why isn’t there a “Meet Mr. Andi” page?

Mr. Andi is pretty visible in real life, so he prefers to keep a lower profile online – he doesn’t do Facebook or Twitter, and the only blog he reads is this one. I, on the other hand, keep a very low profile in real life, and when I’m out and about around town, I’m more commonly known as “Scott’s Wife” or “Sarah Kate’s/Nathan’s Mom”. One of these days I intend to create a page for him, but I’ll have to pin him down to find out what he would or wouldn’t want on his page. Given his love of fishing excursions, his aversion to sitting still, and his general disdain of computers, I’d guess that day is still a long way off.

What kind of photography equipment do you use?

Most of the time, I use a Canon Rebel T1i with the basic 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Occasionally I will switch out my lens to either a “nifty fifty” 50mm fixed lens or a 100-300mm zoom (all are made by Canon). I have a few other lenses leftover from my days as a 35mm photographer that rarely make it out of my closet, much less into the camera bag. I rarely use a flash or tripod, although I own multiple varieties of both, because I hate flash and it’s pointless to chase a toddler with a tripod. For post-processing, I use Adobe Lightroom 3 about 90% of the time, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 for the other 10%, and use a Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch tablet with both.

Who does your blog design work?

Me, myself, and I. Although I would love to have a really great web designer handle my site, designers cost money. Because my blog is first and foremost about the message, not money, I do everything on a shoestring budget, which means doing it myself. I’m fortunate that I have some basic Photoshop skills, as that has allowed me to create my own graphics. Everything else has been a matter of trial and error and studying the designs of other blogs that I like.

You should write a book! Have you ever considered it?

Although I’ve listed this question near the bottom in the FAQ, it’s probably the one I hear most often. I am writing a book, but I’m not pursuing publication of a book. I’m writing a book (in bits and pieces) so that I can create a permanent record of my family’s story for my children. If, at some point in the future, an opportunity to be published presents itself, I’ll pursue it. In the meantime, I recently launched a new ebook, There’s Sunshine Behind the Clouds, for parents of special needs children. It is available free for download by clicking “FREE EBOOK” in the menu bar or the book title above.

How can I help?

Honestly, this question isn’t really asked all that frequently, but I’d like to think that there might be a few people out there thinking it who haven’t asked yet. Here are a few ways you can help keep Bringing the Sunshine going strong:

  • Share the blog with your friends. Social networking and bookmarking links are provided below every post.
  • Click to shop. Everything I talk about on the blog is something I believe in, and occasionally those things are products (like my photography equipment listed above). By clicking through my product links and making a purchase on Amazon, you can drop a few (and I do mean a FEW) coins in the tip jar.
If you enjoyed this post, download my FREE eBook, There's Sunshine Behind the Cloudsa resource for special needs parents. There’s Sunshine Behind the Clouds: Surviving the Early Years as a Special Needs Mom is for every mother of a child with special needs who is at the beginning of the journey, struggling to gain her footing on ever-shifting sands. It focuses on how to not only survive the emotional roller coaster of special needs parenting, but enjoy the ride.