How Allison came to be!

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She lived, she loved, she laughed & she left on 3-20-17!

When Dustin was born, 4-15-89, I had my tubes tied!  I already had two beautiful daughters, and now a son!  My family was complete!  I never thought about what would I do if I lost one of my children!  The choice to have my tubes tied was easy because I simply took it for granted that anything wrong would happen.  I was 28 and 4 months later I lost Dustin.

I was in shock & the pain was unbearable! I was a christian and went to church and active in serving with our young teens.  I was so close to God!  I had a lot of friends from church too!  It wasn’t long before I started being avoided.  I was a mess & full of pain!  I started asking God to kill me!  I could not take it & I didn’t have the guts to kill myself.  I also told everyone I was praying to die.  My husband, pastor & friends!  No one took me serious!  I didn’t go to a doctor, and I didn’t have pills to help!  I emotionally shut my two daughters, 7 & 2, out!  The pain had me emotionally crippled.  I was there for them physically!  Everyone expected me to just get over it!  I remember begging God and asking Him why His people are mean! Why didn’t they weep with those who weep like His word said.  My husband cried during the funeral days a lot!  I didn’t cry, I was in shock!  After the funeral he was fine!  He didn’t really want to hear how depressed I was! It’s like I was left alone to figure it all out & how to get happy!

I started regretting having my tubes tied.  I wanted another baby because another baby would take away the pain.   Then I wondered if my tubes could be untied!

I told my husband that I wanted another baby if I could get my tubes untied.   He was reluctant and said only if the insurance company paid!

I started my process of prayer!

I made an appointment with Dr. Gary Sullivan, who delivered Dustin and tied my tubes.  Dr. Sullivan was always so wonderful with me during my pregnancy with Dustin.  He was gentle, kind, patient & full of compassion.  I knew I could talk to him and he would listen.  He showed my compassion when he learned that Dustin died.  He understood my feelings of wanting another baby.  I asked him if it was possible to untie my tubes according to how he did my tubal ligation.  He tied my tubes on 4-17-89 and this was the following May 1990 that I was seeking the possibility to reverse the procedure.  He explained to me that my tubes could be untied.

Then I had to explain my husband would not let me do this unless the insurance paid.  He wasted no time and asked his nurse to call Aetna Insurance Company!  Aetna explained they had 3 requirements that had to be met for a tubal reversal.

  • It had to be medically necessary.
  • I had to have 2 surgeon’s opinions that knew how to do tubal reversals to verify it would be medically necessary and in my best interest to reverse my tubes.

Dr. Sullivan said he would give me the first opinion based on “chronic pain” since I had my tubes tied.  I asked, “how can you give me an opinion when you tie tubes instead of reversing them?”  He had to learn how in medical college!  His nurse made an appointment with the second surgeon at Augusta Medical College!

I drove to my home from Statesboro to Griffin Lakes with hope!  My next step was to pray and pray that the doctor in Augusta would give me the second opinion.

While I waited for my appointment in Augusta all my friends had advice because they knew my reasons for wanting a baby more than I did!  They said, “you want another baby to replace Dustin!”  My reason was I wanted a baby to grow out of my arms and not die!  My heart was so broken over Dustin and I wanted to die, but if I had another baby I also wouldn’t want to die!  I prayed just like God was sitting right next to me!  I said exactly how I felt because He knows anyway!

My husband went with me to my first appointment in Augusta at the medical college.  The doctor I met was an intern, and my age!  Him being an intern gave me no fear because God’s hands would guide his since I’m praying so much.  Yes, let me add that no prayer of mine would be answered if it was not God’s will.  He explained the first procedure would be looking in at my tubes to see if they are able to be reversed.  An outpatient procedure with only a couple of hours recovery.  He said he would give me my second opinion for Aetna Insurance & we made an appointment to see what my chances would be to have my tubes reversed.  At this time, God answered 3 prayers!  I got two opinions & Aetna will pay!  We made an appointment, the appointment where God let’s me know if it’s yes or no.

As I’m preparing for the procedure for the doctor to look at my tubes he explains what he will look for.  He told me that he would look to see if he can cut where my tubes were burned.  He said he needs to open them and put a plastic tube in to reconnect each tube for each side.  He explained I would also be at a risk for a tubal pregnancy.  He would then tell my what my chances were to get pregnant.  I prayed that if I heard at least 50% I would take the chance.

After the procedure was over, my recovery was quick.  The doctor came in and explained that he would put my tubes back together and I would have a 40 to 50% chance of getting pregnant again.  He asked me if I wanted my tubes untied and put back together.  I said, “yes!”  We scheduled the operation for September 4, 1990.

The surgery required that I would be cut like they would for a c-section delivery.  The surgery took a couple of hours and I had to stay in the hospital for almost a week of recovery, and 6 weeks at home.  The doctor told me when I find out I’m pregnant I had to come in for an ultrasound to make sure I was not pregnant in my tubes.

The following Christmas it was my turn to go to my family in NC.  Each Christmas we rotated between Alabama and NC with our families.  While in NC I started to feel queasy.  I told my sister-in-law, who was also one of my best friends.  We wasted no time and went and got a pregnancy test.  I went to the Medical College and they did an ultrasound & I was not pregnant in my tubes.  I saw a white ball with a beating HEART!  I was 5 weeks pregnant at this time.

All I can say is God is one awesome God!  I couldn’t believe 2 months after recovering from the surgery that I got pregnant!  I was so happy!  This baby was going to help me want to live and not die.  This baby would not replace Dustin, but help me through the grief.  I cannot explain the mind of a grieving mother other than this at the time.  I was desperate to stop the pain.  No one was listening and I had no guts to kill myself.  Having another baby would stop the pain.  I was sure of it.

Allison Leigh Gledhill, named like her father, Allan=Allison and Lee=Leigh! She was born September 4, 1991 at Bulloch Memorial Hospital in Statesboro, GA.  She was beautiful and I was happy!  I believed I was going to be OK and things would get better!  This is how Allison came to be! 

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I wish I didn’t have to be the grieving one.

Yes, parents of child loss understand that talking about their grief and their child makes many others uncomfortable, but………..do you know how losing a child and living with such heavy grief makes a parent feel? All we need to do is “be a friend” to the grieving. That makes all of the difference in the world to parents suffering the loss of their child!

Silent Grief ~ Child Loss Support

CBD Oil Dosing 101

CANNABIS DOSING 101

High dose? Low dose? CBD? THC? Optimizing one’s therapeutic use of cannabis may entail some experimentation. In essence, the goal is to administer consistent, measurable doses of a CBD-rich cannabis remedy with as much THC as a person is comfortable with.

BY MARTIN A. LEE ON MAY 16, 2018

Highlights:

Cannabis can be effective therapeutically at a wide range of doses. There’s no standard dosage that’s right for everyone. Here are some do’s and don’ts for dosing cannabis:

• The successful use of cannabis as a medicine depends on managing its psychoactive properties. Many people enjoy the cannabis high; others do not. A person’s sensitivity to THC (“The High Causer”) is key to implementing an effective treatment regimen.

• One does not need to smoke marijuana or get high to benefit from medical cannabis.

• CBD is not psychoactive like THC. High doses of CBD-rich formulations are safe, well tolerated, and sometimes necessary.

• But high doses of CBD are not always more effective than lower doses. As little as 2.5 mg CBD combined with a small amount of THC can have a therapeutic effect.

• Preclinical studies have shown that full-spectrum CBD-rich cannabis oil (with a small amount of THC) is efficacious at much lower doses and has a much wider therapeutic window than pure, pharmaceutical-grade CBD.

• Less is more: Cancer patients who received 21 mg/day of Sativex (a cannabis sublingual spray with roughly equal amounts of CBD and THC) experienced significant reductions in pain, more so than cancer patients who received 52 mg of Sativex, while those who were given 83 mg of Sativex reduced their pain no better than a placebo.

• Cautious titration is recommended when ingesting THC-rich cannabis products (with little CBD). Microdosing as little as 2.5 mg THC can provide symptom relief without making a person feel high. If well tolerated, consider increasing the amount of THC to a total of 15 mg divided equally throughout the day.

• Cumulative doses of THC exceeding 20-30 mg per day – or a single dose of 10 mg or more – may cause unwanted side effects.

• For cannabis-naïve patients, it may be best to start with low doses of a CBD-rich remedy with little THC and slowly increase the dosage – and, if necessary, the amount of THC – one step at a time. Take a few small doses over the course of the day, rather than one big dose.

Figuring out the optimal dose of cannabis may involve some trial and error. A balanced ratio of CBD and THC could have a greater therapeutic impact than either CBD or THC alone. Adjust the amount of CBD and THC until you find the sweet spot with the right combination of both compounds. In essence, the goal is to administer consistent, measurable doses of a CBD-rich cannabis remedy with as much THC as a person is comfortable with.

It’s relatively easy to experience medical benefits from cannabis. A puff or two of a resin-rich reefer can do the trick for a lot of people.

But smoking marijuana is not the be-all and end-all of cannabis therapeutics. One doesn’t have to smoke marijuana or get high to experience the medical benefits of cannabis.

In recent years, the advent of potent cannabis oil concentrates, non-psychotropic CBD product options, and innovative, smokeless delivery systems have transformed the therapeutic landscape and changed the national conversation about cannabis.

It’s no longer a question whether marijuana has medical value. Now it’s about figuring out how to optimize one’s therapeutic use of cannabis.

That can be a challenge – for doctors as well as patients. Most physicians never learned about cannabis in medical school and, according to a 2017 survey, few feel they are qualified to counsel patients about dosage, CBD:THC ratios, different modes of administration, and potential side effects.

“Dosing cannabis is unlike any therapeutic agent to which I was exposed in my medical training,” says Dustin Sulak, D.O., the director of Integr8 Health, which serves patients at offices in Maine and Massachusetts. “Some patients effectively use tiny amounts of cannabis, while others use incredibly high doses. I’ve seen adult patients achieve therapeutic effects at 1 mg of total cannabinoids daily, while others consume over 2000 mgs daily without adverse effects.”

Cannabis comes in many different forms with a wide range of potencies, and its production and distribution have yet to be standardized in states where cannabis is legal for therapeutic use. So what’s the best way to proceed when it seems like cannabis dosing is all over the map?

Managing psychoactivity

The successful use of cannabis as a medicine depends to a great extent on managing its psychoactive properties. Many people enjoy the cannabis high; for others it’s unpleasant. A person’s sensitivity to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis, is key to implementing an effective treatment regimen.

Cannabidiol (CBD) does not cause a psychoactive high like THC. CBD can actually lessen or neutralize the THC high, depending on how much of each compound is present in a particular product. A greater ratio of CBD-to-THC means less of high. Today cannabis patients have the option of healing without the high.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of resin-rich cannabis (and cannabis products):

• Type 1 (THC-dominant) – High THC, low CBD (ubiquitous psychoactive marijuana varietals that millions like to smoke)

• Type 2 (THC & CBD) – Mixed THC and CBD cultivars (psychoactive, but not as edgy as THC-dominant varietals)

• Type 3 (CBD-dominant) – High CBD, low THC (non-euphoric marijuana or hemp)

There’s also a fourth type – those rare cannabis cultivars that prominently express a so-called minor cannabinoid (like CBG or THCV). But in terms of what’s currently available for patients, the THC:CBD ratio is paramount and must be considered when formulating dosage strategies.

What’s the appropriate dosage for each of the three main types of cannabis?

Microdosing for beginners

One of the common misconceptions about cannabis therapy is that one has to get high to attain symptom relief.

“Most people are surprised to learn that the therapeutic effects of cannabis can be achieved at dosages lower than those required to produce euphoria or impairment,” says Dr. Sulak, who asserts that “ultra-low doses can be extremely effective, sometimes even more so than the other [high-dose] extreme.”

Preclinical science lends credence to the notion that a small amount of THC can confer health benefits. Oral administration of a low dose of THC (1 mg/day) resulted in “significant inhibition of disease progression” in an animal model of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), according to a 2005 report in Nature, which noted: “This effective dose is lower than the dose usually associated with psychotropic effects of THC.”

Because of federal cannabis prohibition and consequent research restrictions, clinical data is lacking to determine if low dose THC therapy can protect against atherosclerosis in humans. But this much is certain: The practice of micro-dosing – which entails the consumption of a sub-psychoactive or slightly psychoactive dose of cannabis – is gaining popularity among those who want the medical benefits of cannabis without the buzz.

Although banned by federal law, measurable doses of cannabis medicine are currently accessible in the form of concentrated oil extracts, infused sublingual sprays, tinctures, edibles, gel caps, topical salves and other products.

“Start low, go slow”

The adage “start low and go slow” is apropos for cannabis therapy, in general, and THC titration, in particular, as discussed by Caroline MacCallum and Ethan Russo in a January 2018 article in the European Journal of Internal Medicine. The authors, who are both physicians, provide sensible guidelines for health professionals and patients regarding the judicious administration of (Type 1) THC-dominant medicinal preparations.

If a new patient is going to smoke or vape THC-rich cannabis, Russo and MacCallum suggest they start with a single inhalation and wait 15 minutes before inhaling again. The effects of inhaled cannabis usually can be felt within a few minutes, thereby providing quick relief of acute distress. If need be, one can inhale an additional puff every 15 to 30 minutes “until desired symptom control is achieved.”

As for oral administration, one should keep in mind that it can take 60 to 90 minutes before the effects of a single dose are felt.

MacCallum and Russo suggest a carefully titrated regimen for consumption of ingestible THC-rich cannabis products. They recommend that patients with little or no experience using cannabis should start by ingesting the equivalent of 1.25 to 2.5 mg of THC shortly before bedtime for two days. If there are no unwanted side effects, increase the bedtime dose of THC by another 1.25 to 2.5 mg for the next two days. Continue to increase the dose of THC by an additional 1.25 to 2.5 mg every other day until the desired effects are achieved.

If there are adverse side effects, reduce the dose of THC to the prior amount that was well tolerated.

Type 1 – Titrating THC

For adequate symptom relief, some patients may need to ingest a cannabis preparation two or three times during daylight hours in addition to their night-time regimen. Again, cautious titration is urged: On days 1 and 2, start with one dose of the equivalent of 2.5 mg THC; on days 3 and 4, increase to 2.5 mg THC twice a day; and, if well tolerated, up the dose incrementally to a total of 15 mg THC (divided equally throughout the day).

“Doses exceeding 20-30 mg/day [of THC] may increase adverse events or induce tolerance without improving efficacy,” the authors warn.

Adverse events mainly pertain to THC and are dose-dependent. Very high doses are more likely to cause unwanted side effects.

For most medications, a higher dose will pack a stronger therapeutic punch. With cannabis, however, it’s not so simple. THC and other cannabis components have biphasic properties, meaning that low and high doses generate opposite effects. Small doses of cannabis tend to stimulate; large doses sedate.

In practical terms, this means that starting low and gradually upping the dose of cannabis will produce stronger effects at first. But, after a certain point, which differs for each person, “dosage increases can result in weaker therapeutic effects,” according to Dr. Sulak, “and an increase in side effects.”

Sulak observes that “symptoms of cannabis overdose closely mirror the symptoms one would expect cannabis to relieve at appropriate doses: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, spasms, tremors, anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, dis-coordination, and disturbed sleep. Extreme overdoses can lead to hallucinations and even acute psychosis.”

Type 2 – THC and CBD: Power couple

Although many patients do well at the lowest effective dose, some benefit more from a high dose cannabis oil regimen, preferably one that includes a substantial amount of CBD as well as THC. By lowering the ceiling on THC’s psychoactivity, CBD makes high potency cannabis oil treatment easier to manage. If high doses are necessary, steady titration over several weeks will help build tolerance to THC’s tricky psychoactive effects.

CBD and THC are the power couple of cannabis therapeutics. Both compounds have remarkable medicinal attributes, and they work better in combination than as isolates. CBD can synergistically enhance THC’s anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties, for example, while reducing unwanted side effects.

A clinical study published in the Journal of Pain examined the efficacy of different dosage levels of Sativex, a cannabis-derived sublingual spray with 1:1 CBD:THC ratio, which is an approved medication in two dozen countries (but not in the United States). Of 263 cancer patients who were not finding pain relief with opiates, the group that received 21 mg of Sativex each day experienced significant improvements in pain levels, more so than the group that received 52 mg Sativex daily. And those given even higher doses (83 mg daily) reduced their pain no better than a placebo, but they experienced more adverse effects.

Cannabis therapeutics is personalized medicine. There is no single CBD:THC ratio or dosage that’s optimal for everyone. As little as 2.5 mg of CBD combined with a small amount of THC can have a therapeutic effect. If necessary, much higher doses of good quality CBD-rich formulations are safe and well tolerated.

For cannabis-naïve patients, it may be best to start with low doses of a CBD-rich remedy (with little THC) and increase the dosage (and, if necessary, the amount of THC) step-by-step. Take a few small doses over the course of the day, rather than one big dose.

But a low-THC product is not always the best treatment option. A more balanced combination of CBD and THC could have a greater impact than CBD or THC alone.

In essence, the goal is to administer consistent, measurable doses of a CBD-rich remedy with as much THC as a person is comfortable with. Experiment, observe the effects, and adjust the amount of CBD and THC until one finds the sweet spot with the right combination of both compounds.

Type 3 – Full-spectrum CBD-rich extracts

Microdosing cannabis is a feasible option for those who prefer not to leap over the psychoactive threshold. High dose CBD therapy is another way of healing without the high.

As a general rule, Type 3 CBD-dominant cannabis (with little THC) won’t make a person feel stoned. Nor will a pure CBD isolate (with no THC). But CBD isolates lack critical aromatic terpenes and other cannabinoids, which interact synergistically to enhance CBD’s therapeutic benefits. Single molecule cannabinoids are simply not as versatile or as efficacious as whole plant formulations.

Preclinical research indicates that full spectrum CBD-rich cannabis oil is effective at much lower doses and has a wider therapeutic window than a CBD isolate. “The therapeutic synergy observed with plant extracts results in the requirement for a lower amount of active components, with consequent reduced adverse side effects,” a 2015 Israeli study concluded.

In animal studies, CBD isolates require very high – and precise – doses to be effective. Problematic drug interactions are also more likely with a high-dose CBD isolate than with whole plant cannabis.

Hemp-derived CBD isolates and distillates are already available via numerous internet storefronts. Drug companies are also eyeing single molecule CBD as a treatment for intractable epilepsy, psychosis, and other diseases.

In a 2012 clinical trial involving 39 schizophrenics at a German hospital, 800 mg of pure pharmaceutical-grade CBD proved to be as effective as standard pharmaceutical treatments without causing the harsh side effects typically associated with antipsychotic drugs. But a follow-up study at Yale University found little cognitive improvement in schizophrenics who were given a CBD isolate.

Pharmaceutical CBD

Bereft of the THC stigma (and its therapeutic moxy), single-molecule CBD will soon become a FDA-approved pharmaceutical for pediatric seizure disorders. This is good news for families with epileptic children that have health insurance. Anyone without health insurance won’t be able to afford Epidiolex, a nearly pure CBD remedy developed by GW Pharmaceuticals as an anti-seizure medication.

Consider the dosage range utilized in clinical trials of epidiolex. Children with catastrophic seizure disorders were given up to 50 mg of epidiolex per kg of body weight. Such high doses caused interactions with other anticonvulsant medications, requiring adjustments of the latter to avoid a toxic overdose.

By comparison, Dr. Bonni Goldstein, author of Cannabis Revealed, typically starts with a much lower dose of full spectrum CBD-rich oil (1 mg CBD/kg of body weight) for epileptic children – with the understanding that the dose may have to be lowered or raised depending on the initial response. If necessary, Goldstein will increase the dose of CBD by increments of 0.5 mg/kg until a threshold of 5 mg/kg of body weight is reached. And that amount also may need to be adjusted.

Kids and adults metabolize drugs differently. It may seem counterintuitive, but young children can tolerate high doses of cannabis oil concentrates, including THC-rich formulations, which might be daunting for an adult. Thus, it’s not a good idea to calculate dosage for an adult based on what works for a child.

If 1 mg/kg of CBD is an appropriate starting dose for a child, and an adult weighs 15 times more than the child, one should not assume that the correct CBD starting dose for the grown-up is 15mg/kg of body weight. That could be way too high a dose. While CBD has no known adverse effects at any dose, an excessive amount of CBD may be less effective therapeutically than a moderate dose.

Similarly, it’s not a good idea to devise a dosage regimen based on data from preclinical animal studies, which usually involve high doses of single-molecule cannabinoids. Human metabolism differs from mice and rats, and data from animal models doesn’t always translate to human experience.

Personalized medicine

For people as well as pets, cannabis dosing must be individually determined. Several factors come into play, including one’s overall health and endocannabinoid tone, which are influenced by diet, exercise, sleep patterns, day-to-day stress, and genetics. Cannabis is best used as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some dosing variables to consider:

• Cannabis experience. Is the patient cannabis-naïve? Or a stoner who already uses cannabis every day but isn’t getting the best results? A veteran user may need a higher dose than a new user. Or a chronic user might need a break from getting high to reboot his or her sensitivity to cannabis (see Dr. Dustin Sulak’s cannabis “sensitization protocol” on Healer.com).

• Time of day. Optimizing one’s therapeutic use of cannabis may entail using products with different CBD:THC ratios at different times of the day –  more CBD for daylight hours, more THC at night.

• Preventive dosing. Prolonged low dose therapy may be advantageous for managing chronic symptoms or to prevent disease recurrence. Preclinical studies indicate that cannabinoids have neuroprotective and cardioprotective properties that could limit the damage of a traumatic brain injury or a heart attack.

• Cannabinoid acids. Raw, unheated cannabis contains CBD and THC in their “acid” form, CBDA and THCA, which are not intoxicating. Consumed orally over several months, cannabinoid acids can be effective in very small amounts, but precise dosing is difficult when juicing raw cannabis. Other delivery systems are becoming available for CBDA-rich and THCA-rich products.

Cannabis is a safe and forgiving medicine. Figuring out how to make the most of its health-enhancing properties may involve some trial and error. No worries! At least cannabis isn’t harmful like so many FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.

So if you’re new to cannabis medicine or if you’re seeking to improve your therapeutic routine, remember this advice from Dr. Sulak: “Start low, go slow, and don’t be afraid to go all the way!”

Project CBD director Martin A. Lee is the author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific.

https://www.projectcbd.org/science/cannabis-dosing/cannabis-dosing-101 copied

Low-Carb dieting is my favorite!

I studied low carb eating in 2002 before I tried eliminating sugar from my diet. For 30 days I drank only water (not even coffee) and I did not eat anything with sugar. Food without sugar I ate as much as I wanted. I did not eat after 3-4pm also. From 8 am to 3-4pm I ate all the eggs, cheese, salads & meats (not breaded) that I wanted. For breakfast, I ate omelets and bacon and it was filling until lunch. For lunch, I ate hamburgers all the way without the bun, salad with the hamburger. Or I would have steak, grilled/baked chicken instead of hamburger. I snacked on salted peanuts, block cheese in slices/cubes, hard boiled eggs, pickles and pork skins.  I did not weigh myself until the end of the 30 days. I lost 20 pounds, I had energy and I felt good. Sugar is like a drug, it’s addicting. Be able to give up sugar and leave it alone, you will lose weight and keep it off. I loved Dr. Atkin’s book! My best research on low carb eating was through this book.  Dr. Akins’ original low-carb diet book has more & beneficial information than books published after his death.

AtkinsDr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution

My first blog from blog spot

In Memory of Dustin Lee Gledhill

Please follow the link to read! Or read long version below…

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Life with Dustin

In the beginning, everyone was coming to see Dustin.  We had bows and banners on our front door and mailbox proclaiming it’s a boy!  The women of my church, whom also some were close friends, gave Dustin a big wonderful baby shower.  He got so many outfits!!  It was wonderful and so much joy in my life.  A wonderful family….two girls and a boy.  A good marriage, not perfect but good.

I started to video everything.  The tape started out with his ultrasounds and I kept adding. That video was a treasure.

Ila his older sister went to Orlando for the summer to visit with her dad’s family.

His sister Paige, she was 2 years old, though he was also a baby doll and not just her brother.  I would let her change his diaper and give him his bottle (I breastfed for the first 2 months).  She assisted him in his swing and oh she was in Heaven when she pushed him in his stroller.  I let her practice on her brother.  She was having fun.

He was a sweet lovable baby boy

 The first couple of months I was breastfeeding Dustin and had him to myself the most.  Sisters Ila and Paige loved holding him and being mamma’s little aides.  His sleep schedule was from 6pm to 6am the next morning.  When he woke up I picked him up from the crib and would walk to the mirror on the dresser. Then just kiss his cheek over and over telling him I loved him.  Then I would put his cheek to mine and get him to look at himself in the mirror.  Precious moments every morning.

I was a Sunday school teacher at a small country church, for jr.high teens.  I was close to them and the girls would come and spend the night on Saturday nights and we would get up and go to church together.   The boys came during the day and we gained up and had good times.  They blended in as a family too!  Life was great…..

When the summer started every year in June, Ila went to Orlando to spend the summer with her dad’s family.  She left and only got to spend two months of Dustin’s life with him…..

My children, husband & I had joy in our home!

 Oldest sister Ila was spending time in Orlando with her grandma, aunt, and uncle for the summer.  She was getting spoiled there.  Uncle James really loves his niece, Ila, and doted on her.

Butch, Paige and I were going about our life with Dustin.  I would video every chance I had.  The teens would come over on the weekend and we would video with them too.

Dustin was becoming a mommy’s boy too!  Really, probably more so he became his sister Paige’s baby doll.  Paige wanted to do everything. I would video her playing baby doll with Dustin too.  She loved pushing him in his stroller when we were outside. She was really a help outside because I lay in the sun to get a tan.

Life was great.  I was 27 years old and my husband just turned 30.  He had a good job and I was able to be a stay at home mom.  That’s the best blessing for a mom, and also for the family.

The summer was great!  Now it’s time to go get Ila from Orlando and bring her back home.  The day before we had to go was August 24, 1989.  This was a day with Dustin.  Just he and I went to the grocery store.  He would not stay in his seat while I shopped.  He insisted that I hold him and carry him while I shopped.  Of course, mommy held him so he wouldn’t cry or fuss.  He would try to kiss my face a lot.

On the drive home, he cried the whole time in his car seat.  When I got to the dirt road to Griffin Lakes where I lived, I stopped the car and took him out of his seat and held him up on my chest while I drove the short distance to my house.  Dustin stopped crying when I held him. He kept trying to kiss me on my face again and it was so sweet.

We got home and I started packing to get ready to go to Orlando the next day…

8-25-89- Orlando, FL & Ila

 We started the day out as usual.  I picked Dustin up from his crib, went to the mirror and I kissed and kissed on his checks.  Then again, I pressed my cheek against him and we just looked in the mirror at each other.  He smiled and I kept saying I love you, of course I told him how handsome he was.

We packed the car, Dustin and Paige were in the car seat in front with me, and dad had the back seat to himself.  (I know I know that wasn’t safe to have both car seats up front, back in 89 we didn’t worry too much of these kinds of things.)  We left Guyton, Griffin Lakes, GA and made it to Orlando, FL in 6 hours.

Our first stop was at Uncle James salon that he owned outside of Orlando.  We were so happy to see Ila.  Her Aunt Denise was there too.  A mutual friend of Denise, Sherry was there also.  Everyone cooed over Dustin.  He got lots of hugs and kisses.  Ila was so beautiful, 7 years old.  Uncle James permed her hair and it was perfect!

We went to the back of the salon where there was like a studio apartment.  Ila got to help feed and change Dustin.  He was so bubbly and happy.  We had fun, and Paige did sit back and let Ila play with her baby doll.  Then it was time to get ready to go to Kissimmee and stay with friends, Steve & Monie that we knew since we lived in Orlando before moving to GA.  We always stayed with them when we went to pick Ila up in the summers.

Uncle James would always buy Ila school clothes when she visited him every summer.  She always got a new hairdo too.  When I lived in Orlando after my separation/divorce from his brother and until I remarried Butch, Uncle James helped me too.  I paid all my bills; he would buy me clothes and helped co-sign for a car too.  I even got my hair done by him too.

We were getting in the car.  I put Dustin and Paige in their car seats, this time they were in the back and dad was going to drive.  Ila was getting ready to go with us too and Uncle James said no.  His reason was that it was going to be his last night, Friday, to see her for basically another year.  Ila wanted to go with us.  Uncle James wouldn’t budge.  And I was the mommy.  The power of Uncle James providing for us overtook me, and I was weak up against what he wanted.  This is complicated to explain with family issues, but the moms who have been up against this understand what I’m about to say.   I guess I had that feeling that I “owed” him and I had to do what he wanted.  I wanted Ila to go with us, Ila was pleading with me to go.  But, he wanted her to stay one more night up against the next year.  Let me make another excuse:  I’m a Libra and we are the scales of justice, balance, and fairness.  I felt powerless to do what I wanted with my child, and I wanted her with me too!  I cowered to Uncle James.  Money has power doesn’t it?!!

Ila stood there with her pleading face.  I looked into those “please mommy” eyes.  Looking back…for the first 7 years of her life, I don’t think I made a mistake that would scar her before this moment.  My heart hurt looking into her eyes because I was cowering to the power of money.  In reality, just being mommy had more power.  It took a long time and more mistakes to realize the reality of this.  It’s like I left her standing there, well I did leave her standing there.  Thinking I made a fair choice for one last night up against another year.  And after all, Ila will have her brother all the time once we leave the weekend and head back to GA.  Of course, this decision wasn’t so bad when I took it all for granted.

I will never forget her look, to this day I can cry over it….and then I make another mistake with her with careless words before the weekend is over…

“Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep…..”

My husband and I, along with Paige and Dustin load up in the car and head to Kissimmee to stay the weekend with our old Florida friends Steve and Monie.  We always stayed with them when we came to Orlando to get Ila in the summer.

On the way, it was pouring down the usual Florida afternoon thundershowers. On the way, I looked back at Paige and Dustin in their car seats.  I noticed Dustin’s passy fell out of his mouth.  For a minute I got distracted and when I turned around to put it in his mouth he already put it back in. That was a first.  Small little thing a mommy notices.

We arrived at Steve and Monie’s around 4pm.  We got unloaded and were so glad to see each other.  We got settled in and started our visit.  Dustin always slept from 6pm to 6am like his sister Ila always did too.

At 6pm I took him to the spare bedroom we always stayed in.  It was Monie’s daughter’s room, but she was over 18 and was barely home.  When I went to put Dustin to sleep, Butch, Steve, and Paige went to the store.

I lay down with Dustin on the all familiar twin bed on a box spring with no rails up against the wall.  It wasn’t high up off the floor. Paige had also slept on the bed when she was a newborn in a prior visit a couple of summers before.

As I lay down with Dustin I rubbed his back like I always did. I even ran my finger across his forehead, nose, and cheeks to make him feel good.  He started drifting off to sleep. When I thought he was asleep I eased my way off the bed in little steps.  First I stopped rubbing him.  He did not budge.  Then I moved my body away from him, he did not budge. Then I stood up off the bed, he did not budge.  I stood there a minute watching him and knew he was asleep.

His head was positioned towards the wall.  No blankets and no pillows.  I was sure my baby was safely sound asleep…..

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I awake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.  God bless mommy and daddy!”……

“Jesus….just like Lazarus!”

On August 25, 1989, I was two weeks away from six years of being a Christian.  I was also two months away from turning 28 years old.  I think the greatest accomplishment is my life was becoming a Christian.  I’ve always been authentic with God, He sees all and knows all, and I knew I didn’t have to pretend or hide from Him.  I have had a struggle in my life with God that had me on a roller coaster with Him.  Sometimes I was what I thought to be a perfect Christian, then sometimes not.  I knew God was always there and we weren’t giving up on each other.

After I put Dustin to sleep I went back to the living room.  Steve and Monie lived in a single wide trailer.  The living room was near the bedroom Dustin was sleeping in.

Steve, Butch, and Paige left to go to the store.  I stayed in the living room talking with Monie.  Steve had a massive collection of classic rock albums.  They were all on the floor lined up in several rolls against the wall.  I was looking through them.

After I became a Christian I realized the devil was real.  He was out to kill, steal and destroy me and I didn’t take it seriously.  I learned quickly about the classic rock I loved so much since I was a teenager.  Some of the bands were satanic.  I learned how to recognize them. I could see a lot through the album covers.  I had my video camera with me. Since I was teaching teens in Sunday school I thought it would be interesting to video some of the album covers with satanic overtones to show the teens.  Monie watched with amazement.

Monie’s 18-year-old daughter came home to get a few things.  We were staying in her room for the weekend. She briefly spoke with us and we told her to be quiet when she went into her room because the baby was asleep.

She came out a couple of minutes later.  By this time it had been 20 minutes since I put Dustin to sleep.  Steve and Butch had also just come back from the store.

Monie’s daughter came out of the room and asked where the baby was.  I hurried to the room wondering why she asked that.  I looked on the bed and didn’t see Dustin.  The bed looked like it had been neatly made, and that was very strange to me.  I pulled back the throw blanket that I never put over him or around him.  There was Dustin stuck between the bed and the wall.  His feet were down towards the floor.  It looked as though the bed and wall were holding Dustin up at his chest.  His head was slumped over like he was asleep. His body was facing towards the top of the bed.  I quickly picked him up and he didn’t move.  I screamed for Butch…..and God.  Butch took him from me and ran to the living room couch. Butch and Steve started CPR.  Paige stood looking at her brother.  Monie called 911. I ran out to the back porch.

On the porch, I looked up at the sky and started making deals with God as I pleaded for my son’s life.  I want to be totally authentic here, but I have to follow the Christian rules so I won’t be judged.  I promised God if He saved Dustin I would never ***** *** again!! I promised I would be perfect. I promised I would never commit another sin.  I was pleading and crying.  I was full of fear and scared to death.  I thought my deals with God would work, so I walked back in the trailer and they were still doing CPR.  I saw his lips looked blue.  Paige was watching, but I was dealing with God and that was where my mind was.

I then went out the front door and walked the neighborhood street back and forth in front of the trailer praying and crying to God.  I didn’t care who was looking at me.  This time I begged, “Jesus you raised Lazarus from the dead and if Dustin is dead I know You can bring him back.  Please, Jesus, bring him back.  I know You can.  Please, Jesus just like you did with Lazarus.  Please, please, God!”  I was sobbing uncontrollably.

The EMS arrived.  I was still pleading and begging God!  As I walked towards the trailer and the EMS man was walking out with Dustin.  His head was in the palm of his hand and his body lying on his arm while his arms and legs hung down. He looked lifeless.  I turned my head and couldn’t look.

The next thing I knew we were in our car and Steve was driving with Butch up front.  I was in the middle of the back seat.  We followed closely behind the ambulance.  I looked at the back doors and knew my son was in there wondering what was going on.

I stopped crying and pleading with God and just stared at the ambulance doors. I was quiet and couldn’t say a thing.  All I could feel was a terrible awful feeling I cannot describe.  Scared, so scared.  God wasn’t even listening to me.  He was punishing me for not obeying all His rules.  It was all my fault.  I was a bad mom.  I was a bad Christian.  I was a bad Sunday school teacher.  I was bad.  I had to be terribly bad for my baby to be dying…….

To be continued!