We're Not in Kansas Anymore - a Column by Helen Baldwin

sky, bloom, silence, feathers, timeHelen Baldwin lives in Jefferson, North Carolina, with her husband, Randy plus their two dogs, a cat, and untold wild critters outside. Their firstborn’s family, including two delightful children, lives just down the road, so she enjoys lots of MomMom time. Helen and Randy have a rental cabin and bees, among numerous other endeavors, so they’ll never be bored. Life took a drastic twist in 1997 when their third baby, Jeffrey, was diagnosed with SMA type 1. Although their active stint with SMA was brief, Helen hopes that sharing and connecting experiences after Jeffrey’s death, usually with optimism, helps others endure the unpredictability of loss and recovery.

Finding SMA in Unexpected Places

Not long after our third baby, Jeffrey, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), my mother received a note from her cousin, who mentioned her two granddaughters’ “muscle disease.” Having believed for years that the girls had spina bifida, we learned quickly, though not totally shockingly, that…

The Papa Tomato

Our family has some generous gardening friends. One such friend keeps us spoiled with her garden goodies regularly. She has delivered to our porch zucchini, beans, lettuce, garlic, and fresh eggs. Oh, and tomatoes. *** Our baby Jeffrey’s routine check at two months…

Why I Appreciate Diagnosis Day Anniversaries

It’s probably safe to say that these past four months have been a blur for many. It seems that mere blinks ago it was mid-March, the last days of normalcy in untold routines, and the beginning of upheavals that have defied description. Somehow, it’s already four months…

Service with a Smile and a Waggly Tail

One month after our baby Jeffrey was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, I met Cindy Schaefer on an SMA message board. Her son, Bionews Services columnist and forums director Kevin Schaefer, was diagnosed with type 2 SMA a couple years before that. During our…

For Better, for Worse, and Everything in Between

June 7 was my 46th wedding anniversary. My parents reached their 50th anniversary 17 years ago. It is mind-boggling that my husband, Randy, and I are already old enough to ponder our own golden celebration. I have mentioned Randy in almost every column, if not all of them.

Jeffrey, Clara, and James: A Love Story

Our son Matthew and daughter-in-law Jill handed me a Mother’s Day card in 2015 with instructions to read it aloud. I didn’t pay attention, however, so my deafening squeals left my husband, Randy, perplexed until I blurted out that we were going to be grandparents. A critical task…

May Baby, Special Delivery

I’m a May baby (actually, May senior citizen is a bit more accurate). I love having a May birthday. From wrapping up spring semesters before my birthday way back in college, to getting back to outdoor activities after winter confinement, and to my birthday falling on the heels of…

The Coronaviruth

I didn’t intend to write another column about The Virus, at least not right after my last one, but it seemed appropriate to share a surprising revelation from after my baby was diagnosed with the deadliest form of spinal muscular atrophy. My husband,…

Devastation, Disruption, Despair, and Daffodils

It seems fitting to address the current whammy threatening every single person on the planet. It’s unfortunate that it’s a menacing global health upheaval bringing us together in myriad ways. On the other hand, maybe that’s what it’s taken to counter the relentless political squabbling and divisiveness.