~ Meet Kathy
I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in June of '74. I grew up in a small town called Galvez, Louisiana that was surrounded by swamp, snakes and alligators. My adventures through childhood instilled in me a strong sense of family but a burning need for independence. With that in mind, I graduated from St. Amant High School in 1992 and went on to attend Louisiana State University. I entered the Physics program where I had aspiring dreams to be an astronaut. There I met my husband, Jeff; who like me grew up in a small swampy town. He graduated in May of 1996 and moved to Massachusetts to pursue his PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
No longer aspiring to launch myself into space, but rather to launch myself in the general direction of Jeff, I graduated in December of that year and moved the same month for a job as a Software Developer in Springfield, Massachusetts. Coming from a hot and humid climate was no less than a culture shock. I learned that my coat was actually called a light jacket and that hat and gloves were not optional; they were required. I came a long way from the first day I showed up in Massachusetts where the blizzard of '96 raged war upon the small town of Amherst. I had driven straight from Galvez and was still wearing shorts and flip flops which did not provide enough traction on the icy parking lot while I tried to unpack the U-Haul trailer of my belongings. My five year stay in Massachusetts taught me that anyone can adapt to change as long as they're with the person they love. Jeff finally graduated with his PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering in 2001.
We then moved to Cortland, New York (near Syracuse) so Jeff could do his post-doctoral research at Cornell University. I got a job as a Software Engineer in the Syracuse area. There's not much I can say about New York. The two years we were there recorded the least amount of sunlight and most amount of snow for a particular area within the United States in a given year. I spent many nights shoveling six feet of snow (and yes, I was wearing my hat and gloves). New York taught me perseverance and molded me in to a stronger person. It also convinced me that forty degree weather (winter temperatures in Louisiana) is warm. We stayed in New York for two years and left in 2003 when Jeff got a faculty position in the Materials Engineering Department at Purdue University in Indiana. I was easily able to continue my career as a Software Developer in Indianapolis.
Jeff and I were married on April 24, 2004. We built a little family that consisted of two dogs; a Basenji, Kuru, and a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Simba. Meanwhile, Jeff excelled at Purdue and I advanced in my career. As the years crept up on us and we approached our mid-thirties; my husband turned lovingly to me one day and said "You know, Kathy; you aren't getting any younger." sigh. And so began our quest to procreate.
We started trying in June of last year. I got off birth control and started taking prenatal vitamins. We were tracking my cycle and I found myself urinating on sticks every couple of weeks for one reason or another. We had only been trying for three months when a minor tragedy struck. I detached the retina in my right eye.
Over the next three months I went through five surgeries. My activity level was limited to walking to the bathroom. Jeff and I were instructed not to get pregnant during this time. When the ordeal was over, I was left blind in 30% of my eye with no hope of correcting the vision that remained. My right eye was useless and I had to adapt to vision in one eye. I viewed it as a minor setback and something that would not slow me down. In December, Jeff and I were back on track to making a little bundle of joy. At the end of January, we smiled at each other as we held a pregnancy test that read "Pregnant". And so begins another story.