In Search Of…Mother’s Day Special

 All the focus is on mom's this month.  But for some people, the road to parenthood is more difficult than for others.  Newschannel 8's Jennifer Livingston brings us a special mother's day "In search of" story.

When Preston and Tammy Mensink met back in 1997, they new almost immediatly they wanted a life together. “It
wasn’t real long into the relationship that I had talked that I wanted a family.” But they ever expected it would
happen so quickly. Just six months later, they found out a baby was on its way. “I was shocked. Preston was
shocked! Like, stop the bus!”

That shock turned into excitement and preperations began. But midway through the pregnancy, the first signs of
trouble came to light. “I remember the day. During the ultrasound they had noticed something next to the heart, but
they had no idea what it was.”

Infact it wasn’t until Brandon Michael was born, that they learned just how serious the problem was. “Lots of tests
and lots of specialists. Doctors were just in and out constantly.”

It was finally determined that Brandon was born with four major malfunctions in his heart and open heart surgery was
his only chance at survival. “A lot of fear. A lot of fear.”

After a few more precious moments together, Brandon entered the fight of his young life. “The surgery appeared
successful, but when they went to recesitate him, they couldn’t get it started. It was just too much for him.”

Their baby boy lived just 5 days. “Your mind doesn’t want to believe it, so I was trying to think of all these ways
that it couldn’t be true. A lot of couples it does tear them apart, but we turned to each other instead of away.”

They had no idea how much they would need each other again. “We decided we still wanted to have a child and so we
did try again.”

And in 2001, four years after Brandon’s death and two miscarriages later, Katherine Elizabeth couldn’t wait to come
into the world. “My water broke 6 and a half weeks early, so she way very small.”

But Katie’s prematurity wasn’t the only problem. “She just wasn’t growing.” At four months old, tests showed Katie
had a very serious disorder in her digestive system. “One of the first things that the doctor said to us was ‘how far
do you want us to go with this? What do you mean…we want you to save her.”

But in the end, it was just too much for her little body. “That’s probably one of the hardest decisions a parent
can make is when do you stop. I looked at her and said, ‘Katie if you want to go…it’s okay. And it was just a few
hours later that she did pass away.”

No one can explain why one couple is dealt such a difficult hand. “We had decided then and there…no more. We’re
not going to do this again.”

But life works in mysterious ways. While ‘they’ so desperatly wanted to be parents, it was the last thing Tammy’s
younger sister Tricia was ready for. “I went and got a test and that was an awful, awful feeling at that point in my
life.” Tricia was in college, living at home and was facing a future as a single mom. “My boyfriend made it clear
that he was not going to be participating.”

Sometimes blessings come in the most unlikely form and what is one sisters dilemma, could become the other’s
lifelong dream.

What happens next in this story is simply remarkable. You can catch the conclusion to this special two-part “In
search of” story next Thursday on NewsChannel eight at six.

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